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“Nothing happens until someone sells something” Henry Ford
You may have the best product or service in the world but if you can’t sell it, it is true that nothing happens. Cash flow is the lifeblood and planning always begins with the sales forecast because sales has the greatest impact on cash flow. Without sales, there is no money coming in, everything is an expense and the business will not survive. Alternatively, a sales culture in which everyone either generates sales or supports sales will help the business thrive.
Great sales are a measure of how your overall business is doing. If marketing is generating the leads and sales brings in money, it means that there is a need for your product or service, marketing is positioning and promoting correctly and the sales process is working. If there are no sales, something is wrong and sales should be the first to see it, understand why and report this information back up the chain of command so that the situation can be improved.
Sales are the boots on the ground and should provide critical information about the market, the customers, competitors as well as the products and services. They are the first persons to hear the customer’s objections and complaints and see how the consumer is using the product or service in intended and unintended ways. Imagine if sales never reported back that Kleenex, first introduced in 1924 as a cold cream remover, was being used in a variety of ways including disposable handkerchief. Today, the many uses of, among others, baking soda, aluminum foil, toothbrushes are well known.
Everyone in a sales culture will realize that sales are only the first step and that the sale continues to happen in every department and at every level in order to capture every opportunity to help the company grow. A corporate culture that incorporates the importance of sales – getting the sale, fulfilling the sale and customer retention – and the importance of a great customer experience, creates the possibility of even more sales.
For example, after the sale comes delivery. When sales and operations work collaboratively to improve the customer experience, sales will have an understanding of operation’s ability to fulfill and operations will understand the sales funnel and pipeline so that sales can be fulfilled seamlessly to the customers satisfaction. When customer service reps and account managers are given the tools to improve the customer experience, they can transform unhappy customers into happy ones. When customers are happy, the employees will be happier and this positively impact sales and translates into more sales.
The COVID-19 crises and created an opportunity to understand how every person and every position in your company either sells or supports sales and determine whether or not you want to create a corporate culture that incorporates a sales culture. Every person in your company should provide considerable momentum during and after COVID-19 and, if not, it may be time for an upgrade.
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