Grow your business by leveraging your entire organization to expand current accounts
Are all your customer-facing employees armed to sell? Are you attracting expansion business on a regular basis through your front-line people? Is your company thinking beyond customer service to win more business?
If you want to grow top line revenues and attract more customers, then everyone on your crew must get in the boat, grab an oar, and begin to row. Yes, we mean everyone—from the CEO to account managers to customer service to marketing and PR. If you’re a university, then we mean the folks in the admissions department, too. From stem to stern, it’s all hands on deck, and everyone is pulling for the team like they mean it.
Leading organizations, both in the private and public sectors, are seriously re-thinking their sales assets. In short, they believe that if you engage or impress the customer in a meaningful way, you can make a difference. Combine this idea with another, such as it’s much easier to expand business with current customers than to land new ones. This synthesis means you have the opportunity and obligation to influence the customer’s perception of value and their willingness to invest additional dollars in your products and services.
However, many organizations struggle to make the transformation. Non-salespeople just don’t want to sell. For most, it’s not part of their calling, mission, or skill-set ‘profile’ in the business world. They don’t see themselves in a revenue-generating role, and may even carry a negative impression of selling. Let’s face it, in this extremely competitive, high-definition age, we almost have to be ‘born’ to sell, or at least be ‘wired’ for it these days. Besides, most departments are (or will surely claim to be) overworked with the task at hand; they don’t believe they have any additional bandwidth to take on more duties, let alone be interested in trying their hand at ‘sales,’ even if it’s only part-time.
Be in Front of Your Competition
There’s a fine line between asking everyone to be a salesperson and arming all customer-facing resources with the necessary focus, direction, knowledge and tools to help grow the company. Thriving organizations are rapidly making the transition from the traditional ‘sales as a single department model’ to ‘empowered employees’ who are informed, motivated, and enthusiastic enough to make a real (and permanent) difference to the top and bottom line. If you want to be out front, begin your transformation now or your competitors may cross that finish line first.
7 Easy Steps to Get Moving
1. Evaluate all your human touch-points. These are all the people in your organization who ‘touch’ the customer in some way. They can include delivery people, reception, field employees, customer care resources, and so on. Most companies have a virtual army of folks who touch or engage the customer, yet they remain an under-utilized resource without any ‘sales’ interaction, training, or relationship-building efforts.
2. Prioritize the non-sales group having the largest, most significant, or greatest long-term impact on your customer. (Don’t stop here but it’s a smart place to begin.)
3. Start to create or build awareness and expectations around just how important their role is in growing the company, and what it takes to sustain that growth. Point out the links between their job and all the possibilities that exist to positively influence the customer into expanding their business.
4. Invest in training, development, and ongoing support initiatives to move beyond a customer service/problem solving mentality into a pro-active, pro-‘public relations’ approach to build customer awareness, brand loyalty, and potential expansion.
5. Offer simple but effective tools and best practices such as talking points, sample questions, guides, real-world examples, and even focus groups to help them move beyond customer care to customer development.
6. Measure progress and highlight and reward accomplishments—both big and small—to ensure a positive, sustainable, company-wide attitude of achievement.
7. Expand to the next group until the entire organization is rallied around company growth goals, and your employees (along with the customers they touch) become a virtual army of well-informed, mission-ready, and market-savvy brand ambassadors.
Although this approach may seem simplistic or even impractical, it can be both powerful and transformational, and perhaps even downright game-changing to your competition. In this tech-hungry, ultra-connected, and data-driven marketplace, sometimes the difference between tapping into additional revenue (or not) is asking your customer just one simple question: ‘What else can we do for you, today?’
Lisa Magnuson, founder of Top Line Sales, LLC helps high potential sales people, business owners who sell and VPs of Sales win more sales. She works side by side with her clients to navigate through their most complex sales cycles and sales challenges with remarkable results. A recent accomplishment was helping one client secure 44m in contracts last year using her proven framework for landing large opportunities.