So I work for a small to mid-sized company as the sales manager. In general the entire sales team (which isn’t that big) does a good job bringing in new customers for the business, however, the last couple years revenue has kind of been stale with some big clients leaving. Now, the owner has started to shift his focus to us, the sales team, to figure out how to increase sales but is seemingly ignoring what’s causing our high churn rate of existing clients, which seems to be more of an operation, or general product, problem. I’m not sure how to approach this situation as I can sell as much as I want but, if the customer experience is bad, there isn’t much I can do. Should I approach the owner about this or just start looking for another job?
Really good topic as I am also dealing with something similar. Personally I would go to the owner but you need to do your homework and document everything. Compile the list of issues directly from the customers mouth and present them to your owner. I would also come with solutions as well. Then if the owner dismisses what you bring to him then start looking for a new job.
One method is to create a very brief questionnaire listing why your current clients might still be with the company. Place one box per question for the owner to check making it convenient. At the bottom of the list reserve the last box for “Other” and give them room to write in their answer if they so choose. Have the owner sign at the bottom.
An owner is ready for a sales rep to create excuses why he or she not selling. That is the first knee-jerk reaction. With a document signed by the owner the sales rep is only a messenger and the normal reasons to ignore negative reporting is bypassed.
If the sales rep has a good relationship with the owner, that would be icing on the cake.
I think is best to start by trying to fix the operational problem. As a sales manager, I expect that my team not only to closes deals but also to gathers feedback from our customers. Reps have a direct relationship with prospects and customers, so I would welcome any insights they may get. After you share these insights with your manager, if he doesn’t do anything about it, I would definitely quit. But I think if you just quit whenever you face an operational problem, you’ll have to quit a lot of times. The key to know when to quit and when not to, depends on how the company faces this problem, if they seek out solutions and try to innovate, then you should stay.
I think you should take into consideration your overall strategy and your business’s long term goals. The manager likely has something in mind, and hasn’t explained it to you yet. Never hurts to ask!