7th Step to Growing Sales: Support Jim’s Sales Team
Welcome to the 7th entry of our 8 Steps to Growing Sales blog series. It is now time to focus in on sales team support
How best to do that while keeping your sales pipeline full? That’s the question Jim, our automotive manufacturing client in Dayton, asked us when he got to this stage of the process. Here was our approach:
1. Compile your customer data and store it in a CRM.
It’s hard to steer your sales team to qualified leads if you don’t know who’s visiting your site, who’s engaged with your social media campaigns, and who’s consuming or downloading your content.
Today’s best sales practices suggest you glean as much data as you can about your buyers and prospects. Then store and track it in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. An up-to-date CRM keeps your sales force organized, informed and focused on the leads who are most ready to buy.
Unfortunately, Jim didn’t have a CRM, which actually is pretty typical for most small- to mid-sized businesses. We encounter a lot of business owners who don’t collect customer and prospect data and aren’t completely sure how to begin. So, we got to work on establishing Jim’s first database.
2. If you don’t have a CRM, get one.
You’re going to need a CRM. They make it easier to focus on your customers and provide an intimate understanding of each their needs. They make your sales successes repeatable and they provide a simple, competitive advantage over companies that don’t utilize them.
In today’s sales environment, your company must have capability to store and manage customer data, quickly retrieve it, analyze it to gain business intelligence (BI), and manage all its creative assets.
A quick Google search will provide dozens of CRM products and services, each with varying levels of complexity and pricing. SalesForce, Maximizer, and Nimble are some of the big names that come to mind. However, if you’re just starting out, your CRM can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or a Google Form, as long as it’s intuitive and flexible enough for your sales team to use. Since he was just starting out with this idea, a simple spreadsheet was the approach Jim took.
We started with small steps. First, we sat down and helped him comb through his paper-based customer lists and accounts receivable records. Then, we plugged in his existing customers, contact info for each, information about their needs, their past purchases and more.
Finally, we started monitoring his website and social media platforms and gathered new visitor data as it became available. Using this first database, we were able to discern new customers from old, and discovered good percentage of customers who hadn’t been contacted in quite some time. That’s who we targeted for our first email campaign.
Since then, Jim has become more comfortable with digital customer management and is even considering his first CRM purchase.
3. Give your sales force mobile support.
While sales leads can take months or years to develop, so often these days deals are finalized on the go, after hours, and even over the weekends. Your sales staff may be just as likely to close a sale while at home, shopping at the grocery, or from the bleachers at their daughter’s softball game, as they are at the office. So, they need access to customer data from their laptops, tablets and smartphones. Everything needs to be seamless, easy to manage, and mobile.
Fortunately, many CRMs now come with built-in features that integrate with your sales team’s mobile devices. Others offer optional-purchase plug-ins that support mobile environments. There are also many third-party apps — on both Android and iOS platforms — that could augment your sales force in the field. Check them out here.
4. Keep administrative work off your salespeople’s plates.
Nothing slows down a sales force more than paperwork. Your sales force needs to be building relationships — not sitting in the office filling out forms and filing. So, once sales are on track, consider hiring a sales coordinator, customer service rep, or similar administrative professional to handle the day-to-day scout work.
Pay sales and support staffers well and keep them happy; if you can hire in people who’ll stick with you for a long while, you’ll shore up your company’s institutional knowledge and avoid a constant cycle of training, retraining, and all the headaches that come with recruiting.
Moreover, if you can keep your sales and support staffers around, you’ll build a “human storefront” that customers will develop lasting relationships with. That should raise the level of customer loyalty, which in turn solidifies your revenue stream and frees up your sales team to focus on growth, rather than client retention.
5. Remember, marketing is never “done.”
Lastly, never take your foot off your marketing’s gas pedal. Marketing is an ongoing, never-ending task that requires follow-up and refinement. If you don’t follow up your successful sales campaign with another successful campaign, new prospects will fail to realize you’re there, and old customers will lose the top-of-mind-awareness that effective marketing brings.
After building out your sales funnel with an effective CRM, be sure to work with your marketing team or agency partner on concurrent campaigns to drive customer engagement.
In addition to building content that brings in new leads, you can also produce content that engages your existing customers by:
- Sharing knowledge to help solve a problem they have
- Informing them about new products, services and updates
- Sharing news and increasing their awareness about changes in your industry that affect them
- Drawing back the curtain on your company’s human side (people want to know other people!)
- Delighting or surprising them, brightens their day, makes them smile or laugh
Do all that, and you can turn your existing client base into a de facto second sales force — one that has the added power of credible, testimonial persuasion.
Ready to support your sales team with more knowledge?
If you need help, we’re here for you. B63 Line is a certified woman-owned business in the Dayton area and has been a trusted marketing partner to Midwestern small businesses, manufacturers, local governments and higher education organizations since 2009. Our know-how can help build your brand in the Digital Age, get your sales back on track and set your company on course for continuing growth.
And we’d love an opportunity to listen and learn — really learn, as we did for Jim and his manufacturing business — about your organization’s critical needs and support your sales team.
Click here. Let’s schedule a meeting to dissect your needs and discuss the best options for your path forward. Schedule a free, two-hour consultation at: https://B63LineDrivesMarketingMovesPeople.as.me/