Successful customers are the greatest recruiting tool available to small businesses. If your customers can deliver the message that your work is incredible, that’s much more effective than your blog post that says the same thing. Making customers more successful is key to business growth.
Today on The Sales Evangelist, Michael Redbord of HubSpot shares what he has learned about successful customers and how we can engage them to drive more business.
When HubSpot was a small business, the pioneers of the company discovered that when prospects had word-of-mouth energy injected into the conversation by way of referral, the calls went much better.
The company leaned into that knowledge and rode the wave.
Truth is that people rarely buy things without some version of modern-day word-of-mouth information: Google, Amazon, or some other customer feedback. People also go to Facebook to seek input from people they know, and their friends actually provide a lot of information.
By the time customers are ready to buy, they are way down the sales funnel. They are basically already sold on the product; they simply need someone to assist with the transaction.
The seller’s job has changed so that his entire job is to amplify information until the customer has enough certainty to buy.
The first thing small businesses must do is land a customer. As soon as your company lands its first customer, you’re immediately in the business of customer service.
If a customer buys from your business and has a great purchasing experience, but has a not-so-great post-sale experience, they have the power to create a bad reputation for your company.
Michael’s favorite statistic is this one: ask businesses whether they provide superior customer service, and 80 percent will say they do. Then ask customers the same question, and 8 percent of customers will say they receive superior customer service.
There’s a massive disconnect, and customer expectations are super high.
Ten years ago, customers were more patient. They were ok waiting on hold or repeating their issue to multiple customer service reps after being transferred. Twitter was a glimmer in our eyes.
Now customers have a megaphone to share their experiences.
Businesses aren’t as nimble. They follow a tried-and-true playbook that says each new person you hire should be cheaper than the last one you hired. Quality diminishes, but customers still expect great customer service.
In order to conduct post-sale business well, there are three verbs salespeople need to know.
1. Engage. Give customers answers to their questions.
2. Guide. Once you see patterns, become proactive.
3. Grow. Create energy in the market place to drive more business through referrals and advocacy.
If you create the very best experience and engineer your post-sale experience well, you’ll earn promoters.
Ask yourself hard questions. Do you really provide tremendous customer service? Think critically. How well do you engage, guide, and grow.
Businesses that do those things well have the DNA to be successful long-term.
Connect with Michael on Twitter @redbord. He loves to have conversations there, and he’d especially love to have this be the start of the conversation rather than the end.
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Sometimes we tend to overlook the impact of treating our customers right when in fact it’s one of the most critical things to having long-term customer success. Your customers should not merely be transactional.
Today’s guest is Mark Ripley and shares with us great insights into building that long-term customer success. Mark runs sales for Insightly, which builds CRM tools for small to medium-sized businesses. Insightly was recently named #1 CRM for small businesses by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Mark:
Why you need to have a long-term view of client success:
Common problems with customer success:
Put a lot of energy upfront into building that process. Customers should never know the difference that they’re already going from sales to CS so they will have a wonderful experience all the way through.
Strategies to smoothly hand-off your customer from sales to CS:
Pre-sale: Think about bringing CS in pre-sale. You want to bring a CS leader or manager to come in and walk them through that to give them a high degree of confidence. Then ask your customers what success looks like for them. This assures them that you have a legit process.
Post-sale: Every 90 days, the CS person and the sales rep will reconnect and get together on the phone to figure out and track things. This is also a great way to unveil up-sell opportunities.
The Red Carpet Treatment
Give your customer the red carpet treatment throughout the sales process. Keep making them feel amazing.
The Concept of Perceived Value
People’s perception of you can go a long way. So you have to be able to create that perception to your prospects in a way that they want to do business with you and that you care about them. Create whatever you like in terms of that perceived value.
How to help your sales team have a long-term vision of client success:
Their whole mission is to find solutions to constantly improve the customer experience so it gets better and better over time.
At Insightly, when an account executive signs a new customer, they get to keep the customer so if they buy again in the future, they come back to that account executive.
Build a relationship. Build trust. Understand your customer and leverage that so the customer continues to have an even more amazing experience.
Balancing new business and current customers:
Build those role definitions based on what your goals are.
Mark’s Major Takeaway:
Focus on people first. Hire the right people. Set the roles the right way and make sure they’re in a place where they can continually grow. Set those up and empower them and that’s the key to building long-term growth-oriented teams.
Connect with Mark Ripley through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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