Building the Sales Intelligence-Customer Experience Connection
Nov 30, 2016
Sales intelligence (SI) applications provide sales reps with customer insights (including context and timing) in order to close more sales in less time, as reported in a new Frost & Sullivan research paper. SI helps to turn prospects into customers and create and build customer relationships.
Moreover, SI applications level the playing field with customers, who expect sales reps to be informed about them when they prospect. Customers will have researched, and they may have shortlisted companies, before reaching out to them, and perhaps prior to being contacted by their sales teams.
But there also is an increasingly critical relationship between SI and providing an excellent Customer Experience (CX). In-depth customer knowledge, and the ability of companies to provide the right products to them, supplies the keys to initial sales and to strong post-sales customer relationships. Companies depend on their customers’ positive CXs for sales-enabling references and referrals in today's highly competitive business climate.
There are three factors that companies should consider in order to foster the SI and CX connection:
- Seller and buyer data must be accurate, clean, accessible, and actionable. The Internet, including social media, provides vast access to exponentially growing volumes of market, buyer, seller, decision maker, and competitor information. But that data is continually changing. Data from particularly social sources may be self-reported and could be inaccurate, or at the very least, exaggerated. Therefore, sellers (and buyers), must take steps to ensure their customer and prospect data is up to date and consistent, across all customer touchpoints.
- SI applications should permit the human touch in obtaining and verifying data. There are many excellent automated online data collection and verification solutions. But they are not foolproof, which risks creating a “reliability deficit”. There is no substitute for human inquisitiveness in obtaining accurate, detailed, and insightful information from others.
- Sellers must have the latest CX information before and when engaging prospects. That includes purchases, billing, service, and support issues, and complaints and compliments. Sales reps must be prepared to acknowledge and handle these “elephants in the room” in the beginnings of conversations. Customers will be more amenable to buying when they are satisfied with the vendors.
Finally, the expansions and in some cases the shifts of products to the cloud, and to on-demand “as a service” subscription models are creating new opportunities for companies to win over customers. But by the same token, these developments make it imperative for them to deliver excellent CXs in order to retain existing customers and to attract new buyers.
Brendan Read is Senior Industry Analyst with over 25 years’ experience covering business, communications, staffing, and technology. He has worked in, prepared reports, and blogged on a wide range of topics including customer contact, CX, CRM, IoT, social media, supply chain, and BC/DR. He also has backgrounds in construction, manufacturing, materials, resource extraction, site selection, and transportation. He examines the broad economic, environmental, innovation, political, and social mega trends, and their impacts on businesses, markets, and society.