Improving the Care and Feeding of Your Field Sales Forces

Marketing folks, in our desire to reach and influence our customers and prospects, sometimes overlook what may be their most essential audience….the sales and distribution channels.

With all of our well-intentioned efforts to reach those customers and prospects, we sometimes overlook, in our master communications plan, our direct sales people, our manufacturers reps and our distributors.

Sales forceThis is a huge missed opportunity. Treating the various field sales forces as a critical target audience can pay huge dividends…and with very little cost.

If you don’t have a strategy for communicating with the field on a regular basis, you would do well to create one. There are lots of ways to do this, but for most companies, one of the most effective ways is to develop and implement a monthly newsletter to the field sales people.

While this may seem to be an easy, almost effortless tactic, it can prove to be tricky and troublesome. The discipline needed to write, edit, produce and distribute a meaningful newsletter on a truly regular basis is quite considerable.

But, once you get the rhythm going, it can take on a momentum of its own… and the rewards can be substantial.

What to Write About
OK, so you’ve decided you really do want to communicate more frequently and meaningfully with your reps, your distributors, even your direct sales people and regional sales managers.

What are you going to say to them? Well, put yourselves in their shoes…what would YOU want to hear about?  The most important thing to sales folks is, of course, sales.

What is your company doing to help support and enhance their sales efforts? Probably plenty. And ironically, it’s mostly coming from the marketing department.

  • Do your sales people know the investment you are making in advertising to all their key target markets?
  • Do they know about the new product news releases you are pumping out to the key editors in their target markets?
  • Do they have any idea how much you are spending to send info-packed e-letters to customers and prospects?

It’s amazing how much some companies do for their sales folks without telling their sales folks about those efforts.

That’s just for starters…keep your field sales forces abreast of all your marketing communications and other corporate activities…advertising, PR, direct mail, website enhancements, social media activities (yes, social media!), trade shows, special promotions, new hires, new facilities, new partnerships, new customers in new markets…new anything that can help the field sell more product!

Every company has plenty of good news stories and these need to be shared with the field sales forces to inform, energize, encourage and motivate them. Get a newsletter going, but make sure that once you do, you really keep it going.

Otherwise it’ll lose impact just like an ad or campaign that ends before it should. Continuity is key. Treat your sales forces as an essential, critical target audience and watch the difference in what they can do for you!

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