Sales are the lifeblood of any business. To consistently meet your quarterly goals, find reliable clients and quantify the success of your advertising efforts, your sales process cannot be overly complicated.
Streamlining your process eliminates distractions, puts you on the right course and creates a strong and engaged customer base. The key ingredient for streamlined sales? A customer-centric approach that defines and finds the best clients for your business, treats them well and institutes a top-down approach to customer engagement.
Here are three key steps to keep in mind:
Identify the right targets. It’s easy to identify bad customers: They clog up your support lines with endless questions, take forever to make purchases and only pull out their wallets when there’s a discount involved. These customers eat up a lot of time for little payoff.
Good customers, on the other hand, invest in your product, identify with your brand and proactively promote your business to friends and relatives. I’d estimate that a mere 20% of your current client base falls into this category.
Grow this number by gathering 360-degree data and working backward to identify where, when and how you found your best customers. Then leverage that information to find more of them.
Prioritize and reward your ideal clients. The days of carpet bombing as many people as possible need to end. While this might result in increased lead volume today, it comes at the expense of quality—and goes hand in hand with countless headaches for you and consumers tomorrow.
Prioritizing your ideal targets will still create plenty of leads, but they will be of much higher quality. Speak directly to them on all fronts, across digital channels and devices, and complement these efforts with an assessment process that allows you to test the effectiveness of different messages at a granular level.
Once you bring great customers on board, you need to make them—and your existing gems—feel appreciated. Rewarding loyalty and good behavior will create a positive vibe around your business, increase word-of-mouth referrals and positively reinforce future loyalty and good customer behavior.
Follow the leaders. A handful of companies have nailed this customer-centric approach to sales.
Amazon, for one, has embodied this approach throughout every level of its business. CEO Jeff Bezos famously requires every employee, even his top executives, to attend two days of call center training every year. He also leaves one seat empty at his conference table to represent Amazon’s customers—the focal point of every decision. This approach has played a major role in making Amazon the giant it is today.
USAA has set the standard for the banking industry when it comes to customer centricity. The company consistently reels in impressive customer satisfaction scores due to its helpful, user-friendly approach. USAA liberally doles out discounts to its loyal customers, was the first bank to offer mobile check deposits and created extremely helpful tools and initiatives to benefit a large part of its customer base: active-duty soldiers.
Your company may not yet have the budget or manpower to match the likes of Amazon or USAA, but I urge you to adopt a similar customer-centric sales mindset that puts your customers first. This approach will improve your customer base, your sales and ultimately your business.
Jason Kulpa is the CEO of San Diego-based Underground Elephant, one of the nation’s premier customer acquisition solutions companies for leading brands.