As you continually work on fine-tuning your sales organization, how can you best ensure that every prospect interaction contributes to a cohesive customer narrative that, ultimately, maximizes your sales? Through our work helping leading companies grow their revenue year after year, we’ve found that the most successful sales teams build their selling motions around a data-driven customer interaction framework. You’ll find some of the best practices that we often encounter and implement related to this topic below. When paired with our Customer Touchpoint Capture Guide, you’ll be well-positioned to design a best-in-class buying experience for your customers.
And if you find yourself struggling with inaccurate data within your CRM, you might find these suggestions useful as you work to optimize your data collection strategy.
Leverage These Elements as You Build a Best-In-Class Sales Engine:
One of the first steps in developing data-driven selling motions is to ensure that you are capturing the key touchpoints in your customer journey. Without this capability, you’ll be largely unable to understand and map the experiences that correlate with great buying experiences for your customers. And without this understanding, fine-tuned optimization of sales motions will likely prove challenging, if not impossible.
As you gather and analyze your customer touchpoints, we encourage you to isolate the type of touchpoint and the outcomes or correlations of each with the final sales results. Depending on what you uncover, you’ll likely want to explore additional dimensions within each touchpoint as well, such as format (in person, phone, online meeting, email contact, recorded/prepared content, etc.) and timing within the sales cycle. The goal is to understand the customer experience at as granular a level as makes sense for your business to then 1) understand the touchpoints that drive increased sales, and 2) optimize your selling motions by shaping activity around the most impactful touchpoints. To explore touchpoint and attribution techniques in more detail, take a look at this recent article.
One critical item to watch: make sure to distinguish between sales and marketing touchpoints. Each of these categories needs to tell a compelling story separately, and it’s essential that they join to convey an even more compelling story in combination. In our experience, a key differentiator between the top sales organizations and those that struggle to keep up with industry peers is a close partnership between sales and marketing narratives. Separate budgets, separate teams, and separate visions can easily bring disparate narratives to the customer. That’s why we encourage sales leaders to partner closely with marketing teams to perform touchpoint analysis and to use derived insights to develop collaborative buying experiences for customers. The last thing you want is for a key sales or marketing asset to miss the mark, or for a valuable asset to exist but to miss placing it in front of the customer at the most impactful moment in the buying journey.
To summarize, track your customer touchpoints and analyze the impact of each on sales outcomes. Use this to build a set of Critical Success Factors for your business. From there, design a data-driven strategy that leverages these factors to guide the customer along an optimized sales journey.
Developing a data-driven framework for customer journeys is a critical exercise. But effectively activating it and enabling your sellers to deliver it is just as important. That’s where process maps and playbooks come in. In order to realize the value that can be unlocked through an optimized set of customer touchpoints, you’ll need to provide training and ongoing supporting documentation to your sellers. As such, a healthy sales organization should have a well-defined playbook with which your sellers are intimately familiar. It should explain what to do in all typical sales scenarios and stages, and it should highlight key sales or marketing assets to share with customers at each of these points as well. Additionally, use these materials to establish best practices for sales collateral along with the appropriate guard rails and escalation paths for your sellers.
Something important to watch: be sure to build your process maps and playbooks in a scalable manner that includes an ongoing support model. All too often, valuable sales collateral is generated but then quickly falls out of date because either a) it’s too hard to update, or b) there is no clear long term owner for the collateral. Don’t fall into either of these traps as you build out your sales enablement tools and materials.
Everything discussed here is about defining the ideal sales experience for your customers and then enabling your sellers to deliver it. The touchpoint analysis is what helps you shape your strategy. Then, the process maps and playbooks are how you activate your sellers and maximize the number of customers that experience your optimized journey. And as more customers follow this path, your sales KPIs will benefit accordingly.
Finally, don’t forget to leverage our Customer Touchpoint Capture Guide if you are in the early stages of establishing the data capture points necessary to fuel your touchpoint analysis. And if you’d like to discuss these or other Revenue Growth topics with us in more detail, you can always reach us here. We’ll be glad to help.