The definition of Customer Engagement (according to Wikipedia) is an effect, a reaction, a connection, a response and/or an experience of customers with one another, with a company or a brand.
It goes on to say “The initiative for engagement can be either consumer – or company -led and the medium of engagement can be on or offline.”
Since customer engagement is key to how we run our business, we decided to ask one of our very own inside sales specialists to give her opinion on what it means to her. Meet Lisa.
Lisa is a member of our Inside Sales team and has worked alongside a number of her client’s outbound sales team focusing on creating opportunities for them with prospective businesses, and working closely with their sales & marketing teams.
Lisa Clooney – Inside Sales
I look after company led Customer Engagement. The basic principle of Customer Engagement is to engage the consumer with a company or brand, integrate and understand the challenges, analyse and discover the requirements and finally, execute and deliver the solution.
But where do you start? There are so many ways to get in touch with potential clients in our technology-driven world. Phone, Email, Social Networks, Webinars, Events, Trade Shows, the list goes on. Most people will use the first three items as part of their daily routine – email, social network (often referred to as social selling) and telephone. How proficient are you with all three platforms?
Is it simply picking up the phone and dialling numbers? No. It’s necessary to take the time to prepare a good pitch to deliver in a timely, organised manner. When you are targeting executives in technology sectors you need to be focused and prepared. Procrastination can set in if you start to over-analyse who you are targeting because she is a Head of Department or she has a mobile number and you know you are definitely going to get to speak to her. How many times have you thought, what if they actually answer the phone?
I love talking. I am thrilled and challenged when speaking with someone that is interested in the specific solution being pitched. You can hear the enthusiasm in their voice; they ask informed questions, have specific criteria to be met and are interested in receiving more information. Read our other post 4 Common Sales Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
Many companies use email as the most direct and effective way of contacting potential business clients. How strong is your email template? Does is highlight your companies achievements, the solutions USP’s, your current clients, and drive them to your website? Does it provide value to each specific reader? These are the things that work for me and if you are not tailoring it for each recipient, you could be wasting your time. I get a high response rate to my email campaigns but I still believe that you can’t beat a good phone call.
Social networks provide a platform for business professionals to get in touch with all aspects of business relations. Reaching out to people in companies I want to engage with, reconnecting with past colleagues, building new relationships with customers, heighten brand marketing awareness, and increasing your face-to-face networking effectiveness are all among the top reasons for using these outlets.
My choice is LinkedIn because I know I can reach out to many of the people I need to connect to with the right message, or via contacts I already have. If you use it in the correct manner, it can open all sorts of doors.
The question I always ask myself is, am I connecting with the right people? Am I meeting with the right people? My experience has taught me that researching companies and individuals prior to making contact has had a greater effect when speaking to them. I understand their background, which encourages an initial reason to engage over the phone/email which in turn they can elaborate on current projects, or what is challenging them so that I can be ready to provide them with the correct information about a solution that will work for them. It’s all about building strong relationship foundations step by step.
Rejection vs Objection
However, part of this role is to deal with rejection. How do you take a rejection message, turn it into an objection, and potentially turn a cold lead into a warm one? Practice.
You need to fully understand the solution while having an objection handling technique or process to follow. Personally, [working with my current clients] I have an amazing technical team behind me, whom I can reach out to on a daily basis for a deeper insight into the back-end workings of the solution.
The difference in what I do is holding that prospect on the phone for an additional 30 seconds and taking the time to understand the reason for their “rejection” which, if managed in the correct way, may not be a rejection at all. For example, it is possible to integrate this solution into established platforms and can be an add-on to compliment and secure what is already in-situ.
Don’t Forget to Smile
In order to engage your prospects, it is important to smile during the conversation. These executives are receiving many phone calls each day, all possibly pitching the same messages, for similar solutions. How do you break the monotony for prospects, how do you stand out on the phone above all of the other callers that day? Smile, and be kind!
People are only human, everyone may have bad days or busy days, and you will get the occasional hang up, get asked to call back at a better time or be asked to send an email etc. But isn’t it great when they say, oh yes I remember you or I remember that email, it was interesting, tell me more. I’ve got them on the hook, now it’s time to shine at what I do best.
Customer Engagement is one of the most common phrases used in sales and marketing circles. When I am speaking with technology experts I am using awareness of the solution and knowledge of my prospect (background/profile) to communicate effectively how to make the solution work for them.
Dealing with rejection and objections are part and parcel of this role but it is immensely rewarding, having turned a prospect around that has come from objection handling, and arranging demo’s for my sales team to attend. A highly effective and responsive support network is crucial for all outbound marketing.
Here’s to another year of creating engagement with professionals, taking it to another level, and delivering top class solutions!
Lisa Clooney – Inside Sales Executive