Transformations in the market have put the locus of power squarely in the hands of buyers: the world revolves around buyers and their needs. That means sellers have to work harder than ever to attract buyers and convince them to purchase—not just once but in perpetuity. To forge these lasting customer relationships, sellers must create a world-class sales system that consists of three components: customer engagement, performance support and sales enablement.
In this, the first of a three-part series exploring the top 12 sales practices from of “All That Glitters Is Not Gold: 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study,” conducted by CSO Insights, we’ll take a closer look at the first element of this triad: how sellers can build a world-class customer experience for their buyers that keeps them coming back.
1. Deliver Consistently Great Customer Experiences on Every Channel
Today, the buying process allows sellers to engage with buyers at multiple touchpoints—on websites, through email, phone—and through multiple contacts, whether through inside sales, field sales, channel partners or service representatives. No matter the source of the contact—from filling out online marketing automation forms to delivering sales presentations and responding to service calls—every contact with a buyer must add value to the customer experience. It should either bring the buyer further into the sales funnel or, for existing customers, deepen the relationship and open up opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. To keep these interactions positive, sellers must keep buyers at the center of everything they do: each touchpoint must be informed by—and designed to address—the buyers’ wants, needs and challenges.
2. Create a Seamless Customer Experience through Tailored Messaging
Given that 70% of sales organizations’ revenue currently comes from existing customers, you can’t stop wooing customers once you ink a deal. The courtship has to continue indefinitely. Therefore, it’s critical to map out their buyers’ path, from awareness to purchase to implementation and adoption. The path is often iterative, so the key is to identify all potential touchpoints for common scenarios, such as new customers asking for a quote, current customers considering whether to change solutions or channel partners looking for service. The next step is to create a framework that any customer-facing professional can tailor to communicate the organization’s value to each buying influence and along each phase of the customer path. By equipping all customer-facing roles with similar messages through training, coaching and other tools, buyers will experience relevant, valuable and differentiating interactions at each phase along their journey—and sellers can maximize their sales quota attainment.
3. Make Sure Every Sales Call Delivers Value for You—and Your Customers and Prospects
Buyers today wait longer to engage sellers in the purchase process, which means sales calls have become harder to secure. Regardless of a call’s length, every call needs to have valuable outcomes and next steps with messages tailored to individual buying influences and focused on the prospect’s point in the customer path. Sellers need to be prepared to share any relevant content, including product sheets, case studies and blogs. They also need to be ready to answer questions and provide advice to their buyer. Having the skills to conduct actionable sales calls takes time, and so sellers should be armed with a repeatable approach and methodology that adds value. Organizations that have done this correctly have seen win rates of forecasted deals by 11.5% over those that haven’t.
How a Perspective-Based Sales Methodology Can Foster the Strongest Customer Relationships
When buyer budgets tighten, only the strongest relationships will survive. CSO Insights developed an innovative way to measure the strength of sales processes and buyer-seller relationships: the Sales Relationship Process Matrix. Sellers at the most basic level—approved vendors—that offer no clear competitive advantage over their peers are likely to be cut from their buyer’s roster of providers, while those who have risen to the level of strategic contributors—those that have a unique understanding of the buyer’s company and industry so they can offer meaningful solutions to the buyer’s challenges—are likely to have staying power. To create these lasting relationships, sellers must be able to offer perspective—an invaluable tandem of mindset, insight and experience that can help buyers more clearly understand their problems and achieve their goals.
Now’s the Time to Take Your Customer Engagement to the Next Level
Meaningful change doesn’t happen overnight; that’s why it’s critical for organizations to future-proof themselves by starting their sales transformation now—before the next recession hits. And one pillar of that future-proofing is following these three steps to build a culture of great customer service, which can help you retain your customer base, regardless of the financial climate.
For more steps you can take to build a culture of customer engagement, download “All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Key Findings From the CSO Insights 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study,” and stay tuned for our next blog on the second pillar of a world-class customer experience: stellar performance practices.