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9 Ways to Align Your Sales Team With Core Values

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9 Ways to Align Your Sales Team With Core Values

t Zome Design, the entire team – including salespeople – considers themselves to be creative professionals who work on building long-term relationships with their customers. “It's important for all of our customer-facing teams, including outside sales, inside sales and customer service, to be on the same page to provide a consistent and positive customer experience,” says Brayden Jessen, owner at Zome

“In everything we do, we look at things from a creative perspective and are solutions-oriented, while also maintaining customer empathy and professionalism.”
Brayden Jessen, owner at Zome Design

Having clear company values helps ensure all employees work toward the same goals. A survey of salespeople and managers found that when salespeople align with the values of the company they represent, they experience higher performance levels, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. 

Your core values support the company’s vision, shape its culture and impact your business strategy. They’re also your company’s DNA and competitive advantage. That’s why your sales staff’s interactions with clients or decisions they make should always have those values in mind.   

9 Ways to Make Your Salespeople an Extension of Your Brand

Buyers (97%) and customer service managers (98%) say customer service interactions definitely have an impact on whether consumers stay loyal to a brand, a Calabrio study found. Plus, managers (88%) agree that brand perception directly impacts overall company revenue. When positive customer experience interactions boost loyalty, sales follow. On the flip side, 60% of consumers switch brands after just two negative experiences – and it’s nearly impossible to win them back. 

“The salesperson is equivalent to a person driving up to a retail storefront for the first time – those first impressions matter. Do they go right to price or try to fully understand problems before making product suggestions? Do they do what they say they’re going to do? How quickly do they respond to phone calls or emails? What happens after the sale?”
Brayden Jessen, owner at Zome Design

1. Change the vibe from sales to service.

At A&P Master Images, owner Howard Potter renamed salespeople “customer service reps.” Why? “It can give that vibe of how much they can sell to you, but is it really what you want?” he says. “It became cutthroat where people took each other’s customers to hit their commissions and sales goals.” Potter now pays his reps a straight salary along with full benefits and career training.

2. Give reps the knowledge to sell effectively.

Now Potter’s reps, who are the front line of his shop, are well versed in products and processes, so they can write orders that fulfill their clients’ needs.

“If they’re selling the work our production team does, they have to understand what is and isn’t possible and be able to explain that to the potential customer – you can lose a customer just as fast as you got them.”
Howard Potter, owner at A&P Master Images

A&P’s six reps all work together as a team and may  leave the office to meet with customers, but 95% of the time all meetings happen in the showroom via Zoom calls. Production staffers are available to step in and answer any questions, so the customers get the right product and process for their needs. 

3. Keep your reps accountable when things “go wrong.”

Some salespeople get the unfortunate reputation for taking the order and “disappearing” when things go south. “We want our reps to show empathy, putting themselves in the customer’s shoes to make the situation right,” Jessen says. “How your shop as a whole handles issues can make all the difference in the world to your customers.”

At Zome, managers also understand that not everything goes perfectly. “If they’re proud of their work and use their mistakes as a teaching moment, that’s on the right track of what success means for us,” Jessen says. “However, we want to make sure that we’re not repeating the same mistakes.”

4. Create a consistent customer experience.

"We want our customers to have a similar experience no matter which salesperson they work with,” Jessen says. 

“A better, consistent customer experience leads to a better brand reputation and can help increase customer referrals.” -Brayden Jessen, owner at Zome Design

For example, if your company values transparency or accountability, your sales team should demonstrate those values.
At Zome, Jessen doesn’t micromanage. “We trust them, but we also verify,” he says. “We check in with our customers to verify that they’re having the kind of experience with our shop that aligns with our vision and values.”

5. Encourage your reps to show empathy.

“A salesperson can show empathy where a website can’t,” Jessen says. “This is a major way a salesperson can compete with large ecommerce brands that compete on price by showing empathy to customers and helping them solve their problems. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Do they have a person to talk to that understands them and is willing to go to bat for them?”

6. Get your reps involved in the community.

Zome encourages their sales team to “hang out” with their customers or get involved with community events. For example, if the client is a restaurant or brewery, Jessen’s reps get the full experience there, so they can offer solutions based on that customer's brand. “We love that we’re able to try new food or beers at local establishments and be able to experience their craft, and show how we put as much time and passion into our craft,” he says.

7. Focus on your ideal customer.

In other words, stop trying to be everything to everyone. That results in a poor customer experience and can spread you too thin. 

“It’s too easy in our industry to say, ‘We can do that,’ to every request. That strains your resources and causes mistakes, and only costs you more money…Plus, it causes frustration for internal staffers who must live up to the promises salespeople deliver.”
Brayden Jessen, owner at Zome Design

When you focus on your right-fit customer, it makes the entire customer journey so much better for not only the customer but your team as well. “Does your entire company understand who your right-fit customer is? Does it understand what that customer wants and needs?” Jessen says. “A marketing manager has completely different needs than a sports coach. It’s really tough to be an expert at everything.”

8. Treat your suppliers and vendors well.

Jessen treats his employees and vendor partners with respect to build strong relationships. “That helps our shop serve our customers well,” he says. “That’s why we expect our whole team to treat our partners fairly. They’ll go to bat for you every time.” 

9. Be open to evolving your values.

When Jessen first opened his doors in 2006, there wasn’t a huge focus on sustainability in the marketplace – or in his shop’s values. However, after he visited Haiti, he had an epiphany. 

“I saw what can happen if you don’t take care of the environment, and how important it is to know how and who makes your product. Is it good for the workers and the local communities? We evolved our values to really know how promo products are made and how they affect the environment and the people making them.”
- Brayden Jessen, owner at Zome Design

Stay in Alignment

At A&P Master Images, Potter’s overarching goal is to give customers the best possible experience at all times, even if an issue arises. “Our reps show that we’re not just looking for a quick sale, but want a long-term relationship with them,” he says.

Ultimately, it’s on the shop owner to make sure every employee’s actions align with the company values. “For a company to scale, the sales team must act on behalf of your original vision and mission for the company,” Jessen says. “Nothing’s worse than hearing how a current or former employee treated a customer, when you know that isn’t what your company stands for.” 

Mar 5, 2023