As the recession begins to bite hard, now is the time to make the very most of our most important customers.
A vitally important sales activity is that of managing existing customer accounts to consolidate and grow the relationship. Yet unfortunately, when compared over time, the customers' interest levels increase while salespeople's interest levels tend to decrease. This creates a "relationship gap" and is due entirely to complacency.
Another major issue is that too often the salesperson fails to expand his "contact base" as this next survey proves which results in vulnerability and exposure to competitive activity
Periodically, the Financial Times conducts a survey of British industry to establish how companies go about their purchasing. The survey is very comprehensive, broken down into many kinds of products and services.
From a Sales Director's perspective, these are very worrying statistics.
Customer size (Number of employees): Less than 200
Average number of buying influencers: 3.43
Number of influencers visited by salespeople: 1.72
Customer size (Number of employees): 200 - 400
Average number of buying influencers: 4.85
Number of influencers visited by salespeople: 1.75
Customer size (Number of employees): 401 - 1000
Average number of buying influencers: 5.81
Number of influencers visited by salespeople: 1.90
Customer size (Number of employees): 1001 +
Average number of buying influencers: 6.50
Number of influencers visited by salespeople: 1.65
In essence, without a sustained approach to ongoing servicing and support activities, customers that took months to win are ultimately lost because there was a lack of interest from their supplier.
To-days clients/customers are looking for vendors who can be business-partners, who are willing and able to share risks and who are able to properly manage the entire sales process.
Fact: It costs seven times as much to locate and sell to a new customer
as it does to an existing one.
Are you making the most of your customer base? Answer the questions below honestly and find out.
1. How many regular clients do you have?
2. Has that number increased in the last twelve months?
3. How many of them have bought in the last three months?
4. Of those 'regular clients', how many have you contacted in the last month?
5. Of those, in how many have you progressed upwards from the user/recommender?
6. With how many of them do you enjoy exclusivity i.e. preferred supplier status?
7. How many of your clients have bought more the 'second' time around than when they originally bought from you?
8. With how many of your regular clients have you conducted an account review within the last six months?
Study your answers - are you still confident you are making the most of your most important accounts?
You may also enjoy: "How to Conduct A Formal Account Review"
Today's News: I promised to share with you the second interview I recently did with Eyes On Sales, which focuses on achieving what I call "Top 5% Status" - you can listen in by simply clicking on the banner below.
I can now update you on the tremendous strides we have made towards the re-launch of TSE 2.0, which will be taking place in about four weeks time - it might be four and a half, you know what a perfectionist I am!
We will be adding ten new sections to be housed in a brand new "TSE Resource Area," which will be available to subscribers.
1) TSE Article Vault
2) "How To" Guides
5) TSE Radio
6) Ask The Experts
7) TSE Newsletter
8) TSE Blog
9) The Expert Interviews
10) TSE Round Table
Of course, we will continue to release the quarterly e-books - next one is due for release early October, BUT, here is the exciting bit, Jeb Blount of Sales Gravy Press has agreed to publish us in hardback twice a year and rather than just compile a collection of our articles, we are going to make the books topic related - for example: "The Top Sales Experts on Business Development"
We will also have a Jobs Section, re-routing visitors to Sales Gravy and Salesopedia and naturally, we will continue to add new facilities as demand requires.
Ambitious? Of course, but we do not plan to put this all in place in one go. Rather, we will stagger the section launches and it should all be there by the end of November.
This really is shaping up to be the most innovative and ultimately, we believe, the most successful venture of its type.
Tomorrow: Paris is enjoying some warm Autumn sunshine right now, such a contrast to the drab grey summer we had to endure, so I will be out and about. Wherever you are, have a great w/e, and do make it back next week. - JF
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