The chances are your sales team are finding it tough right now. Research suggests around 65% of businesses have seen sales revenue decline in 2020 and with a second lock-down upon us, revenues are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels soon.
That is no reason for your sales team to stop contacting your customers, as I’ve said before, now is a great time for keeping in touch https://www.stevethurlow.co.uk/the-cost-of-doing-nothing-as-lockdown-eases/ However, customers may not be ready to start buying again and may ignore even well-intentioned approaches from sales people.
So now it’s harder than ever to get in front of your customers, either physically or virtually. They don’t want to engage with a seller when their own business future is uncertain.
But what about your service team? The people who deliver and maintain your solutions. They are everyone who has customer contact but isn’t in a sales role. They are your engineers, your nurse practitioners, your audit assistants and your delivery drivers. They still have customer contact and, as customers seek to ride out the pandemic, they now have more customer contact than ever.
They are your hidden salesforce.
And that’s not sneaky or underhand, because they are not hidden from your customer, they are hidden from you. The role of service is not to sell clandestinely, they wouldn’t do it if you asked them to. Their role, as always, is to deliver great value service and customer delight. But they can also be the eyes and ears of your sales team, you simply have not realised it before.
Don’t try to turn your service team into salespeople, turn them into Sales Champions. Get them to realise that new sales are the life blood of your business and they have a part to play. They are the people who, right now, are closest to your customers’ businesses and they are a vital source of sales intelligence. Your service team see problems and needs early; they just need to recognise they have a role in developing those needs and passing them on to the sales team.
It doesn’t take much, your service people just need to understand the problems and needs you can meet, recognise them when they hear them, and respond accordingly.
It’s as simple as; “You mentioned XYZ. That’s something we might be able to help you with. Shall I get someone to get in touch?”
You have opened a door and established a dialogue. Now your sales team have what they so desperately need, an opportunity to talk to a receptive prospect. The rest is down to them.