More than 3 out of every 4 business buyers say it’s very important that a sales rep acts as a trusted advisor.
To deliver on this buyer preference, you’ll need to build a sales team that’s customer centric—or that takes prospects’ needs and wants into account during the sales cycle.
How do you build a customer centric sales team? And how do you make sure they stay that way?
We’ll walk you through 5 tactics that can help, starting with the top-down approach of getting leadership on board.
1. Get sales leadership bought into customer centric selling.
Sales managers play a major role in helping their team perform customer centric selling.
To help you persuade sales leaders to put prospective customers’ needs before the sales reps’ (though they shouldn’t need any convincing!), here are some stats you can share with them:
- 76% of consumers think it’s imperative that companies understand their needs and expectations during the sales cycle.
- Customer experience is—and is forecasted to continue being—a bigger differentiator for your brand than price and product quality. And what better way to prove your commitment to customer experience than by demonstrating a customer centric mentality during sales conversations?
- 72% of employees who think about customers at least once a week find their job meaningful—versus 58% for those who don’t think about their customers that often.
2. Hire Empathetic Employees.
Empathy can help your sales reps connect with prospective customers, both on a professional and personal level. It often leads your reps to ask questions, from what the prospect is experiencing in their day-to-day work to how they can benefit from your product/service.
However, empathy isn’t a universal trait.
You can weed out sales reps who lack empathy during the interview process. For instance, observe how they engage with people they might perceive as being “less important,” such as the cleaning staff or other interviewees in the waiting room. If they treat them with less respect and curiosity, it can indicate that they’re lacking in empathy.
During the interview itself, see if they’re genuinely engaged as you’re speaking, or if they are just waiting to respond. And ask questions that can reveal empathy, like “What makes a customer experience meaningful?” and, “How do you balance promoting the product with helping the customer?”
3. Prioritize empathy during the sales cycle .
Once you hire people who are, by nature, empathetic, make sure they remain so throughout the sales cycle.
This means focusing less on closing deals—which 3 in 4 sales reps admit is their top priority!—and more on understanding whether or not each prospect is the right fit for your product/service.
Doing the latter involves having honest and thoughtful conversations with prospects, which ultimately leads them to feel more inclined to trust the sales rep and buy from them.
4. Set up recurring meetings between sales and customer-facing teams.
Your customer support and success teams likely know the most about your customers, whether it’s the top benefits customers experience from working with you, or it’s related to the technical nuances of using your product/service.
Help your sales team learn from your support and success teams consistently by scheduling a monthly or bi-monthly meeting between the teams. During these meetings, the support and success teams can give updates related to any changes in the customer experience, and provide customer stories that sales can reference when speaking with prospects.
5. Collect feedback from customers after they sign on.
Find out if sales reps are engaged in customer centric selling by sending customers a short survey!
In the survey, you can use multiple-choice questions to ask things like, “Did our sales representative understand why you needed our product/service?” and, “What are some words you would use to describe the sales representative you spoke to?”
Just remember to send the survey shortly after the customer signs up. It’s then that the customer remembers their experiences with the sales rep the best.
Here at SurveyMonkey, we use our Salesforce Integration to automatically send surveys to customers after they sign up. This lets us evaluate our sales reps’ performance, quickly, and helps us make meaningful changes in how they engage with prospects.
Now that you know how to build and motivate a team to perform customer centric selling, go forth and help your team—and your prospects!