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Tips on Surveying Sales

Posted by Bill Lee on June 17, 2008 at 12:29 PM

One key to winning the cooperation of sales in running your Customer Reference Program is to provide real value. And doing that requires knowing what sales needs. To keep on top of this, regular surveys should be a part of your process.

Here are some tips for productively surveying sales, gathered from Rhett Livengood's President's Award winning presentation at our last Customer Reference Forum earlier this year. Rhett is Chief Reference Officer and Director of Enterprise Customer Programs at Intel:

- Surveys should assess the value of all sales tools and collateral, not just references.
- Have a sales executive send out or sponsor the survey, to ensure good response rates.
- Ask a combination of closed and open-ended questions.
- Use the compiled survey responses to identify key action items -- and communicate those to the field, along with your plans for working on them.
- Make survey results available to product and services marketing teams.
- In addition to surveys, meet with field sales people to gather direct feedback and build support for references from sales.

Rhett's teams conduct sales surveys twice a year. As a result of a recent one, Intel stopped producing expensive customer videos because they were not garnering much awareness from sales. Now they are using much less expensive YouTube-style videos, which are far easier and less expensive to create, and ironically, have a bigger impact because they seem authentic.

Reference Community Comments

Bill,

I completely agree with you on the value of surveying the salesforce. We recently conducted a survey and foudn that several preconceived ideas were not based in fact.

Because of the survey, we have outlined improvements and they're supported by those we need to please most - the sales teams.

Our next survey is planned 6 months after the first - at least 90 days after we have improvements implemented so that we can gauge the reaction to them.

One problem that I run into time and time again while surveying customers and employees, is what to do with the massive amount of information I get after a survey. I then was referred to this book (www.deliverandmeasure.com) that has helped a lot with my feedback measurement. I hope it helps! Thanks for all the great points on surveying - it is such a good reminder.

I especially like your last bit of advice, to actually meet and talk with sales. I think you should use a variety of tools to evaluate programs and employees, to make up for weaknesses of others.

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