There are numerous times in the sales process where the sales people are expected to follow-up. Those are the obvious ones; where there might be deliverables in a contract that have to be met. Or, there is a standard meeting that takes place every quarter to go over delivery, quality, logistics, and other key items. Those are the easy ones; those are the action oriented tasks that we keep on our daily to-do lists. I am not going to discuss those in today’s blog, I am going to talk about the things you need to do between those items, and the ones that will keep you and your company’s services on the mind of your customer.
The first thing you need to realize is that your customer is probably more than one single contact. It’s up to you to strategically map out this client and see who needs to be touched on a regular basis. There are key people in the decision-making process, and there are also individuals that may come in and out of the project as time goes by that you need to work with. When you list out all these people, make sure you list out what their direct responsibilities are. If you list the logistics manager at the manufacturing location, he is responsible for day-to-day operations, and making sure he has enough products on a daily basis for his line.
The next thing you do, is list the types of information that person can give you that help you better service the entire account. Using the logistics manager as the example, he can give you up to the minute information on product usage, demand for the short-term, and may help you understand how the supply chain works, and if there are any snags (opportunities) for your company. This automatically gives you the reason you need to pick up the phone or email this person.
The key thing about staying in front of the customer is to have a reason to call or write. If it’s not an emergency, and you just are looking to remind this person how great of a supplier you are, you need the reason. Once you have the above table put together, you have a solid method of follow-up with each person in that organization. The last thing you want to do is call someone and say “well, I just wanted to say hi and see if there is anything you need, or are working on”. You are wasting their time with that call. If you call the engineering manager, and ask “I know you are responsible for the warranty issues in your organization, are you having any issues that need to be solved with my parts, or even something else that ABC Corp can work on with you?”
People like to have the recognition that what they do is important, and that people respect that. The best way for you (an outsider) to show that respect, is to ask about it.
These types of follow ups will help in the long run. You will learn this companies business, and probably have a better overview of who does what, than anyone inside the company. And, the more you understand, the more you can help them with problem solving.
Having issues with strategic account management? Give us a call at Pinnacle Sales, and we can help you map out your customers, and your future!