Every salesperson in history has claimed to understand the customer and this has probably been accurate to varying degrees. Used well, a good understanding of the client should help increase the total amount of sales.
This idea, as espoused by Brian Hallehan and Dharmesh Shah in the book “Inbound Marketing”, is how they built their own business at Hubspot. At base it consists of
ensuring that your website, your blogs and your social media feel familiar and comfortable to your customer or prospect so there’s an echo chamber of the right content around them. Obviously this is only possible when you know exactly who your customer is and what they want and need.
Inevitably this involves the Sales and the Marketing operation coming together, as does the changing nature of the customer.
The informed client
Allied with the imperative to understand your customer is the need to comprehend how much the customer understands your business. Older style sales involved persuasion from a position of strength; in the Internet age the client will have all of your products, any socially shared reviews and perhaps your company’s accounts in front of them. Understanding that they need empathy and a solution to a problem for them rather than for your own sales figures can only help – and this involves diligence and fact finding on the salesperson’s part.
The end result will be a better and more sustainable sale built on a relationship rather than a one-off.
Core to all of this is the idea of gathering and nurturing the information on the customer in the first place to ensure a data-driven sale.
Vital to this, in turn, is a good CRM system which captures and then deploys all of that data. Gartner, for example, suggests that CRM will be at the heart of digital technology for a long while yet, taking social media, real-time information gathered on tablets and phones and other drivers into account. It means that both client and vendor have the chance to get to know each other better before they have even picked up the phone to each other.
Information is increasingly used in sales. 82% of salespeople use their smartphones or tablets to access their company’s CRM system in real time to ensure it’s always up to date in real time, according to research from Software Advice, a company that offers sales software reviews and comparisons.
You can understand, then, that better sales can come from better information and this information is best gathered by the salespeople who will be using it. The whole thing becomes a virtuous circle in which the sales cycle is improved by those who will benefit from it most – the well-served customer and the high-performing salesperson.
Ensuring that your organisation’s culture centres around understanding and empathising with the customer is a sure way to make the most of the sales potential of every relationship – and leave the less enlightened competition standing.
- Customers should be kept at the heart of your strategy
- Your clients should be kept informed across a variety of channels
- Data, mobile and social channels all need to be taken into account when interacting with your customers
By Billy Lyle, Managing Director of Redspire CRM Consultancy, Billy has more than 15 years experience in deploying business solutions, directing commercial and technical development work on a day-to-day basis. To learn why data-driven marketing is becoming a key tool for SMEs to deliver effective campaigns that profitably engage their customers read the blog post: Circle Of Success: Data – Understanding – Customers