We've said it before, and we'll say it again and again: It's a buyer's market. Your customers have far more control over your relationship than ever before because they have more options than ever before. And while those options provide transparency to them, it may decrease transparency for you if you're not careful.
And that means your customers can leave without you noticing until it's far too late.
But it doesn't have to be that way, if you're willing to takes steps to better understand how the wants and needs of your customers are changing. Here are three tips to help:
1. Talk to your customers. It's easy to fall into the rut of just managing the relationship. But you should be going deeper into customers’ perspectives of what you could be doing better and how you can help them do their jobs better, says Mike Marks, principal at Indian River Consulting Group, in Listen to Customers or Lose Them.
And don't take the easy route by letting your sales team lead this charge. Sales has a natural bias to sell more products, and that will come through in these conversations, Marks says. "Force the executive management team to go out and actually get some customer information.”
2. Align your resources to meet your customer needs. In most sectors, customers today want a more efficient shopping and buying experience, according to Jonathan Bein, managing partner of Real Results Marketing, in 2016 State of Distributor Marketing: Top Performers Shift to Online. And if you're not meeting them where they are, they're willing to look elsewhere. This may mean fewer field sales reps making face-to-face calls with customers and inside sales reps doing more than just customer service.
3. Make sure your entire team is working with – rather than against – each other. Culture is the key to success or failure, whether it's implementing a new process or a new technology, according to Brian Gardner, founder of SalesProcess360, in his latest book, ROI from CRM. Having the right tools in place, such as a CRM system, will allow your entire team to seamlessly serve your customers regardless of how the contact is made because it allows everyone on your team to see what's been happening in that relationship. The inside sales rep can see if a technician was onsite at the customer recently and follow up on that touch point, for example.
Want to learn more about how CRM can help improve your sales process and customer relationships? Join MDM and Brian Gardner tomorrow, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. EST for a free webcast: ROI from CRM: 3 Strategies to Uncover & Convert Sales Opportunities. The webcast is part of a quarterly series with Gardner on getting ROI from CRM. Register now!