Ironically, sales teams can too often forget about the needs of the customers (and prospective customers) that they’re dealing with on a regular basis. However, the market is changing and the need to understand our customers can no longer be ignored.
A recent book, ‘Achieving a Strategic Sales Focus: Contemporary Issues and Future Challenges’ addresses this specific issue, and provides guidance for companies looking to become more customer oriented.
This publication comes during a shift in vision around sales industries, where complex customer needs and a broadening global market have changed the nature of selling. One of the book’s authors, Dr Tony Douglas, says: “The role of sales in the delivery of organisational strategic goals has never been more essential”.
Sales is changing, and the definition of ‘good’ is also changing. Customers are no longer external to business operations. In fact, they are central. Everyone wants to improve customer satisfaction – and core to this is our ability to integrate customer needs both internally and externally.
More and more businesses are focusing on the customer experience, a substantial exercise that takes time, research and a solid strategy. There is more competition in the world, customers are more demanding, and complex selling environments and ready access to social media (usually for immediate, public complaining), leaves stakes pretty high. Now, more than ever, we have to prioritise the needs of customers: if we don’t, there are plenty of other competitors to choose from.
So where can you start improving the customer experience? With the people who deal with them most: the sales team
Sales plans and activities must become more closely aligned with, and focus on, customers’ needs. Therefore, the recruitment and training of skilled, driven and open salespeople is essential to a company’s success in delivering customer service. The importance of skilling-up sales people must not be underestimated.
Within this transition to a customer-oriented business vision, managers and teams must stay agile and responsive to changes in the market, equipped with contemporary training and development plans that keep them on top of their game.
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Brett Lyons is an international leadership consultant who has converted 35 years of sales experience into a range of eLearning tools that deliver real-world results. He is a training expert who specialises in coaching motivated leaders to drive their teams to success.