Stop asking marketing, start telling marketing!
One-minute Read by Thomas B. Cross – CEO TECHtionary.com
In order to move up market and up margin, the provider or channel partner needs to do what I call a Customer Strategic Sales Assessment. While this is not a new concept, this is a proven approach to increasing both breadth and depth of customer revenues, increasing customer engagement and satisfaction and accelerating (shortening) the sales cycle. This approach goes beyond just sending out useless marketing surveys, it is a means of continuous customer communications and contact. It is not surprising that companies are focused on gaining customers rather than retaining them.
If you don’t know anything about your customer or would-be customer, then go ask them and not, as a focus group, just as individual people. Rather, ask them as an individual unique and most-valued person as well, not just as a customer.
To begin with, it starts with listening without responding, as this is not a debate. Ask simple questions and take notes, don’t record this which tends to have a “chilling effect” on their comments. Everything that follows in this assessment “circles back,” intersects or crosses back to the customer. The process is to really understand not through a series of True-False, Multiple Question or even focus groups, what the customer is saying.
Ask them what do they like, dislike, want improved upon and what-when they want to buy next? Ask simple questions and listen without responding for as long as they want to talk, it is not a debate.
You will often be surprised to find the difference between what they tell you what they mean is often completely different. I have personally found this to be true more times than not. Oddly in a social media news-driven world, we often forget that the real thought leaders are our customers.
However, what thought leadership could also be is something also of my own persuasion; you cannot react to trends, you cannot predict them either, you must direct your customers to your own strategy. IBM, Apple, Starbucks and so many others epitomize this in the way their listen and build but also extend their products as to where they both want the customer to go and also the customer wants to go there already.
By doing Strategic Sales Assessments, you can then build considerate thought leadership content. Great thought leadership is a thorough understanding, almost reading the mind of the customers and then building a platform on which to create successful solutions for them. As a result, you will become the thought leader they look at, listen to and want more from. If you are looking for more reasons why you need to do them, here you go.
What Customer Strategic Sales Assessments are not:
- Data diving into CRM
- Mining marketing through martech tools
- About what we know but what we don’t
- About making sales
- Necessarily but maybe about product and market ideas
- About talking but listening and learning
One other point about this process, it is completed by sales, not marketing. In fact, one of the points I would like to emphasize it is time for sales to stop asking marketing and start telling marketing. This is an opportunity for the sales department who is the key point of customer contact to bring back key concepts, ideas, messaging and customer knowledge to drive product marketing, marketing communications, thought leadership and other customer needs.
Summary – Customer Strategic Sales Assessments is an intensive listening effort to gain guidance and feedback, it is not a survey. All too often companies ask too many survey questions designed to tell them what they are really looking for rather than listening to what the customer really wants to tell you. It is time for a better approach to the entire customer lifecycle.
The remaining issues will be presented in the class presented exclusively in TMCnet Selling UP Market UP Margin Technology to SMB & Enterprise Certification class at ITEXPO / MSP Expo part of the #TECHSUPERSHOW.