If your sales team is struggling to grow, the answer to your troubles could lie in the area of customer experience.
Organisations focus so much time and energy on converting prospects into customers that they fail to leverage the economic engine of repeat business and referrals.
To earn adequate revenue from these opportunities, though, you need to optimise your customer experience.
The following is an overview of the critical importance of improving the customer experience within your sales organisation, supported by recent data on CX.
Customer Experience Basics
If you are going to give a best-in-class experience to customers, you need to think like a customer in evaluating your entire marketing, sales and service process.
Customers form their impressions about experience based on every interaction they have with your business from initial investigation through purchase and post-purchase activities.
Consider your strategies for driving sales leads through marketing, nurturing with the intent of solving problems, closing with a deal that delivers real value to the customer and continually communicating for relationship management.
Your new customer doesn’t stop being a customer once you’ve closed the initial deal.
Differentiation Through Customer Experience
In the results of a 2016 study (PDF), Accenture surveyed 1,350 customer experience, sales and service executives around the world.
They wanted to get their perspectives on
- (1) the importance of the customer experience to their business,
- (2) how well they are delivering it,
- (3) the benefits they’ve generated, and
- (4) the challenges they encounter.
Respondents represented companies from 10 countries and 16 industries, with the vast majority posting annual revenues of more than US$1 billion.
Their data gives credence to the competitive importance of customer experience:
- 86 percent of executives reported that customer experience was a top strategic priority in their sales organisation.
- 78 percent of respondents said customer experience has a direct impact on their company’s bottom line and
- 77 percent identified their customer experience as a top competitive advantage.
All of these numbers from the Accenture study were on the rise from the previous years. Additionally, a significant portion of executives said their firms had recently increased budgets within the customer experience arena.
Importance of Versatility and Adaptability
Versatility and adaptability are two of the most critical skills for your sales team concerning optimising the customer experience.
Regardless of the research you conduct, it is difficult to precisely predict which problems each prospect faces and the path they will take to make a purchase decision.
Therefore, your reps need to combine expertise in a structured sales process with genuine concern for customer welfare and the ability to adapt to the individual’s circumstances.
Your organisation also needs to integrate these agility factors into your entire sales system. Look to data, including intent data, to drive your approaches to attracting, qualifying and converting sales leads.
The marketplace is evolving rapidly in the current climate. Consequently, you need to stay on top of trends to know what your top prospects expect and to deliver an experience that matches what the demographic, geographic, firmographic and behavioural data tells you about specific buyers.
Delivering a best-in-class customer experience isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
Common obstacles cited from the Accenture study were lack of executive-level CX prioritisation, lack of dedicated time for sales leaders and no formal processes.
If your team can overcome these challenges, your company can achieve a significant strategic advantage.
As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses need to prioritise the customer experience to convert and retain profitable customers.