One of the most talked about topics with our customers today is CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that houses their customers’ data. I have a background in CRM implementation and now at Growth Dynamics I am seeing the results from the view of the sales organization. The biggest challenge today’s leaders face is getting all the great data our sales team collects from customers into the CRM... not to mention getting the sales team (or even marketing) to use it for more than an expensive data storage program.
Most importantly, we are consistently engaged with the C-level and Vice President of Sales in large sales organizations where many, if not all, of the leadership is unsure today of the following same things: why their customers buy, what their customers are seeking in the future, and how they can retain or grow their customers’ accounts? Why is this important, because EVERY company we work with is changing how they operate, how they go to market and how they buy... changing the landscape and complexity of sales worldwide. Although you won’t hear this from the sales team, many struggle to define what their customers want and expect as they are so focused on retaining their business or managing through layers of decision makers who flow across 4 generations... all making decisions differently.
Our company recently completed a comprehensive customer intelligence survey for a global tool cutting manufacturer we will call Company X. Their leadership in the US and Germany wanted to understand the needs of their distributor channel partners versus their end user customers. In addition, they (like so many of our customers) were struggling with a long-standing, highly technical, engineering-driven sales team that needed this information to optimize their sales efforts with their customer accounts. The company wanted to know: What is their customers’ perception of the company products, services or solutions? Do their customers understand the breadth of their line of tools and are they aware of their advanced solutions? Do they see them as a Tier 1 supplier and if not, how could they achieve that status? This company needed a process that would provide customers with a “voice,” educate them on company products VS what they buy, and then re-engage the sales team to mine, develop and grow their business.
The mistake... so often companies reach out to customers with satisfaction surveys and they fail to do the one thing that is the most valuable…engage their customers, get their voice and ask questions... the customer will tell you everything you need to know about how to retain or support their account. Why? Because today’s customer have no more time than we do... the last thing they want to do is find a new vendor or supplier... negotiate pricing, start a new relationship. They simply want your company to be the best you can be for them. Engaging customers to gain their “voice”, feedback, suggestions and recommendations... then feeding that input back to the sales team arms you with information to help the sales team perform, arms you with information to drive customer needs, and allows you to hold a sales team accountable for what customers want and expect... driving sales growth which is the reason we are here!