Read on to explore examples and learn practices for how to optimize the #fullcycle of your customer experience:
- Audit your customer experience
- Align your teams
- Leverage your tech stack
In this blog we’ll focus on managing deals, but visit our content hub for the two other blogs in The Consistent Customer Experience Series covering Generating Pipeline and Engaging Customers (coming soon!).
Sales cycles of all lengths are being interrupted. Deals that are at the finish line are now being pushed, and deal sizes are being reduced to fractions of what they once were. Your soon-to-be customers are feeling the squeeze, and the relationship you have with them now will determine whether they will put pen to paper on the deal you’re trying to close.
In the 3rd Challenger Pulse Survey, Challenger Inc. surveyed 139 commercial leaders to determine the concrete steps companies are taking to safeguard their businesses.
“Only 8% of commercial leaders report forecasting either a neutral or positive change relative to their original forecast. A full 92% report a reduction: on average, an eye-searing 47% drop from the original forecast.”
This can feel like a fragile moment. As many organizations are reducing their staff and reallocating resources, it may be hard to protect the relationship you’ve earned.
Keep your customer experience consistent. Help your customers stay focused on the pain your products and services solve. Remain empathetic as they’re likely dealing with more pressing challenges.
Landing the plane
Rapid eComm helps their customers, primarily small retail businesses, build their eCommerce site and develop their online presence. Their sales cycle is typically 6 – 9 months, and is led by experienced account executives.
Many of Rapid eComm’s customers are experiencing a surge of activity on their eCommerce sites. As a result, Rapid eComm’s customer support is overwhelmed with requests. Customer satisfaction and recurring revenue are now at risk.
To prevent customer churn, Rapid eComm has decided to temporarily reassign 1 out of every 4 AEs to focus on managing existing customers instead of closing new business. The reassigned AEs will not directly handle support requests. However, they will personally liaise with the customer support team to ensure customers’ needs are being met. The reassigned AEs will now be compensated on customer renewals.
The remaining AEs are now taking over deals that are in pipeline with a sole focus on closing them.
Audit your prospective customer interaction points.
The seller stepping in is facing two key issues: continuing the momentum on the deal and establishing a relationship with the prospect.
Remove deal friction by keeping the customer experience consistent. The AE taking over the account must understand the buyer and gain credibility. What is the core of the customer’s business? What problem are they solving? How important is it to achieving company KPIs? Why now?
Keep the deal moving forward by ensuring the pain your solution solves is relevant to the prospect’s evolving business challenges.
In the same 3rd Challenger Pulse Survey by Challenger Inc., the survey reveals that 66% of commercial leaders are taking action by changing their messaging and insights.
“In terms of the actions commercial leaders are taking, they are ramping up their response, looking for tailored messages and insights that address their customers’ bottom line and current acute pain.” 3rd Challenger Pulse Survey, Challenger Inc. April 2020
Furthermore, prospective customers should not feel a disruption in the momentum they’ve made through their buying journey. Enable your sellers with multi-purpose tools to ensure both prospect and seller are on the same page.
A Discovery Questionnaire can fully document the prospect’s business challenges and needs, while a Proposal Template will outline the products and services that have been quoted and the next steps for purchasing. This level of insights will help the rep quickly establish credibility.
Align your teams.
Challenge: Even if you’re not having to shift the resources on your sales team, not having a clearly defined sales cycle aligned to a buyer’s journey can cause confusion and add friction to deals.
Process transparency and role clarity help rein in the chaos. Outline the appropriate steps your sellers should take at the various stages of your sales cycles. This aligns your team on process and sets clear expectations.
Have a plan in place to bring internal executive sponsors into deals, especially as new buyers on your prospect’s buying committee may be introduced. Identify the people within the organization that they can work with if issues arise.
Be transparent with discounting guidelines. Work with your pricing and packaging teams to prepare back pocket offers for sellers to close deals. This will keep the AEs focused, and ensure the supporting teams know when and how they can step-up to help close business.
Leverage your tech stack.
Updating Accounts and Opportunities, and logging activities in Salesforce is critical to keeping your broader team updated. In this example, it ensures transparency and a seamless handoff when others need to engage in the deal.
Use Cadences to define and automate your customer interactions. Automate logging activities on an Account and reduce the admin burden on your team.
“Absolved of administrative tasks, sellers are free to create richer relationships with prospects and customers, and companies that successfully operationalize these methods are rewarded with higher and more predictable margins.” Mary Shea and Meredith Cain, Forrester Research, The State Of Digitized Selling, December 2019
The more context that can be provided about those activities, the better. Use Conversation Intelligence to efficiently extract conversation insights, and document call transcripts.
Opportunity Management keeps your Salesforce Accounts updated with auto-generated call summaries and notes. This makes it much easier for AEs to update deals and much more likely you’ll have accurate deal data.
Deal gaps in Opportunity Management help you determine the best course of action by helping you focus on stalled deals. This level of transparency is critical to keeping momentum with prospective customers.
Check out our Thrive Content Hub at sal.es/thrive2020. You’ll find Pro Tips on using SalesLoft in this strange selling environment. We will continue to post and share more helpful content over the coming weeks.