Internal Clients

You can make the sale. You know your core message. You know your target market inside out, right?

But if you have even one employee, then you've got another sales job to do. Everyone in your organization must also be sold on the dream you have. Everyone who answers the phone, walks the sales floor, attends that Chamber event, or follows up on a sales lead in your company’s name, must be sold first.

Let’s start to think of your employees and strategic partners as internal prospects. What have you done to really light their fire about what your company does, about how it is different, and about the unique value you can bring to a service relationship?

Most of the time, small business owners completely neglect the notion of what might be called “marketing training.” But then they wonder why no one in the organization gets pumped up about providing over-the-top service. Or why no one really has a clear picture of who or what makes a good lead.

I can’t stress this notion enough. Any person in your organization that comes into contact with a client or prospect in any fashion is performing a marketing function.

So, now that you know who the first target market is, get out there and start pounding the aisles, cubicles, break rooms, and conference tables looking for prospects who are just dying to be sold on the vision you have for the business.

What if everyone if your company was made to understand that part of their job, no matter what else they did, was marketing?
 
Can you imagine an organization with a culture like that?
 
Picture this. Your head of operation is at a cocktail party and someone asks them what they do for a living. Instead of saying this: “I’m the head of operations for a small electrical contractor,” they utter these words: “I make contractors look brilliant.”

Or what if a field technician was confronted with a problem, and instead of passing that problem on, they saw to it that the problem was addressed. Then they called the client back and made sure they were happy, and offered to send the client some movie passes for their trouble.

Here’s an idea. Go out and print up new business cards for everyone at your firm that say “Vice-President of Field Operations and Marketing Fanatic”. “Marketing Fanatic” now becomes a part of everyone’s title.
 
Of course, now you actually have to do the sales job or, like any good selling, the process of educating your internal clients.
 
I suggest you look at setting up quarterly meetings that focus on all aspects of marketing your firm – lead generation, selling, and customer service. Then make the meetings mandatory, and invite your entire staff for marketing seminars.

Build marketing training into your hiring meetings and staff orientation. Make it a part of your routine reviews. Write an entire chapter on marketing into your employee manual.

If you meet resistance to this notion, it is because you have not made it a priority in the past, and people will always resist change. The key is to make sure they understand that this isn’t just another chapter from the latest business article you read. You must make the newfound emphasis on marketing an expectation and a requirement.

Teach your people who makes a great client, the exact words they should use to describe your firm, how your firm is different, the promotions you have planned for this month and next month, the challenges your prospects face, and the goals you have set for your marketing.

Finally, find a way to turn your marketing into a game. If you can find a way to motivate everyone in the organization to help grow the enterprise, think what a machine you could create. And if you find that you have people that don’t want to play the game…do them a favor and get rid of them. Let your folks know from day one that they are part of the marketing team.
 
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John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award-winning blogger, and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, published by Thomas Nelson, 2006.
 
He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Marketing SystemTM.