Where Are the Leads?

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Few B2B companies are doing much about Customer Experience Management (CEM). Those that are may not be looking far enough upstream. What percentage of four-month sell cycles take 1-3 years before prospects are ready to buy?

Customer Experience is a challenging concept. In attempting to manage it, consider when customer experiences start. In increasing numbers, blogs/search engines/electronic newsletters/websites have replaced salespeople as the first touches vendors have with buyers. The majority of buyers are not ready to buy nor evaluate offerings during their initial contact.

For that reason, tactical marketing’s objective of developing leads has become a long-term proposition. Given this reality, their role in business development could be redefined as:

Having ongoing, interruptible, electronic touches to gain mind share and credibility over time so that when buyers are ready to buy they will contact the vendor that provided the better customer experience.

Is it time to have another look at your non-human first touches with buyers?

John Holland
In co-authoring CustomerCentric Selling® (McGraw-Hill, 2003) and cofounding the company of the same name in 2002, John Holland leveraged more than 20 years' experience in sales, sales management and consulting. Holland began his career in high-technology with IBM's General Systems Division.

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