How harassed are your customers feeling? The answer probably depends on your sales approach. According to new research from Loudhouse, today’s buyers now receive an average of 64 approaches by salespeople over the course of a week. For some sales organisations, as information becomes more available to buyers, their salespeople have become more intrusive or aggressive. For others, a sales “strategy” is still defined as the old-fashioned “spray and pray” tactics, playing the numbers game and hoping to get lucky and find someone ready and willing to buy from them at any given point in time. These hounding approaches not only have no place in today’s digital era, but even less so in tomorrow’s.
Thankfully, for most organisations such lowest common denominator tactics are a thing of the past. Many sales organisations worth their weight have taken some steps to adjust to this new world order where the buyer is empowered and informed. But are these adjustments working and how do you know if your sales organisation has done enough?
We all know that communication preferences change throughout the purchasing process – telephone and email in the initial research phase, moving to email in the shortlisting stage, and then face to face in final decision process. But despite sales departments having already changed significantly in recent years, many are (still) lacking the granular insight required to deliver a great sales experience.
In fact, against this backdrop of changing communication preferences and being highly informed throughout the process, 75% of buyers say they often feel like they are way ahead of a salesperson who is supposed to be “helping” them. In the UK and India, this figure jumps to over 80%!
That’s why personalised, consistent and relevant service is a fundamental pre-requisite if vendors are to flourish over the next decade. If you run a sales team, your only real question is whether your current sales approach and use of modern technologies is having any impact on the bottom line, particularly as customer expectations continue to increase. (I suspect not, given the frustration that 80% of buyers say they are experiencing with salespeople).
The reality is that by shifting from delivering an acceptable level of service to an exceptional level of service enables vendors to know what buyers want even before they do, and continually deliver relevant value to them.
Still think being ‘good enough’ is really good enough? Then consider this. The same Loudhouse study found that by getting a “good” sales experience, 28% of buyers say they are extremely likely to buy from that vendor again. Not bad. But when buyers receive an “excellent” sales experience that figure jumps to a whopping 81%. That’s a delta of 53% by improving from good to great. Compounding this is the forward wind of positive recommendations buyers will share with their peers and colleagues when they receive excellent service (as well as sharing negative purchasing experiences of course).
The cornerstone of successful buyer/vendor relationships today – and for the foreseeable future – hinges on understanding and knowledge. Trust, experience and insight are now valued over cost in the context of today’s buying market. That means differentiating yourself by offering exceptional customer experiences that are based on meaningful interactions with your prospects at every step of their buying journey, and understanding the requirements of your buyers at an individual basis, rather than as a homogenised assumption.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Please leave your comments in the box below.
You can also download the report I mentioned in full here.