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For everyone out there who says “I am not in sales,” I have a spoiler alert: You are in sales, even if your title does not actually say so. In many organizations, we see different departments working in a vacuum. Why does this happen? Most likely because they don’t see themselves as being “in sales” so they don’t think holistically from the buyer’s point of view. But if you interact with customers or play a role in the sales process – even if peripherally – then you are in sales.
Let’s look at how the sales role applies to typical organizational functions when you make the buyer’s perspective central to your sales process.
Marketing people are probably the most tightly tied to sales. They help provide inbound leads and content for sales to use in all stages of the sales process. However, sometimes, marketing produces content that is more about features and functions than the buyer’s needs. If you are in marketing, then you are in sales even though it is not in your title. You have to provide leads and content that best helps the buyer conclude that your product and services can help them solve their business problems.
Pre-sales is another position closely tied to sales. They are the product and service experts who understand how you can help your buyers attain their business and personal goals. So, why do you do use demos as discovery instead of proof statements? How is it helping the sales process or the buying process if you are only showing features and functions with no linkage to how they can specifically help your buyer? How do you engage executives who have purchasing power if your language is technical and theirs is business focused? Many times, this is not the problem of pre-sales but of sales people who tell pre-sales to just do the demo even if there has not been proper discovery or qualification done. My recommendation: push back if you can.
See if this rings a bell: Product development develops a product in what seems like a vacuum, with little to no clue as to what the market wants or needs, or what direction the market is taking. Do you meet with others in your organization to discuss market trends and what they are seeing and hearing in the field to differentiate and get ahead of the curve? All with an eye to helping your customers be successful? And, when developing a new product and/or service, do you work with others to ensure it is marketed correctly, capable of being implemented easily as well as supported, maintained and enhanced afterwards?
When you are on-site with the buyer to implement the product and train their team(s), do you listen to them to see if there may be additional products and services that may continue be help them be successful − thereby generating additional revenue for your company? Do you then pass this information to sales or do you ignore it since you are not compensated to do so? If the product is difficult to implement, do you work with product development to smooth out that process so you can get great references from happy customers? Or do you not do that since a complicated implementation leads to additional revenue for your company?
Customer service people may not be in sales, but they become the face of your company when people call in to ask questions or need assistance. Do you get back to them quickly with information that adds value? Are you delivering a customer experience that helps differentiate your company and drive a positive reputation in the marketplace?
The management team has a view from all angles. How are you working together to ensure your prospects and customers find it easy to buy your products? “Easy” is a generic term since some technology solutions are complicated in their access to data, inner workings with other systems, etc. But there are ways to make it easy for customers to buy and work with your company. Are you looking at the customer’s buying process to see how to maximize your company’s talents to deliver a top-notch experience?
Sales may not be in your title, but the truth is, you are in sales. In fact, everyone who touches the buyer is in sales. And that means everyone must be customer focused in order to ensure referrals and renewals. Customer experiences will be noted and communicated since no one is ever shy about talking about bad experiences. Also remember that people move from firm to firm throughout their careers, and they will take their last impression of you and your company with them.
Are you constantly looking through the buyer’s lens knowing that everyone affects their experience and your company’s reputation?