On November 8th through 10th, the Alexander Group hosted its annual Chief Sales Executive Forum. Attendance was at a record high with over 185 sales leaders from top organizations attending. The theme this year was “Sales Eats First: How Customer Motivated Sales Organizations Out-Perform the Competition.” As you might imagine, lots of time was devoted to defining what it means to be customer motivated. With six keynote speakers and nine breakout sessions there were lots of ideas on that topic. Yet there was also remarkable consensus on what it means to be customer motivated. We heard three words time and again:
1. Outside in: Customer motivated organizations bore in on what it takes to meet customer needs especially when the going gets rough. They seek deep understanding of what their customers value, then align their resources to effectively and efficiently meet these needs. In other words, customer motivated organizations are built from the outside in.
2. Innovation: Customer motivated organizations are not frozen in time. They are fluid, ever changing and watchful for what can be done to better serve customers. In a word, they are “innovative”. These organizations try lots of things…new job designs, new services, new organization structures…all in the hunt for better customer service and loyalty. These organizations know that in their zest for serving the customer not all ideas will work. They accept the occasional well intended failure in the on-going effort to find ways to serve customers better.
3. Leadership: Customer motivated organizations are defined by a bold leadership vision that demands exceptional customer service. Such leadership is willing to invest in the programs needed to separate from the competition. And it is the first to recognize the behaviors that are needed to win and keep “customers for life”. And as important, the shift to a customer motivated culture is a long term play, not designed to deliver immediate results. These leaders have the patience to wait for results and the determination to support their organizations and people as they transform from product oriented to customer motivated.
Look to hear more about the “customer motivated” sales force as companies increasingly turn to their sellers to provide strong and lasting competitive advantage.
Read more about this year’s Chief Sales Executive Forum.