By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
In today’s world of the empowered customer, it’s no longer an option to just tell people your organization is customer-centric. Your sales reps need to uphold this promise by tailoring their approaches to each prospect or client they meet, and this holds especially true for high-powered executive buyers. If your team is failing to cater to this particular group, your organization could lose business in the blink of an eye. Knowing your customers and meeting their specific needs has never been more important.
In fact, Mark Lindwall of Forrester quoted his colleague, David Cooperstein, in his blog, stating, “It’s no longer sufficient to say that you are simply ‘customer-centric’ or ‘customer-focused.’ The only successful strategy in the age of the customer is to become customer-obsessed—to focus your strategic decisions first and foremost on how your customers expect you to engage them.”
Failing to do so is a critical mistake for your organization. Customers have higher expectations than ever before and if your sales team isn’t meeting its clients on level ground, it can miss the chance to strengthen the relationship.
Are Salespeople Missing the Mark with Executive Buyers?
Your sales reps may leave every meeting feeling like they nailed the pitch, but there’s a good chance this isn’t the case. Forrester surveyed a number of executive buyers, and less than 40 percent said meetings with their representatives fulfill their expectations. Lindwall also noted that only 25 percent of salespeople even have access to executive buyers, which means there are limited possibilities for face-to-face meetings. This gap can cripple sales productivity.
Although companies are funneling money into sales onboarding, training and extra development, the missing crucial element could be empathy. Executives want salespeople to express genuine concern and understanding, and if they don’t, your team is losing opportunities by being out of sync.
Even though customers can empower themselves to make informed decisions, sales reps need to be able to walk in the shoes of their customers to be able to maximize every opportunity. You need to understand how each customer perceives value, risk and cost. At the end of the day, executives aren’t really interested in products—they want something that will solve their companies’ pain points. If your sales representatives go to meetings just to discuss key product features, they probably aren’t talking about the things that are truly important to the client and they may miss the deal.
How to Become Customer-obsessed
1. Use Your CRM Correctly
The more information reps have when they enter the meeting, the more likely they are to deliver the experience the client wants. A simple step like ensuring CRM information is always up to date can make a big difference.
2. Be Responsive, But Keep It Short
Although customer-centricity involves more than just being there when customers need you, your sales reps can’t leave clients hanging. If they can’t respond right away, a short note detailing when they will get in touch can help build trust with executive buyers. However, if you’re getting in touch with these people on your terms, don’t ramble. Voicemails and emails should be short and to the point.
3. Represent Yourself as the Product
Since executives are more interested in problem-solving than products themselves, your salespeople need to create a positive association in the client’s mind. The executive may end up continuing the relationship with the rep for years, so it needs to start by meeting and exceeding expectations.