Customer experience will be the defining element of marketing and sales strategy in 2017.
To create a seamless customer experience, companies must align not just Marketing and Sales -- but all revenue-generating and outwards-facing departments, including customer success and product development.
Customer experience is the story of each client's relationship with your product or service. In other words, who are these people, and how did their relationships with your product begin and mature over time?
The answers to each question should propel important insights throughout Sales, Marketing and Support. Here are the top four reasons your business teams should zero in on client experience in 2017.
1) Positive CX is the Logical Endgame
Every item on a B2B executive’s “wish list” depends on a powerful and positive customer experience: More customers, higher average contract values, negative churn, high renewal rates, increased referrals, shorter sales cycles, and stronger inbound lead generation. Every item on this wish list also organically drives future revenue. According to Heinz Marketing, 84% of decision makers kick off the buying process with a referral rather than talking to a salesperson.
2) Positive CX Makes Your Organization More Efficient
Data-savvy sales leaders are turning sales process analysis into an exact science. For example, Birst senior sales development manager Chris Pham used Ambition to publish an internal audit of sales process efficiency in his 100-person sales development representative (SDR) team. His key finding: Higher activity volume adversely affected rep efficiency. At a certain point, reps were essentially abandoning pre-qualification and preparation.
Birst is a massive business intelligence software company with tremendous sales training and data analytics resources at their disposal -- and their results suffer dramatically when their reps blindly dial.
As Pham notes, “What good is high sales activity volume if it’s not driving revenue?” Modern sales organizations are starting to understand customer-focused effort and attention maximize sales force efficiency and yield better results than outbound efforts. Perhaps that’s the reason sales professionals who are skilled social media users are six times more likely to exceed quota.
3) CX Aligns Your Organization
Want sales and marketing to make smarter decisions and operate more efficiently? Equip them with anecdotal and data insights from customer success and support. The more business you’ve closed, the more information you have to draw actionable business intelligence from.
In 2017, it’s cheaper and easier than ever before to mine your customer data for those insights. Here at Ambition, we have a spreadsheet that we update monthly called “Customer Intelligence for Sales and Marketing.” It includes data points such as industry, location, total number of users, average sessions per user, and so forth. Combining those metrics with data on customer journeys, we’ve been able to develop a much clearer thousand-foot view of who our clients are, how and why they buy from us, and what creates a successful experience post-implementation.
According to CSO Insights, 56% of sales organizations that invest in social selling tools cite “deeper relationships with clients” as their most expected benefit. The more deeply you understand your clients are, the better your sales and marketing teams can nurture, develop, and operationalize future ones.
4) CX is Now Your Brand
If you're not in business to create a positive experience for your customers, you’re at a (potentially disastrous) disadvantage. Your clients are now in control of your messaging. Your prospects are no longer at an information disadvantage about your product or service.
Daniel Pink, one of the most accurate business prognosticators of our generation, drilled home this point in his How to Sell Like a Human interview with HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan. This is 2017. If a product or service costs money, there’s a 99% chance it’s being advertised online -- and a rapidly growing likelihood it’s being reviewed online, too.
You are not your slick new advertising campaign. You are who your customers say you are. In that respect, every organization must make a choice when it comes to customer experience.
If your sales organization needs help flipping the funnel, so to speak, take a look at Ambition. We’ve helped great companies like Cvent and ChowNow manage key performance metrics for both sales and support on a single, real-time platform. To read the entirety of our 2017 B2B Trends and Tech Guide, visit b2btrendsandtech.com.
Originally published Mar 24, 2017 6:30:00 AM, updated March 24 2017