As my co-author and I start to write our next book together, we’re naturally talking about a lot of the projects we’ve worked on, and how to generalize those experiences to create content for the book.
Having worked with many mid-market private and public companies, we realized that almost every company faces at least one (and often all three) of the following problems:
- The disconnect between the expectations of the sales team and the executive team.
- Lack of customer loyalty / high client attrition rates
- Lack of process and structure around sales, marketing, customer service, and retention
Taken together, these create an environment where your salespeople push for lower prices as the only way to compete, your marketing/sales/service departments are continually pointing the finger at each other, and where there is no way for you to accurately predict the sales growth rate you should expect.
What can we do about it?
For starters, you can answer this list of ten simple questions.
1) Do you have a clearly defined and understood expectations for sales activity?
2) Have you mapped out the first 90 days from the moment a prospect becomes a customer?
3) Have you carefully thought about your customer retention process? Do you even have one? I asked a room of 500 company owners this question and about 7 raised their hands! I then asked how many thought they should be thinking about this and 500 raised their hands!
4) How do you know when a salesperson/front line employee/customer service rep is underperforming? (The wrong answer here is “We wait a year and see how his/her annual sales compare to last year”)
5) How often does your marketing team check-in with your sales team to ensure that the messaging is congruent?
6) What “early warning systems” do you have in place to alert you when high-value clients are likely to leave?
7) How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing?
8) What is the internal coaching strategy for your customer-facing teams? See last week’s Tuesday Tidbit™.
9) What systems do you have in place to alert you to changing customer service issues?
10) How quickly do you respond to valid suggestions/concerns/challenges brought up by your sales, marketing, and customer service teams?
When working with a new client, these questions are often the starting point to pinpoint the most effective ways that we can help them quickly get robust results. Taken together, they help identify areas where your company is doing great, and areas where you could make simple changes that have an enormous impact.
When you’re asking these questions about your company / your team, pay attention to where you feel uncomfortable (or even slightly embarrassed). Pay attention to where you say “Well, we don’t need to do that because…”
Those are the areas where you are most likely to find an opportunity to grow, which can only improve your client's experience, as well as your revenue!
That’s your challenge for this week. Spend some time with your team and try to answer these questions.