Direct Marketing Article
Customer Retention Advice You Should be
Giving Your Sales Managers
By Brandon Balsley
Your business is nothing without its clients. Whether you provide products
or services, you won't survive unless individuals or other businesses keep
interested in your offerings and want to pay for them. In a difficult
economy, your sales personnel fight a constant battle with competitors for
new customers and to retain current clients - which itself has become a
critical aspect of sustaining business.
Achieving customer satisfaction that keeps clients coming back entails much
more than selling a good product or service or having a good sales process.
Brandon Balsley, a Sage North America small business technology observer,
offers these tips business owners can share with their sales managers.
1. Only put your best people on the front line - Let's face it, not everyone
is well-suited to interact with clients and provide great customer service.
Unique personality traits are required - positive attitudes, great listening
and problem solving skills - and only people who possess them should be in
contact with your customers. Assign responsibility based on each employee's
2. Know what your customers want - Client feedback is one of the keys to
successful business. Knowing what customers think about your products and
services and making improvements, perhaps based on their suggestions, should
be part of your strategy. Also, don't underestimate the value of negative
feedback. Letting clients know and see you are taking their thoughts into
consideration shows you truly care and increases the chances they will stick
around to see those improvements. And you don't have to always go on gut
feeling. Listen and keep records, track social media and email campaign
activity. By taking sincere interest you'll find what works.
3. Think relationships and sales will follow - When business is slow and the
sales team feels pressure to improve numbers it is easy to focus on new
sales opportunities that arise and forget about developing true
relationships with buyers. Customers can sense when a salesperson is
impatient to close a sale and, even if they purchase now, they may think
twice about returning. Concentrating on what's best for them, even if it
means admitting one of your products doesn't fulfill a need, can make a more
4. Connect without overwhelming - An important aspect of keeping your
customers is reminding them you are there when they need you. Keep in touch
periodically when you have relevant news for them, just don't overdo it.
Product updates, deals, improvements, and helpful tips for using your
products in news ways are several types of applicable news. If you don't
already have these materials consider developing a content marketing plan to
support their development.
5. Track, track and track - Keeping records of your customers - purchase
history, call notes, feedback, appointments - and tracking sales trends is
vital to customer retention. This information helps you understand customers
better and plan how to retain their business. Depending on your size and
needs, consider either a contact management or customer relationship
management (CRM) tool to track these relationships more effectively. One or
two extra sales can often return your technology investment while giving
sales managers and field reps a productivity advantage they need.
6. Be there 24/7 - It's all about presence. Whether using social media,
email or phone, organize your business so you can answer customers' and
partners' questions and keep processes rolling while out of the office and
after business hours. Your team should be able to access client information
remotely so they can provide whatever a customer needs ASAP. The recent boom
in mobile devices and cloud-connected services is helping businesses be
available 24/7 for customers - your business should be no exception.
American Pool Enterprise Inc. staffs 5,000 lifeguards each summer for
recreation facilities in various U.S. cities with a Sage CRM self-service
portal lifeguards can log onto, apply by uploading their certifications and,
if hired, get their assignments. Data entry and hiring time is reduced,
keeping many clients and employees happy in the process.
7. Audit customer experience - Lastly, put yourself in your clients'
position and make a list of all the ways their overall experience with you
could be more satisfying. Something as simple as noting a specific customer
likes their product to be delivered on Tuesdays can make a positive
difference. Cater to your clients in ways that will make their lives easier
and their experience more gratifying, and they'll gladly cater to making
your sales processes more successful.
About the Author:
Brandon Balsley, Director, Sage ACT! Product Management, Sage North America.
Brandon Balsley is a small and midsize business technology evangelist with
Sage North America. His
team builds and supports contact and customer management, Social CRM and
mobile sales systems for over 3 million customers worldwide.