At first glance, ‘sales automation’ isn’t a term that screams out ‘customer success.’ Growing a deal, and speeding it along, may seem like an advantage for the sales team alone. In practice, it’s a more valuable tool that demonstrates the importance of your customer’s needs on a deeper level. Customers are the beating heart of every business, and recent developments in the field of sales automation have this concept built into their DNA.
Follow the leader
Look down the roster of your sales staff – your most productive people are setting the pace for the rest of the organization, usually by a significant amount. How is this possible? Are they simply the most convincing, charming group around? Well, they might say yes (and it’s likely true!), but they also have a deep understanding of customer needs in the short and long-term. In practice, this means they’re creating bundles, discounts, and cross-selling opportunities that might not seem obvious, but ultimately benefit the customer in terms of both pricing and overall convenience. That’s a practice you want from every one of your salespeople, and that’s where automation comes into play. Dynamic recommendation engines are available today that seek out similar deals in your pipeline and allow your entire team to benefit from the example of the top 10% of your sales staff. Prospects and customers want their contacts to be looking around corners for them and anticipating their needs – now it’s more achievable than ever.
Selling outcomes, not products
Work in sales long enough, and you may run into some variation of this customer conversation: “I thought this was what I needed, but it’s not. I actually need this.” The problem here is not related to the product, it’s about your understanding of the customer’s needs. Even if the customer doesn’t know it, the pain-points they are feeling are more than likely symptoms of a larger issue. Don’t take the easy way out and solve for symptoms – take a wider view and show your customers that you are invested in their long-term success. This is the business of selling outcomes vs. individual tools. Sales automation has a role to play here too;
Nobody likes operating in a silo; customers want options, examples, and conversations that capture their exact perspective. Despite all the incredible advancement in sales automation, a robust customer community is still one of the top ways to develop a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship with your clients. How are other people using what they’ve bought? Are there ways to maximize it that they haven’t thought of? Building and developing a strong community, with an accessible user interface, will help your customers work with you and create an open dialogue between each other. This is especially true in the world of tech and software: everyone is a family and invested in each other’s success, and transparency and clear communication are enormously valuable. Show your prospects the blueprint for success and they’ll be able to follow it to a T.
What I’d like to close on is this: leaders in the field of financial software and sales automation have a responsibility to put forth a new narrative in sales automation. Cutting-edge technology, as it turns out, meshes well with the oldest (and best priority) in the book: delivering long-lasting customer satisfaction. Sales automation has evolved into a tool that builds productive relationships above all other considerations.
Maria Pergolino is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Apttus.