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Customer’s Expectation of Salespeople

August 31, 2015

 

Recently, a childhood friend of mine, Daniel Baitch sent me a book which he co-authored “High Performance Sales Organizations: Achieving Competitive Advantage in the Global Marketplace”. Although it was written in 1995, most of the insights are the same today. For instance:

  1. Today’s customers are more knowledgeable.
  2. Today’s customers are more analytical
  3. Today’s customers are more demanding.
  4. Today’s customers give more strategic information.

This has not changed, and I am sure it will increase even further. So what does that mean as far as customer expectations of salespeople? Does this mean the “Death of the Salespeople”? Following are areas of knowledge which are essential for salespeople to handle Customer’s Expectations.

  1. Comprehensive knowledge of the customer’s industry, company and strategies. I remember years ago calling on customers and asking questions related to the industry. Don’t bore your customer and ask questions that you should already know. Ask questions about common challenges in the industry, or what their strategy is about a known trend. If you do not know anything about the end-user of your customer you better find out. In that way, you can help your customer strategize the end-user needs.
  2. In depth knowledge of their own company’s full range of product and service applications. What’s always amazing to me is to watch salespeople only sell one part of their portfolio, and not spend the time and effort seeing what other product and services a present client may need.   Spend some time being a gatherer. Look for opportunities within the companies you are already servicing. Hopefully if the customer has had a great experience with your present offerings, there will be more opportunities.
  3. A thorough understanding of General Business Management – This point I find most intriguing and most missed when hiring sales people. This means it is not good enough just to hire someone for their ability or experience in one particular field. A salesperson must understand the basics of how a business operates. Do they understand a P&L, inventory management, basic accounting, HR, and operations? How does your product or service affect anyone of these business areas? If your salesperson is calling on procurement one day, a CFO the next, and then a plant manager, do they understand what is important to that particular job function when they are face to face with those folks?

So what actions can your salespeople take today that will assure that you are fulfilling the expectations of your customers? What type of Training is needed to bring your Salespeople into this century? Join the conversation, or contact me to discuss further.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 31, 2015 7:37 pm

    I agree clients are much more savvy because they have information at their fingertips via the web. Should companies who bring on sales support look at how they bring those new sales folks on board? Are they exposed to all aspects of their own business, as well as their prospects to properly convey their value proposition?
    Good stuff to consider when looking at the process. Thanks Alan

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