Sales + Everyone = Success

August 17th, 2010
by

Valerie Simon

How do you get everyone – from your maintenance team to your CEO – participating in the sales process? During a special Twitter chat last Wednesday evening, Heather Whaling and Justin Goldsborough, co-moderators of Twitter’s #PR20Chat, and Beth Harte and Anna Barcelos, leaders of #imcchat asked this question to more than 100 participants. 

Here are a few takeaways every business should consider.Teamwork

Top down and bottom up, goals must be aligned.

AdamSuffolkU:  First step, make sure goals are aligned and input is asked/received from all-bottom on up

SuperDu:  It starts w/ CEO creating top-line strategic plan. ALL divisional plans & emp. objectives feed into that one plan

 jeffespo:  It should be the trickle up effect. Everyone knows the brand and wants to sell it and make more money.

Create a customer-centric team environment

BethHarte: If all employees understand the customer is #1, they will all work to make sure they work hard from top to bottom

LoisMarketing:  Communicate successes and celebrate at all levels. Make all staff aware of “wins,” new clients. Sincere appreciation. 

Transform employees into evangelists

kimbrater:  It’s more than the sales process, everyone has to internalize +evangelize the brand in order to sell it.

CASUDI:  everyone has to be in love with, believe in the product ~ everyone will have the desire to sell

IABCDetroit: Engage employees thru educational, relevant communications so they’re empowered to relay company message, align w/ company goals

Everyone can have an impact on sales

BethHarte: Sales starts the minute someone walks through the front door. Better hope the receptionist isn’t cranky/mean

rpulvino:  Everyone in the company is involved in sales in some way. Employees are the most important spokespeople for an organization.

And my respond: ValerieSimon: Education. When you take pride in, and understand your organizations strengths, you’re compelled to share the story!

Beyond 140 characters, I’d also emphasize that a strong and positive corporate culture is an investment that will not only pay off in increased productivity but sales. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a part of the sales team. Here are some ways organization can provides the training and follow-through to make the most of this extended sales force:

  • Make certain that ALL employees are educated on your products or services and the benefits of these services to your clients and customers.
  • Keep employees updated with a daily report of news for and about your organization, the competitors and the marketplace.
  • Create a simple process whereby all employees can easily submit referrals through to the sales team to close.
  • Share success stories. Recognize and reward those who are referring business, as well as the teamwork with sales that helped to win the new business.

Do you consider yourself a part of your organization’s sales efforts? What does your company do to harness the sales power of all your employees? Please share your thought with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

9 Responses to “Sales + Everyone = Success”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Deborah Brody , BurrellesLuce. BurrellesLuce said: Sales + Everyone = Success New post from @ValerieSimon @BurrellesLuce http://budurl.com/38zv #PR20Chat #imcchat […]

  2. Great wrap-up, Valerie. This topic is important because of how much sales and PR should work together – not against each other. I think many become so engrained in the silo mentality, they don’t see how each can work together. Now that we are in a very market-oriented world, its imperative that the co-exist and strengthen each other.

    Lauren, Radian6

  3. Kim Brater says:

    Love the summary here. And, agree that everyone in the organization can play a role in sales. In fact, everyone in the organization plays a role in delivering on the brand promise from the person who greets people on the phone or in-store, to the person who delivers the product or service, to those who follow up – people are as much a part of delivering on the experience customers have with a brand as the experience the customer has with the product/service itself.

    Thanks for the wrap up and the reminder that education (or what I like to call internal adoption of the brand) is ongoing and not a one time deal.

    @KimBrater
    from @AntHillMktg

  4. Lauren, Could not agree with you more regarding how important it is for client facing professionals to step out of their silo’s and collaborate. In addition to your comment regarding how “they don’t see how each can work together,” I think it is easy for any individual to become so focused on specific goals, tasks and deadlines and unintentionally avoid potential opportunities for support. In many organizations collaboration is not natural and must be a conscious effort. In the end, as you said, ‘”its imperative that the co-exist and strengthen each other.” Thanks for commenting!

    Adam, I enjoyed chatting with you Tuesday and think that your tweet regarding making certain goals are aligned and input is asked/received from all, is critical. It is easy to pass over key takeaways in a fast paced Twitter chat, but I wanted to at least highlight some of the great opinions. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Kim, what a powerful thought- “people are as much a part of delivering on the experience customers have with a brand as the experience the customer has with the product/service itself” And very true. A friendly, informed and helpful customer service or sales representative can absolutely play a role in your desire to do business with a company.

    Ongoing education and training throughout the organization is absolutely essential if everyone in the organization is to deliver on the brand promise. Hope to hear some comments that include some innovative examples of how education that is inclusive, engaging and ongoing… because as you mentioned this is not a one time deal. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  6. Beth Harte says:

    Hi Valerie,

    Thanks for sharing insights from the combined chat! In response to Justin Goldsborough’s original post (http://bit.ly/alHTOB) and the chat, I thought for sure a lot of PR folks would defend a position of “We aren’t responsible for sales — that’s marketing/sales!” I was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn’t the case at all.

    And that’s a great sign that perhaps progress is being made and some corporate silos are coming down in order to best serve the customer, which is at the heart of integrated marketing communications (IMC).

    While I don’t think social media is going to end up being a huge game changer (IMC’s been around for over 15 years and it’s still not implemented!) for corporations to become customer-centric, it will certainly shine a light on what’s not working and why it’s everyone’s responsibility to be in sales, so to speak.

    I have stopped being amazed at how many PR/Marketing folks don’t have a clue about the products/services they are marketing… Ignorance surely isn’t bliss when you can bump into customers in multiple channels — on- and off-line — and they can share your lack of support for their needs with their network/community.

    Beth Harte
    Serengeti Communications
    @bethharte

  7. Beth, Thanks for the thoughtful post. I really like the point you make about how “While I don’t think social media is going to end up being a huge game changer… for corporations to become customer-centric it will certainly shine a light on what’s not working and why it’s everyone’s responsibility to be in sales, so to speak.” Social media has helped put a spotlight on some of the most essential basic elements, such as listening, relationship building, customer service. And I agree that it absolutely highlights, and maybe will even push, the need for IMC. The tools, mediums may change but at theharteofmarketing (pun intended), as you have so often said social media isn’t drastically changing marketing, communications or PR… it is just forcing us, as practitioners, back to our roots 🙂 I believe the same can be said in sales 2.0.

  8. Beth and Valerie, I hope you are right. A shame that it takes the airing of dirty laundry through social media for some to change their ways. But if in the end it helps IMC be more than a catchphrase, social media has produced quite a significant benefit IMO.

    “Working together so everyone can drive sales” is a great idea in theory. But if we want to look for the root of why this vision is so slow to become a reality, we can start with corporate culture and incentives. Most companies do not offer incentive structures that support collaboration in the interest of the customer. Instead, PR, CS, Marketing, Product, Sales, etc. compete for budget dollars by trying to show how their specific efforts produced more black numbers than other departments on the P&L.

    We need leaders like Zappos Tony Hsieh to change culture. Leaders who say all employees will do whatever it takes to benefit the customer. That means employees have to work together to answer customer questions and solve issues. That mentality becomes a culture and allows IMC to work the way it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, what happens more often than not is leadership spends more time eying the bottom line and feels the need to make budget cuts based on short-term production departments can prove. The end result is turf wars, silos, and lack of cooperation amongst employees. And once that domino effect gets going, it’s hard to stop.

  9. Justin,
    I think the current economy has only exacerbated the problem as each department feels the pressure to compete for not only budget dollars but survival. It is no doubt a lot easier to preach IMC than to manage an integrated approach in an organization with historic silo’s in place and executives who have a very real responsibility to keep a close eye on the bottom line and identify opportunities for cutting costs wherever possible.

    But I also think that along with companies being shamed by the airing of dirty laundry through social media as you pointed out, positive experiences are being highlighted, reinforced and mimicked. Hopefully, at the end of the day, these case studies of success and ultimately business growth will influence decision making.

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