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Don’t Get Left Out of the Loop – Get Into the New Sales Cycle

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Get the Make Your Numbers ReportNow more than ever, the customer has the power in their buying cycle. With a limitless supply of information and digital media platforms available to them, they are empowered to interact with companies in only the way that they want to. User-generated online content is a strong influencer on a consumer’s buying process. The buying experience has been forever changed. Creating a customer journey that is effortless and consistent establishes long-term positive relationships. Take a look at some of the ways you can stay on top of the new sales cycle.

The Power of Social Media

The completely unpredictable world of social media can really put a wrench in your marketing and message control efforts. So how do companies compete with the power of digital impression on the internet? It is done mostly by establishing proactive social media-based plans that create a greater likelihood of a positive brand image, and reduce the change of appearing undesirable. Word-of-mouth recommendations, weather online or face to face, are the number one influencer on buyer behavior. So don’t wait for the conversation to start, start the conversation and always be engaged so you can have more control. This way, if the conversation starts to go south, you have more control. Give your consumers a reason to trust you before someone else gives them a reason they can’t.

Customer Self-Service Environments

As people of the digital age who are dependent on technology, consumers actually have come to prefer digital interactions with companies over human contact. It is important to recognize the need for consumers to control their own journey in their preferred way. With this in mind, companies have been able to remain on top by developing self-service customer care environments. Customer self-service online options take advantage of technology to empower customers with the ability to address their own needs without interacting with a live sales rep. By developing tools such as keyword and language search, FAQs, educational videos, downloadable applications, and online communities, you can save time and effort reserving human interactions for more qualified customers.

Omni-Channel Experience

Once you have successfully deployed self-service tools, you may find that your customers are now expecting to quickly and seamlessly jump between various channels of communication. Omni-channel customer interactions is a strategic solution that is designed to deliver a consistent experience across multiple channels and devices. The challenge presented here is making sure that at every touch-point, your customers are experiencing a consistent message no matter what device or channel they are using to interact with your brand. As you develop platforms and tools for communication, whether it be phone calls, social media, web, email, in-store, mobile device, or on a laptop, you should always be asking yourself, “Is my company message being portrayed in the same voice and feel across all channels?”

When you have multiple team members or employees who work with the different channels, it is important to make sure that they are all trained to support this consistent experience. This goes not just for the client-facing staff, but also those in the back office as well. This way, your staff can spend more time providing customer value.

Data Central: CRM Focused

The Omni-channel and self-service experience is much less effective if the customer’s account details are not easily accessible to both the customer and their sales rep. Under-preforming businesses are 94% more likely than those who are considered Best-in-Class to store their customer data in databases that are not CRM-integrated. CRM (customer relationship management) solutions provide a secure and proven landscape for your marketing and sales team to effectively manage customer data. Spend less time searching for customer information that can be duplicate data or not up-to-date, and more time establishing positive relationships.

Actionable Recommendations for Delighting the 21st Century Buyer

  • Make sure that everyone from top business executives, to IT and accounting employees are all aligned around your company message and values.
  • Stay ahead of the curve with social media. Develop proactive communication practices that allow you to keep a handle on difficult environments.
  • Challenge all of your business processes with “Will this make my customer happy?” Once that question has been answered, make sure that you put in place the self-service and omni-channel lessons.
  • Create a unified sense of mission across your entire company. Ensuring a positive customer journey should be mandated for every employee.
  • Centralize your business functions in CRM. Be sure that all users are provided with training for the system and have mobile access to the system.

For more help adapting to the new buying behavior, download the "How to Make Your Sales Number in 2014" Report

By Socius, a CRM Partner in Ohio and Kansas

Source:  The 21st Century Buying Experience: Say Farewell to the Sales Cycle, Aberdeen Group, April 2014

by Socius

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