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Customer Relationship & Marketing: Part 2 - Considerations and Challenges

17 Feb, 2002 By: Larry Breed imageSource

Customer Relationship & Marketing: Part 2 - Considerations and Challenges

In last month’s
issue, we talked about how a salesperson needs to be aware of when a prospective
client is ready to purchase. In this issue, we will discuss the qualifying and
closing of a potential client. In addition, we will cover the marketing strategy
to use, and we will briefly view the issue of should you automate your sales

Qualifying And

Marketing is either a process or a problem. Most companies do not have an
effective strategy of consistent, professional, and targeted prospect contact
for the specific purpose of building market share. Furthermore, most companies
have no systematic method of increasing revenue with the existing customer base.

Unsolicited (cold): This type of telephone calls is considered intrusive and
unprofessional. Most advertising is un-targeted and does not cause the prospect
to take any immediate action.

2. Initial sales calls: This type (primarily to build rapport and probe for
interest) of call is expensive and time consuming. The more remote the
territory, the more expense incurred.

Sales professionals
are difficult to manage. It is much more effective to manage the sales cycle.
Conditions within companies are dynamic. This means that the prospect that was
not interested last quarter is now interested and qualified. Because the
salesperson was not in front of the customer when he was ready to buy, the
business went elsewhere.


80% of all sales are booked after the 10th call.

48% of all sales people make one call and quit.

25% of all sales people quit after second call.

12% of all sales people quit after third call.

Only 10% of all sales people keep calling. 10% of the sales people make 80% of
all sales.

Almost all-sales
training focuses on closing and qualifying techniques. Most sales people are not
involved in enough selling opportunities. Success in selling requires being
involved in large numbers of selling situations as well as utilization of
effective qualifying and closing techniques. Since selling cycles are getting
longer, the professional sales person must stay in contact with the prospect
over an extended period-of-time. Management of critical details, dates, and
follow-up has become very important to the long-term success of a sales
organization. As product differentiation becomes more difficult, prospects
base-buying decisions on relationships with vendors, perceived to be the most
professional and service oriented.

Customers must be
nurtured and continually reminded of their importance to the company. A 
two-year study of why customers stopped doing business with a company revealed

- die.

3% - move away (relocate).

11 % - have other associations.

19% - prefer another vendor

24% - have had one bad experience.

42% - just felt “no one cares.”

Elements Of A
Successful Relationship Marketing Strategy

Sales efforts must be targeted at a specific market that is
“predisposed” to investing in your product or service. Mass marketing
through non-directed advertising is both ineffective and expensive.

The strategy must
clearly state a unique selling proposition. This means that a unique and
customer oriented benefit must be effectively and persuasively presented to the
prospect. This benefit must state clearly, why the product or service is
superior to all others in the market and what benefit(s) the customer should
expect to receive as a result of investing in your products or services. All
communication must be personalized and directed specifically to the decision
makers. Any successful strategy must be methodical. It is a basic premise of all
successful marketing that a provider  must be in front of the customer when
they are ready to buy, not just when the company is ready to sell. While that
may sound like common sense, it is not always common practice as to how most
companies market. Most customer and prospect contact is sporadic, poorly timed,
and inconsistent. “One shot” advertisements, sales letters and telephone
calls do not provide the necessary consistency for any effective sales effort.
All successful marketing campaigns require that follow up be systematic,
organized and provide management with necessary reports to monitor sales
performance. “You cannot manage what you cannot see,” is especially true in
sales and marketing management.

Should You
Automate Your Sales People or Your Sales Process…or Both?

I am not suggesting that sales people don’t need computers. I believe that a
professional salesperson without a computer is at a severe disadvantage.
Professional salespeople can use laptops for contact management, proposal
generation, sales presentations, etc. The question is not if sales automation is
a good idea; that’s a given. The real question is, “What’s the best way to
use sales automation to your advantage?” I just don’t think it’s the best
use of your salespeople’s time to be making cold calls on un-qualified
suspects. I believe the best use of a sales person’s time is in front of a
qualified decision maker.

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