While the buzz is all about making our companies customer-centric, the vast majority of companies are still using their resources to push products and services on their potential sales leads. Why in the world is this happening when study after study heralds the concept of putting the customer in the center of all business operations?
It is hard to imagine the answer to that question when a recent IBM study “The Customer-activated Enterprise” analyzed 4,183 leaders in 70 countries. In the process they found that 78 percent of company executives wanted to know their customers better.
With this level of interest in the customer, what is standing in their way? These three lame excuses are what we hear.
We Already Know Our Customers
Part of the qualifying process is discovering the sales leads journey through the buying process. When these results are recorded in the CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), the company gains important insights into the sales lead mindset. It plots the journey from the inside-out perspective.
The problem with using this data alone is it misses 90 percent of the buyer’s journey conducted before they become a sales lead. It fails to get down to the real persona of a buyer’s process.
Sales Leads Drive Our Revenue
A company’s marketing efforts are generally measured by the number of sales leads produced. Sales leads are the “gold” that only needs to be refined by the sales team. Taking time to become truly customer-centric seems to be a foolish investment.
Measuring such things as the experience learning about the company prior to becoming a sales lead doesn’t become a priority. They don’t bother to ask about how happy the sales lead was with dealing with the sales process. Without these and many other bits of information, it is not likely the customer will be at the center of your marketing automation.
No Time for Transformation
Words like research, change and methodology feel threatening to a company’s current operations. At first, visions of time-consuming and laborious information gathering dance in the team’s head. If the company hires an outside firm to gather the information, the ROI is scrutinized because it sounds unreasonably expensive.
Transformation takes time…true. If the transformation is plotted out to implement tiny, high-impact changes, it is more palatable.
Take steps to put your customer in the middle of your operations. Customers want to be involved in your improvement. They want a voice in your strategy. They want to offer input into your product development and innovation.
The same study by IBM sited earlier also showed that among the outperforming companies 54 percent collaborate extensively with their customers. They reach out to involve them in strategic decision making.
Perhaps the first step is to give access to your CRM software to all levels of your company. The things (and recorded) learned in the billing department will inform the actions of the marketing staff. Experiences in the customer service department will give a “heads up” to the sales team. When every company action is focused on an enjoyable customer experience, profits are sure to increase.