Have you ever seen an advertisement for a new product, or signed up for a promotion, and then tried to purchase the item or redeem the promotion only to find that the sales people know nothing about which you speak?
Not only are ill-informed sales people one of the most frustrating aspects about being a customer, so are sales people who lack knowledge of their products—they go hand in hand. It seems to be inevitable in today’s world—marketing keeps pushing, pushing and pushing products and services—surely to reach a corporate goal, and then when customers “bite”, the sales people flounder and completely botch the sale. This leaves customers feeling duped and sales people feeling frustrated on the front lines.
As a customer, I have had several of these experiences over the past few years and two specific instances—from different sides of the consumer spectrum—come to mind:
- Recently we took our family to the beach for a quick weekend get-away. For a treat one evening, we decided to visit a well-known regional candy store to get some fudge. When I asked the sales clerk what the difference was between their Rocky Road fudge and their Heavenly Hash fudge, she responded with a very blank look and a, “why are you asking me this question?” attitude. Then she said, “I don’t know.” We stared at each other for an uncomfortably long time without saying anything as I was waiting her to follow up with something like, “Let me check the ingredients,” or “I’ll ask my manager.” Instead, she asked her co-worker who also said, “I don’t know.” Product knowledge was definitely lacking here.
- I am a loyalty member of a nationally recognized hotel chain. I had signed up for a promotion where I had to stay a certain number of nights to earn the promotion. After satisfying the requirements, I called the reservation line to redeem the promotion. The reservations agent had no idea what I was talking about. She hadn’t even heard of the promotion. I sent her the confirmation email that I had received from marketing and she was still bewildered. They couldn’t find anyone in their department who knew anything about it. After about 45 minutes on the phone, they finally acknowledged the promotion and granted me the free night.
Both situations were aggravating at the least. There are plenty of great interactions going on out there—most that go unnoticed because we expect the sales people to know what they are selling. It is when they are of no help that is the most unnerving.
So, as a professional in your organization, how do you ensure that these types of situations don’t happen to your customers or employees?
STEP 1: Get sales and marketing together
STEP 2: Provide sales training on products, services and promotions…and include ROLE PLAYS
STEP 3: Create a line of communication so feedback regarding products, etc. can go from marketing to sales, AND back from sales to marketing
It is as easy as that! According to a study performed by Corporate Visions, a sales and marketing messaging company, only 38% of the 400 B2B salespeople and marketers polled received sales training on new products. Most were left to fend for themselves with static PowerPoint presentations, scripts or data sheets. There is huge opportunity for ROI to improve in these cases. Implementing a comprehensive sales training strategy for product education and new product launches helps develop your sales people and is imperative to their success, the success of the marketing effort, and the health of your bottom line.
Sales and marketing—working together for the best possible end result: happy customers!
TELL US: What methods do you use in your organization to ensure both sales and marketing are well informed and set up to succeed?
For more information on how CSE can help your organization bridge the gap between sales and marketing, CONTACT US!