Submitted by tomdible on
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I work in the sales department of a small rubber manufacturer along with the sales manager and a third sales person. Myself and the other sales person are not commissioned and I am unsure of the sales manager, but I’d guess he’s getting a cut of something. When a customer calls in those answering the phone are blindly allowed to assign the call to whoever they choose, many times assigning a call to one of us in the morning and a different person later if the customer calls back. I have suggested dividing the customer list into 3, essentially with each of us taking 20 of our top 60 customers (these 60 account for 85% of total sales) and then further dividing the list alphabetically where all 3 of us would be responsible for a similar total sales volume (currently, the active customer list is roughly 800-1000 customers.) This is nothing new or earth shattering, something that I feel will provide a better, more intimate customer service relationship with our assigned clients. However, the sales manager and company president want no part of it, and they base this solely on the fact that a customer may have to go to voicemail. I get the impression that if we aren’t available to write the sale at the time of the call my bosses are afraid that the client may go somewhere else to get the material. Now, we aren’t peddling fast food here. The majority of our clients are obligated to get the material from us as we are the approved source on the print. What are your thoughts on this?
Your idea makes sense
I agree with you. Having a consistent contact will add value to the relationship and enhance customer loyalty. I think your point is that your company will get better sales results by having account dedicated representatives.
Your boss and the owner also have a valid point regarding not wanting customers to go into voicemail. Is there anything you can do to minimize their concerns? Perhaps e-mail? Do any of the clients use e-mail to communicate with your company? Also, can your voice mail be set up for the customer to press one number to wait until you are available and another to go to voicemail? Or, how about the client being directed to the other sales rep if you are on the phone? My guess is that many times you would be available and on the occasion you are not , the client could be directed elsewhere.
This is what I would do. First, research and source all the data you can on the impact of having dedicated account representatives versus not. I think the data will show that your idea will increase results. Second, quantify what you believe the impact will be. If the data says sales increased on average of X%, calculate what that means to the company. Third, try to determine the time frame needed before the impact will be seen. There is always a ramp up period. Fifth, prepare a presentation of the findings and request a meeting with your boss and the owner to sell your idea. Include in the presentation ideas to answer the concern of customers going to voice mail. I would ask for a trial period, taking the ramp up period into account. If results increase as they should they will most certainly continue with it. If results do not increase or they will not even do the trial, you still win. You will show that you are trying to add value to your company. I think your boss and especially the owner will see you as a valued contributor to the company.