When sales become the power core, the salesforce is a well-oiled machine that knows how to target customers and close sales. To get customer experience traction, you need a meeting of the minds to gain agreement that you're not only a customer acquisition company, but also a customer retention company.
Sales organizations are constantly on the move. The challenge will be getting the time on the sales agenda to discuss the shift. Pull out all the stops to get the time at the highest levels to have the discussions where the conversation will receive the attention it deserves.
- Secure a strategic commitment to recognize and promote continuing sales and customer relationships as the same holy grail as bringing in a new account or closing the new sale.
- Gain consensus that the move from an acquisition company to a retention company includes specific new actions that the company can achieve.
- Lay out what these actions are.
- Gain agreement with leadership across the company that this is the direction you are all committed to. This will take a while. (Slate at least six months to get to this point.) During this period, define and roll out guerrilla metrics to boost the shift and create more clarity for the organization on the direction.
- Identify the connection points between the sale and the overall customer relationship. Make this a simple exercise. I'm not talking process maps here. These are bullet points with questions, such as:
What is the hand-off between sales and service?
What is the communication between the sale and the ownership experience?
Where is the vulnerability in the customer lifecycle?
Create a Defector Pipeline to turn what seems like a huge concept into a plan of action for the sales organization. It engages the sales force, connects them to specific actions to take, and expands the role beyond sales to relationship.
1. Plot the stages of the customer experience visually so the organization can see and identify the stages.
2. Identify the places where your research indicates that you are vulnerable to losing customers to defection.
For example, a classic area of defections for the insurance industry is right after a new policy is purchased.
Connecting with customers prior to renewal is critical for resolving issues and increasing positive renewal decision-making, as is reaching out to customers after pricing increases.
This is all commonsense stuff you could recite based on your own experiences, but it needs to be laid out clearly to encourage a large corporate entity to move in unison. By identifying the points in time along the life cycle, you can take the concept of managing the customer relationship out of the clouds and down to points that are tied directly to sales.
You will be able to turn that pipeline into a series of actions and tactics.