Does this sound familiar? Big Time Company has a large sales team around the country who provide “feet on the street.” However, it’s difficult to know if they are effective, as the executive team is out of the loop regarding the sales activities, the processes are not streamlined and the sales team is not in compliance with updating the sales automation tools. There are high-level reports that do not provide detailed insights. Bottom line – there is not a comprehensive, customer life cycle management system in place to ensure revenue retention. In the past, having a large sales team might have ensured good coverage and positive sales; however, the methods used in the past will no longer serve organizations well as the experience economy continues to boom.
To ensure positive growth, organizations will want to consider sales cycle optimization, which begins with lead management through recurring revenue management and into the long-term account management for the customer. Tim Houlne, CEO of Humach, realizes that a shift in focus is crucial and provides his insights on how organizations can improve sales life cycle management in a short period of time and on a smaller budget.
“The future for sales optimization will include newer, value-added tools, artificial intelligence, and processes around compliance,” says Houlne. “These are the first steps in achieving insights gathered from good information.”
According to Houlne, using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate and nurture leads will transform the sales process. Whereas now it takes more than a dozen touches before a potential customer shows interest, moving that to technology will improve the process, shorten the cycle and provide the sales team with better leads to develop. The AI will help prioritize these leads and begin to provide a methodology to compress a sales cycle, which leads to increased revenue generation. With AI taking some of the heavy lifting up front, data is used to understand more about the customer, including physical location, socio-economic information and preferences, creating a holistic ecosystem that supports the customer experience economy.
“The idea is to improve logistics, supply chain, sales and integrate every department to work off the same platform thereby centralizing the data and, ideally, proactively provide support information that will eliminate inquiries,” said Houlne.
Amazon is a good example of effectively deploying this type of process. As Houlne states, “you don’t call Amazon. You place an order, they let you know the status every step of the way, including when it’s delivered, and the customer never has to be concerned. By enabling sales teams, and frankly every team in the organization, with actionable data, they are able to work smarter, ensuring better outcomes.”
The Future is About Eliminating Support
Continuously improving the process of optimizing sales requires a re-engineering of how business is currently done to include eliminating traditional support, when appropriate.
“We really see the near future having a first-level sales initiative that includes humans plus machines, which will alleviate the need for reactive support initiatives,” says Houlne. “There are industries that, by simply focusing on the customer experience and making it an important initiative for every department, could move toward what the experience economy is really about – a focus on the customer.”
Sales optimization goes beyond simply adding more software or people. It is crafting a strategic initiative that effectively utilizes tools, processes and people to align with a more comprehensive, strategic focus on customer experience. When you consider the scenario outlined earlier, where does an executive begin to make proper adjustments?
“Our focus for supporting organizations to optimize sales and enhance customer account management begins with Humach Labs,” says Houlne.
Humach Labs provides a cost-effective means for organizations to test new initiatives while minimizing any impact to their already burdened resources. By utilizing Humach’s technology and agents, live environments are created to test everything from training to implementation to potential revenue generation while providing the insights and analytics for the executives to make informed decisions on the initiatives.
“Recently, Gartner stated there are 1,500 companies that launched technology for the purpose of supporting customer experience,” says Houlne. “How do you know which one to test? How do you decide on the best training and implementation model? What will it take to ensure compliance? All of these questions and more will be answered by using Humach Labs. Even more exciting is that organizations will save money and time, as our team can create the scenarios and arrive at solid insights to iterate quickly and deploy the solutions across the customer lifecycle.”
Achieving success in the experience economy requires organizations to remove the blurry lines around the ownership of customer experience and consider if it is appropriate to change the way they are handling sales and support.
“Knocking down the walls between functional areas to improve collaboration on centralized customer experience is crucial,” says Houlne. “By effectively managing the customer lifecycle, it’s possible to eliminate support as we often see it performed today. That’s where real transformation will happen.”
CX has shifted, and the shift is impacting your sales. Read our new report on the shift taking place in the CX industry, and what it means for your business.