Want More Effective CRM? Stop Selling After the Sale

You’ve got a database of prospects and a database of customers. Among the latter are latent customers who haven’t been as attentive to your emails and landing pages as you might have imagined they would be when the relationship began.

Have they soured on your product or service? Not unless it failed to live up to expectations. More than likely, your customers have soured on the relationship.

Human nature is no different in business than in love. Take Dan. P. Handsome on for example. His pictures show the chiseled, masculine features women desire. His profile speaks to his love of adventure and appreciation of life’s finer pleasures. Becky B. Curious shoots him a wink, and Danny Handsome swings into action, setting up a zip lining and fine dining first date. After the endorphins, adrenaline, caviar, and Moet et Chandon, Becky’s curiosity is satisfied; Dan is the real deal. Date #2 is a go!

Dan is pumped to ride the wave of momentum from Date #1. He picks Becky up and raves about his favorite gourmet restaurants and his latest epic mountain biking trek. He pulls out a Cuban and before he can light it, Becky interrupts. “Enough about you Dan. Let’s talk about us.”

Don’t be like Dan. After the first sale, stop selling and focus on the Relationship in Customer Relationship Marketing. Follow these strategies to keep your customers engaged:

  1. Support Your End User. Often, the purchasing decision-makers are not the end users. Your relationship with the user(s) of your product or service is now the lynchpin relationship that determines whether you will grow the account. Define these users, learn how they use your product or service, and interact with them to discover what else they need from you to succeed in their roles. Beyond names, define these users by personas so that you can segment mass communications into what appears to the end user as personalized support communications.
  2. Track Customer Needs by Lifecycle Stage. Time elapsed from purchase won’t tell you whether a customer is in the Initiate, Participate, Actualize, or Advocate stage. In each of these lifecycle stages, your communications should address the customer’s corresponding needs for you to Deliver (on your claims), Develop (the relationship), Retain (the customer by earning trust with support), and Grow (the relationship by demonstrating that you are a source of ever-growing solutions to enable their success).
  3. Segment by Account Type. Some organizations are different from others. Some fall into common business classifications for which you can easily develop mass communications. Others are unique businesses that require more customized outreach, that may be best allocated to sales instead of marketing.
  4. Close the Loop. Your sales enablement solution will give each salesperson visibility into every customer interaction with marketing content. Because your marketing content is now focused on nurturing the relationship, your reps can use triggers that content has been consumed to initiate a personalized correspondence or, dare I say it… a sales call. 

About the author

Alan Margulis

Sales Enablement Columnist

Alan Margulis is a frequent contributor, specializing in sales enablement, channel marketing, and software.

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