Updated: Jun 22, 2020
I thought of writing this piece because of a strange reason. Let me tell you two incidences happened recently.
1) I was exploring a platform offering B2B services wherein Software companies can register and connect with the needy customers. I thought of registering and exploring how it works. Within seconds of registration, I got a call from a sales guy and he started talking about various features of the platform and tried to sell a subscription.
2) I was exploring a tool ( trial version)to generate sales leads and after using for 15-20 days, I stopped and not continued it because of various reasons. I got a mail from the salesperson and he was asking me how much I am ready to pay for a subscription . (The price mentioned on the website was INR 14k per month for the annual subscription).
In both these cases, have you noticed that both the companies are more 'product-centric' and less of 'Customer Centric'? Do not you think that the customer relationship has to be nurtured and the product has to be positioned?
There is no meaning in trying to sell the product for the customer unless the customer experiences and finds value in it. The following are the five important points you should know so as to ensure your customers happy.
1) Customer-Centric Approach
The fundamental question is whether your product is adding value to your customer? Or the 'definition' of success for the customer is your own definition of success? Many times, we assume that we have created a great product and we strongly feel that customers are going to love our product. We have to cross-check this hypothesis by listening to the customers. Are you providing the customer to give you feedback? Are you checking the feedbacks given by the customers? Have you provided sufficient material for the customer to understand and use the tool maximum benefit? Whether your customer support team is helpful and solving the issues of the customers?
The employees interacting with the customers should be confident about themselves as well as about the product. Customers will start getting doubts when the representative starts murmuring and shows negative body language. In many cases, this happens when a new joined tries to sell the product without proper training. When partners re-sell your product, you have to be extra careful and ensure that the representative knows the features of the product and value additions it can make.
I agree that every representative can not be an expert in the product but everyone who interacts with the customer can be a good listener and can be a good facilitator. The confident representative's job is to understand the need of the customer and connect the dots and suggest a better solution.
3) Learn from success as well as failure
In SaaS business, many a time, the customer may do some mistakes or we may do some mistake, and the outcome will be a failure (able to achieve the desired results). In the same way, success will be having a journey of efforts from both sides. It is always better to understand in detail why we ( company and customer) succeed and why we failed? The learning of these studies will be helpful in other scenarios and with other customers. We can avoid mistakes and ensure customer success.
4) Ask questions
We all have ' I have done this before' syndrome. Other syndromes are ' I know this better', 'this is the solution which I had given to 50 customers', 'I am a techie, I know had given this solution even in US'. Each customer's context is different and we have to understand the need in detail and handhold them to achieve the desired results.
5)Your customer is your partner
In my career, I have seen and tried two styles of sales processes.
1) The company at the receiving end ( Begging for order)- Begging for an order is not new in the market. Might e because of pressure or might be because of want of business, we all end up in distress sale. During the process of ' at, any cost' the scope and deliverable will go on the toss.
2) The customer at the receiving end- If the customer is not tech-savvy, representatives feel superior and start bombarding the technology aspects. The talk focuses more on features of the product but not on the benefits to the customer.
I feel both the styles are wrong and in the subscription business, engagement is the key. For better engagement and for better outcomes, both the company and customer have to join hands.