In today’s marketplace, salespeople and field reps are now expected to take on the role of customers’ trusted advisors. In her article “Why Trust Is The New Buzzword For Sales”, LiveHive Inc. CMO Micheline Nijmeh explains the importance of customer trust in today’s marketplace. Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger stated at the organization’s annual meeting that “trust surpasses knowledge” as a modern tool for success.Nijmeh believes that in order for organizations to foster trust with customers, they must be able to accommodate and tailor to their customers’ unique needs. To accomplish this, organizations must adopt sales practices that do the following: understand where the customer is in the buying process, respond to customers at the moment of interest, and leverage automated systems that increase agility. There are mobile solutions that can provide field reps with the tools necessary to gather detailed information allowing them to more effectively serve customers. Examples of this type of softwares’ features include access to information about past client visits, instant messaging and photo sharing capabilities, and custom digital forms that can be saved in the mobile application for repeated use.
Understanding Where the Customer Is in the Buying Process
It has been said that in order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. Salespeople need access to information that is relevant for a particular customer. Field activity management solutions provide its users with access to client histories and information about past visits with that client. Additionally, contact information for key customer contacts can be stored right in the software application. These features can be essential, as Nijmeh recommends that salespeople must have the ability to quickly identify all those involved in the decision-making process at given company. Salespeople are better able to engage customers when they possess insightful knowledge. Proving that your organization is “client-driven” will resonate with customers.
Responding to Customers at the Moment of Interest
Nijmeh emphasizes the need for sales reps to react to customer behaviors in real-time. It is important to ensure your field reps have access to clients’ visit history without having to rely on their managers for this information. Managers working from the main office can respond to field reps’ concerns as they arise in real-time without delaying business activities. Certain technologies enable reps to send high-resolution photos straight from their mobile device to management, which proves useful for defying the limitations of verbal communication. Customers are more likely to trust an organization that puts them first by addressing their problems quickly. Furthermore, organizations that solve problems in real-time possess an advantage over their competition.
Leveraging Automated Systems that Increase Agility
As indicated in the point above, customers are more willing to trust organizations that address their needs as quickly as possible. Having processes in place that allow for agility will help sales reps work more efficiently. For example, giving reps instant access to custom client-specific forms not only saves time, but also demonstrates the rep’s commitment to servicing that client’s unique requests. Similarly, mobile solutions are available that provide reps with access to clients’ past purchase orders and merchandising audits. Reps can use these historical forms as templates upon each visit to a client without having to reinvent the wheel.
Customers want to know that they are a priority. Gartner, Inc. analyst Tiffani Bova commented at the recent Sales 2.0 Conference that if buyers don’t believe salespeople understand their needs, they lose trust. By applying these three techniques to their current work practices, field reps are better equipped to establish trust with clients. Managers should aim to implement technologies and processes that enable reps to employ these techniques with great ease.
Victoria is a Marketing Associate at Repsly, where she leads the company's P.R. and social media efforts. You can also catch her prepping for slew of exciting industry events. A New England native, Victoria has spent time living in Italy and traveling throughout Europe before settling back in Boston. When she's not planning her next trip, V is probably tasting wine or brushing up on her Italian.