The modern customer
- Customers are more informed. The digital world enables the democratization of information. Almost anything that customers want to know about a product or service, they can easily access online. From product reviews to alternatives, more customers are doing research even before they get in touch with companies.
- Customers want more control. With the rise of “self-service,” customers today prefer to do things on their own. This is evident by the hundreds of thousands of how-to guides and tutorials on the internet. When purchasing a product or service, most customers don’t necessarily need the help of a company’s salesperson until the last minute.
- Customers are more “allergic” to ads and sales calls. With information comes awareness of the different strategies that companies use to reach customers. From digital ads to sales calls, customers are becoming more repulsive to what they could perceive “aggressive” sales tactics.
- Customers just expect a lot of things. For the most part, customers prefer seamless and personalized interactions with companies. Whichever device or platform they use, they expect to encounter the same experience that is customized according to their lifestyle and needs. According to Forrester, 73% of customers said that valuing their time is the most important thing a business can do.
Harvard Business Review revealed that customers who have very good experience with companies spend 140% more compared to those with poor experience. Why does customer experience matter to sales? It’s because oftentimes, sales are the first personal contact of customers with companies.
This highlights the need for information sharing within the organization to enable sales to start or continue providing a positive customer experience. However, the way sales connect and interact with customers haven’t changed. These common sales mistakes that stem from outdated practices affect overall sales performance, customer experience, and of course, engagement.
1. Prioritizing the wrong leads
Sales collect and work on a lot of potential leads from different platforms. These include manually-generated leads, social media, conferences, webinars, websites, digital and traditional ads. While many leads are ideal for building a healthy pipeline, lead lists tend to expire quickly. People always change jobs, titles, and affiliations. Even if there’s a process of segmenting in place, sales can end up prioritizing the wrong ones after some time.
2. Calling at the wrong time
The typical sales process consists of collecting leads, identifying relevant leads, then reaching out. However, this is a hit or miss because leads may be relevant, but they may not be available to take a sales call. This shouldn’t be a big deal. After all, customers have been exposed to cold calls for so many years. However, in today’s landscape where customer engagement is a competitive differentiator for companies, contacting customers at the wrong time immediately translate to poor experience.
3. Not knowing the customer
Before customers show any interest in a company, customers already know a lot about its products and services. In fact, 81% of customers research online before they shop, according to GE Capital Retail Bank’s Second Annual Shopper Study. It also revealed that customers spend 40-137 days researching before making a major purchase. This emphasizes the need for sales to be knowledgeable not only about the customers but also other factors affecting their potential purchase. And these include having a deep understanding of the customer needs as well as competition.
4. Focusing on quantity over quality
Sales performance is primarily driven by quota. In this age of customer engagement, it’s time to look at leads as more than just numbers. It’s also time to move from static scripts to more dynamic interactions that customers can better relate to. Based on a publication by PricewaterhouseCoopers, sales spend only 10-15% of their time researching about the customers. This affects the level of quality they provide by the time they make a sales call.
The new breed of customers is increasingly expecting engagement experiences that are personalized. Experiences that speak to their needs. Whichever channel they choose to engage, customers look for the same. This must be a wake-up call to sales organizations to start working on the data that they have to leverage customer insights. Enabling sales with real-time customer insights is empowering them to provide game-changing customer engagements.
At OptimalQ, we enable companies to engage with leads and customers when they are both physically and mentally available. Using AI and machine learning algorithms, OptimalQ identifies and analyzes user behavior, and translates it into availability insights that can predict the most effective times to engage with leads and customers.