In this topic, we will only cover on how well the sales channel represents the company and its products. Unlike other areas of performance, it is softer and difficult to measure, but is among the most critical. It builds the brand with the end-customers and prospects. This, if done consistently, can have a considerable embedded value. This page will not cover on how other functions (like order fulfillment and customer service) do the representation, as this will be covered in corresponding sections related to that function. This topic also does not include the representation we do through advertisement and events etc (covered in marketing management section- yet to be created)
The brand personality representation
Every company and its products have a brand personality. The brand personality means that, if you imagine a company (OR the product) to be a person, what that person will look like and what will be his/her personality traits. When your sales staff is approaching the customer, in a way they should be reflecting that personality to a certain extent.
TIPS TO IMPROVE brand representation sales experience:
- Share the brand personality with the sales staff.
- Design your sales representation material in like with the brand personality.
Words and scripts
People don’t remember long lines. They remember images and anchor words. A company as part of its branding creates some anchor words for its sales staff (For example, for a telecommunication company, you may have ‘reliable network’, ‘clarity of sound’, ‘most economical’, ‘premium’..). These words become the anchors in the scripts the sales person use.
TIPS TO IMPROVE the words and scripts
- Maintain connect with marketing- Marketing is responsible for defining the brand and overall promotions. As the sales scripts are created by sales staff- these scripts should be shared and discussed with marketing, to have their inputs.
Clarity and integrity
People carry a perception that sales people over-commit OR misrepresent. One needs a very strong organization culture, to ensure that sales staff lives to the value espoused by the company. A sales role has inherent components of under-playing and over-playing the product’s features depending upon their strengths and weaknesses. However, a customer should ideally walk away with the feeling that he OR she can broadly trust what the sales person has said OR has answered. This trust is in terms of the truth of the statements and also that sales person has the expertise and knowledge on what he/she is talking about.
TIPS TO IMPROVE the clarity and integrity
- Intensive mystery shopping (hiring 3rd party agency to act as a prospect, and report back on their experience).
- Intensive scenario training
Post order placement sales experience.
Once the sales person gets the order and places the order with the order fulfillment function, customer experience with the sales staff has a risk of going down, as sales person looses focus on the given customer. This has some desirable component as the order fulfillment will take a more important role in maintaining touch with the customer. Also, organization wants to make the best use of sales channel time. However, one has to make sure that no-one drops the ball and the sales person maintains some level of continuity.
During the order fulfillment phase, a customer comes across many issues in terms of:
- Difference in what he hears from order fulfillment and what he heard from sales person.
- Communication break-down and overall dissatisfaction with the attitude of the order fulfillment staff.
- Sales person not having updated the order fulfillment staff on any promises OR has commitments done to the customer (for example sales person commits 7 day TAT, whereas order fulfillment has an SLA of 10 days)
Customer expects the sales person to take care of these glitches. A lack of responsiveness, can impact the representation pitch.
TIPS TO IMPROVE post-order placement sales experience
- Manage expectations with the customer on when he/she should look for sales person’s help.
- Build connect between the order fulfillment staff and sales person, so that they send a common message to the customer.
- Sales person should document and convey any special promises OR commitments done to the customer.