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The Two Types of People in Your Company

I grew up between two brothers who are engineers, and when we were all starting out in our careers, I was the only “salesperson” at the dinner table. I was the brunt of many jokes ranging from used cars to Willy Loman to “coffee is for closers.” We graduated to reenacted Tommy Boy scenes.

It was more than mildly irritating to listen to these young men speak about how they were the critical cogs in their organizations - so smartly developing fantastic and unique products. Only to find out that their salespeople couldn’t sell or if they did, they practically gave away all the profits because they couldn’t articulate the value!

Sound familiar to anyone? Little did I know that this type of dialogue was happening in companies everywhere.

Fast forward several years and our conversations are quite different. As each one of us has held leadership positions in our respective organizations, we know the truth is this; there are only two types of people in any successful organization:

  1. You serve the customer directly

  2. You serve those who serve the customer

Let’s be clear - both are equally important.

The reality is this: every single person in the organization contributes to the customer experience. No matter what sort of business you're in or what role you have; from owner to entry-level, from customer service to manufacturing - you are responsible for serving the customer, either directly or through a team member who has direct customer contact. In short, this means no matter your role, everyone is on the sales team!

If you want to change faster, innovate more, and anticipate customer needs faster than the competition, every role in your organization must have an unwavering commitment to focus on the customer at every single touchpoint.

The following are best practices of a customer-focused, sales-driven organization. How many of these describe you and your company?

  1. Makes things easy for the customer

  2. Celebrates customer wins

  3. Bothered by customer losses, learns from these losses and actively seeks to make the necessary adjustments

  4. Willingly sacrifices for the team, in the interest of the customer

  5. Takes personal responsibility to fix problems, not fix the blame

  6. Seeks to understand the customer needs, wants, challenges and opportunities

  7. Has real clarity around how their work contributes to the customer experience

  8. Openly accepts questions from others about their area of responsibility (i.e. not defensive)

  9. Values and appreciate the contributions of everyone in the organization

  10. Realizes that not everyone can bring in a new customer, but anyone can contribute to losing one!

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I once thought the sales professional was the most important person in the company. My brothers certainly taught me the lesson of how working as closely as possible with all my internal teams and departments to deliver the best solution and experience possible would be the key to my success in sales. And today, they tell me how rewarding and critical to their success it is to be in front of their customers and participate alongside the sales professionals in Quarterly Business Reviews and customer focus groups. It’s Patrick Lencioni’s quote in action:

“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and because it is so rare.”

Butler Street understands the importance of aligning organizational strategy, activity, and skills to provide the most value to your customers. If client experience is important to you, contact us.


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