You can train employees all you like on how to sell better, but if you’re not providing them with empowering them with customer information so that they have everything right at their fingertips, your efforts are never really going to take off. Yes, you may say that I’m crazy, and that I don’t know what I’m talking about, but just hear me out, because I’ll circle this ship around and you’ll be jumping onboard before you know it.
Sales reps need customer information.
Let me put it to you this way, “Not providing sales reps with vital customer information, is like driving your car at nighttime without the headlights on.” You know what I’m saying here, it’s not going to work very well, and although you may get to your destination, your car is going to show up with a few dents and dings in it because you plowed down a few mailboxes.
Don’t let sales reps fall on their face.
I’ll share a simple and easy to understand example for you on how a company can let a sales rep fall flat on their face. A customer reaches out to a sales rep with a simple question about their account, maybe something along the lines of what their average spend has been over the past six months, or when the last time they made a purchase, and the sales rep doesn’t have access to any of this information, and has to say, “I’ll need to get back to you.” This is just unacceptable in today’s business marketplace.
All data systems must talk.
Here’s the fundamental problem with the way most companies do business. They have their customer data wrapped up in the next latest and greatest software system, but none of the systems talk together, and easily ripping the data out of these complex systems, is not done quickly and efficiently, and it really makes life confusing for sales reps. The worst thing for a sales rep to have to do is follow up with simple information that they’re supposed to have at their fingertips in the first place.
For a sales rep to say things like, “I’m not sure,” or “I think so,” or “That’s the plan,” or “It should happen,” is like feeding poison to a customer. Not one of these phrases is assertive, and they all show that the sales rep has no idea what’s going on. A customer is paying a company to provide products or services, and the company is paying a sales rep to represent them, so don’t break the trust and make the sales rep look bad by not enabling them to have every piece of customer information they’d ever need right at their fingertips, no matter where they are in the world, or what time of the day it is.
It makes sense.
If you’re in a leadership role and what you’re reading here is stinging you, then you’re most likely guilty of what I’m talking about, and if your a sales rep that’s been put through all these great training and motivation classes, and you’re saying to yourself, “This makes total sense, I need customer information at my fingertips,” then you’re in the right place. Driving in the dark is not fun, so it’s time that leadership makes a commitment to empower employees with customer information so that they can have real-time conversations, and it’s time for sales reps to start speaking up and demanding that they stop wasting their time searching and sorting through tons of irrelevant data, to actually get the one simple piece of customer information they need.
Make customer information accessible.
Information is everything in business today. For me, there’s nothing better than calling a company, and having the person that I’m talking to have every bit of information that I need. In my life, I’m busy, I don’t have time to wait for information in most instances. I need it right then and there because it’s going to affect a time-sensitive decision that I’m going to make, which in turn, may affect another decision that I need to make. Waiting for a sales rep to follow back up with me once they find out the information, and then once they have time to get back in touch with me, is just not my cup of tea. If you’re like me, and you most likely are, then you want your information when you want it, and if you’re dealing with a company that always has a slow response time, you’re going to dump them, just like I am.
It needs to be in real-time.
So let me wrap all this information up here for you. Training sales reps on how to guide a sales call is great, teaching them how to handle objections is great, having them drink the company Kool-Aid is great, but not giving them a crystal clear and easy way to view customer information in real-time, is bad, there’s no other way around it. There are a lot of slick new-wave companies that are using technology, matched up with their data, to drive every customer interaction, and they’re seeing absolutely phenomenal success. You definitely want to position your business to be one of these companies moving forward, and you definitely can, but it’s going to take a big commitment from everyone on your team.
Commit to make a change.
You may be big know, and you may be hitting on all cylinders, but as the saying goes, “You may be on the right track, but if you’re not moving forward, you’re going to get run over,” holds true, one-hundred percent without a doubt. My ask for you if you’re in a leadership role at your company, is to stop these nonsense projects that don’t help your sales reps communicate more effectively with your customers, and to focus on customer-centric projects moving forward. There’s so much money being wasted by companies on projects that are outdated, cost a ton of money to support, and really don’t provide a strong ROI, and that’s just unacceptable and utterly ridiculous at this point. Money is way too valuable to be wasted.
At the end of the day, if you’re in a leadership role and the numbers start to decline, people are going to start asking questions about the way you’ve been running the business, and I assure you, that how your sales reps are interacting and engaging with your customers, is going to be one of the things at the top of the list. If you answer that you haven’t been investing in customer-centric projects, you can just about say goodbye to your job, and quickly.
Yes, it’s great that you’ve read this information, but it’s even better when you put it into action, so don’t leave yourself hanging on an island anymore, talk to your team, put together a strategy to empower sales reps with customer information, and drive your business into the future.