Marketing, Sales or Customer Service?

This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way". Read the book.

Marketing, Sales or Customer Service?

Are choices to be made? Do we need to deliver on all three?

Bplan strategy“First let’s define better the three elements of this process to build long-term valuable customer relationships:

Marketing – understanding the market and defining the target customer; building awareness, interest, and attraction; and, identifying prospects.

 Sales – converting interested prospects into qualified, buying customers.

 Customer service – delivering products and services as promised to ensure that each customer is a satisfied, repeat customer.

Each step has to be done consistently well for the results to be achieved. But a choice still has to be made - which element are you going to be best at? Will you win from competitors on marketing, sales, or customer service? You cannot be best at all three.

In my experience managing a second-tier brand name in computer hardware, we knew that we couldn't possibly out-market the multinationals, but we could out-sell them, one customer at a time. We spent a minimum of time and effort on marketing. Respecting basic principles of clear and consistent messaging and being creative at avoiding large expenditures worked for us.

Winning on customer service was also a challenge - it's expensive for any manufacturer to compete on warranty terms and technical support.

So we went back to salesmanship, even in the service department - coaching staff on persuading the customer to be reasonable, patient, and give us another order, please! We carefully explained to our service technicians that the best result from a call for tech support was to turn a complaint into a compliment and then pass the call to a sales rep for another order.

You can achieve success by being selective, instead of trying to be good at everything.

So take a look at your strategic positioning, your performance and your options in marketing, sales and customer service - then choose, focus and build one of them into your competitive weapon.”

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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