More often than not, when people think of the sales process, it’s something that’s focused on building an incredible sales team and using it to acquire new customers on a routine, uninterrupted basis. While certainly a great way to grow any startup or small business, there’s an important money-making aspect that’s overlooked far too often—retention.
Oddly enough, with plenty of statistical information proving how lucrative a retention-driven sales staff can be, there are still few businesses focusing on it. In fact, a recent study by Target Marketing found that only 33 percent of surveyed businesses planned to increase their retention budgets during the latter half of the 2016 calendar year.
Yes, new customers primarily earn salespeople their paychecks, but during the recruitment and hiring process, employers would be wise to place additional emphasis on the importance of not only continual sales, but client retention, as well. Still unsure about this whole retention thing? Here’s why you should make it a priority:
Everything Starts With Retention
Depending on your business’ specific area of expertise, retention might be more important than you’d ever originally thought. For example, for most businesses, once a customer has been brought onboard, it takes roughly three years for him or her to finally become profitable. Quite a bit of time, right?
Well, not so much when you consider that cloud-based tech companies and insurance providers sometimes need upwards of seven or eight years before a customer gets them back into the black. As such, depending on the industry in question, even if your sales team continues to reach new sales heights, without much retention, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Fortunately, the best of sales talent is able to focus on both—sales and retention.
A Responsibility for All
With all of this in mind, however, the burden of customer retention doesn’t rest solely on the backs of each of your individual sales representatives. The truth of the matter is that customers can have a negative experience with any of your employees, be they members of the sales, marketing, accounting or management departments.
That said, though everyone must lift where they stand to retain customers, to be as effective as possible with retention, focus the bulk of your efforts on marketing and sales units. Take a moment to think about it—before leads are even formally generated, your marketing department has reached out and made contact with potential customers.
From there, soon-to-be buyers come into the care of your sales force. So, when training employees in the ways of customer care, quality assurance and retention, see to it that your marketing and sales teams internalize the importance of what you’re saying. In time, if this can’t be done, it might be time to shake things up, bringing new talent into the mix.
The Payoff Is Well Worth the Sacrifice
Back to salespeople—no it’s not ideal, but by nature, gifted sales gurus are motivated by one thing, and one thing alone: what’s good for them. No, this isn’t a cover-all assessment, but having identified the prevalence of this mentality, you should strongly consider incentivizing both retention and feedback results.
Armed with both, it will be substantially easier to form longer, more beneficial relationships with your company’s customers. Information leads to knowledge, and knowledge to power. Simply put, the more you know about your customers, the more likely you’ll be to point them towards a service renewal or additional purchase.
As can clearly be seen, sales are important, but so too is customer retention. Knowing this, what do you plan to do to improve retention efforts within your company’s sales team? If you’ve already begun the process, what’s worked and what hasn’t?
Needless to say, feel free to share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section below. The more information we can acquire, the better of we’ll all be in the coming weeks, months and years. Thanks for reading! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got for me!
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