So you think you know your clients?
Do you even really know your staff?
Next time you have a sales staff meeting, ask a few questions. With show of hands or pre-meeting survey, ask them about their communication habits. What tools do they use? What do they use these tools for. What role does their telephone play? When they are purchasing, how important is immediate response?
You may find quite a cross-section of responses. You may find very definite lines between your seasoned professionals and your millennial newcomers.
Are your potential customers just like you?
Think about it – are your potential customers all of the same demographic? Do you know their preferred tool of outreach? Do you understand the when, how and why of their personal interest in doing business with your company?
Let’s go one step further.
You sell a high-dollar product. You are used to working with decision makers. Experienced folks who are paying the bill. Over time you’ve build a successful customer rapport and know how to reach them best.
But what about the prospective customer. The one you’ve never even heard of who can benefit from your product and service.
Often, the buying process starts with a meeting at that company where someone says, “Let’s see where we can get Widget A.” Who does the research on potential suppliers for Widget A? It’s most likely not top management. It’s often research or administrative staff. And often, those folks are younger and set out to search online in their own way for Widget A suppliers.
Is information about your product available in the spaces where the administrative researcher is likely to look for a Widget A supplier? Are you providing the information that would pique their interest in the first place?
Chances are, you’ve put great thought and effort into your website. Everything they need is likely there. But when was the last time you checked your web traffic statistics.
Is that where they’re really looking?
There’s a good chance they’ll be looking for independent recommendations. “Who uses Widget A and where did you buy it?” might show up in an online user group forum.
The power of LinkedIn
Personally, the vast majority of my business comes through personal reference and my LinkedIn network. No day goes by without answering requests for information on LinkedIn and solidifying my online connections.
When at the very least, 70% of a buying decision is made by the time a potential customer contacts you, you’d better be where they’re looking for information and you’d better be prepared to handle your communication on their terms.
If you don’t, somebody else will.
Rick McCutcheon is a Dynamics CRM MVP with expertise in sales process design, social selling and CRM strategies. Rick has been involved in the CRM industry since 1990 as a company founder, senior executive, reseller, industry association board member, educator consultant and professional speaker. He is the creator of the Full Contact Selling (FCS) methodology for Dynamics CRM. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .