By Mary Ann McLaughlin, Managing Partner
Gone are the days where the sales person is the method used to communicate your product, service and its value to your potential customer. Buyers used to have difficulty accessing information about your company and/or your detailed product material and therefore relied on the salesperson to become educated.
Now, with the amount of readily available digital information, not only have buyers grown to expect more from the companies that sell to them, but according to Forrester Research, 75% of the B2B buying process is complete before buyers even come in contact with sales!
As a result, in order to meet organizational growth expectations, leaders must rethink how they arm their sales and client development teams to interact with prospects and clients in order to meet their growing expectations.
Here are three best practice strategies that winning organizations employ:
1. Engage your current clients:
Because your prospective buyers are gathering information on their own, where do you think they will go and who do you think they trust the most to tell them the real deal? Their peers. That’s right – people like them who have already bought and who have already been through the experiences of choosing and implementation. They will talk about the good, the bad and the ugly.
What will your clients tell their peers about you? Imagine if every client contact was actively promoting your brand and your products and services within their organization and industry. Cross-selling, upselling and new selling would be a whole lot easier! What must you do to swing these odds in your favor?
Find out who your biggest fans are through consistent loyalty surveying
Treat them like royalty, put them in your inner circle, give them a seat at the table
Ask them to speak, comment on a blog or social media or make a call on your behalf
Ensure that everyone in your organization is equipped to keep them loyal
Not compelled to change? According to HubSpot, 44.6% of B2B companies say they acquired customer leads via LinkedIn, 35.1% through Facebook, and 31.6% via Twitter. Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Report pegged the number of business partnerships forged by B2B marketers via social media at an even higher 56%.
2. Relentlessly focus on Advancing the Relationships with Your Clients:
Customers that are fully engaged with your brand provide a 23% premium over average customers in share of wallet, revenue, profitability and relationship growth. (Influitive, 2014).
Think Zappos, known for their loyal customer relationships and referral power. One of their five principles is centered on building connections with their customer, they call it “Stepping into the personal”. They have developed a method for client relationship management that focuses on continually advancing the relationship with each of their client contacts. Relationships are never static, they are always in motion - either they are getting better or getting worse.
You must build a customer-centric culture and implement tools and training, such as key account management and partnership performance reporting that focus on continuously advancing the relationship with your clients.
3. Stand for Something:
It’s no longer acceptable to build a business just to make money. While making money has been the single biggest motivator for companies in the past, today, that just simply won’t be enough. If we want to have a better future, companies need to have a cause that helps solves social and/or environmental challenges while also making money.
Southwest Airlines is a great example. They chose to stand for the freedom to fly. They lowered fares in underserved markets to allow the regular person to visit loved ones and enjoy affordable vacations. It was certainly a needed cause and a profitable one.
I encourage you to look at the real problem your organization is solving and how it contributes to making the world a better place. People want to contribute and they support organizations that share the same values. Standing for something does not need to be a profit trade-off or a marketing ploy. It’s a way to create the right solutions, attract top talent and ideally, grow wealth that improves our economy, our environment and, our standard of living. Understanding and communicating what you stand for, both internally and externally, is a critical step in your path to growth.
Interested in implementing these proven growth strategies? Butler Street can help. Our client and talent development philosophy includes the tools, training and actionable insights to turn your clients into loyal advocates. Click on CONTACT and let’s talk.