Monday, December 1, 2014

"Always Be Adding Value" Vs. "Always Be Closing"

"Always Be Adding Value" Beats "Always Be Closing" As The Mantra Of Top Sellers

I Prefer To Buy From Someone Who Genuinely Wants To Add Value

Most sales people say that their goal is to add value, but for those whose "always be closing" actions speak louder, I doubt their sincerity.  For example, during early stage meetings if they begin their presentation before really understanding my needs and what I want to accomplish, I sense a transactional sales rep. My antenna are now up.  If they use price discounting as a closing tactic, they might not realize that their discount might pale in comparison to the overall benefit that I would derive from a value based solution. Also, if they don't stay in touch when I don't have an opportunity in their sales funnel I probably won't retain mind share about them and consider someone else next time a buying situation arises.

I get turned off when I feel that someone is always closing me to the next step in their sales process.  This outdated sales technique, taught by their sales managers, is not an authentic trait. Instead, I'd prefer to be persuaded to the next logical step in understanding how they relate value to what they've learned about me and my company.

Today's buyers are not only smarter due to self-service research but also when it comes to spotting self-serving sales tactics.  By the time these buyers have contacted your sales rep, they probably know more about your company and its industry than the rep does.

In summary, recruit and teach sales reps to "always be adding value".  Only when they reach this point will they have earned the right to ask for the order. This will earn you repeat business and referrals.

By John Bernardi

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Happens When Business Owners Retire?

When Business Owners Retire 

What Enables Them To Sell, Merge Or Transition To A Legacy?

If I were looking for a company to buy or for a merger partner, I'd be searching for one whose core competencies wouldn't walk out the door with its current owner.  Ethics, integrity, design, engineering, production and customer service are baseline essentials, but the company's customer facing competencies must be atop its resume.

As a CEO, are you also responsible for business development and closing key deals?  Unless you can proudly brandish excellence in customer facing competencies as a business differentiator, you will not be optimizing your company's legacy.  This means process competency in marketing, business development, sales and CEM that is supported by the right automation tools and implemented by the right people.

The real value of a business relies on the quality of its customer and product/service portfolio assets. Market penetration, market development and new product/service development competencies will enable you to optimize the ROI of these vital assets.

It's time to make the investment - and this can't be outsourced!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marketing Dollars Better Spent On Customer Experience Management

Customer Experience Management

You Will Be Much More Successful When You Create A Great Experience At Each Touch Point

If actual experiences don't live up to your promise, what good is it for you to attract attention with any form of content marketing?  Instead, consider investing marketing dollars in your CEM culture rather than spending it on image promotion.

Rather than tooting your horn it's better to provide pleasant surprises at every touch point, especially if you can identify and differentiate each touch point visitor according to their needs, the value they bring to your company, and their stage in the buying process.  This will enable you to tailor an individual experience based on what you know about them.

Each stage of the buying cycle has make it or break it touch points.  For example, in the pre-purchase stage your blog, social networks, website and contact center will be key factors in determining if the prospect decides to invite you to discuss a solution to their problem or opportunity.  If they enter the purchase stage, your sales rep becomes very important along with store layout, packaging and ordering process.  Once they've become a customer, you want them to return and also to refer you to others. So, in the post-purchase stage, things like ease of use, customer service, newsletter tips and loyalty programs become key "stay in touch" points.

You'll need a process that is supported by the right marketing automation tools to make this happen.  Begin with content, layout, graphics and video that capture initial attention so that people will want to begin their customer experience journey. They will move to the next logical step in the buying process as long as each prior touch point experience is positive.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fight For Your Customer But Don't Annoy Your Boss

Sales Reps Walk A Fine Line

They Fight For The Optimal Customer Experience

And Do What's Right For The Company

Smart sales reps don't present a CEM recommendation until they have have earned credibility.  In the beginning while learning about the company's products, services and touch points, they strive to understand its CEM capabilities in each area so that they don't promise more than they can deliver.

As you develop your sales practice, identify the company's CEM gaps based on customer feedback, competitive pressures and your own desire to excel.  Earn the right with your boss by achieving the goals and objectives assigned to you.

After you have earned credibility, become a CEM evangelist who can influence the company's CEM to its next level.  Implement your own internal drip marketing campaign after you have prioritized the touch points that need attention.  Recommend two ideas at a time to your boss based on this prioritized list.

Customers and partners will take notice and become more loyal while introducing you to new prospects.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Customer Experience: The Only Sustainable Differentiator

Experience Management Creates Sustainable Competitive Advantage

If customers, employees and partners don't grade all touch points as an A, your company will never be the best it can be.

Do Customers Experience An Excellent Journey Through Your Touch Points?  A missed opportunity occurs when you tap your core competency to produce an excellent product or service, but disappoint your buyer somewhere along their customer experience journey.

Does Employee Experience Drive An Excellent Customer Experience?
  • Are they rewarded for CEM results?
  • How does the partner experience rate?

Do Company Leaders Set A CEM Example?
  • Do they understand the touch point inventory?
  • Is CEM designed into processes?