How to create a unique engagement identity with your customers

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Four steps that matter the most to achieve great results across new world customer interactions
April 15, 2015
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How to create a unique engagement identity with your customers

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The other day, I was doing some research around the topic of sales execution, trying to determine whether there was some new thinking to better understand the overall customer purchase decision process.

Well, one thing I definitely realised while reviewing a number of public resources, is that massive changes have occurred across that buyer – seller engagement journey.

Like all of us, online searches are the first course of action for many executives and senior managers when it comes to researching topics they need to master to achieve their corporate objectives.

According to Sirius Decisions, nearly 70 % of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. A significant amount of information can now be found online, causing the role of the sales representative to change. New experience and engagement standards are now of much higher importance for the sales team to add value to the client conversation process.

I actually remember a Forrester blog I read a while ago. The blog highlighted that today’s buyers control their own engagement journey when buying a new product, and this far more than today’s vendors controlling the selling cycle. And often buyers put off engaging in a sales conversation until they have identified the few solutions they want to investigate further, or are ready to be quoted a price.

Indeed, in an HBR article describing the end of solution selling, CEB reinforces that “nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision – meaning researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements or benchmarking pricing – was completed before even having a conversation with a supplier.”

It is clear that the customer buying process has changed. While more decision makers are involved in the overall decision process, looking at insights from a multitude of sources, each of them will also seek validation across 3 distinct types of value to affirm their decision to engage with a vendor and reinforce the decision to purchase that supplier’s offerings.

These three types of engagement value include:

 

  1. The true value your company provides: This type of value includes the series of benefits and business outcomes an organisation can provide its customers to justify a purchase decision. How easy is it for that company to do business with others, despite internal constraints, limitations and political agendas? How credible, reliable and sustainable will that business be in the long term? Is the business an established player or a new venture? How much risk is it prepared to take? Beyond a recognisable brand logo, the value delivered by an enterprise will entail its business model and how it differentiates from the business model of competitive enterprises.

 

  1. The differentiated experiences valued by your customers: This type of value relates to the small things, the time saved, the reduced workload or workarounds, the efficiency and effectiveness delivered to customers through improved work practices. This also relates to a better understanding of what makes a difference in the lives of your customers. How a company helps its customers’ improved the performance of its functional units by revisiting and challenging the way things are done. And rather than focusing on every customer touch point, concentrating on those experiences that derive the most value for each customer’s organisation, while delivering rational and tangible messages that appeal to the logical mind.

 

  1. The combined value individual identities leave behind: This type of value relates to the benefits attached to an individual buyer’s self-esteem, pride, or sense of belonging and the more emotional side of every communication that is being undertaken. Another part of this includes how your team handles interpersonal relationships, the instinctive gut-feel impression and personal value that one leaves behind. Often buyers listen to suppliers because they can provide two things. They can help them solve an obstacle within an on-going initiative they cannot solve, or help them think through an overall approach to meet a specific new goal or objective. By applying intelligence, insights and personality, the most unique individual identities develop into memorable and lasting relationships. This type of value is the most growth generating and often the one many organisations pay the least attention to.

 

This recognised shift within the buyer purchasing process has fuelled the explosion of new communication and messaging styles challenging the more traditional approaches. Those enterprises that master these three key identity types will deliver enriched customer interactions that drive long-term success.

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