We don’t do many theme issues in Truck Parts & Service; if we did, this month’s magazine would be the Sales Management issue. We hit the topic hard.
Our cover story looked at the importance of communication within a sales team, and why it’s so important for your people to work together to best serve your customers. Additionally, Bill has an excellent article detailing how your outside sales team can be used to give you a leg up in the battle against Amazon and the e-commerce revolution.
Both articles are tilted heavily toward your customer-facing employees for obvious reasons. Those are the people out in the field and at the counter interacting with your customers every day. Regarding outside salespeople in particular, there may be no employees in your business who have a more direct impact on your revenue and profitability. They are the people you lean on to develop relationships with your customers and to understand their businesses and needs.
But make no mistake about it, those employees in the field and on your counter aren’t the only employees in your business who impact sales. Not in the slightest.
Everyone is in sales. Don’t believe me? Try looking at it this way.
First, think about all the positions in your business where employees have direct contact with your customers.
This includes the aforementioned salespeople, as well as delivery drivers, service managers, marketing employees and anyone you’ve hired to answer the phone.
You may balk on the latter. I won’t.
Have you ever called a business only to reach someone who is too busy, too unprepared or, and this is the worst one, too uninterested in helping you? Isn’t it awful? You call with a simple question and hang up frustrated and without an answer. Tell me that doesn’t impact the way you view that company and the likelihood you will do business with them?
Next, I want you to consider the rest of your team.
The employees who aren’t customer facing and, if asked, would probably flinch at the idea of being identified as sales professionals. We’re talking warehouse pickers, parts runners, technicians (if they don’t interact directly with customers), inventory management and procurement staff. There’s also all of your internal departments, such as accounting, human resources, IT, etc. Each and every one of those employees can, and likely has, indirectly impacted your sales at various points.
With warehouse, parts and service jobs, it’s pretty easy to sync employee performance to customer satisfaction. It doesn’t matter if you have the best sales team in the marketplace; if customers are consistently receiving the wrong parts or missing parts from their orders, that is going to reflect poorly on your business.
The connection to those other internal positions is not as obvious, but the impact can be just as devastating. What if your accounting team fails to record a payment received for a customer invoice and erroneously sends a series of past-due notices? What if your website crashes and it takes your team two days to find out? What if both happen on the same day? How do you anticipate customers will respond?
Being successful in sales is more than creating relationships, being attentive and understanding a customer’s needs. In today’s hyper-connected world, ease of doing business is a differentiator. Customers don’t want to interact with you any more than necessary — they have their own businesses to run — and when they do, they want the interaction to be effortless.
It takes everyone on your team to turn that want into a reality, but only one to tear it down.