TMCnews Featured Article
Do Customers Want More Out of Their Relationships With Sales?
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
A recent CRM Buyer blog explored this reality, suggesting customers may give specific signals that they are ready to deepen relationships with the sales person, which can then trigger new marketing activities.
CRM (customer relationship management) tools have been in place for quite some time to track customer preferences and activities in order to give the sales person a leg-up on the right time to make the move to close a sale.
While this information is valuable, it is really only one piece of a more complicated puzzle and those who understand how to take it to the next level are bound for more success. It isn't enough to sell the customer once - even if it is a big sale. The relationship should be the ultimate goal.
The key to building those relationships is to leverage the power of the CRM solution to build loyalty. This not only ensures customers will continue to buy from the sales person, it enables customers to influence other buyers on the sales person's behalf. Loyal customer advocates amplify the sales person's reach to other potential customers with out much more investment than the relationship.
How does the sales person best build this relationship? There are specific triggers that customers will send that are not easy for traditional marketing activities to spot. In the contents of the blog, specific examples are given such as the frequent restaurant customer who often asks how things are prepared or the product customer who calls with an idea on an additional use not thought of by the company.
In both situations, this is the customer reaching out for a more intimate relationship with the company. The same is true when a customer posts a positive - and unsolicited - review on a social networking site or the long-term customer who refers the sales person to another buyer without ever indicating his or her interest beyond standard purchases.
When these things happen, this is the time to act, not simply appreciate the gesture. This is a clear opportunity to build on the relationship and the customer is asking for it - why would the sales person NOT act on it? To do so, they simply need to make the customer feel included, like they are part of an inside track.
This can be accomplished by inviting the customer to an insider's community; sending a special newsletter for advocates only; a first-alert e-mail on a new product; or even free consulting time. In the process, the value of the relationship is heightened and the customer feels effort and will respond with loyalty, purchases and referrals.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Juliana Kenny