- June 2, 2020
- COVID-19 Business Strategies, Intent Data, Sales, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Sales Enablement
How Sellers Can Provide a Better Customer Experience in the Current Business Environment
Decision-making is never merely rational. Emotions play a big part in purchasing, even in B2B. Right now, it is more important than ever for sellers to recognize this. That is why we need to coach and enable our complete selling team – pre- and post-sales – to help clients with the emotions of buying, owning and succeeding with our solutions.
This piece serves as a guide to help sellers continue to provide optimal customer experience to their buyers in today’s business climate.
4 Steps to Improving Customer Experience Now
Here are four themes we should be focused on now. Over the next 12 months, the weighting will shift between them as the economic environment shifts.
- Over Communicating – Buyer stress is high and communication has never been more important. While it may be difficult to accelerate turnaround times on buyer requests, even simply staying in touch with mini-progress updates can help ease tension on the buyers’ side.
- Being more consultative – Buyers want trustworthy sources of information, especially now. Ramp up efforts to curate objective information about client markets to help their businesses better navigate the way forward.
- Delivering objective information and insights to help buyers protect short term investments and accelerate forward – Buyers are weighing investments against each other. They will have unmovable priorities, but they will also welcome objective opinions on the pluses and minuses of different moves. We need to help make sure they have access to all the best decision-making inputs, not just with respect to our solution. In the near term, we need to protect buyers from over-reacting. Longer term, we have to help them accelerate forward.
- Projecting calm and confidence to your buyers – Over the next 12 months sellers need to be a source of calm and confidence. And over the following 12 months, we need to promote teamwork, incremental progress and the efforts of all involved.
Start with These Simple Rules
Think about how you can help customers strengthen their ability to thrive as we come out of this and therefore, their inclusion of you on their team going forward:
- The first rule is to understand your customers’ situation relative to that of your own.
- Next, assess all that you can do relatively easily and decide which you will do based on how it impacts your customers and your own business. Choose the ones that will matter more to them than they do to you in the near term.
Consider that in a time where prospects are juggling a lot of back-to-back calls just to get their jobs done (not to mention the in-parallel daytime needs of their families), unfocused outreach is particularly wasteful.
Opening words need to be both empathetic and efficient, which requires prep. Further, as AEs face challenges getting through consider redeploying some of your top SDRs to help with coverage of accounts where you need broader coverage outbound and higher accessibility/higher touch inbound.
Ensure Your Message is On Point Based on Your Customer’s Situation
What you say and how you say it is important to how you’re received and perceived by the customer. Better insights into a customer’s needs and concerns helps you prepare much better in the content you build and how you communicate it. Of course, this takes work beyond simply training people on a tool set.
That’s why customer success teams are more important than ever for our customers – especially in helping them become more agile at ingesting information. Better information is only as good as the ability to incorporate it into processes. This requires change – which is rarely easy. With everything on customers’ plates today, good customer success teams can take on some of the heavy lifting required to move this forward.
There is a direct line from improved customer success service to the better customer experience required for better outcomes.
Identify and Adapt to Changing Buying Team Behavior
Go-to-market teams that are both more inquisitive about their prospects and more agile in responding to actual market evidence (versus backward-looking models or planning-based hypotheses) have demonstrated the ability to pivot past what they think they should do and onto what account behaviors are actually telling them about what is really happening.
This can be seen more clearly in the use of personas. Personas often represent over-simplification of any specific deal-in-process, and many teams remain stuck in their belief that they should disregard signals coming from prospects that don’t match persona frameworks. In the current situation, we think that this could become even more problematic.
In response to a very fluid business environment, priorities are constantly shifting within companies. Thus, dynamics are shifting inside buying teams which sellers will need to adapt to.
Delivering better customer experience to the buying group must incorporate buying group dynamics that are happening faster than historical modeling and experience can prepare you for. Real behavioral insight at the individual level – people, functions and roles – creates a roadmap to help your teams adjust.
Lead Your Customers Forward
In a fluctuating and unpredictable business environment, buying priorities are shifting, and buyer emotions are running high. As you can see, there are a number of things that sellers can do to improve the buying experience. We need to think about how we can help customers in meaningful ways now that will help us as the market situation evolves. We need to be empathetic to their emotions, respectful of their time and leverage behavioral insights that will help us better understand their needs and be more relevant. Most importantly, we must remain a source of calm and confidence, building trust that will help show buyers the way forward now and for the next several quarters.
This blog has been adapted from an executive interview with TechTarget CMO John Steinert with Nancy Nardin’s Smart Selling Tools. Click here to see the full interview.