We all want to please our customers. But how many of us regularly ask them exactly what they want, versus assuming we know how to please them and proceed about our merry way?
Several years ago SalesGlobe hosted a panel discussion about selling to strategic accounts, and one panelist, who had sold to a major grocery chain for years, recalled the impact of hearing the following sentence:
“You know Tom, it’s great when you sell to us how you want to sell to us. But it’s even better when you sell to us how we want to buy.”
Simple, yet transformative.
How do you evaluate customers and understand what they are looking for? The goal is to use customer information to become a more productive sales organization. How do you look at the market and where it’s headed for competitors? Are there ways of getting insider information that can improve business results, either in terms of the metrics we’re looking at or what we’re hearing back from customers?
Of course, the more we can partner with our customers the more we can drive productivity together. Partnerships and productivity gains are interwoven. At every front, to listen to the customer – logistics, processing, procurement, billing. Partnering in any way possible to create solutions together will improve our productivity and continue to provide great service. Opening up the entire organization from every functional expert to become more efficient for your customer will help you be successful together.
A client we worked with recently held a partner conference to better understand the needs of their customers. They gathered the CIOs of their top 13 customers into one city for two days. The goal was to listen to their customers and understand not only what the sales people are hearing the market, but why they’re hearing it.
Many companies get voice of the customer in pieces and parts, but we have to amass that information. Once amassed, analyze it for patterns and movements in terms of what we’re missing relative to customer expectations. Why are we losing deals and why are we winning deals?
What practical methods have you found for gathering customer insight and using it to drive productivity?
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