Becoming more customer-centric is a smart goal for any sales organization. According to research from Deloitte, companies who use a customer-centric strategy are 60% more profitable.
But in order to yield these results, customer centricity has to be more than words on a page. It must be part of your core values and truly integrated into your company culture and daily operations.
Here’s what you need to know to develop a true customer-centric strategy for your sales team.
What is Customer-Centric Selling?
Customer-centric selling is a sales strategy that puts the customer’s needs, wants, and communication preferences at the center of the buying process.
The customer journey from start to finish should be designed so that all sales activities and communication are aimed at helping the customer achieve short and long-term success.
To be fully effective, customer-centric selling should go beyond the sales department – to your customer service, marketing, and account management teams as well.
When you have a customer-focused company, you’ll gain customer loyalty, improve retention rates, and increase referrals – making it a win-win for both you and your clients.
How Do You Implement Customer-Centric Selling?
Implementing a customer-centric approach to selling sounds simple, yet most companies fail to accomplish it. If you want to transform your sales organization to a customer-centric model, follow these 7 tips:
1. Believe in It
This is a key step to ensure each of your employees (especially your front-line employees) approach every interaction with your customers’ best interest in mind.
Remind your salespeople that selling is a noble profession—as long as they’re committed to bringing true value to your clients.
Most companies give lip service to keep a focus on the customer, while true customer-centric sales organizations develop a customer-centric culture. They live and breathe customer centricity, from start to finish.
They evaluate everything they do through the eyes of the customer and with the customer’s needs, wants, and behaviors in mind. Only when customer centricity is embraced in this way can it be implemented effectively throughout the organization.
2. Research the Customer
Customer-centric sales organizations take the time to understand the customer both at the industry level and at the individual level. Arm your sales team with data-driven insights on their customers, and teach them to research each prospect in advance.
Be sure your reps are pre-call planning to understand their clients and prospects on a deep level. If they do, the solutions they recommend will be tailored to the buyer and will provide the most value.
3. Ask Great Questions
Every customer interaction should be centered around the customer, throughout the customer life cycle.
Coach your salespeople to ask probing questions that get to the heart of what is important to the customer, as well as their concerns, hopes, and objections.
Then, remind them to really listen to the answers they receive.
4. Be Consultative
A customer-centric sales strategy focuses first on understanding the issue, then on helping to solve it with the most appropriate solution.
Train your salespeople in consultative selling skills. They should be able to listen actively, offer suggestions, and tailor solutions based on what is truly in the customer’s best interest.
Keeping a consultative approach will also improve your team’s first contact resolution rates (properly addressing the customer's need the first time they call or email, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to follow up a second time.)
5. Use the Customer’s Communication Style
Active listening combined with probing questions and a consultative approach will put your sales team ahead of the competition. But to really stand out from the crowd, teach your reps to identify and adapt to the customer’s preferred communication style.
Adapting to the customer’s communication style will automatically make them feel more at ease and will improve their overall experience with your company. Read more about identifying and adapting to buyer behavior styles here.
6. Invest in Customer Service Training
True customer centricity doesn’t stop with the sales team. Your customer service team is an integral part of the customer experience. When the two teams are in alignment, the result is increased customer loyalty, retention, revenue, and referrals.
IMPACT for Customer Service is a training program designed to give your customer service team the skills needed to delight customers, grow customer loyalty, and differentiate your company from the competition. Watch the video below to learn more.
7. Solicit and Adapt to Feedback
A customer-centric strategy should begin and end with the customer. This means that every client should have the opportunity to provide feedback, whether it’s through a post-sale survey, scorecard, or other format that makes sense for your business.
Your organization should use that feedback to continuously improve how you serve the customer.
Requesting this feedback from your customers (and even opportunities that you lost) can help you learn what you’re doing right, and where you can tweak your approach to be more successful in the future.
According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing happy customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.
Transforming your sales organization by using a customer-centric model not only improves the experience your customers have with you, it also results in increased revenue – making it a win-win.
Be sure your customer service is translating into sales by giving your customer service professionals the skills and confidence to identify opportunities, and present valuable solutions with every customer interaction they have. Learn more and request an info packet for the training program here.
Published on July 11, 2018