In business-to-business (B2B) marketing, the sales representative’s relationship with the customer drives sales and referrals.
But when a trusted rep moves on and a new one is assigned to a long-time client, there’s potential for big trouble if the transition is handled poorly.
Case in point: I recently met with a new sales rep from a company I’ve done business with for more than a decade. In less than 20 minutes, he managed to break six cardinal rules of effective customer relationship management and came very close to jeopardizing a long-term business partnership.
Here’s where this salesperson went wrong and what you can learn from his mistakes for your smart marketing strategy.
A First Sales Call Goes South Fast
My marketing consulting firm in Cleveland, Ohio has been a client of a large company for more than 10 years. Though this vendor recently was acquired by a competitor, we remained loyal. Our former representative was promoted and a new rep assigned to our account.
Unfortunately, his first meeting with us was a disaster because he made six crucial sales mistakes:
- Taking too long to reach out to us: Reassuring existing clients is essential if your company is in transition. Our new representative was assigned to our account several months ago, but only recently met us face to face.
- No credentials: Who was this guy and why was he qualified to take the place of our prior account manager? The new rep didn’t present his experience or qualifications.
- Failing to research our company before the meeting: Our new rep had many opportunities to become knowledgeable about us before walking in our door, including at a minimum, visiting our website. He knew little about our marketing agency and we had to educate him on what we do.
- Limited understanding of our relationship with his company: Despite having access to more than 10 years of our client data, he appeared to know only the basics about our relationship with his firm.
- No plan to cross-sell: This salesperson should have thought about our potential needs before meeting with us and been prepared to recommend a new, problem-solving service. Instead, he offered nothing new.
- No next steps: Our rep had no suggestions about a next contact as the meeting concluded. “I’m here if you need me,” he said. We might, but given his performance, we might not.
Next post: What a new sales rep SHOULD do: 10 tips for a great transition