How Sales Teams Drive Exceptional Customer Experiences

Customer experience has become the basis for competition in the modern world. If you look at the major disruptions that are happening in the business world, in many cases the product itself has not been the basis for disruption, but instead it’s the experience that has changed. Take Uber as the poster child. The “product” of transporting you from point A to point B didn’t change. Rather, they focused on completely updating and modernizing the purchase experience. This shift in focus certainly started with consumer companies, but has expanded into business and technology buying. Every interaction with your customer is an opportunity to delight or disappoint them, and sales is often one of the first interactions, setting the tone for the customer relationship.

The trouble is, most brands aren’t delivering on those expectations, much less exceeding them. A Hubspot study shows that while 82 percent of sales people believe they provide value to buyers, only 34 percent of customers believe the same. But when companies get the customer experience right, benefits follow. Adobe’s latest Digital Trends report shows that organizations that lead in customer experience are three times more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goal. When it comes to revenue, the Temkin Group shows that a moderate improvement in customer experience for a typical $1 billion company can increase revenue an average of $775 million over three years.

How Sales Teams Can Effectively Drive Customer Experience in the Sales Process

As sales reps face increased workloads and customer demands, often the customer experience takes a back seat to closing deals efficiently and making quarterly quota. But when the sales experience becomes part of the end-to-end experience, every conversation is an opportunity to delight customers, build your brand, increase loyalty, and make more sales.

Essentially, this means shifting the focus of the buying process, adapting to buyer behaviors and preferences. Buyers today spend more time researching products before interacting directly with a person in the sales organization. That’s why when they do reach a sales person, providing the customer with a memorable experience is the key to differentiating your brand. CSO Insights found that more than two-thirds of the highest performing sales organizations met or exceeded customer expectations in providing valuable thought leadership to help them advance their thinking.

To get started, you need to understand what the customer wants to accomplish — like making a purchase — and then consider all the touch points they have to go through to get there. As a sales person, you have a tremendous opportunity to make every call, every email, and every transaction a delightful part of the end-to-end experience.

How Technology Can help Sales Deliver a Better Customer Experience

Technology can help improve the customer experience by freeing up sales people to spend more time talking with customers, and less time chasing paper or doing tedious work. This means looking for solutions that use automation and AI to help buyers move to the next step of their journey easily, because speed to close is a problem for many sales people. About 32 percent of sales reps say their sell cycle is too long, while almost 64 percent say they need to improve their time to close, according to another CSO Insights study.

Tools for sales enablement, conversational intelligence, conversational marketing, and e-signatures can all help the process move along smoothly so that sales can concentrate on providing the best customer experience and close more deals faster. For example, with Adobe Sign, Hitachi Solutions used e-signatures to reduce their contract turnaround time by 80 percent, helping customers get started with their services faster. Considered one of the most useful sales tools, e-signature solutions make the contract signing process more efficient, and provide error-proof workflows that get prospects to sign sooner.

Although this is just one example, there are plenty of others out there around how sales technology can help reps close deals faster.

How Sales Can Work with Other Parts of the Organization to Improve the Customer Experience

Providing a memorable customer experience starts with having a customer-obsessed organization. This means that no one department owns the customer experience, but it’s something that’s woven into the fabric of the organization. In other words, everyone from sales to marketing to product are aligned around the needs of the customers. And when that happens, revenues go up. Sirius Decisions found that organizations with tight cross-functional alignment grow 19 percent faster and realize 15 percent higher profitability.

All of this should give you some food for thought around how sales fits in with the customer experience. And more importantly, how sales is a crucial part of the end-to-end experience. From the opportunity to open up the customer relationship, to potential impact on the lifetime value of the customer, sales shouldn’t treat the customer experience as an afterthought. Instead, it should be the guiding light for every interaction a customer has with your brand.

This week’s article is by guest author, Bill Bedsworth, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the Document Cloud at Adobe. With Adobe Sign, it’s fast and easy for anyone to create, route, and get agreements legally signed, which adds to the flow of the customer experience.