Top 12 World-Class Sales Practices | Consistency Across Channels

Based on the results of our 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study, channel consistency — consistency for the buyer across various channels, to be precise — is a hot topic. The related practice, “Customers have consistently positive interactions in every channel they use to engage with us,” is one of the Top 12 practices that has the biggest impact on sales performance and productivity metrics such as win rates, quota attainment, revenue plan attainment and turnover rates.

For this channel consistency practice, 89% of the World-Class segment reported consistently and collectively applying this practice, compared to only 36% of all study participants. Click here to learn more about the high-performing World-Class segment that represents only 9% of our study participants.

Ensuring customers have consistently positive interactions with every touchpoint they use to engage with your organization requires a cross-functional strategy. (click to tweet)

It’s common for buyers to connect and engage with salespeople and their vendor organizations based on their preferences. In fact, modern buyers expect salespeople to be excellent at all kinds of channels and touchpoints. However, throughout a customer lifecycle, your customer might come in contact with more than SDRs, inside sales or field sales teams. They also might be in touch with delivery and implementation partners, customer service and customer success, and also with product management or with legal or accounting. All of these functions use various processes, systems and tools.

Let’s make an example: Your ideal buyer might engage with your website first. If interested, your buyer then exchanges emails with an SDR, speaks to a salesperson on the phone, conducts implementation meetings with a project manager (maybe via videoconference), handles challenges with customer service on the phone and using the chat function, and finally (and hopefully) renews business with a customer success manager (maybe via email and phone).

Each individual your buyers come in contact with likely reports to a different management team that has a slightly different view of the world than its neighbor function and, most of the time, different processes and systems in place. What are World-Class Organizations doing differently?

World-Class Sales Organizations establish ONE customer perspective across all involved functions to ensure a seamless CX. (click to tweet)

Based on this integrated customer perspective, World-Class Sales Organizations ensure their customers enjoy a frictionless and seamless experience among these various touchpoints. This way, customer expectations are met or exceeded regardless of when and where and how they engage.

Here are five steps to create a seamless and frictionless customer experience across various touchpoints. (click to tweet)

#1: Establish a customer-centric mindset. (click to tweet)
That’s easier said than done. If you already have a CX person in your organization, liaise with this role. If not, you could invite representatives from all involved functions to a workshop where customer survey data on that matter — the voice of the customer — is shared to raise awareness around the frictions your customers experience in working with you. As soon as the problem is in people’s minds from the customers’ perspective, it’s much easier to discuss better seamless solutions. This mindset step is a prerequisite to be effective with all other steps.

#2: Map out your customer’s paths, and include all relevant buying/selling scenarios. (click to tweet)
Start by building a map of the customer’s paths – from awareness to buying and (ideally) also implementation for your most important buying/selling scenario. As an example, this might be a complex engagement regarding your business process outsourcing services. Identify all relevant touchpoints for this scenario. Take on the customer’s perspective, and think through all of the touchpoints for these variations: new business, renewal and changing an existing contract. For each of these variations, identify how comfortable or difficult it is for the customer, how the interaction takes place and who is involved. This will help you clarify possible frictions from a customers’ point of view. Then take the second-most-important buying/selling scenario, and do the same.

#3: Optimize all interactions, including those that don’t involve humans. (click to tweet)
Not all interactions involve a human. Filling out marketing automation forms, requesting service and even using e-commerce (B2B e-commerce is expected to soon outgrow B2C e-commerce) all work without any human involvement. Here, it’s important to carefully determine whether they add to or detract from the overall customer experience and your CX vision. Some sales organizations are experimenting with using bots as a mechanism to schedule appointments with prospects. Others use bots to assist support and service chat functions. This might boost overall productivity but could backfire if those interactions are not consistently perceived to be positive.

#4: Expand your enablement scope beyond prospecting and buying. (click to tweet)
Our 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study points out that it is rare for sales enablement to provide services to customer service, customer success or channel partners. However, for a buyer, the buying decision is just a milestone on the way to something that is way more important to them: implementing what they bought to realize the value they expect to get. If sales enablement only serves sellers and not all customer-facing roles, as we suggest in our sales force enablement definition, you can create many unsupported holes in a series of customer interactions. Using your customer path maps from Step #2 as a guide, look to expand your sales enablement audiences to ensure you are covering — or at least orchestrating — the majority of interactions involving your brand.

#5: Ensure all involved functions are measured by CX KPIs. (click to tweet)
This step is for your leadership team. All of the preparation and all of the right steps only work if they are implemented the right way. Your leadership team should make a seamless CX a priority and also ensure all functions involved are measured by a relevant CX KPI. Only then will the seamless CX be created beyond just the buying experience.

In this age of the customer, sales, marketing and CX leaders are required to think beyond existing silos and functions to ensure their customers experience seamless, frictionless positive interactions however they choose to engage with your organization.

 

Questions for you:

  • What experiences are your customers having when they interact with your organization on different channels?
  • How do you ensure a seamless experience for your customers across channels?
  • What are your top three critical success factors to ensure a great experience for your customers across all channels they engage with in your organization?

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