A good question to ask yourself is who in your organization—other than your traditional salespeople—interacts with your prospects and customers. What would happen if you deputized those non-traditional sales roles to boost your business development?
Let's talk about what some of those roles could be. Virtually anyone who is customer-facing – think field techs, call center staff, perhaps even the folks who handle your marketing or social media – should be empowered with insights on what to look for, how to ask questions, how to cross-sell or up-serve (think “Would you like fries with that?”).
Secondly, these people may have insights or opportunities that your traditional sales roles aren’t aware of. They may have the opportunity to ask exploratory questions in the course of doing their day-to-day business. Maybe you have a field tech who doesn’t consider himself a sales representative; however, he’s in your customer’s facilities quite often and viewed as a trusted professional who isn’t trying to sell anything. It should be easy for that person to seed a couple of questions that might give your business development folks greater visibility into your customers’ values, capital budgeting plans, etc.
Thirdly, you need to integrate these people into your goal-setting exercises. In other words, those non-traditional sales roles should be active participants as you set your sales goals.
Finally, everyone on your team – both traditional and non-traditional sales roles – should have a quiver of elevator pitches ready to deliver, each one tuned to a different type of listener (plant manager, CFO, sustainability director, etc.) And they should realize that the right elevator pitch delivered at the right time could generate a valuable new lead for your business development folks to pursue. Elevator pitches can be used in places far beyond the proverbial elevator. Think “over-the-hedge” conversations with neighbors, family reunions, air travel seat companions, and so many other contexts.
For example, one of your employees may encounter someone and say, “Hi there. I notice you live down the street from me and we’re both here at this car wash every weekend. What do you do for a living?” The neighbor responds, “Well, I run a chain of grocery stores here in town.” Without knowing something about how energy solutions deliver benefits that can be measured on the yardsticks that grocers are already using to measure their own success (think longer shelf life for meat, produce, and fish; longer dwell time; or, other benefits cited in Segment Guides™), that interaction would quickly devolve into a conversation of sports, weather, and traffic.
On the other hand, even one “sound bite” describing how your company has helped grocers in the past – perhaps even a grocer your new friend knows personally – can do wonders. Before you know it, you’re exchanging email addresses and chatting about reconnecting in the near future for a more in-depth conversation.