Recall a recent buying experience. It could be a product, or service. Something new. Or something you’ve purchased many times over.
How did you make your decision? What research did you do? What was the overall customer experience like? What went well? Would you point out opportunities for improvement? Would you purchase that same product or service again? Would you potentially buy more of that same product or service, or buy different products or services from the same organization?
According to Microsoft, “90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. (Microsoft)” We talk lot about B2C and B2B in the world of sales (via Hubspot). But in the end, we are all looking to solve specific problems and find value in the products or services we purchase. It’s likely our own prospects are undergoing a similar decision-making process that we undergo ourselves as consumers.
Customer Experience: The Sales Differentiator
You might be sitting back wondering what customer experience has to do with sales, when it’s typically considered an aspect of marketing. In fact, 42% of companies investing in improving the customer experience are doing it to improve sales growth, and 33% of companies investing in improving the customer experience are doing it to improve retention. (Source: SuperOffice.com.)
It’s safe to say customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator moving forward. So let’s start by defining it.
Customer experience is the combination of your organization’s offerings, processes, and interactions that create outcomes and value for your prospects and clients. This includes you as part of the equation.
A positive customer experience leads to:
1. Customer Loyalty
The logical and emotional attachment your clients have to you and your company. Loyal customers will choose you first and refer you first. What do they say about you when you’re not in the room?
2. Customer Innovation
The ideas and bold thinking you bring that help to make a client’s business materially better. It’s a source of new opportunity beyond what you’ve always done.
Sales Impact on Customer Experience
On the other hand, sales can impact customer experience and growth. It can:
- Reduce client churn by as little as 5% and see a profitability return of 20% or greater. (Source: Destination CRM)
- Expand through retention and improvement. Your likelihood of expanding within an existing customer is 60-70%. (Source: Marketing Metrics)
- Protect and maximize. In professional services, up to 72% of satisfied client bases are still open to switching. (Source: Rain Today)
The Value Spectrum
What if we could take the clients we currently have, and increase our share of wallet by 10-20%? What if we could decrease the sell cycle with new prospects and improve our odds of keeping them for the long term? That’s where the Value Spectrum comes in. There are five components in the spectrum:
- Baseline: Compliance, ethics, competitive pricing, meeting specifications
- Functional: Expertise, product quality, service quality, responsiveness
- Business Impact: Time savings, top line, bottom line, cost reductions, segment growth
- Reputational: Stability of your organization, reputational assurance, transparency, cultural fit
- Personal: Network expansion, growth and development opportunities, personal goals, reputational assurance
- Visionary/Futuristic: Social impact, social responsibility, vision, hope, innovation
The first two components, baseline and functional, are merely tablestakes. All your competitors offer the same thing.
It’s the next four, business impact, reputational, personal, and visionary/futuristic, that are your differentiators. They require an investment, and are longer to cultivate, but help you to stand out.
The more value you can build in these areas, the more loyalty you will create and the more you can insulate yourself from commoditization and competitive pressures.
Sales & CX go hand-in-hand. Find out how investing in customer experience can boost sales growth & retention. Don’t miss the Value Spectrum strategy! @amyfranko #ModernSeller #SalesGrowth #CXStrategy”Click to tweet
Put It Into Practice
Ready to put the value spectrum into practice to improve the customer experience? Here are three areas you can focus on today, and some questions you can be thinking about as an individual contributor or team leader.
1. Pre-Sales Experience
- Do we have organizational and individual thought leadership across multiple platforms?
- Does our sales process align with clients’ decision processes?
- What’s our level of excellence with both outbound and inbound?
- How easy do we make it to say yes?
- What barriers do sales leaders / growth officers need to remove?
2. Implementation Experience
- What is our client onboarding process like?
- Does every role impacting the client have what they need?
- What can we simplify?
- What problems can we anticipate?
- Do we have excellence in our problem-solving processes?
- Are we clear on our outcomes and are we tracking to them?
3. Post-Sale Experience
- How can our post-sale process lead to retention / renewal?
- What new problems have we uncovered that can lead to growth?
- How consistent is our team structure in continuing to support the client?
- Do we have goals and metrics in place for account growth?
- What is one thing we can amplify? What is one thing we can improve?
Pick one area, and track how it improves the customer experience and eventually boosts the bottom line.
If you’d like a deeper dive on this topic, watch my Customer Experience Webinar on The Sales Experts Channel.
Help Your Team Improve Sales Growth through the Customer Experience
Don’t let your competition get an advantage. We can help. If you want to know how to improve sales growth through the customer experience, let’s talk about sales training. Contact us to schedule time for a discovery conversation with Amy.
This article was originally written in 2021 and updated in 2023.