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Rethinking sales to lead with customer experience | Sponsored Content

This sponsored article was contributed by RollWorks.

If there’s one thing people in revenue-based roles can agree on, it’s the ease of focusing on customer acquisition. But operating entirely from a pre-sales lens can be problematic.

When we commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting to understand challenges with supporting revenue growth, customer churn was the leading challenge identified by revenue-driven marketing decision-makers at small and medium-sized businesses. When your sales team works to close as many customers as possible—often by any means necessary—a significant chunk of those customers will inevitably churn.

It’s time we all rethink the sales process to prioritize the customer experience throughout. Here are three focus areas to help you reap the benefits of a customer-centric mindset.

The current state of buying and selling

Today’s buyers have either done some research, talked to someone in their network, or both. In either case, they’ve already formed an opinion and likely have little patience for prolonged buying cycles.

The B2B market remains especially noisy, so it’s important to stand out in the way you show up as a brand and as a sales team. For better results, ask yourself questions like: “What types of content are you putting out?” and “Why might this content resonate with buyers compared to existing content?” In the era of the inundated buyer, preparing and refining your messaging is imperative.

Beyond the high probability of your outreach getting ignored, organizations that apply a “spray and pray” or high volume approach to sales may find their efforts thwarted by anti-spam technology.

Companies that enhance the buying experience by merging data with creativity will become a big deal over the next few years. The savviest organizations will flock to these tools to balance volume and quality in their sales outreach.

Customer success starts with sales

In a perfect world, customer success isn’t relegated to a post-sales activity. In reality, it’s not uncommon for customer success managers to inherit customers with misaligned expectations.

The problem is, where aggressive sales quotas and high-volume outreach are the norm, bad-fit deals generally follow. Once a customer success manager discovers a customer’s needs will likely go unmet, their job becomes an uphill battle of patchwork fixes, apologetic emails, and manual workarounds. Once the customer realizes their needs won't be met, they churn.

During the sales process, we must ensure that our solution fits what customers are looking for and that we can deliver on our promises. In the long run, it’s better to turn away customers you can’t serve than encourage them to sign up for months of disappointment and aggravation.

Treating customer success as a pre-sales activity also enables sellers and success managers to focus on closing high-fit deals and ensuring customers continue to receive the value they expect, which is the most important factor come renewal time.

Three recommendations for implementing change

Differentiating your platform from competitors is a multifaceted issue, but in terms of rethinking sales, here are three areas to focus on:

  • Resourcing: Do you have the right team in the right places to acquire customers, onboard them, and manage relationships over time? Ratios matter, so pay attention to where and how you invest, and prepare to adjust as priorities evolve.
  • Sales enablement: Unified messaging across sales, support, and success helps infuse consistency into the customer experience. Do your teams know how to engage customers? Can they speak about the product effectively?
  • Customer interactions: Map all customer interactions from first touch to renewal, and create a detailed flow of the information you want to share and the critical information you need to capture at each stage of their experience. Evolve this over time to maximize value for any company that engages with your team.

In the end, putting customers first means remaining agile enough to keep up with evolving buyer preferences. That’s always where the money is.

—Darragh Fitzpatrick, Chief Revenue Officer, RollWorks