By Laura Schlereth
Sales pitches are crucial to your company’s success, and it makes sense to depend on sales and marketing specialists to handle the job. But have you ever thought about bringing on other members of your team to be part of the process? You might be surprised at the creativity and knowledge—not to mention the networks—they have to offer.
Here’s how to get your whole team involved in sales pitches and the advantages to having all hands on deck:
It promotes teamwork: Often, employees in an office environment work independently, which can sometimes stifle collaboration. But having the entire team aligned to achieve revenue generation gives the team a goal to work toward together, says Lee Carey, president of the Small Business Association - Canada. “It supports a company culture of collaboration and engagement,” he says.
They’ll bring on a wealth of experience: Your sales and marketing employees have their specialties, but your other employees likely have expertise areas that will be valuable in making sales pitches. For example, Eric Owen, owner of The Better Living Solutions Group, an Ottawa-based renovation company, has contractors who have more than 35 years of experience, which prospective customers find very reassuring. “In some older neighborhoods, my contractors were around when the properties were built and can say (in the pitch): ‘These are the materials that were used then, and these are the benefits and drawbacks to them and this is how things have changed,’” he says. “It calms customers down that they’ve been doing it so long.”
It can spark creativity: “Even if you’re not a good salesperson, it doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas,” says Gemil Lacroix, owner of G1000 Home Inspections in Toronto. “Two heads are always going to be better than one.” An IT person might not have the best communication skills, but he or she could very likely have ideas for how to use technology to make your sales presentations more efficient and interesting.
It can strengthen brand awareness: Having your employees more integrally involved in the sales process will make them more informed about your products or services, which results in them being stronger representatives of your business. “All employees should, in their own words, know what they offer the market and why customers benefit from choosing their company and product,” Carey says. Making employees a part of the sales process will make them prepared in the case of a sales opportunity.
Ask for their opinion on how to enhance the sales pitch: Lacroix recommends engaging employees in the process through regular brainstorming sessions about sales pitches. It will encourage creativity and inspire confidence that you value their opinions.
Attend seminars as a team: “If you’re not willing to learn, you stop growing,” says Lacroix, who recommends going to marketing events together. It will give sales people the opportunity to brush up on their skills and introduce key concepts to your other non-sales employees. Carey recommends internally reviewing the material learned at the event afterward so you can adjust them to your business model. “Outside events are a great way to gather ideas,” Carey says.
Understand each employee’s specific skill set: Although your team can bring extra talent to sales pitches, Owen says it’s still important to know where to draw the line on their involvement. For example, some of his builders are very technical, and he needs to balance their presentation with his own people skills so the client is well informed but not overwhelmed with industry terms they don’t understand.
Provide incentives: Because your company will have the benefit of your entire team’s networks, Owen says it only makes sense that you compensate employees when you make a sale based on their efforts to bring in new clients from their contacts. An extra cash bonus is great motivation for most people, and Owen says they’ll appreciate being appreciated. “An incentive can be simple,” he says. “If my employees are going to go out and bring in new business, I’m willing to compensate them for the extra effort.”
Getting your whole team on board for sales pitches will make you aware of your untapped resources: perhaps your secretary has a knack for prospect research or your contractor keeps up on all the latest industry statistics. Either way, everyone will likely have something to contribute, according to Carey. “The point is each can play a support role that requires their unique skills and talents,” he says. “The sales cycle is a team effort, and each can play a part.”