Your Sales Organization Is Your Key
Dave Brock, Partners In EXCELLENCE
(Download PDF Version)
Recently, I had a conversation with the
Vice President of Marketing for a large company. We were talking about
challenges they faced in growing their business, particularly with their
current customers. A key differentiator, highlighted in all their
materials was their “cradle to grave” relationship management system.
This company claimed a significant part of
their value was the long term relationships they built and their
commitment to their customers' success. They had invested significantly in
building this process and in communicating it in all their marketing
materials. Their top executives commonly used this relationship management
process in their public comments.
Naturally, I was impressed and started
probing. “How is it working? What results are you creating?”
The response shocked me. “Well, the results
of our customer satisfaction surveys show they are upset because they never
hear from our sales people after we get the order. They say the sales
people disappear and hand everything off to headquarters.”
Later in the conversation, she mentioned,
“One of our largest customers refuses to see the sales person assigned to
their account. They just want to deal with our headquarters organization.”
And then she mentioned, “We are great in acquiring new customers, but we
have a lot of trouble getting additional sales and growing the
No wonder this company was having trouble
growing its sales! They were not delivering on their key value
proposition. If they could not deliver on this fundamental commitment
to their customers, why should anyone buy their services? Fortunately, this
executive knew this was a problem and was seeking solutions.
While this story may seem outrageous,
unfortunately, it is not far off the mark for many organizations. The sales
organizations for many companies simply do not create long term value in
their relationships with their customers.
Building a value proposition based strictly on product superiority
is a thing of the past. Short product life cycles, commoditization of
products, global competition, high quality alternatives, and many other
factors make product based competition and differentiation unsustainable for
If you can’t differentiate your company based
on product superiority, how do you win? How do you get customers to invest
in your company’s offerings and not your competitors’?
The relationships you establish with your
customers, both in the buying process and after the sale can become the key
differentiators and critical to success. The value you create when the
customer is making their decision and, subsequently, when they are
implementing the solution can set you apart from your competition.
Your sales organization
is your face to your customers. The value they create with the customer,
over the term of the relationship, is the only sustainable
differentiation you can create.
Value is created in the manner in which your
sales people build relationships with your customers.
Do they facilitate the
customer in their buying process?
Are they helping the
customer improve their own businesses?
Are they focusing on
what is important to the customer?
Are they helping the
customer reduce the cost of procuring and implementing solutions to their
Do they make it easy for
your customer to work with your company, both in buying the products and
in post sales support and activities?
Are they fulfilling your
company’s commitments to the customer?
Do they make the
customer want to do business with your company?
Companies and sales organizations that
execute these consistently, with enthusiasm, and with a true commitment to
improving their customers business will be the winners in differentiating
themselves from their competitors and will earn the right to a long term,
profitable relationship with their customers.
If your sales organization is not doing this,
then you need to change it! If they are not doing this, they are only
creating cost to your own company, and probably losing revenue. Analyze
your complete sales delivery process, including your channels. Make sure
that every part of the channel is creating value.
Invest in building your sales organization as
the key differentiator to your customers.
Partners In EXCELLENCE provides many training programs that improve the
capability of your sales people to execute. For information on the
Dimensions Of EXCELLENCE training programs, follow the link.
I include pre and post sales support organizations as part of the sales
Partners In EXCELLENCE supports its clients in
achieving performance and organizational excellence. We help our clients
develop and implement high performance marketing, sales, distribution, and
customer service strategies, maximizing their impact in achieving the
desired business goals. Much of this work begins with the Sales or Channel
Audit. For more information about this audit or for other information on
developing and implementing your sales channel strategies, please contact
email@example.com, or by phone at (949)305-7146.
Dave Brock is the founder and president of
Partners In EXCELLENCE. He can be reached at
© 2002 Partners In EXCELLENCE, All Rights