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Focused on New Customers? Don't Ignore the Existing Ones

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Focused on New Customers? Don't Ignore the Existing Ones
March 25, 2015

  By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

While every sales team should keep an eye on the ultimate goal of filling the sales pipeline with new business, another equally important goal shouldn’t be ignored: cross-selling and up-selling to existing accounts, which can be a lucrative way to keep the pipeline humming. Companies with good insight into their market and their customers’ operations have a strong edge over their competition on this point: they can often see what customers need before the customers themselves see it, and be in place at the right time to take advantage of it.

Sales consultant Richard Ruff, writing for Business2Community, noted that top performers are capable of seeing these connections when others cannot.

“Particularly when you are working with an existing customer you may be ahead of the customer in seeing an unfolding situation that would drive a new business opportunity,” he wrote. “As a matter of fact this is one of the skill areas where top performers differentiate themselves from the pack.”

Positioning the sales organization to take advantage of these opportunities means understanding existing customers’ goals, objectives and metrics. It also means keeping careful track of how the customer is performing from a sales and earnings perspective. According to Ruff, top sales performers ask themselves what they would do if they were in the customers’ shoes to enhance success.

“If you can see where you can add value, they may as well,” wrote Ruff. “If they don’t, but you do, it puts you in the best position of all, namely you are helping a customer understand an unforeseen challenge.”

This, in turn, helps build trust while it opens up sales opportunities. Existing customers may not be aware that your organization has other product lines or services, and would be eager to bundle with you in order to keep things simpler and take advantage of the cost savings that may originate from becoming buyers of multiple products and services under the same vendor umbrella.

It’s particularly important to keep an eye on existing customers if they are undergoing some kind of organizational change, like partnerships, mergers, new product launches or expansions, wrote Ruff.

“Whether a company is preparing to implement a planned strategy, merging groups or responding to a problem or opportunity, organizational structures are put in place before new work is made visible to the outside world,” he wrote. “Teams of required skills are assembled, specific skills are reassigned or grouped, and units are disbanded or reduced.”

A smart vendor will keep track of these changes carefully and identify places to become a beneficial part of the process. Your customers will likely thank you, and you will have taken the relationship several positive steps forward. 

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