Sales Tips: Help Your Salespeople Deliver on Customer Experience Management (CEM)
By John Holland, Co-author and Co-founder of CustomerCentric Selling®
Over the last 15 years the topic of integrating Sales and Marketing has generated a great deal of heat but little light. Sales and Marketing remain separate silos. Failed efforts and results have caused organizations to conclude that attempts to integrate these two functions are futile.
The concept of Customer Experience Management (CEM) offers an opportunity for a fresh look at an old topic. Improving the B2B customer experience by the way an organization's salespeople sell may represent the only sustainable competitive advantage. Even if a company provides the "best" product and price, the better seller often wins.
Here are my suggestions to redefine the relationship between Sales and Marketing as relates to CEM and achieve a better outcome:
Throw out the generally accepted notion that selling is convincing, persuading, and overcoming objections. It makes the seller's role one of manipulation and sows the seeds for an adversarial relationship. Buyers do not want to be manipulated.
Recognize people prefer to buy versus being sold. Redefine selling as asking questions to create a vision of how buyers will use offerings to achieve their goals or solve their problems.
Acknowledge the small percentage of salespeople that provide superior buying experiences. According to Sales Benchmark Index, 13% of sellers generate 87% of the revenue. Average B2B salespeople need help to improve their calls.
If Tactical Marketing is going to support the sales staff, it is necessary for the VP of Sales to codify a best practices process of how their people sell.
Limit the scope on the Marketing side. As relates to CEM, the objective is to allow Tactical Marketing to be relevant in helping salespeople make calls to sell current offerings to achieve this year's revenue objectives.
Have a fresh look at product training. Teaching salespeople esoteric facts about offerings abdicates product positioning to them. In the worst case, training leads to the dreaded "spray and pray" sales calls or presentations that buyers abhor. Most executive buyers want to know how offerings can be used to improve business results.
Rather than providing static brochures or PowerPoint presentations, Tactical Marketing can create messaging used in making sales calls. Templates with questions that help sellers have conversations with specific titles in defined vertical segments about their business goals. The messaging would map only those features relevant to the goal being discussed.
A sustainable competitive advantage awaits companies that find a way for Tactical Marketing to support salespeople in a way that improves the buying experience.