“Connecting with sales should be easy for anyone in your organization.”

As sales enablers, revenue enablers or as anyone who works in sales efficiency, our priority is to support our direct salesforce - the people who connect with customers and are quota-based.

But what about the people who work in other functions, like: engineering, technical support, customer support, in the factory line or in building maintenance?

Aren't they able to connect you with new customers?

Could we consider them as an 'extended' salesforce?

There are many reasons why our staff would, potentially, be part of our 'extended' salesforce.

One of the main reasons is: they want to protect and promote the company they work for (as long we have done the right cultural moves and the engagement level is adequate).

The benefits of working with an extended salesforce are many

  • They have access to different kinds of network.
  • They know the product or service the company deliver, requiring little formal training to have foundational conversations.
  • You don't need an expensive, heavy or formalized framework, all you need is to implement some best practices in your organization to ensure things flow smoothly.

It is not about pushing your staff to sell to (FFF) Friends, Family and Fools. As it is not part of their core competencies; if you make it part of their job description, you may end up with a demotivated and inefficient team.

But having the right methodology to support situations where your staff bump into contacts who may benefit from your solution will directly help your company.

Make it easy to sell, for everyone

Let us say that Matt, from our manufacturing department, goes bowling every Friday with his group of friends from school. One of his friends, John, created a small company some years back. John's company is growing, so they need to level up their equipment to satisfy their customer demands. The equipment they need is actually what Matt's company is producing.  

In this case, that would not only give Matt key insight to a potential new deal, but also the opportunity to knock down some doors and avoid gate keepers, making it really easy to link John, who will take the purchasing decision, with your sales team.

What Matt may experience is that he hands over the contact and details to someone in your sales organization, not hearing back from them ever again. Sales would take all the merit of the deal and operation.

This would make Matt think twice next time. Especially if something goes wrong with the deal.  He doesn't want to look bad in front of his friends.

That's why you should be careful with how cases like these are managed.

Some good practices

Sales should not be a secret black box, only led by the sales team

One of the main challenges and enemies to good collaboration is the fear of losing quota if other people are linked to a lead. Creating a good mechanism and system that ensures your sales professional will be able to link quota to a specific deal, even if other sales teams (or in this case, Matt) helped you with the deal, is important to avoid friction or fear. This will not only increase collaboration, but also openness and transparency.

Create clear and formal channels

If Matt wouldn't know anyone from your sales team, where would he go? Do you have an email, an internal portal… have you socialized and made it available?

Create clear and formal channels

If Matt wouldn't know anyone from your sales team, where would he go? Do you have an email, an internal portal… have you socialized and made it available?

Enable follow up mechanism

Make it easy for both Matt and your sales team to connect and have an informal follow up, make it human and easy.

Make it attractive

I am sure Matt would appreciate some sort of compensation if the deal was finally won.  It may be a gift, compensation, social recognition… we all are different and prefer different things, spend some time to understand what really motivates each individual.

Take care of your product or service

I know - this depends on several variables or may even seem obvious. But ensuring you have excellent product standards is vital if you want to create real ambassadors.

If you are in the consumer business, ensure you have the right mechanisms to drive and fix customer complaints. Make it easy to ask for support. Imagine that Matt's sister is dealing with a product issue with one of the products developed by your company.  If it is not taken care of efficiently, Matt won’t be your ambassador for long.

Keep on enabling sales, but don't forget the power of your informal or occasional sellers.

Are you an expert in sales enablement like Alex? Interested in becoming an SEC Ambassador? Find out more!