13 Mar 3 Ways Communication Between Field Reps and the Sales Team Can Improve Your Business
Salespeople perform best when there is communication Between Field Reps and the Sales Team. Salespeople perform best when they can understand customer needs and articulate how their product solves the customer’s problem.
There are often other perspectives from elsewhere in the company which can help to add more detail to the salesperson’s understanding of the customer. If the sales team is communicating effectively with frontline staff, this can have a transformative impact on your bottom line. This post will outline three key benefits of this communication, and then take a look at some real-life success stories.
Let’s start with the overall benefits. Implementing a CRM can facilitate communication channels across the business, with the result that:
- Everyone is upskilled
In most businesses, salespeople are selling a product that someone else has built or delivered. The skills of a salesperson are generally very different to the person who produces the goods or service. For example, in the loft company, the sales team have no technical skills regarding loft extensions.
Giving the sales team these skills helps them understand the business better and in turn improves their sales performance. This works both ways as the team installing lofts can develop their skills of qualifying a lead. If through communication everyone is 10% better at their job this will add incredible value to the company.
- Everyone has better information
If through communicating more effectively everyone has better information it allows them to complete their job more effectively. In companies where the communication flows between the buyers and the sales staff, the improvement was palpable. The sales team had such rich information with which to sell because they had a deep knowledge of the products. The buyers were able to get a more detailed insight into how their products were performing on the shop floor which helped them build ranges around a more sophisticated customer profile.
- Morale is improved
When communication between sales teams and frontline staff grows, empathy increases. Sales teams often feel exposed on the front line: getting continual negative responses can be mentally frustrating, so emphasising this to other teams is important. Similarly, if the sales team understand the challenges of other teams it will provide them with empathy. For example, a sales team understanding how hard the development team worked to build out their new feature will help build empathy across the organisation.
Once you have empathy you can develop collaboration. The longer teams work as islands you risk them becoming insular, so work hard to build that empathy and bridges can be built over time. Once you have collaboration and understanding you can build better morale and improve business performance.
These two examples, from my consultancy career, highlight the importance of this:
Company A is a high-end loft installation company in London. They provided bespoke solutions to discerning customers and were suitably expensive. The sales team focussed on building a pipeline of interested customers and then liaising with the technical and surveying team to book appointments for them to complete quotations.
The quoting process was expensive, which, if you include time and labour was around £800. The company’s close rate from initial meetings was 1 in 14. This was still financially viable but an improvement would save them money, and crucially the quoting team could spend more time on more qualified leads.
Time was spent trying to help the sales team qualify its leads more effectively so that they were working on prospective customers who were more likely to buy. The key to this was twofold:
First, the sales team were given more basic technical knowledge; this allowed them to disqualify customers who had impossible or unrealistic demands. A six-month evening course and some internal seminars gave them enough knowledge to eliminate some more unrealistic tasks.
The second element was getting the sales and quoting teams working together to generate a customer avatar for someone who was most likely to buy. This was an evolving process and really helped them to focus their energy on people they deemed better leads. Some indicators for someone more likely to buy were:
- A strong reason for undertaking the work (bedroom for a new child for example).
- Focus on outcome rather than budget (Company A are very high-end so will never be the cheapest).
- Coming through a referral.
- Being responsive to email.
- Having some understanding of the technical requirements of the job.
- When asked they produce images of styles they like.
These are a few of the key points: the document stretches to over fifty points and is always being developed to check for any signals which make someone look like a well-qualified buyer.
Know Your Style
Company B is a mid/high range store which sells women’s dresses in-store and online. Around 80% of the sales are done in the store because the dresses need to fit perfectly.
The store is manned by two or three salespeople who are experts at building rapport and making adjustments and fittings so that the customer gets a perfect result. They also upsell accessories that work well with the dresses.
The sales team generally perform well but are highly commissioned so look for ways to increase their sales. We looked at ways they could improve, with more time working with the buyers explored as an option. There is a buying team of three who source all the ranges from sellers all over the world; they give some information to the sales team but actually, a lot of the pieces have interesting backstories and are made in totally unique ways.
A new approach was for the buyers to spend two days per month with the sales team giving them much more in-depth information on the product. Some of the designers and dressmakers also visited to give presentations on their products. This also had the unexpected benefits of giving the buyers more sales context, and it helped them when sourcing the next ranges.
Communication between sales teams and other frontline staff can have huge benefits when staff are given a platform for collaboration and sharing knowledge and ideas.
Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM