Action Sales COO Tony Yeung Discusses How Digital Technologies are Shaping Sales Strategies

How are you using AI to support your sales teams and increase customer engagement?
We currently use automatic customer surveys that ask our customers to rate their experience post-purchase as well as shopping cart reminders for higher ticket items. Customer feedback lets us know whether we are getting good feedback from certain brand names and products. It also helps us make purchasing decisions and adjusting our inventory level. We can use the knowledge gained from those surveys and the buying patterns of customers to personalize our marketing toward them. If an e-commerce customer has placed an item in their cart without completing the checkout, we send an automated email reminder about the item to both the customer and our sales team. Someone from the sales team will then follow up with a second personalized email asking how Action Sales can help. This lets the operator know there’s a real person and a real company on the other end that can help them.

How are you using AI/ digital marketing to help your salespeople generate new customers and retain existing customers?
To increase sales and add more products to final sales? We use various lead-collection forms to segment customers into email/follow-up campaigns. These forms are automatically integrated with our email marketing program. The data we collect helps us understand how the markets are shifting and where new customers are coming from. One of the major new categories we’ve identified is food truck companies. The last few years have seen an increase in food truck operator referrals, so we can take the information they provide to better market toward them. We personalize our email newsletter to include products that relate to their business – for example, new liquid propane gas cooking equipment or narrow-depth refrigerators. We also make sure to keep that equipment in stock so that we can quickly fulfill customer needs.

What tools does Action Sales use to achieve higher search engine optimization (SEO) results?
How is your sales team involved in driving SEO? We use SEO-friendly platforms and modules for our ecommerce and company websites as well as Google Search Console. SEO draws customers to our website and improves our rankings on Google search. For example, during the beginning of the pandemic – when many dealers were slowing down – we picked up sales online and in-store because we had spotlighted personal protective equip

How are you encouraging existing customers to use your e-commerce site for purchasing?
We have a multi-language site and highlight recommended items on our website. To choose which items to highlight, we use Google filters to track the most clicked and searched items on our index. From there, we narrow it down to the top 50 products and then determine the top 10 items where we have a price advantage. This also helps us identify which items to negotiate on better pricing with manufacturers.
Once you’ve developed a history with a buyer, what kind of technologies and digital marketing tools have you been using to help your salespeople understand customers’ habits, and make ongoing product recommendations to your customers?
We primarily refer to our e-commerce program, Google Analytics, and our email marketing program to help us understand customer habits. We have also considered CRM technologies like Salesforce but have not implemented it yet. However, as we develop the online business and work toward expanding our business, we’ll need something like Salesforce to help us to manage our data. Implementing a CRM is definitely a project we’re looking to get done in the next one to two years.
Are younger employees who are digital natives helping your company’s sales team maximize the effectiveness of your digital marketing tools? How are they learning from each other to develop new ideas that take your sales efforts to the next level?
It definitely helps to have younger employees – they bring a lot of new ideas to both the sales and management teams. Over the last five years, we’ve welcomed new sales team members as they’ve joined us, and more than half of our sales force are millennials now. The food industry is changing, and the young generation of chefs needs a sales team that understand their needs.