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Improving sales relationships with customers

Once a company has resolved its sales administration challenges, and wants to improve the quality of interactions between its salespeople and customers, what type of software solutions should it evaluate?
There are lots of things a company can do to improve the quality of interactions between its salespeople and its customers. Generally speaking, since products and policies are moving targets it is wise to have the ability to continually reinforce what reps may learn in periodic sales training sessions. But the hard part is finding an efficient and effective way to get the information to reps at the time they need it and in quantities they can put to use. It's of little value, for example, to provide a thick manual expecting reps to internalize all of it, especially if they know it will be superceded in a few months.

Since turnover in sales organizations is unavoidable and since reps tend to sell from their comfort zones (i.e. they sell what they know, not necessarily the new high margin product management wants them to) a savvy sales organization will consistently work to increase reps comfort zones. Sales effectiveness solutions do this in a number of ways. The best solutions will capture product specifications, including compatibility information and other business rules that are either product centric or operationally useful, and pricing, and make it available to reps through a simple interface. Such systems also have some amount of intelligence built in to them to evaluate the business rules associated with products, customer status, and company operations.

Putting all of this information AND rules processing together in a simple interface can provide multiple benefits. For example, it can reduce the number of iterations needed to proceed from order configuration to purchase order, reduce the cost of sale, reduce or eliminate shortages or incompatibilities associated with incomplete orders, and reduce or eliminate cost over runs. In general this results in more profitable business for the vendor and happier customers that get what they want, when it is promised, at the agreed price.

Markets where sales effectiveness can make important contributions include telecommunications and complex manufacturing which can include aerospace and technology products.

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