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What is the most important part of your business in the sales process today? The immediate answer might be the sales team, but think again. Think about which part of the business interacts with your customers on a daily basis and knows their concerns, and what they love, in detail because they hear the same comments every day.
The customer service team. It’s true that the customer service team used to be thought of as a cost centre – it was a necessary condition of selling products to customers that they had to have a way of getting in touch with the brand. However, smart contact centre managers long ago realised that those customer interactions could be leveraged with processes such as cross-selling and upselling.
This was not strictly selling and these processes did not replace the sales team, but there is a difference between a contact centre advisor briefed to just fix customer problems and one that is aware of the complete product set so that recommendations for purchases can be made. If the client asks a question and a purchase will resolve the issue, then the advisor can quickly make a sale and fix the customer problem at the same time. The customer is happy and the company has made a sale from a service call – everyone wins.
Today though it is possible to build a complete sales strategy around your customer service team, to really leverage on this constant contact they have with customers to create sales opportunities. This process is often called service to sales and can be applied to both the B2C and B2B environment, although these processes are more recently changing how B2B sales work.
B2B sales have always been a more relationship focused than B2C sales and therefore some careful consideration is required when planning how a new sales strategy might be applied. At the heart of any B2B sales solution that encompasses the customer service function though is the belief that by engaging with customers in a dialogue, the advisor will better understand the needs of the customer. Sales opportunities are framed more like opportunities to help the customer.
Customers like this approach – especially B2B customers. Businesses want their partners to offer solutions even if a transaction is required. Partners offering a proactive and innovative approach to the relationship where ideas and relevant products are suggested at an appropriate time are seen as more useful than passive partners suggesting nothing.
Webhelp has been working on B2B sales and processes such as cross-selling for over a decade now. For more information on how our approach to B2B sales actually improves customer relationships please click here.
What is your experience of smart sales? Leave a comment below, or get in touch on LinkedIn, and let me know.