Let’s face it. Selling can be hard at any time, let alone during a global pandemic. The biggest advice I’ve continued to use throughout my career, and feel that it’s particularly important now, is to trust customer relationships to survive. Bottom line is that there are many uncontrollable conditions that can affect a business overnight.
Whether it’s a natural disaster, a data breach, a company controversy, or anything else that depletes the sales pipeline, and we always need to be prepared. Over the years, I’ve learned that sellers are only as good as the data they’ve put into their relationship management platform. While there’s no “secret formula” during such situations, customer relationships serve as a key ingredient for success.
Set the Foundation with Strong Customer Relationships
I’ve noticed that developing a culture around personal relationships, and with your customers, will make interactions more meaningful. Productive and meaningful interactions, can lead to a higher retention rate for both employees and customers, and it will aid in advancing account relationships by solving problems, creating value, and unlocking potential new revenue opportunities. And, particularly during this period of economic uncertainty, it can provide an ease of mind and financial security.
We live in a world exploding with information and with the internet at their fingertips, potential customers often start into a buying process with conflicting information. To truly have a strong relationship built to survive such conditions, we must understand customers, both their core problems and the drivers behind their decision making. Creating personal connections builds trust, informs decision-making, and creates a strong foundation for future work.
How I practice this in my work and with the teams I lead is focused on improving customer interactions and building “people skills.” The time spent should be on getting to know the individuals and team—their pain points, their goals, and their desired outcomes—and making a personal connection. Even when hiring, I look for strong people skills - because that’s what will pay off in the long run.
Accessing the Right People
We’re all busy. So how do you squeeze “relationship building” into what is already a long to-do list. To fully maximize your time, you need to access the right people with which to build those relationships. When you access the right people in the buying process and deliver personalized value messages, your likelihood of sales success is dramatically higher.
Sales professionals need to be trained to learn to pay attention to how a company works, to use data to track relationships between the people within the company and to understand the politics of the organization. They need to be able to map the people and actively manage their relationship status across the entire account and team. When sales professionals can leverage data to demonstrate their unique value proposition with tailored messages to the key influencer, it can make the difference between winning the deal and losing it.
During an unexpected disaster or uncertain economic times, the data within a relationship management platform is key for knowing the last touchpoint and having full visibility on where each relationship stands. Relationship mapping technology can be a critical tool for companies as it helps to create value through the sales experience and make every connection between business buyers and sellers a win-win outcome, setting a new standard for how business is done.
A Continuous Process of Customer Engagement
Bottom line, every interaction has value—no matter who it’s with. Whether it’s a reaffirmation of an existing relationship or an expansion into new ground, every conversation with the customer is important. A truly great sales process is not one obsessed with closing deals but one which proactively seeks opportunities beyond the limits of an existing sales opportunity. Many forget that there is an actual human on the other side of the phone or email, and successful selling means adapting to the age of digital sales and proactively seeking better outcomes for the customer.
Today’s guest post is written by our partner, Upland Software. Our companies work together and share insights on changes in the marketplace, and how Sales Performance Management software can be leveraged to drive revenue. Both of our organizations know that an integrated software approach is vital for true optimization.
Sean Broderick is the Product & Partner Marketing Lead for Upland Altify and is passionate about Sales Enablement. He is also an Ambassador for the Product Marketing Alliance and the host of the Upland Software podcast ‘Revenue Optimization Radio’. Sean has spent the last 12 years working in Product Marketing and Product Management roles in the B2B and B2C space. Prior to Altify he held similar roles in eir, Virgin Media and Openet. Sean has a degree in International Business Science from Northeastern University in Boston. He resides in Dublin, Ireland with his wife and 2 kids.