Too often, a sale is looked at as a one-time deal - something that needs to be "closed" as quickly as possible. This mentality affects how salespeople approach the sale and more often than not, proves to be detrimental to the end goal. A sale needs to be thought of as a customer relationship. It takes time to develop a connection, build trust, and effectively nurture something worthwhile for the long haul. In fact, sales isn't about customer relationship management - it is customer relationship management. Relationship management is a strategy in which an organization maintains an ongoing level of engagement with its audience. With that in mind here are some pointers for how to manage sales customer relationships:
Sales management CRM software puts all of your lead data in one centralized place so you can access it when you need it. No more chasing down information about the last interaction with a prospect or trying to find your notes on a particular lead’s needs and objections. With a CRM, all of that information is in the client’s file.
Sales CRMs make scheduling easier, doing things like automating follow-up meetings and syncing appointments with client records. By streamlining all of that administrative work, a good CRM lets you focus on building relationships and closing sales.
Customer relationship management is more than just sending emails; it is about establishing a genuine connection. By having a fully integrated smart CRM to automatically track and sync all your client records, with automated notifications, you can manage all of your customer relationships from one place and never skip a beat. For instance, you can create triggers to automatically prompt you to follow up with a client or leads so that you never have to worry about letting them fall through the cracks.
A recent study by Volometrix, a sales productivity firm, showed how top sellers that focus on building deeper relationships with fewer customers (as opposed to shallowly engaging many leads) close more deals. As it turns out, when salespeople focus on cultivating and nurturing relationships that inherently fit well with their company (instead of trying to close everything and anything), things work out better.
What many don’t realize though, is that this nurturing takes time - and persistence. Research shows that on average, only 2% of sales occur at the first meeting. The other 98%? They close once a certain level of trust has been built up. That’s why sales reps need to put the “relationship” back into CRM. Finding a smart technology platform that can facilitate a more consultative, relationship-style approach to the sales process will make managing high-value customers easier.
Only 2% of sales occur at the first meeting.
As Denise Lee Yohn puts it, “Great brands sweat the small stuff. Great salespeople create extraordinary experiences that embody their brand”. The sales experience can be a huge differentiating factor for a customer, and the best salespeople understand that they can strengthen their sell as well as their company’s brand by reinforcing that value throughout the process. This is especially true for professional service businesses. Reinforcing that differentiating brand value throughout the sales experience means fussing about the details. Examining all the different touch points between the brand (i.e. the salesperson) and the customer and finding key moments to insert the brand’s mission and best attributes is so important to the customer’s experience (and effectively closing that deal).
A recent study found that 50% of participants from high-performing sales organizations said their sales processes were closely monitored, strictly enforced, or automated. The same research showed that only 28% of participants from underperforming sales organizations had that kind of process - that’s a hard case for sweating the small stuff! From the get-go, salespeople should be working to create value for their customers. Approach it from a perspective of “how can I make this client more successful?” as opposed to “how can I close this sale quickly?”. As Guy Kawasaki describes, the best salespeople are brand evangelists. Why? Because they make a point to nurture and manage the relationship between their company and their client’s business with regular personal touch points.
50% of study participants from high-performing sales organizations said their sales processes were closely monitored, strictly enforced, or automated.
If you take a moment to think about how often you’ve shown interest in a product or service, but never heard back from the salesperson or company, it's quite illuminating. Research shows that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up with. To put things more bluntly, that means about 80% of potential opportunities are lost due to a lack of follow-up. On average, it takes about five continuous follow ups to get a customer's attention. Surprisingly, research shows that only 8% of salespeople make it to that fifth time - the rest give up contacting the lead before then. If you do the math, that means 8% of salespeople are getting 80% of the deals... yikes. That’s why “persistently” nurturing the customer relationship is key.
Brand evangelism is about salespeople engaging customers in a way that produces stronger and more valuable long-term relationships between their business and clients. To do that though, sales reps need to build trust by sweating the details. They need to focus on (persistently) building connections and then nurture that relationship for long term success and repeat business.
8% of salespeople are getting 80% of the deals
Sales isn’t about customer relationship management - it is customer relationship management. With something so valuable and vital to your success, you deserve a smart technology platform that’ll help you be more successful in your sales process.