The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 years ago

Cindy Kennedy on 3 Key Components of Customer Service in Sales


“The most important and most valuable service you can provide is an excellent experience.” - Cindy Kennedy, District Manager for Corus360

Customer service is a critical component to driving revenue and account expansion. In this episode, Cindy Kennedy tells us why listening, trust, and responsiveness are inseparable from sales success.

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

Are you concerned about hitting your revenue targets this month, quarter or year? Your answer is value prime solutions, a sales training and marketing optimization company leveraging the value selling framework. visit www dot value prime solutionscom and start accelerating your results. You're listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the be tob revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. For those of you that don't have time to listen the entire episode, please check us out at BTB Rev exectcom or, of course, itunes, where any of your reviews are greatly appreciated. Today we have with US Cindy Kennedy, District Manager for course three hundred and sixty technology services company, and our plan as to focus on customer service as part of the sales process. And now it's a critical component of driving revenue account expansion. And exactly what that means to Cindy as she manages her team. So, Sydney first, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. Absolutely, Chad, thank you for having me. I'm a huge fan of value prime solutions after attending one of your sessions a few years ago where I was able to be a guest with one of our key partner to thank you for having me. Excellent. So we like to try and front load the value. Some people, some of our listeners, jump on just to just to hear this question, but we like to start out with understanding a little bit more about a defining moment in your career. was there something that happened that kind of change the course or change a perspective on something and, if so, what was it and what did you take away from it? Yes, so, you know, my first job in high school a long time ago, was at target, and target would had actually contracted with pen and teller and pen and teller would release the news skits probably once a week or every couple of weeks, and whenever they would come out we would have to attend these sessions and order to ask our training for that week or that month, and then they would play those sessions in the breakroom, you know, over and over and over again. But target was big on customer service. So their whole thing and what they ingrained in us was that there was nothing more valuable than the service that you can provide. Myself think thats to that day. You know, I go to target because I like the way that it feels and I like the way that they treat their customers. So you know, what I learned from the very beginning of my career, and it was ingrained in me, is the most important and most valuable service you can provide is an actialent experience, and that has followed me throughout my entire career and I I believe that the basis for how you can build a self career excellent. And so that plays really well into kind of our focus for the day. And and I'm curious, you know, if you could give me one or two quick examples of how you personally, on a daily basis, try to stay focused on that, that buying experience, of that customer experience. I'd love to know what those are. Well, it starts with how we treat each other internally, right when we're in the office and we're working, whether we're working with another group or within our group. You know, if we're treating people with respect and we're doing the things that we preach we need to be doing with our customers, I think it just becomes that behavior and it becomes repetitive versus a being something that you have to work at, something that you become, you know, folks on, authentic and purposeful with right some of the it's just part of day to day excellent. Okay, when we were emailing back and forth on setting this up, you mentioned three key components...

...from your perspective of Customer Services in sales listening, trust and loyalty and responsiveness. I'd like to talk a little bit about each one in more details. So obviously let's let's start with listening, right. It seems fairly obvious, of course, but you and I both know there's a hell of a lot of sales people out there that have what we call happy years. So I'm curious how you work with your teams to increase that active listening acumen. And you are as fully right, it is off been easy to only hear what we want to hear, and yet so often when the customers are talking, we are not hearing what they're actually saying. You know, this is one of those things where, again, if we're practicing it internally on a daily basis and we hear somebody saying something and then we repeat what they are saying, then that becomes part of your regular routine. But some of the things that we do on a religious basis is typically our selves. Teams are sales reps, are going into meeting with someone else, they have an engineer or another member of the team with them. So it's really important after the meeting is over for everyone to compare notes and ask what did you hear? What we're your key takeaways, and then following that up with an emails the customer, and I like to keep emails as simple and concise as possible so that the customer has the time to read it, and I also like to keep it bulleted and it's pretty easy. A few bullets on. This is what I've heard. These are action items and these are our next step. So we're validating with the customer and they can either confirm or say, Hey, look, I think we you know this is what I meant. They can correct or we can they can say great and we're good to go yes, this is exactly what I'm looking for. And not always do they respond to emails, but at least it's there. Right, it's a real and lastly, it's a reference point exactly, and it also if to keep everybody on the same everybody that's included in the same style format, then you can keep consistency and customers know what to expect from you. And then, lastly, when we go back for the next meeting, starting off that meeting by recapping the last meeting, right, getting more validation and acknowledging to the customers that you've heard what they've said and if it's not what they said, then they can and you know they can clarify, but you've got to acknowledge. Acknowledging is the first key to listening. Okay, excellent, excellent, and we I'm a big fan of sales reps confirming what they've heard. Right. You and I've talked about this. We interview to less trackman not too long ago and he was very, probably over the top, passionate about that. Making sure that you are playing back what you've heard, giving the customer the opportunity to comment and, of course, you know, collaborating with them on with the next steps are so excellent. So the next thing that list was trust and loyalty. Right. This is one where you and I again are definitely on the same same page. The end of the day, regardless of technologies that people want to hide behind, people buy from people, right, and it's a challenge sometimes, I think, for people to provide reps with a consistent, repeatable way to engender trust. So I'm curious from your perspective, how do you work with your teams on on that trust and loyalty, and what does that mean as you're as you're managing them? Yeah, I mean look at the end of the day and nobody wants to be sold to, not even that whole salesman thing mentality. I mean people get prepared to go to the car dealerships, right. Everybody can't stand sales people. So the first thing that we have to do is stop selling. Right, nobody wants to be sold to. What we need to be doing is helping our customer fix the problem or improve something, right, because people aren't buying just to..., they're trying to accomplish something, and that's really the key to building trust, is to stop selling. If you can do these things that, you know, starting off with providing the excellent customer service, by listening and understanding and providing your customers with something you need to solve a problem. Then that's going to build trust when you are providing them with something that's solving their problem on a consistent basis, since that's going to build loyalty, right, and loyalty equals customer satisfaction. Yeah, without a doubt. And it's interesting how many reps just want to run in and say, Hey, look at this, you know, cool solution or product or whatever I have, and don't take the time to really understand what solution there are, what problem or trying to solve. And I it happens all the time, you know, and it may be something that's the customer means, but if they happen to articulated their problem, then how can we be so sure something that they need? Right, without a doubt. It's funny to see, you can tell you know, it's unfortunate that people don't like sales people. I mean, I guess, because that's what you and I do for the I guess the positive thing is at least we're not as negatively rated as politicians these days, but for those you know, for those that are ultra hid performers, consistently see them really working. Go and cover what is the problem in the customer's mind and how to connect their solution uniquely to it. But it takes some diligence, it definitely does. So third point that you had on your list was responsiveness, or do what you say right and then and stick to it. I understand how this can impact trust and loyalty, but I'd love to hear how you know why this is one of the top three things for you in customer service. Yeah, it is something that a lot of people drop the ball on and it's one of those things where you know, when you look at providing customer service and building those partnerships in that trump, it's about what you do and not about what you say. I see often time fell trucks will go into meeting melt talk about how they're going to build their trust and how they're going to do this and how they're going to provide value right, but at the end of the day it's about what you're doing and what you're providing. So it's something you demonstrate, not something you talk about. Responsiveness is one of those things that you can do to show your customer that you're going to be there for them. You know, it's not one of those things that's easy to manage. You know I'm not a micro manager and if you're a celsup that needs to be micro managed and you're probably not cut out for sales, to be quite but I try to instill the important of not just being responsive but being proactive. Cells ups who don't take a proactive level working with prospect and customers will be measured based on the amount of business that they get. Customers aren't going to buy very much from somebody who's standing there with their hands out. They need someone who's going to be proactive, who's going to learn their business, who will be attentive to their needs, their timelines and go above and beyond and providing the extra value. We always I think all of us have that were value added partners rate. But unless you're actually providing something that nobody else is proactively, than there's no extra value there. Right, customers physically don't shop someone who is providing them with everything that they need, being proactive without being annoying. Right, there's a difference. And then staying on top of things and providing them with these, with the additional valuable services. So a lot of our customers are just bog down. They work fifty, sixty hours a week and they can't get everything done right. So if there's something that we can do that can make their life...

...easier and passively do that for them instead of just waiting for them to ask something about right, being aware, being aware of the entirety of the situation. It's not just about the relationship with you. They have other jobs. Of the things that getting away business issues change all the time, problems crop up, requires that, you know, I think, honestly, I think it's a great insight because it's key to becoming that that trusted advisor right some way that you can rely on, that you know if there's not a problem you can solve right now, that they're not going to try and shop something. That in your throat. Be aware what's going on. Excellent. So when you when you put all of this together and you start looking at you know it's always a challenge to manage sales reps. having done that myself, how do you focus on the activity levels of the reps make sure they stay true to those tenants of customer service right, especially it's creates a crowded landscape, especially for resellers, and the things that you guys are doing kind of curious. How you combine all of that to either drive track or inspire activity levels. Yeah, well, it's a different these. I mean customer service starts on to get in the door, and my opinion, if you are doing those three things, then the result will be getting the business and therefore the activity level will be high. As far as prospecting and getting in the door, that's an entirely different piece, since customer services something that, like I said, you demonstrate over time. Right. You can't really do that when you're in prospecting mode. Right, getting in the doors top and that requires consistent activity. This is where probably our rep struggle the most, because prospecting and rejection go hand in hand. So how do you keep back and keep that activity high and consistent when you're constantly getting rejected? You know, we work hard to celebrate our successes. So you know, if you're constantly out there, you know, just grinding it day after day, whether it be making phone calls, sending emails, getting outside, you know when you do have those wins, you know let's celebrate them and let's go a lot of effort behind it so that you kind of get that momentum to keep going day after day. Yeah, the rejection part of it. I mean I when I teach classes or work with clients, I always ask students you know who in here love sales, and a lot of hands go up. WHO NEAR LOVES PROSPECTING AND A lot of hands go down. It's the it is the grind portion of the component, without a doubt. Have you guys found a consistent way? And I asked this. I don't know that there's ever I haven't come across like the perfect dancer. Were almost curious how people are trying to track the effectiveness of that stuff, like what's working and what is it? People talk about tech or some people who spreadsheets. I'm just kind of curious how how you keep the pulse on that and measure it. I really believe that it's each individual wrap. It's different for each individual wrap. So a couple of things that we do is try to break it down right, so you're not just consistently doing the same activity eight hours a day by days of right right, got a break it up a little bit and break up the type of activity and different reps have success with different types of activity and sometimes it's based on what they're comfortable with and sometimes it's based on, you know, just how they are being effective at at doing that certain activity and measuring that can be tough, but ultimately, at the end of the day, you know, we're a sales organization where the proof is in the place, right you know, you can manage spread sheet, you can manage crm, you can manage all of these different things, but your paycheck actually manages you? Yes, it does. is the ultimate motivator. Okay, so far audience. Just you guys know, Sydney, like many of the people that we've talked to, was a ultra high performer as an individual contributor before she made the move to the dark side of sales management and she still,...

...of course, has accounts and stuff, and you and I've talked about the difference between management and carrying a bag and I'm just kind of curious, you know, with that experience of being that ultra high performer and now moving into management, how is it affected how you evaluate potential team members? Are Sales Reps for the team characteristics, expense or looking for things like that. Well, I think there's who we have talked about this. I think there's a lot of different factors that go into it. I know when you and I spoke previously we talked about you know, and in what order of a child were you? You know, how many siblings do you have? Those you know, I've found that. I will say that there are some people that have some reps that have really surprised me, both good and back, where I thought they would be, you know, really into sales and really good at sales, and then you kind of learned that that's not their thing. And so, as far as one characteristic, I can't really say that I found the magic there. I would love it if somebody has and would share it. What I would say is that I believe that about ten percent of self people are born in ninety percent learn it right and it's hard to know exactly who has that DNA, who's born as a salesperson and has that natural DNA. But when you find that person then you can be guaranteed that they are going to crush it, you know, throughout their entire career. Excellent. Yeah, it's a I think one of the latest stats I saw some even the best hiring managers, not just in sales but in general, bad about five hundred. So a fifty shot that you know, somebody's going to get through the interview process. That shouldn't yeah, when you look at Your Business Today, right, we've talked about how you guys are for some customer service and what you're looking for in your refs. When you look at Corus is business today, we know what's the top business priority for you and your team. You know. I mean we think that at chorus, you know, we're a pretty good company, right, and we provide some pretty cool things and we have really good team of resources and we can really help customer and so our top priority is getting that message out there and getting in front of an up customer so that we can continue to be effective the services that we are providing and falling in line with that, you know, we hire our president has a strong belief that everybody deserves an opportunity, and so he hires people young in their career and he provides them with that foundation to go out there and build a career. So what we really look to focus on as our people and giving them the opportunity to build and grow and a lot of those people started. Some of them start out from an engineering that both of them start out from, and we bring them into our sales organization and we develop them. Our goal is to develop them. Our top priorities, develop them into seniorself troups and through our our history, we have had a lot of success being able to do that, to bring them in young, teaching the course way, give them an opportunity in the foundation to be successful and then let them rip and roar into the marketplace. Yep, absolutely excellent. Excellent. So when you look at you know, wanting to get that message out, of course, new customer acquisition, things like that. What would you say the top three challenges you're struggling with, or were wrestless and so I strong wrestling with today, would be, and they all be the same. Getting yeah, yeah, without a doubt. The definitely can't. So we so getting more at bats, right. So that goes back to that problem, getting more advanced at baths. And then, you know, differential eating yourself. So everybody goes in with an elevator pitch or their...

...value proposition. Really put people have heard all of that. So you have to really demonstrate and demonstrate your how you were different from, you know, your competition. It's difficult, it's tough. Yeah, it sales. I like say sales as a contact sport. It's definitely not for the for the meek of Meek of heart. It takes for sure, a lot of focus. Excellent. So let's change the direction a little bit here. We ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions towards the end of each interview. The first one is simply, as a revenue executive yourself, it also puts you in the position of being someone that other sales professionals are going to try and get in front of or try and get your attention that you mentioned earlier. You don't like to be sold to. Some really kind of curious. What is the best way to capture your attention and build credibility if someone were trying to bring a solution to a problem that you know they were aware you had? Well, good question, because I often look for people who are effectively doing that right, because we are being sold to all the time. We are a reseller of technology and services, and so people come to us to have US providing their products and technology to our customers. So you know it takes consistent. You know, touch points right. So, once you start hearing from somebody consistently, and I'm not talking about the spam mail, but you know, reaching out via phone and trying different ways to connect and maybe reaching out to somebody that you know and Co her that I would know, and coming in as kind of a reference, you know that goes a long way because I can usually rely on that person that is being that was reference, to say, okay, you know what, this is somebody that I should talk to. You know, I don't think your friends out there just going to be sending tellar marketers your way. So, you know, I think that that's pretty effective and that's one of the things that we try to do is, you know, what are your connections out there? Who, who do you know and who can refer you on the door? Excellent. Yes, so the networking aspect. In fact, I think that's how you and I got connected with some of that. I know it said yea familiar story. Mark Shank from kpug said very much the same thing. In fact, he, he at least, was right up for it. Said, look, I'm not going to return your emails, your phone calls. If you want to get in front of me. You got to have somebody bring you to me. That was much more direct. Yeah, he's yeah, he's probably not as polished as you are. Excellent. All right. So last question. We ask everybody for an acceleration in sight. So if you think about sales and marketing professionals and you had the opportunity to give them, you know, one or two pieces of advice that you really thought were going to help them, you know, beat their targets, what would that be? And why? Understand Your Business? And I'm going to go back to listen. So in the technology industry there are a lot of cells reps who rely solely on their engineers or other companies, and I would say that customers want to buy from people that they know understand what they meet. And it goes back to customer service and listening, right. So, as a sales person, if you don't understand the industry that you're in and you don't understand what it is the customers looking for, then how are you able to give them a solid recommendation? And it's very common in this industry for cells reps, you know, not to want to get to technical, not want to understand, and I think that that is shortsighted. And then the other thing is, you know, I just I can't go back to listening enough. You know, listening is the main reason why communication breaks down, and we have that throughout our life, not just in our career, but...

...we have it at home. You know, communication has to be effective. The the brain here about the first twenty seconds of everything you say. So it's your customers not actively engaged in a conversation with you and you're not listening to them and they're not hearing what you're saying either. So that's probably the two things that I would say now your business and practice communication and active listening. Yeah, those are both excellent, excellent insights. Thank you for those. So perfect. So, everybody, thank you for listening. That could have does it for this episode. Please check out be tob REV exactcom, share the episode with friends, family, Co workers, and please do not hesitate to write a review on Itunes Cybe, I can't thank you enough for the time to day. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Absolutely thank you. Can all right, everybody. Again, thanks for listening and we look forward to see you next time. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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