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How to Make Your Sales, Customer Service and Front-Line Staff Part of the Marketing Equation
Making Your Sales, Customer Service and Front-line Staff Part of the Marketing Equation
Everyone is responsible for creating and retaining business. Regardless of your position, you have to take your role as a facilitator to heart. Get involved in bridging the gap between all departments. To do this, try the following strategies:
1. Give your employees a valid reason to be excited about working for your company. What is it that your organization does really well? Getting a paycheck that doesn't bounce is nice. But why should employees evangelize -- be it face to face, or via "Like" on Facebook -- the fact that they are a part of your company's roster of employees. If you can't think a better reason than consistent employment then maybe you should rethink your own reasons for choosing to work at or expand or own the company. If even the reasons are tiny, communicate the subtle positive things your company does that make it a good steward or simply a cool place to work.
2. Use email, voicemail, and in-house newsletters to highlight success stories and lesson learned. These can be stories of how Jane or John salesperson cracked their quota for the month to smithereens or how Bob in customer service saved an account thought to be lost. Better still, encourage your sales and customer staff to solicit success stories from people who are using the product or service. Online reviews are easy to post, but sometimes dubious. So, ask clients and employees if they are willing to submit pictures (of themselves) to accompany the stories or testimonials or reviews that feature them.
3. Host monthly inter-departmental lunches. Food is a great motivator! Include multiple departments, especially if these departments don't generally see each other face to face. It's great to be able to associate a face with a name. The process of gathering the flock -- even if awkward at first -- reaffirms that the sales, marketing or customer service team is not alone.
4. Stand up for your employees! I can replace a customer much faster than I can replace a good employee. So make it a clear expectation that you'll never ream an employee or publicly humiliate them just to make a customer feel better.
Furthermore, take personal responsibility for overestimating earnings forecasts. Instead of blaming your staff, consider what is being done at a granular level to train people to meet those earnings expectations. On paper, it's easy to believe that all of your systems should just work together. But you're dealing with real people and real situations that few paper only training programs can account for. This is yet another reason why every person on your staff needs to be exposed to the other parts and divisions within your company.
Show your staff that you support them by coaching and mentoring and training instead of finger pointing, leaving them to sink or swim or ignoring gaps in your systems.
5. Respect your team's need for personal time. The worst outcome of the wireless revolution is that we've lost sight of the off switch. Without time to recharge and altogether disconnect from "work" you end up with soulless zombies who do the minimum, expect the minimum and wallow in mediocrity. Not exactly a recipe for success and profitability is it?
Encourage your sales, marketing and creative team to get a life. Encourage them to stay away from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for hours at a time. Nothing nurtures the soul, boosts morale and keeps stress to a minimum like being able to spend time with friends and loved ones or engaging in activities that have nothing to do with work.
6. Make it easy for your employees to have access to the sales and marketing tools they need to educate, and sell to prospects. Leverage YouTube to create and post relevant how-to videos or concise FAQs. Upload PDF versions of your brochures, spec sheets, flyers and other collateral to your website or intranet so that salespeople and distributors can print what they need, when they need them. Consider putting your companies sales presentation on CD, flash drives or DVD to use as collateral.