The customer is becoming more and more critical view for suppliers – how can you increase your customer’s confidence in you as a sales representative?
This blog series discusses B2B sales trends based on a Linkedin State of Sales survey. Linkedin conducts an annual State of Sales survey of its users. The latest study highlights in particular the need for change in sales processes, this change actually began even before the Covid19 pandemic. The corona pandemic has only further accelerated this change.
Our blog series highlights the key findings of Linkedin’s State of Sales survey in B2B commerce, and considers how B2B solution sales could be developed to better respond to changes in customer buying behavior. In our blog series, we specifically address the following themes:
Part 3: The customer is becoming more and more critical view for suppliers – how can you increase your customer’s confidence in you as a sales representative?
Joseph DiMisa from Korn Ferry concluded “Today, customer confidence in their supplier is becoming increasingly critical. Unfortunately, sales organizations have had challenges in building trust due to poor customer reach. To succeed, sales representatives need to develop new approaches to build more trust. Vendors also need to understand how to leverage customer data in sales. Indeed, companies need to think about how salespeople should sell in the future, and what capabilities salespeople need to succeed in this new world of sales. “
There is a lot of talk today about the role of the sales in relation to the buyer. Sales representatives ability to consult the customer is considered increasingly important in the client collaboration, which is also highlighted in Linkedin’s State of Sales report. The amount of trust the customer experiences in relation to the sales has increased in importance in the deal making. Indeed, numerous new books on this subject could be written in addition to the old ones, and there could be a lot of constructive, perhaps also opinion-based, discussion.
Trust and its construction are strongly related to human psychology and the practices of social interaction between people. What builds trust and how it is built is certainly individual and cultural. The sales guides talk about understanding the customer, ease of service, keeping promises and a good communication connection.
In this blog we concentrate on information and its sharing to create customer confidence.
A smooth comprehensive sales process enhances trust
Essential to building the trust is creating a sales process and customer relationship management model that is supporting to increasing trust. An open, interactive and easy communication channel must be created with the customer, where information can be communicated and shared.
In our view, at least the following things are relevant to a trust-building sales process:
- ease and timeliness of contact and communication
- accuracy and quality of customer data
- transparency of the company’s operations and its possible solutions to the customer
- the functionality of the sales process and its suitability for the customer
Data and sales technologies play an important role in this context, as sales data and digital technologies can improve understanding of the customer and customer needs. With sales technologies you can gather a database that can be effectively utilized in customer analysis. Based on high-quality customer data, you are able to offer the customer the right kind of solutions in the way your customer wants. We have written about data and its significance for the buyer and the purchase process in a couple of different publications:
When planning the sales process, it is important to keep in mind that the customer especially appreciates the ease and timeliness of contact and communication. We addressed this issue in our blog, where we discussed the buying behavior of a new generation of buyers based on Gartner’s research.
In the ease experienced by the customer, it is critical to use the right sales tools and sales tools as a well-synchronized sales process. Sales technologies can be well utilized when building a modern overall sales process. They can be used to assess the customer’s situation and interest in your company’s solutions.
Intelligent sales technologies are able to effectively utilize customer-related data throughout the sales process and provide sales guidance and support for the implementation of the sales process. The intelligent sales process also provides the customer with a good service experience as the buyer goes through their purchasing process.
High-quality data is the key to increasing customer confidence during the purchasing process – how you get quality data on customer?
The trust experienced by the customer and the estimated reliability of the sales rep in the customer’s eyes are enhanced in particular by the accuracy and quality of the data related to the solution of the customer’s needs. Accuracy and quality are best ensured when the customer himself provides the necessary information about his need, business and purchasing process to the sales. In this case, the information received by the sales is as authentic, accurate and targeted as possible. The sales rep is able to give the customer better information about both his company solutions and about the company when sales rep receives correct and high-quality information from the customer as early as possible in the sales process.
Information about the buyer’s needs and the customer’s basic information must be shared as easily and transparently as possible between both the buyer and the sales. Ease and transparency during the purchasing process allows for trust to be built between the parties. In this way, the sales process is certainly smoother when the sales organization has a better understanding of the buyer’s behavior, whether it is about gathering information about solutions or making decisions about an offer.
The buyer must be able to share information related to the need easily, find information about different solutions and the supplier. An intelligent digital sales channel makes it easy to deliver just the right information, whether it’s the information provided by the buyer regarding solution needs or the suggestions for possible solutions provided by the sales.
Data collection can be easily implemented through a digital channel with precision tools designed for high quality and efficient data collection. The tools also make it easy to manage the data together with the customer, thus ensuring the accuracy and quality of the information at all times. The sharing of information is also controlled between the parties through a common channel. This also ensures communication management and information security. It is known who will have access to the information and what information will be shared between the parties.
The digital service channel makes it easier to understand the customers.
According to Linked’s State of Sales survey, buyers value in particular sales reps listening skills. Listening and understanding the client can be supported by digital tools that collect and process information provided by the customer about the needs as well as the buyer’s organization and its business situation.
Open shared common information enables data correctness which can be be verified between parties, and changed information to be communicated continuously and efficiently. High-quality data ensures that the customer is more properly understood. However, it is important to note that a digital tool alone is certainly not enough here, but a constant conversational connection is important for understanding the customer and building trust.
By utilizing data, sales can also increase their own industry expertise and understanding of customer needs. Better industry expertise is utilized in many ways in sales and in improving the company’s competitiveness. The digital tool enables the collection of a wide range of customer information in a single database or at least in a single channel from which information can be retrieved. A unified channel for information is the key to successful data analysis. For example, accurate detailed information about the content of quotes with their proposed solutions as well as pricing in detailed level will help the sales to understand what kind of quote is winning and which kind is losing quote.
Efficient utilization of data improves the customer experience, increases trust and reduces sales costs
Efficient utilization of data makes the customer’s service experience easy and of high quality. The client feeling still plays a big role in the transaction, and the positive feeling is enhanced by the ease of cooperation and the feeling that the sales genuinely understands the customer’s need.
This can be supported with means that:
- promote the efficient utilization of data
- facilitate the customer’s operations in the purchasing process
- reduce the uncertainty felt by the customer
All of these are certainly sensible targets for investment in the sales process.
To gain trust, it is important to understand exactly what business the buying company is doing, what is the customer’s need, and in what roles the buyer’s persons are acting in their purchasing process. It is important to understand these things as accurate as possible. Therefore, that the more accurate this information is, the more likely it is to succeed in the sales process, and this will naturally lead to a more successful transaction.
The earlier the information is obtained from the customer and the clearer this information is to the sales, the easier and faster the trust will be built. The more effective the communication with the customer, the faster the customer receives all the necessary information regarding the customer’s business, its need and the customer’s purchasing process. In this way, customer satisfaction will certainly increase. This benefits both companies, as they will save energy and money in the purchasing process.
A buyer who trusts the supplier will also certainly be more likely to buy and the customer relationship will continue for more contributing repurchases. By investing in information acquisition at the beginning of the sales process, you will definitely get benefits for a long time. The earlier trust is built, the stronger it carries throughout the business lifecycle between parties.
Investing in the start of a customer relationship lasts for a long time and brings significant returns over the years.
With quality data, you increase your customer’s trust and you will benefit by:
- increasing your customer understanding
- serving your customers better
- improving your customer experience
- doing more deals
Are you interested in developing your sales process to win more deals?
With Klaro, you can easily develop digital sales processes.
Find out more about our solutions to support smart quoting.
Contact us and book an appointment! At the meeting, we will tell you more about your company’s opportunities to develop quoting processes.
Link to Linkedin State of Sales -report: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/b2b-sales-strategy-guides/the-state-of-sales-2020-report