What words come to mind when you think about customer relationships? If you’re on top of your game, authenticity, responsiveness, and listening might be a few.
Every sales professional knows that the customer journey is a precarious one. Moving from awareness to purchase isn’t a smooth and predictable path in every case, much as we wish it were. There are moments that can make or break the whole deal. Companies that aren’t attentive and careful at those critical junctures can find prospects dropping into oblivion if their timing is wrong.
Pretend for a moment that you’re the customer. You think you’ve found the right solution for your challenges but you’re still on the fence, contemplating the pros and cons of a purchase. Naturally you look to the sales team in part to help you make that decision. And if they’re consistently available, able to answer all your questions and subtly dissolving your buying objections, your journey is going to keep progressing toward the purchase. But if the team goes silent for certain periods, if there are delays in getting back to you, you might interpret those as a sign to move on – or a signal of indifference to your needs, at the very least.
Now switch back to your own perspective as a sales leader. Obviously you want to help facilitate a seamless, swift buying journey for all prospects. So you instruct your team to be present and attentive at every critical moment. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Yet… your team’s best efforts may not be enough. Take a look at your systems. If your sales organization is typical, you probably rely on a variety of apps that stay disconnected from each other – maybe not entirely but they probably don’t connect the way you need them to. Most likely your team also manually updates laborious spreadsheets and uses email for communication.
The result is a customer buying journey marked by delays, the occasional error and miscommunication. Wrong information is entered in a spreadsheet or omitted altogether. An email sits in a vacationing employee’s inbox for a week without action. Next steps are delayed in the jump from one app to another. No one wants this to happen, but it does way too often. It’s just an unfortunate consequence of our app-heavy world.
Imagine that a prospect has just signed and became an official customer. Your sales rep’s first step is using the data from the sales application to complete an implementation template from a project management app. From there, someone else launches an onboarding process in a customer success application.
Sounds smooth enough – but there’s an issue. None of these apps integrate particularly well, which means the sales team has to email the order to the project management team, along with the support team to create contacts and account information in the support app. You now have a disconnected crew of multiple teams and apps working on one deal. Is a surprise that up to a third of go-lives end up behind schedule?
The solution is obvious: connect your apps into a cohesive, efficient system. Linked apps connect the teams, automate workflows and ensure all departments are working with the same data and receiving the same updates. All of the possible process gaps – a missed email, a manual data error, a misfire in timing – get solved. The moment a customer order is accepted, all of your different teams – sales, support, service and customer success – are aligned. The customer experiences that smooth transition from lead to prospect to purchase and perceives your company as offering unflagging attention and support every step of the way.
That’s a buying journey positioned for maximum success.