The buyer matters, really.
As you know I’ve been saying this for years – and now it seems there’s an acceptance that the customer should be at the center of all sales and marketing activity. I have the data to support this; now published in a recent research report Thriving in the Whirlwind.
Bringing this concept to the fore was the reason we conducted the original Buyer / Seller Value Index Study in 2016. We knew that sellers needed to understand what is going on in the minds of their current and future customers.
But in the minds of buyers too few sellers actually care about the customer’s business need and too many are focused only on making a sale. According to the Buyer / Seller Study, nearly half of the buyers (48 percent) believe that sellers care only about making a sale. More worrying, a sizable minority (17 percent) of buyers believe that salespeople are an endangered species and that the seller’s role is ‘Not Important’ in the future.
Our Business Performance Benchmark Study (2017) shows that company strategies around the world now reflect a ‘customer-first’ approach. The growth of the subscription economy, the recognition of customer-centricity as a key driver for business growth, and the increased power of the customer, fueled by the Internet and the ubiquity of information, has put into focus the need to retain existing customers. According to the Benchmark Study participants only 69 percent of sellers are happy that their customer retention is materially in line with plan. It is therefore not surprising that Customer Retention beat Revenue Growth to the top spot as the #1 Strategic Imperative for 2017.
Marketing Is Important Too: Big gains happen when marketing plays an active role in a customer-first strategy. When Marketing understands the customer (just over half of marketers!), performance increases by 46 percent, resulting from improvement in Win Rate of 21 percent and reduction of 17 percent in Sales Cycle. When Marketing knows the customer they are clearly better equipped to provide support to the sales organization to better understand the customer’s business problems. And understandably customers are more comfortable doing business with people who speak knowledgeably about their business problems. So this is a focal point around which Sales and Marketing can come together to align around the customer’s business problems.
According to the participants in the Benchmark Study, and the analysis of their recorded performance, Sales and Marketing working well together is the single biggest marketing contribution to improved results (More detail in the book). In organizations where Sales and Marketing work well together Win Rate is 18 percent higher and Sales Cycle is reduced by 26 percent.
The data suggest that a customer-first mentality and the right organizational support for all customer-facing personnel help sales teams to deliver greater value to the customer while increasing revenue for the company. Are you surprised?
Increase your performance by 54 percent by aligning sales and marketing and putting the customer at the center is Insight #3 from Thriving in the Whirlwind: Four Insights to Grow Revenue Now which analyzes the 80,000 data elements of the Altify Buyer / Seller Value Index Study (2016) in combination with the 60,000 data elements of the Business Performance Benchmark Study (2017) to derive fresh insights into revenue growth opportunities in a fast-changing world.