Executive Forum

Making Sellers Better

With more demands on the customer-first organization, leaders are taking steps to make selling and sellers better. At Alexander Group’s recent Executive Forum, 24X7 Customer Experience, The Next Chapter, industry leaders demonstrated how they create a successful revenue organization by increasing seller productivity and creating a customer-first culture.

Consumption Is the New Currency

Customers want to connect in the ways they desire, whether on-premises, virtual or via online resources, requiring Sales to be aware of customer sales preferences and engage appropriately. Alejandro Capparelli, president, Americas region, at Rockwell Automation, noted that creating a new sales motion will define the middle point where customers want to engage. As a result, companies must continue to re-think how to keep sales teams productive as they seek to find the middle ground.

Robert Ruelas, VP, head of worldwide end user computing, VMware, commented that “consumption is the new currency,” requiring companies to focus on adoption and user experience. For instance, VMware monitors if customers use new applications and watches if they stop using apps or turn to a different one, using that information to feed product improvement. In addition, he believes that 90% of business comes from land and expand, so targeting new accounts, paired with intent data, will help companies capture new logos.

“The world is evolving in a massive way.  We’re looking at all the possibilities, not only giving us insights but giving our customers insights as well.” Robert Ruelas, VP, Head of Worldwide End User Computing, VMWare

Hiring, Training and Skills

Today’s labor market is tight, but does it present an opportunity to reimagine the sales culture? When everybody sells, the organization needs to provide training to ensure customer-facing employees have sales skills.

“Customer success is a project. Project management is a key ability, so CSMs must have to have good listening skills. You can’t just be talking. You need to listen to feedback.” Lori Harmon, VP of Global Digital, Virtual and Renewal Sales, NetApp

When NetApp hires new graduates, they train them on what business success looks like and then scale the program. They look for people who are good listeners and have project management skills, with experienced CSMs learning sales skills, a must for today’s customer-facing employees.

Making Sellers More Productive

Tiffani Bova, global growth & innovation evangelist at Salesforce, noted the sellers spend 66% of their time on non-selling activities, with 54% missing their quotas. Therefore, companies must make revenue producers more productive, giving back time to sell more with productivity improvements that include:

  • Using AI and apps can help automate routine tasks, including personalizing messages for customers using past purchase history
  • Focusing on the quality of sales conversations, not the quantity, helps sellers concentrate on prospects and customers with the most significant revenue opportunity
  • Investing in digital technologies, as 39% of companies use data science and AI to find sales opportunities. When humans and AI “co-sell,” they improve the customer experience by understanding how data insights apply in actual customer situations
  • Streamlining workflows will improve Marketing, Sales, Customer Success and Service processes, reducing the need for additional headcount

“The people who know what is broken are the people who push your product every day.” Tiffani Bova, Global Growth & Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce

Pinpointing Sales Prospects With Data Analytics

Analytics provides rich data on the “holy grail” of data: customer intent. Saleem Khan, chief data and analytics officer at Discovery Data, uses analytics to create quality data that is digestible, revealing customer insights.

One media client synthesized customer reading behavior in real-time, adding predictive analysis to anticipate what buyers would read next. Discovery Data creates indices that help clients reach a broader spectrum of potential clients than previously.

Khan notes two types of customer churn, which can be identified with analytics. The first type is when a customer has not used a product and will probably not subscribe the following year. The second type can put the organization on alert to a bigger problem.

“When a customer downloads a ton of data right before renewal is coming up, they do it because they might not renew. We then send that information to Customer Support to call the customer.” Saleem Khan, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Discovery Data

Targeted Investments Make Sellers Better

Customer-centric organizations drive more revenue, but also need the talent, tools and systems that enhance productivity. To prepare your organization, get the answers, and take away actionable insights you can leverage at the Alexander Group’s 2022 Forum Series: Enduring Leadership.

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