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Andrea Hill

Here’s Why You Might Need to Move Marketing Dollars into Your CRM System

The money will be spent more effectively on a system that gives you a clear “sales playbook.”




FOR OVER A decade, retailers have been investing hefty amounts of energy and money in organic social media and paid social advertising, most of the time wondering if the payoff is real, but afraid to pull back for fear that reducing efforts would be worse than questionable efforts.

The alternative is to divert some of that marketing energy into the direct service of your sales.

The highest-end luxury retailers have long engaged in sophisticated sales techniques to bring target customers to their stores, knowing that foot traffic and broad advertising alone could not be relied on to deliver the qualified customers for their lofty price points. Increasingly, these methods are being used by the broader retail community, particularly as the technology necessary to execute them becomes more affordable and easier to implement.

If you think I’m talking about clienteling you’re right … sort of. But what Nordstrom and Ralph Lauren are doing with wish lists, reserved dressing rooms and virtual appointments goes beyond little black book versions of clienteling. These retailers are using sales techniques taken straight from the technology sector sales playbook.

That’s a phrase you need to know: Sales Playbooks.

You know how you have a clear, manageable, measurable process for accepting repairs, creating a custom design, and checking out a paying customer? A sales playbook is a clear, manageable, measurable process for creating sales, which is very different from hoping a sale will walk through the front door.


A sales playbook breaks down the sales cycle into a step-by-step process that starts with identifying leads and then turns them into clients, and finally turns clients into repeat buyers. It is a system that describes your various buyer personas and provides templates and guidelines for effective communications with each persona, including scripts for calls, email templates, and value propositions tailored to each persona. This system includes prompts to properly qualify customers and includes strategies and responses for addressing common objections and concerns.

What’s that you’re saying … that your sales training already covers these things?

Sure it does, in a “here’s-a-closet-full-of-clothes-please-pick-something-to-wear” kind of way. Sales playbooks lay out the outfits for you, keep track of what you’ve worn and what you haven’t, and make sure each selection is perfect for the weather, social, and business conditions of each day.

As a sales manager, you get complete visibility of your sales pipeline status when you deploy sales playbooks as a strategy. How many customers are in each selling stage (prospecting, meeting, design/proposal, negotiation/commitment, ready-to-close)? What is the potential value of each customer and each pipeline stage? Why hasn’t this customer been contacted for 15 days?

If you have a CRM system that doesn’t provide you with this kind of sales process control and visibility, you are missing out on one of the most powerful tools for cultivating sales with your ideal clients. Sales and marketing automation should be a given in your choice of CRM today. From booking custom appointments to making sure your events are packed with motivated buyers, sales playbooks are a key to increasing retail sales.

So take some of that energy you’re throwing at social media and devote it to supporting your sales pipeline. Your bottom line will thank you.


Andrea Hill is owner of Hill Management Group, with three brands serving the jewelry industry. Learn more at



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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