The Sales Process Is Critical To Customer Experience

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Recently I was at one of those giant events, you know, where sales leaders come together to talk about the challenges they face in growing their business. At dinner one evening, I was talking to a three executives, comparing notes on a new tool each was considering buying and implementing in their organizations.

The conversation was fascinating, each had a completely different understanding of the tool and what it could do. Each also had very different opinions about the company that had developed and offered the tool. The conversation was almost surreal, it was as if they were talking about three completely different products from different companies.

I was really curious, how could 3 bright people in the same roles have such different opinions of the same company and product? Each was having a completely different experience! In examining what each was going through, it became clear that each sales person had a completely different approach, there was no common sales process. The differences they were experiencing weren’t just the differences in the sales people, but signficantly different buying experiences.

Everyone talks about creating great customer experiences. Creating and managing the customer experience has to be by design–not by accident. We have to define the customer experience through from prospect, through buying process, through post sales service and support. Underlying great customer experience are sets of processes that we manage and measure to assure we are achieving our goals.

Having a sales process is a critical component in managing your overall customer experience–it focuses on their experience during the buying phase of their relationship with us. The absence of a sales process (or your sales people using the sales process) means each experience prospective customers have is completely different! Maximizing the results you produce in the absence of a consistent process is impossible. Maximizing the customer buying experience, driving consistent outcomes and results in the absence of a sales process is impossible. Measuring customer experience and improving it in the absence of a sales process is either impossible, meaningless, or not actionable.

The sales process is the cornerstone to sales effectiveness and productivity. The sales process is also the cornerstone to consistently creating and managing the great customer experiences.

Is customer experience important to you?

Are you designing and measuring your customers’ experience from prospect (even pre prospect), through buying, through post sales experience?

Is your sales process a part of your customer experience design?

Are your sales people maximizing customer experience by using the sales process or is each customer experience totally different?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think this article points out what is wrong with process oriented approaches to sales. Three different customers are having three different experiences unique to them. Isn’t this what customer oriented selling is about? The very fact that they saw the company and the solution is a victory. Developing homogeneous processes and a one size fits all meat grinder to process customers through is the legacy of years of trying to shape the customer to fit what’s best for the company, not the other way around.

  2. Actually, the problem in this example was the absence of a sales process and a customer experience strategy. Each sales person was doing their own thing. Consequently, the experiences each customer went through were very different–none achieving the goals the sales people or their company.

    If we want to create a consistent customer experience, we need to be clear what experience we want to create, and how we do it (the process), both pre and post sales. Absent this, it’s chaos.

    A well designed selling process complements the customer buying process–each customer’s process. Poorly designed sales processes either ignore the buying process or are so overly prescriptive they cannot accomodate differences in the customer buying process.

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