At Iron Bow’s annual National Sales Conference, Tiffani Bova, Global Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, and bestselling author of Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices That Will Make or Break Your Business, shared how customer success and growth is based on more than products and solutions alone. It’s based on people, processes, and technologies, and, ultimately, experience and outcomes.
“I have the pleasure of working with some of the most innovative companies in the world as they look to transform the way they engage with customers, grow their business and create amazing customer experiences,” said Bova. “I look to the future for disruptive trends while at the same time scanning the near horizon for the real world impact. My current conversations center around two objectives: customer success and growth.”
Outcomes remain vital to any customer success initiative and organizational growth. Why? Because jobs remain similar overtime. What changes are the solutions people use to get those jobs done. Think of your favorite coffee place. While the coffee is the ultimate job, establishments can differ based on the experience they provide, the quality of coffee, ability to pre-order, and use of an app so you can see the closest location or track rewards points.
The Digital Imperative and Connecting with Customers
The digital imperative has hit its moment of truth. The reality is there is no aspect of our life that is not digital. And because of this reality, organizations must sell based on asking the ever important question: What is it that our customers want?
“Customers will remember the experience they have with a brand much longer than the price they paid,” said Bova. “Would you go back to a restaurant if the food was amazing but the service was terrible? Probably not.”
She emphasized that it’s not enough to simply engage with customers. You have to connect with them. According to Salesforce’s State of Connected Customer Report, 88% of customers feel the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services, which is up from 80% in 2020. Furthermore, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.
Ultimately, the new currency of sales is knowing the customer on an individual level, what they want, and how to add value in a way that’s real-time, personalized, predictive, and optimized.
How can organizations start delivering such enhanced customer experiences? Bova shared four priorities:
- Understanding the buyer's journey
- Relying on technology to bridge the gap between various teams, such as sales and marketing
- Prioritizing metrics that align to customers
- Using data to transform the relationship
Understanding the digital imperative and acting upon it to better connect with customers is vital but cannot be achieved if organizations aren’t ready to embrace their own internal change and reimagine their sales processes.
“Why is it that with over 9,000 marketing technology products we still make our customers go through a complex customer journey?” Bova asked. “Sellers report that 20% of stalled and lost deals are the result of internal complexity while 77% of buyers agree that purchasing has become very complex and difficult.”
The key to breaking this cycle and reimagining sales is to understand how to match the buyer process with the actual business. How? By embracing the new power couple of humans and technology. “Ultimately, it’s a triangle of sales, marketing, and technology that make the holy grail of customer success,” said Bova.
Technology cannot replace the human touch but what it can do is automate redundant tasks, freeing up sales teams to focus on strategizing and actually selling. In fact, Bova shared that high performing sales organizations are more likely to automate repetitive tasks:
- 51% are more likely to automate sales-data and customer notes logging
- 113% are more likely to automate lead/opportunity prioritization
- 132% are more likely to automate account action determination than under-performers
“At the end of the day, top performing organizations are moving to insight selling because insight sellers create value for their customers,” said Bova.
3 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Growth
Any company or organization must be willing to disrupt itself before responding to a surrounding disrupted market. Bova concluded with three tips to help companies prepare for the future of growth.
Align the entire team around the customer experience.
Customers might not know what they want but they know the job to be done. Just like the evolution of cars, the job to be done was always getting from point a to b. The job never changed, only the solution. Prioritize the job to be done rather than the latest technology or solution endpoint when working to understand the customer.
Optimize selling processes.
Automate redundant tasks like data entry and allow sales teams to focus on what they’re supposed to do: sell. Leverage digital first distributed selling. And always look to the future. “What is it that you’re doing now that will be relevant three, five, or even 10 years from now?” asked Bova. “Create a pop-up of innovation that is constantly failing and iterating. As things work, apply them to the relevant parts of the business.”
Supercharge growth with personal development.
"We have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, even with new expectations from leaders," said Bova. Always try to approach things with a beginner's mind." She also shared five sales skills that every rep should master including: empathy, data fluency, customer research, virtual presence, and relationship building.
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