Customer-centric selling: How to build a successful sales processby
What is your sales process like? Does it focus on what you need? Or does it focus on your customers’ needs?
In order to help your potential customer make a decision you need to approach the process through their eyes. It’s essential to think about their needs – not yours.
So how do you create a successful sales process that is designed around your customer’s needs?
1) Don’t sell
Customers do not want to feel they are being sold to – they want to be in full control of the information they receive, and how they go about purchasing items and services.
In order to design a process that truly fits your customers’ needs, you need to recognise the ‘customer’ as an individual person, and create a process that adapts to them. At the forefront of your mind should be customer satisfaction, not sales.
A salesperson’s ultimate role is to present a solution to a problem, or a perfect fit for a desire. The end result is ultimately the same – the customer chooses you and you make that sale.
2) Active interaction
With so much information at our fingertips, people now have the power to research, query, and find feedback relevant to what they seek from a number of independent sources.
As a seller, you need to keep a watchful eye on what information is out there, and ensure the information you are putting out is directed at, and being seen by, these potential buyers. Communicate with them in the first stages of their buying process, not as a seller but a receptive and useful source of information.
3) Share the load
The responsibility of researching the customer is not restricted to the sales department within a company. As social media and e-commerce increasingly dominate Internet and mobile usage, customers, be they B2B or B2C, are looking to other channels to get the information and, ultimately, the service that they require.
This is why you need a focus on internal collaboration. With this in mind, it’s perhaps best not even to think of selling as a ‘sales’ process or something exclusive to the sales team and alien to the rest. Consider ways in which to improve internal communications within your company and gain specialist training and skills development to help your staff remain customer focused. The sales process could even be redefined as an ‘engagement process’
The new ‘engagement’ process
What would an engagement process look like?
To create a customer needs focused process, we need to identify both the sales and the customer buying process.
For example, the steps for the customer correspond to these seller steps:
Restructuring your sales process to suit customer needs can really improve your business. Not only can you create more harmonious relationships with your customers and your staff, a revamped sales process can produce tangible results.
For example when financial services company CEB changed its sales process to a customer engagement model, the results were a 71% increase in the average charge volume per transaction, 30% increase in average revenue per sales representative, and a 59% improvement in planning for effective commercial interactions.
A sales process designed around you customer really does lead to happier customers, more collaborative teams, and a measurable increase in business. What more could you need?
Richard Edwards is director of Quatreus Ltd.