The Role Sales Leaders Play in Customer Relationships

In creating a culture for success, the sales leader plays a key role with customers, but it is not at the end of the year when everyone is chasing the last order to make quota.

The manager who only appears before a customer at the end of the quarter or year, looking to close an order, is only asking for problems.

Salespeople are quick to pick up on the manager who only appears to make the close. Isn’t the idea that the salesperson close the sale? When the manager comes to close the sale, the salesperson is relegated to nothing more than a taxi cab driver.

As we start a new year, consider as a sales leader how you can take a different approach in why and how you engage with customers.

6 Reasons Being Engaged with the Customer is the Right Strategy:

1. When the sales leader is engaged with others at their level, the conversation is far more likely to be strategic. In these conversations, the customer is more likely to look to the sales leader for their input regarding opportunities coming up later in the year.

2. Relationships developed at this level early allow the salesperson to engage with the customer on the front-end of the sales process. This is always better than trying to engage on the back-end, when the results are often less favorable.

3. Salespeople will see the value of using others in the company to help open doors. When senior management is pro-active in meeting with customers early in the fiscal year, such meetings naturally create more opportunities.

4. Salespeople are able to benefit from additional customer relationships that help create additional opportunities. As I have already mentioned, when senior management is pro-active in meeting with customers early in the fiscal year, such meetings naturally create more opportunities.

5. When sales leaders and other senior management members pro-actively develop relationships with customers, it allows the customers to see the salesperson more favorably than competitors.  Customers always place greater value in those who show interest in them. When a sales leader is willing to meet with a customer, this reflects positively not only on the sales leader, but also on the salesperson handling the account.

6. A simple rule to follow for the 1st quarter of each year: The sales leader develops new relationships and strengthens existing relationships in accounts with the greatest potential for growth in the coming year.

Make this a goal for the 1st quarter and build it into the planning process. As salespeople plan for the year, have each salesperson build into the schedule visits that include the sales leader. Along with planning the visits, the salesperson should provide the sales leader or other senior management member making a visit an overview as to what topics should be discussed.

A key activity for the sales leader during these visits is to position the salesperson as the point person for any follow-up activities. This allows the salesperson to leverage the relationship even more on a regular basis.

An added advantage is that by putting the salesperson into the discussion, it broadens the salesperson’s exposure to other senior level contacts in the account. Few things will create a more powerful culture of success than positioning the salesperson as a peer to the customer’s senior management.

“Sales leaders lead their people. Their people lead their customers” – Mark Hunter

High Profit Prospecting
Copyright 2016, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.
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