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Thought that would get your attention, it is amazing how a few words can get somebody “excited” about an article and encourage them to read on.

There is so much content available to us all now, we have the whole internet at our disposal, that means grabbing attention is harder than ever, but even more important.

When you arrive at your customer meeting, your customer expects you to be fully informed about what is going on with them, the excuse of “sorry, I didn’t know” does not hold weight any more, your customer knows that you have all the power of technology, the internet at your disposal and all of this BIG DATA, you have the ability to have every bit of information at your fingertips.

To your customer, he should be the most important person in your world, every thing that has happened to him, should be commented on, and form part of your engagement/love for him

  1. the fact that they have just declared great financial results should be applauded when you contact him,
  2. the fact that his biggest competitor has gone into chapter 11, should be discussed
  3. the fact that you have under shipped a crucial delivery, for the opening days of one of his stores, should be explained.

These are just a few examples of where information can and should be used to improve and enhance the customer relationship, this is very easily said, but has not been that easy to achieve, historically.

I remember when I was first involved in a sales support operation, and many of the sales managers were blaming the new software for decrease in sales, which I found hard to understand, so asked for a few more details, and the conversation went along the lines of

Salesman 1: “every Friday I now spend my day analyzing all of the sales figures of my teams”

Author: “what did you used to do on a Friday?”

Salesman 1:“spend time with customers.”

This is a prime example of sales guys using technology and over analysis to drive their decisions, rather than using the power of technology to support and aid their customer conversations and decision making processes,

Information has never been so freely available in the technology driven world, but the differentiating part, is how do you deliver the right information to the user, and stop them drowning in data. Such as

  • delivering internet news feeds, directly to the sales guys tablet home page, based on the upcoming meetings that he has that day,
  • providing contact centre agents with information about the social measure of a consumer
  • enabling a field merchandiser a full view of the current running promotions, to effective utilize their time in store
  • pushing information to the sales teams, about missed customer promises, such as delivery/services

Less than half of a sales guys time is actually spent on customer orientated tasks, with this focus on internal and admin processes, no wonder sales guys are asking where technology is actually helping them win more business. Rather than another administration overhead, made for managers to control, not to empower the field.

What sales people  really want is to hit their targets, as quickly and easily as possible,  and the easiest way to do that is with providing them with the ability to deliver superior customer loyalty and to  “Engage their customers like never before”.

Great I hear you all say,

But what has this got to do with Christian Grey?

Just ask your sales teams, they are always walking into customer meetings, unaware of the reception they are going to get. Questions are running through their heads

  • is this customer in a good or bad place financially
  • have we over achieved his expectations, or have we messed up along the way,
  • has this customer being treated well by the rest of the organization or not.

But as the sales guy walks into that room, to meet the customer, the biggest single question in their mind is

am I going to get a kiss, or a slap?”

John Heald

Head of CRM Product Management & Commerce, SAP EMEA.

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