Transform the Customer Experience by Focusing on Your Frontline Sales Reps

CMOs and other C-suite leaders know they must deliver a personalized, engaging human experience to customers to stay competitive. In fact, in 2018 85% of business executives allocated up to a quarter of their total budget to new technologies designed to enhance the customer experience.

However, they’re probably overlooking a critical link in enhancing the human experience: the seller experience.

Address seller pain points

Companies know that creating a differentiated human experience requires thinking about employees and partners. As these conversations take place, sales reps—and their role as an essential customer touchpoint—should rise to the forefront.

Companies have invested in digital capabilities with an emphasis on customer-facing experiences and digital tools like CRM that create transparency for sales management. However, little effort has been made to consider what the end-to-end experience is like for the sales rep.

As a result, sales reps are often overwhelmed by a tsunami of data, disconnected systems and way too many administrative tasks. Rather than having tools that work for the sales reps, the sales reps end up working for the tools.

In the b-to-b world, the sales rep is the company’s ambassador. How can you expect this ambassador to deliver a differentiated experience when he or she is feeling confused and frustrated?

If b-to-b organizations want to deliver a differentiated human experience, they need to improve the seller’s experience. Happy sales reps will deliver better customer experiences—it’s as simple as that. Here are three things to consider.

Get the user experience (UX) right: Employ human-centric design principles to create high-quality experiences for your seller that are as easy and user-friendly as those designed for the consumer. Make sure to engage sellers and integrate features that will enhance their daily work.

Give them insights, not data: Serve up customer insights and recommended actions within the context of the sales process. Deliver the information sales reps need, when they need it and offer suggestions for how it can be used to provide a unique experience for each customer.

Simplify the toolset: New tools are added to the space every day, but better adoption depends on a cohesive system. The data needs to be consistent across multiple systems, the experience needs to feel singular and workflows need to be enabled across an integrated system. This will allow sales reps to focus on selling and delivering differentiated customer experiences.

The role of the CMO

If you’re a CMO, you can steer your program by guiding the development of a better seller experience. Here are three things to consider:

Expand your definition of a customer: Gather a deep understanding of your sales reps’ needs. As a marketer, you segment your customers and strive to know and anticipate their needs.  Now you need to do the same for your sales reps. What are the moments that matter the most to their experience? What matters most to them when creating the buying experience your customers expect?

Greater integration between marketing and sales: Push for cross-functional teams that include sales when developing campaigns. Challenge your teams to think through enablement and sales execution realities. Integration between teams can ensure customer needs are being understood and delivered.

Engage with tech and ops early and often: If experience is the new battleground, the weapons for that battle are digital, data and analytics. Tech and ops teams must be involved in strategy formation, not just execution.  They can offer insight into technologies that enable the seller to deliver better content recommendations, improve their reach and boost sales efficacy.

Digital transformation will continue to shape the customer’s experience, but b-to-b sales reps will always play an important role as brand ambassadors. Today’s b-to-b buyers have access to higher-quality information, and it’s important for sales reps to guide the customer to evidence that supports a sound buying decision.

Even in a world where more sales are occurring online and customers are making data-driven decisions, companies must nurture strong client relationships. As a marketer, you have the power to enable your sales reps to connect with customers and elevate the human experience.