A sales rep visits a well-known customer, a regular scheduled visit with no specific tasks. They know each other since quite a while and have a trustful relationship. As always, right before the visit the sales rep has checked the status of customer orders, possible open complaints, whatever is relevant to know to be adequate prepared. And now this – first thing the customer mentions is the mail he received in the morning with an interesting offer from the sales rep’s company. The sales rep knows nothing about it, too bad. The mail was sent from the marketing department – and no one in the sales team was aware of this mail campaign and the offer at all.
Today B2B customers have so many touch points with their vendors that it is very difficult to keep everything aligned. In addition, they gather information on their own through colleagues, peers in associations, social networks, competitor web pages. Thus, being ahead of the customers or at least know as much as they know is a challenge for the sales teams. Often sales reps even get in a defensive position.
How can this be addressed? How to support the sales teams and not making their live even more difficult? What information customers gather from independent sources is a black box for the sales team, and this will always be a challenge they must cope with. But knowing all customer related activities that happens within the own company – this should be possible, or at least one think it should be. Reality is often different – B2B organizations are often organized in silos. Sales, service and marketing are separated and isolated. And this leads to unrelated customer touch points. Support through IT helps to change this situation, but this is not enough. Even more important is an organizational change to allow more exchange, more transparency, in the end more awareness of the objectives and needs of the colleagues of the other departments.
The same service, the same information independent of the touch point that the customer contacts – here can IT support. With applications that allow the different departments to appear outside as one organization. Service agents have a real 360-degree customer view and with that all relevant information on hand so that they can serve the customer appropriately. Marketing creates offers and campaigns and informs everyone accordingly. And the sales reps are always informed on all customer activities independent from the department which has started it or that was contacted – be it service, marketing or their own team members.