Buyer behaviour has shifted dramatically and is now challenging the conventional ways of conducting business in all sectors. The sales model of the past no longer works; companies can no longer ‘push’ out to a pool of customers with a straight sales proposition with the hope of triggering enough interest that will lead to sales closure. It is now the customer that is researching and self-educating before seeking out suppliers. In today’s new digital age, the customer is more empowered than ever, meaning that a new business development technique is upon us; engaging with potential net new customers right from their initial research stages.
In order for companies to embark on this new road to business development, all directors and departments need to be focused, and measured, on their contribution. In order to seamlessly adopt such an approach, customer intelligence needs to be used to capture the impact each function of the business is having on the customer.
In order for companies to cope with this, there must be a significant change in attitude to the importance of and ease of collecting, understanding and using customer intelligence to help shape customer experience. The customer intelligence repository – usually in the form of a CRM solution – can no longer be locked away in its own silo; it needs to be repositioned as a layer accessible by the whole business. This means that businesses can gather valuable information on their customers so they can be intelligently nurtured by all parts of the business on their journey to purchase.
How then, should businesses start exploring this new way of working? Here are 5 key questions that company leaders can explore in order to guide their response to the dramatic changes in buyer behaviour:
- Who are your most profitable customers?
- How aligned are you with your customers’ growth potential?
- How do you define your customers’ buying journey?
- Do you know where in the customer journey that you are losing prospects?
- Why take a new approach to Customer Relationship Management/CRM?
The customers of today like to feel like they are in control – the decision makers – using all available technology to make those buyer decisions. However if businesses tap into this information, they can track a prospect or current customer’s interactions with a brand, and offer them timely and relevant information, incentives or propositions. Realigning the critical CRM layer to enable the business to be one step ahead of the customer means your company is well positioned to influence, to leverage high returns, and to grow the business.
By Mike Richardson, Managing Director EMEA, Maximizer Software