To better understand what the commercial effectiveness means we must first clarify some key terms that will allow us to see which parameters affect the concept. What is effectiveness?
Effectiveness is basically a ratio between efficacy and efficiency, that is, achieving a goal with the minimum resources as possible. In a financial environment this may have sense, as we use both concepts to reach effectiveness, but the same formula cannot be applied in the commercial field. Sales force tools exist so we can achieve results and reduce the time we invest, but this will never make us more effective. It can even mean a lack of competitiveness.
Commercial effectiveness will show itself through the obtained results and, consequently, we must focus on the different elements that will help us achieve these results instead than on the employed resources.
The sales team. To obtain a better commercial effectiveness it’s necessary to count on a motivated commercial team, with precise objectives. The commercial agent of today is not a transactional seller focused only on the price, but a consultor that conveys his enthusiasm through emotions and a modern selling technique.
It’s crucial to have a good commercial team. Knowing the product, the selling process, the company’s added value, knowing how to negotiate or prospect… these aptitudes can be learnt, but what will really differentiate a sales person is his attitude, and this is inherent to the person in particular. Empathy, honesty and motivation are part of a person and will determine our words and actions. For the commercial agent, this will decide the success or failure of a transaction.
A Sales Director in NCR once stated: “In my team I only want lucky sales people”. This was his way of explaining that he only wanted commercials that had not only learnt aptitudes but also the necessary attitude to search for opportunities.
A good commercial is always seeking for luck (the opportunities), following his intuition. In the same visit, call or email he will decide if it’s the appropriate moment or not, and will know which content is best for each client.
The commercial process. The commercial process determines our working methodology; the method, preparation and training will allow us to transform a prospect, a potential client, into a real client. Besides, the best commercial is the one that can count on satisfied clients, clients that are so happy with the services that will recommend you to their colleagues and will help them gain more clients.
To achieve this goal, we’ll introduce the excellence of a commercial process, and that is to attract, sell, satisfy and engage our clients. The four steps are equally important, because If we only focus on the two first ones (attract and sell), our profitability will only be on the short term, which is a problem in nowadays’ globalized and competitive market.
When talking about a method, we mean the phases of a sale that allow us to perform an excellent process: we will prepare a special article to go into detail of every phase (Visit preparation, introduction, offer presentation, negotiation, closing and follow up), but today we’ll focus on the visit preparation and the follow up.
Visit preparation. First impressions are incredibly important and can be decisive. In such a competitive market with brilliant solutions, products and services, the final decision when purchasing can depend on small details, so we must consciously prepare our first contact with the future client under the premise that we won’t have a second chance.
There’s no room for improvisation; it’s crucial to thoroughly prepare our commercial visit, and this requires a constant training on both the market and the product or service.
A commercial should be technically prepared, he should know the client and have a strong mentality. The previous preparation before meeting the client will give us credibility, confidence and a positive attitude, some of the key factors to success.
Apart from preparing well the visit, we must learn to listen. For a commercial, the client is what matters; let’s let him talk so he gives us valuable information. As the great philosopher Diogenes said, “We have two ears and only one tongue in order that we may hear more and speak less”.
The follow up. The sale ends with the satisfaction and engagement of the client, and this is why it’s important to personally follow up their situation so we get to know their level of satisfaction. Vincle offers this, allowing us to become a strategic partner with our clients.
Creating strong and long-lasting bonds that let us work together and achieve new and bigger goals is a key factor when choosing a supplier, and Vincle offers this without any doubt.
Engagement. It’s as important as selling, if not more. The company’s value will be the sum of both sales and engagement, and to achieve this we must work on those aspects that make a client feel comfortable with us so he doesn’t feel the need to look for other options in the market. Some relevant parameters of engagement are:
a. The product. It should exceed our client’s quality expectations, those who made him choose our solution. He should feel that, with us, he’s in safe hands, because we perfectly cover his business’ needs both technically and personally.
b. The service. This is where we can add value to our product, with a huge range of benefits that make the client want to continue with us: customized treatment, quick attention, answers like “how can I help you?” or never using the word “impossible” are some examples.
c. The price. It could be the most important factor, but the price isn’t everything. Some clients only look for the best price, and those are very difficult to engage because they literally only care about the pricing. We shouldn’t underestimate the price, but we definitely shouldn’t forget about the other variables that we can add as value.
d. Reducing inconveniences. This means keeping a proactive attitude, to get involved and to offer different options and facilities. We should worry about each client’s business as if it was our own. For example, dealing with clients through a customized customer service that ensures the maximum results while taking care of inconveniences is something that makes the client feel safe.
e. Reduce or eliminate risks. The client must be calm and be sure that, for example, the timing of the project will be met, the cost won’t be higher than the agreed, there won’t be additional costs, the training will meet its particular needs, etc. To avoid this, the best is being honest and giving a detailed explanation of every aspect that we perceive can worry the client.
As a conclusion, we have to count on a good sales team, with people with consultant profiles that have both acquired aptitudes and a good attitude. We have to design an excellent selling process, achieve our results and, this way, commercial effectiveness.
Acknowledgements to Cosimo Chiesa, Professor at IESE and author of “The 5 Pyramids of Relational Marketing”.