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Wake Up, Brush Your Teeth, Eat Breakfast and Put Customers First

Posted on June 3, 2010 , by cherylgutierrez

I run our global Relationship Value Program (RVP), which is our named account based customer loyalty program.  I am asked all the time ‘How do I successfully engage the field?’ ‘Why would a sales representative take time away from their sales duties to participate in the program?’  The Answer: “the program is not only part of their existing sales, but will drive new sales.” We make it relevant to the field by showing them real, quantifiable results.
How do you communicate with sales reps to engage them?  You may be thinking….Sales folks don’t have time to read the corporate newsletters. I don’t read them myself.  You are right!  You must cut through the clutter and get creative with your communications.  Forget email, newsletters, PowerPoint, Word, texting and carrier pigeons.  It must be fresh, innovative, engaging, fun, and most of all, it can’t be “corporate”.  We had a quarterly communication sent to all employees, with paragraphs of text and a 50+ slide presentation.  Shocking but true….only a couple dozen read it each quarter.  We nixed that approach and created a simple, fun, engageing, news format.  This new 4-minute flash video consisted of simple audio messaging, creative images and a scrolling Net Promoter Score ticker presented in a customer first newscast format.  This new dynamic format results in over four thousand viewers each quarterly.
You have to get creative with incentives, too!  The field is very competitive. Show them a stack rank of who has participated and who has the highest responses.  Give away some great prizes and before you know it, they are bantering about who will win next quarter.   One word of caution…..make sure your incentives drive the right behavior.  I’ll have to put a posting about why not to focus on Net Promoter Scores when it comes to your hands on account based program.
Be sure to highlight the field’s success.  Show them success stories from their peers around the globe that illustrate all the benefits to them and their customers.  We write up full success stories that quantify the results, showcase those that exemplify the customer first mission, give recognition, awards, share best practices and lessons learned, show actual dollars impacted and more.
Integrate your program into the day-to-day account management and planning process. If your program is seen as a separate program/process or a “corporate” initiative, it will never be engrained in the sales process and adoption will be an uphill battle.
If you want the field to make this a part of their day-to-day,  you need to make your program relevant, show quantifiable results, get creative, highlight success and integrate this into their day-to-day activities.  Wouldn’t be nice if when a sales rep  woke up every morning, they put customers first and actively participated in your account based program as if it was part of their daily routine?