With so much information at their fingertips, buyers today can bounce around all over the place. They can find vast amounts of information and perform their due diligence online. (It would be much easier if they all behaved the same way and went through a serial process so we can easily keep track of them all). Sadly for sales people, that’s not the case. For many organisations, the response to selling to this new breed of ‘empowered customer’ has been to simply adjust their tactics.
For example, many sales teams send follow-up content to customers via email. The problem with this approach is that it makes it impossible to precisely track customer reaction to this information and provide relevant updates to meet changing customer needs. The truth is it’s not about changing your tactics; it’s about changing your strategy.
New technology platforms can analyse customer interactions and identify high-quality prospects,
suggest next-best actions and provide insights that enable you to deepen customer relationships. Communities, for example, can serve as a collaborative platform for sales teams and internal subject matter experts. Through these platforms, sales teams can manage and track customer engagements in real time, and gather relevant insights from internal and external sources, including social media. They can also support bi-directional collaboration with customers.
The ability to track and analyse a prospect’s response to specific sales and marketing touchpoints is reinvigorating the use of playbooks in sales calls. Playbooks are nothing new and as we all remember from our early sales careers, they’ve been around for a long time. The difference is that now they’re way more powerful, thanks to the critical insights delivered by analytics. Sales playbooks are based on the context of a sale. In today’s dynamic business-to-business environment, that context is changing continuously. Digital guides can now be used with mobile devices to optimise the delivery of effective and consistent sales messages. Depending on where a prospect is on their customer journey, your sales people can share relevant content in the best possible sequence, as well as changing course on the fly to respond to customer questions.
You can also refine your playbook depending on the results you’re getting. By analysing the data and determining which messages are associated with higher win rates, larger deals or faster sales cycles, you can prioritise specific sales activities to align with customer needs and market conditions.
In an Alexander Group study, companies that effectively used digital playbooks gained up to a fourteen per cent increase in sales. And companies that implement analytics to prioritise sales leads and identify which customers will value additional products and services can potentially double their conversion rates
This is so much more than simply a change of tactics. It’s a strategic analytics-driven approach to revenue. Mapping your sales activities to the customer buying journey will not only spearhead greater revenue creation for your company, but will also enable you to deliver an overall better customer experience by anticipating their requirements.
Steve Hurn – Senior Vice President and General Manager Cloud and Line of Business at SAP