In the middle of a very difficult web development project with a new vendor, I am quickly realizing that most of what was promised to me by the sales representative was never communicated to the marketing team. As a result, there is now an ongoing back-and-forth argument as to what was promised, what is being delivered, and what the finished result will be.
Have you been there? Did you ever hire that vendor for another project after your experience? If you’re like most buyers, you probably ran away and never looked back.
So how do you make sure that your customers aren’t going through this same pain when hiring your company? Here are some ways to make sure your sales and marketing teams are speaking the same language, so you don’t end up watching the backs of your customers as they run away from your company.
- Take a good look at your structure.
- Step outside of your organization for a minute and look at the structure. Are the people who sell products and services involved in implementing them, or dealing with customer service issues? Once the sale is done, is it passed off to “someone else” to manage the job?
- How closely do your sales and marketing teams work? Do they know each other? Are they able to ask questions, provide feedback, and offer their insight?
- If you see a trend of separation between sales, marketing, and customer service, now would be a great time to start planning a big meeting between those groups. You may be amazed at the insight, critiques, and new ideas that will come out of that meeting to propel your business forward.
- Get everyone involved.
- In any new customer meeting, specifically in a B2B or high-ticket environment, it is crucial to offer prospective and ideas from all sides. If you are selling a complex product or service, especially one that will be used by the client to generate business, you must have all parties involved at those initial stages. They will answer questions, help you sell, and determine customer needs from the onset. They will also reduce or eliminate the problems that come up later from lack of information.
- Be your own customer.
- This idea is presented in thousands of business guides, courses, and books, yet is often overlooked. Do you want to know how your customers are being treated? Don’t just ask them; experience it for yourself.
- Call into your company from a different phone number, go through the painful automated process, reach a sales representative, and start asking the type of questions that keep your customers up at night. Then continue through the entire process, from proposal to execution, and make notes along the way.
- Forget everything you know about your profit margins, the internal structure of your company, and the cost of operations for a minute, and just focus on the customer experience. Enlightening, isn’t it?
- Reward based on your customer’s success and referral business (for B2B companies).
- Now that you have discovered what is broken, it’s time to start repairing. Work on a new structure that involves all teams and start developing a better approach to conducting business.
- Develop an incentive system that rewards overall performance and success. For instance, if a customer has such a great experience with sales, marketing, and customer service that they refer 3 new clients to you, then all of those representatives should be rewarded, not just the new sales rep. who answers the phone to close those 3 referral clients.
- Once everyone knows they are accountable for overall performance and referrals, I guarantee it will change the “sales promises, customer service delivers” attitude.