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Maintaining Service Values in an Expanding Sales Team

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
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It’s a fantastic feeling: Your business reaches the next level and you need to expand your sales team.

But the challenge doesn’t end with recruitment. Expansion, especially rapid expansion, presents unique difficulties that require a laser-sharp focus on developing new talent to become true advocates for your business—putting into practice those values which led to your need to expand in the first place.

But how do you maintain that all important balance and ensure your customers receive a consistently high level of service, while getting people up to speed? Let me take you through my three key strategies.

Training

It all begins with training: new recruits arrive with a wide range of sales experience, and the first value you should teach them is patience. Put simply, if the sales teams chase numbers rather than servicing customers to the standards you expect, you don’t get customers who trust your advice and want to stay with you.

Ideally, sales teams should be an extension of customer service, so reps need to become experts in what they sell. A critical element of training is learning about your company, your guiding principles, the products you sell and people or businesses you sell them to.

Once sales teams fully understand all of these elements, they can provide the best service possible and tailor what you offer to your customers’ needs. However, just because your sales teams have had initial training doesn’t mean you can leave them to get on with the job.  

Constant and consistent monitoring

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You should expect account managers to review how the product is working for each existing customer and advise them on their options. Every new customer is welcomed on board and, when customers look to leave, you should talk to them to identify and understand their reasons and find out if you have not met their expectations.

If you aren’t doing this, aim to fix the problem as you develop your products and services, so over time customer satisfaction increases and fewer customers decide to leave.

Monitoring needs to go beyond company ideology, though, and be put into practice consistently. How do you actually check your sales teams are staying true to your customer service principles in a fair, transparent way?

One method is to monitor calls to obtain qualitative information about the sales teams’ performance when they speak to your customers. Agents and managers should use this as a way of analysing an individual salesperson’s performance and identifying areas where they need extra training and support. The end goal is giving each customer a great experience every time they call.

Rewards and consequences

Finally, you need to reward sales teams who help you maintain your business’ core service values and make consequences for those who fail to meet these standards. Once again, transparency is key. Rewarding great sales and service should be done in a visible, structured way; setting clear KPIs, monitoring performance, and rewarding sales teams where it’s appropriate.

For example, you can also use call monitoring to assess the quality of service given when deciding upon an individual’s sales commission, so results aren’t just seen as being numbers-based. This only works, however, when every member of staff knows what is expected of them, completely understands their role and is aware of what we require them to do at all times.

Ultimately, it’s all connected: if your training works in the right way and your KPIs are made clear, your new sales teams will understand your customer service values and do all they can to meet them in order to be rewarded for great customer service. If you stay vigilant and don’t let these values slip, your customer service will remain consistently excellent—no matter how big your sales teams become. After all, we can only be fair to our customers if we’re fair to our staff.

About the Author
James Wilson is sales director at XLN Business Services—a telecoms, card processing, energy, and insurance supplier in the United Kingdom. He joined XLN in July 2009 from Inova Ltd, an offshore e-commerce company, where he was managing director. Previously, he was chief executive and then chairman of Officepoint Group, and chief executive of Clic2, the digital solutions company that services the SME market in Europe.  James likes awards (he’s helped XLN win 12), as well as seeing success on the faces of his team when they destroy a sales target!
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