How well do you understand your customer?

Ask the question to any business owner or a marketing professional, and you will get different reactions from each of them. These reactions come from their own experience, collective experience or what the management teaches them. Very few times, this is backed up by clear facts and figures. This often leads companies to work in wrong direction or not anticipating how the market forces and trends are changing. There are many examples of great companies and great brands becoming extinct, just as they could not understand their customers.

Do you have clarity on marketing?

Though it is an age-old concept, even today, many companies fail to distinguish between Sales and Marketing. Sales people are often called Marketing people. The concept of marketing substantially differs from sales and is ever changing too !

Well, to put it in simpler words, marketing people try to understand market forces, customer behavior, changing trends (sales guys can help them in this though). They try to align the business approach to suit the taste of the customer & hence try to go closer to her needs. They try to influence the customer to create the desire to buy, or at least the desire to ‘reach’ the company.

Once this is done, the sales job starts. It is a clear distinction and should never be confused. Marketing people and various marketing tools today help companies to find exactly where the customer exists, what she wants & is she ready for buying or is just making her mind to buy. This substantially reduces ‘Sales’ time, as the sales person does not need to ‘search’ the potential customer. In B2B environment, ‘cold calls’ can be completely avoided, thus increasing the cost and effectiveness of the entire sales process.

The B2B ‘Sales’ process

We can talk about today’s ‘marketing’ some other day, as I have written about it in my earlier articles. But let us focus on Sales process today. We need to indeed see who our sales people are, whether they are qualified to sell what the company produces and are they effective in the sales process of the company.

While it is easy to check the ‘qualification’ of a sales person with his academic records, it is not all that easy to find if he can be effective sales person. Many companies believe, the ‘Aggressive’ young sales guy with Business Management Degree is just the perfect sale guy for them ! It may not work, as today’s customer often hates aggressive sales guys. Usually, the customer is looking for someone who will help her in process of buying, have a better understanding of the product or service than her and allow her enough space and freedom to make her own decision. It depends a lot on the personality of a sales person and how well he is trained to understand and interact with the customer.

Is it possible to train sales guys to be effective?

The good news is, it is possible to a) Identify sales guys who have good potential to become effective and b) train them for it. In this process, if we identify some guys who cannot be effective, it will be good to relocate them within the organization where they are more suitable, than sending them to the customers. This is extremely important, because each sales person is your brand ambassador and for the customer ‘he’ is your company. Whatever he projects, is the official representation of what your company is ! This is the main reason why you need to be very careful in choosing the sales guys.

In the next article, we will discuss more about the sales process and making it more effective across the organization. In the meantime, if you are looking for improving your sales guys and their performance, do contact us.

© Nitin Kirloskar

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Consultant, Business Solutions, in the domains of business process improvement, international business, branding, digital marketing, lean manufacturing.

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nitin kirloskar

nitin kirloskar

Consultant, Business Solutions, in the domains of business process improvement, international business, branding, digital marketing, lean manufacturing.

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