Customer Loyalty: Starring the Sales Team


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When think­ing about who in the orga­ni­za­tion has the biggest role in cre­at­ing loyal cus­tomers, we typ­i­cally think of the after-sale ser­vice and sup­port teams. But the sales team has a crit­i­cal role to play as well.

In fact, recent research shows that of four dri­vers of cus­tomer loy­alty (com­pany and brand impact, prod­uct and ser­vice deliv­ery, value-to-price ratio, and sales expe­ri­ence), 53% is related to the sales experience.

What are some of the key com­po­nents of the sales expe­ri­ence that will drive cus­tomer loyalty?

The sales rep offers unique, valu­able per­spec­tives on the market

Your sales team needs to be well versed in your tar­geted indus­tries, not just in your prod­uct line, if they’re to cre­ate loyal cus­tomers. Ideas to help them get there? Start a book club: Sub­scribe to indus­try jour­nals, assign per­ti­nent arti­cles, and dis­cuss. Hold a brown bag lunch and invite cus­tomers in to talk about indus­try trends. Send a rep to an indus­try trade show and have that edu­cate the rest of the team.

The sales rep helps nav­i­gate alternatives

In order to help cus­tomers nav­i­gate alter­na­tives, sales reps need to know how to uncover cus­tomers’ unique prob­lems and needs. Reps need to thor­oughly under­stand what each cus­tomer wants to fix, accom­plish, or avoid, so that they can rec­om­mend appro­pri­ate solu­tions and present the pros and cons of each alter­na­tive. In-depth sales train­ing pro­vides reps with the tools they need to uncover the customer’s issues and help the cus­tomer nav­i­gate alter­na­tive solutions.

The sales rep helps avoid poten­tial land mines

Employee reten­tion is key here. Sales reps with tenure can help cus­tomers nav­i­gate poten­tial land mines because they’ve seen other cus­tomers weather sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions. Pay­ing a com­pet­i­tive salary, pro­vid­ing pos­i­tive coach­ing and sup­port, and rec­og­niz­ing achievements—both small and large—will all go a long way toward retain­ing sales reps over the long term.

The sales rep edu­cates on new issues and outcomes

Loyal cus­tomers look to their sales rep for new infor­ma­tion, either on indus­try issues or on prod­ucts and ser­vices that will improve their busi­ness. Make it easy for your sales team to keep cus­tomers up to date. Cre­ate email tem­plates and attach­ments that reps can eas­ily cus­tomize for each cus­tomer. Cre­ate peri­odic webi­nars that your sales team can invite cus­tomer to for con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion. Cre­ate pod­casts with cus­tomers who are solv­ing com­mon prob­lems in unique ways. Part­ner with your mar­ket­ing depart­ment to help cre­ate addi­tional ideas on how to con­tin­u­ally reach out to cus­tomers with new, per­ti­nent information.

The sup­plier is easy to buy from

Some com­pa­nies are start­ing to mea­sure cus­tomer effort—how easy or dif­fi­cult it is to do busi­ness with the com­pany. Think about it. Loyal cus­tomers are repeat cus­tomers. How likely are you to be a repeat cus­tomer if you have to wade through an impos­si­ble phone tree only to be cut off, if the sales rep doesn’t return your call, if emails aren’t answered promptly, if quotes are incom­plete or inac­cu­rate, if billing is incor­rect? The eas­ier it is to buy, the more likely cus­tomers are to buy again.

The sup­plier has wide­spread sup­port across the organization

Depend­ing on what you sell, after-sale ser­vice and sup­port may be more impor­tant than the prod­uct itself. After all, what good is a highly tech­ni­cal piece of diag­nos­tic or pro­duc­tion equip­ment if you can’t receive timely repair when there is a tech­ni­cal issue or defect? In order to build loy­alty, it’s impor­tant that the sales team pro­vide a proper hand-off to ser­vice and sup­port so that the cus­tomer feels secure in know­ing that any post-sale issues will be addressed in a timely fashion.

April is cus­tomer loy­alty month. Use these tips to engage your sales team in the process of cre­at­ing loyal cus­tomers. Your com­pany will ben­e­fit, and so will your sales team as they enjoy repeat busi­ness and refer­rals from happy, sat­is­fied customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


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