Magazine article CRM Magazine

Keeping Pace with the Connected Consumer: Five Ways to Improve Your Sales Force Effectiveness

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Keeping Pace with the Connected Consumer: Five Ways to Improve Your Sales Force Effectiveness

Article excerpt

TODAY'S customers are more demanding and less loyal than ever. As a result, enterprise growth depends largely on providing a differentiated and consistent customer experience across sales, marketing, and customer service. But despite significant changes in customer expectations, some companies continue to operate with siloed and static front offices, preventing them from responding effectively.

Customers are constantly moving, always connected, and more informed than ever. By the time customers meet a salesperson for the first time, they are usually more than halfway through the buying process. To keep pace, companies must revise their marketing, sales, and service operating models and take advantage of the many ways customers want to interact with their organization to meet growth objectives.

An agile selling approach--employing all enterprise assets and channels toward the customer--will help differentiate sales. Agile selling revolves around three principles:

* using connected customer insights to differentiate the buying process;

* providing a consistent customer experience across all channels; and

* using social, mobile, analytics, and cloud capabilities to reduce time to market and meet customers where they want to transact.

Based on the annual study of sales performance optimization by CSO Insights in collaboration with Accenture, we recommend five tactics companies can employ to form a clear plan for boosting sales effectiveness.

Enhance integration of marketing, sales, and service. The first tactic is about improving the link among sales, marketing, and service to provide a customer-centric, unified experience. start by integrating internal processes and handoff points among the three functions.

Making this happen can include aligning marketing, sales, and customer service leaders around the same objectives and award bonuses. Immediate areas of opportunity are around lead management and cross-sell/upsell. Leading companies have also created a chief customer officer role to maintain customer centricity.

Improve the customer experience at each touch point. Accenture's research has found that enterprises thrive by revolving around customers rather than their internal processes. Smart companies gain a 360-degree understanding of their customers by synthesizing internal data and customer-reported external data (e.g., from social channels). They also apply analytics on customer profiles to infer new opportunities. …

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