CRM Evolution, Day 1: Saving Customers Time and Effort Will Drive Better Relationships

WASHINGTON -- Simplifying complex processes and reducing the amount of time customers have to spend interacting with companies will inspire their loyalty, speakers agreed on day one of this year’s CRM Evolution conference.

“The organizations who have been successful in the digital age have focused much more on saving time for the customer than on saving time for the organization,” Gerry McGovern, founder and CEO of Customer Carewords, and the author of Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation, said during the day’s opening keynote. “Whether it’s Google, Amazon, Uber, or whoever--they’ve all relentlessly focused on the time of the customer, and making it faster and faster for customer to be able to do what they need to do.”

A big problem plaguing firms, McGovern said, is that they often reward personnel based on the amount of work they do, or content they produce, instead of assessing what it ultimately means for customers. For instance, many companies create online documents and web pages that customers rarely access or read to get the advice they need. He recommended eliminating some of this “crap content,” and that companies focus on measuring how the resources they provide are being consumed by clients. It's important to look at the outcome of those efforts, particularly the amount of time it took them to accomplish a task.

“It’s not so much that the customer is king today; it’s that the customer is a dictator,” McGovern told attendees. “Your complexity is your competitors’ opportunity.”

Though McGovern’s advice seemed to have the customer service sphere in mind, speakers in the conference’s sales track demonstrated how the lessons apply within the bounds of their profession.

Today, salespeople must do what they can to help customers save time while providing them with valuable advice, stressed Graham Hawkins, CEO and founder of Saletribe, and John Pyke, founder and CEO of Talent Genius. In a co-led breakout session, titled “The Death of the Salesman,” the speakers assured the audience that despite the rise of automation and online self-service options, there will always be a need for B2B salespeople. Nonetheless, they'll have to develop technical expertise and advisory status required to guide buyers through complicated purchase processes.

“At the high-value, high-complexity end of the scale, we’ll always need a salesperson,” Hawkins said. “If you think about what buyers want now, they want to engage with a specialist, someone who can can actually bring insights and help them solve their own problems, above and beyond what they can find themselves on Google and so on. The challenge now is now on salespeople to move from generalist as far as they can to specialist.”

Lance Tyson, president and CEO of PRSPX, shared a similar message in an afternoon session titled “Adaptive Selling in the Digital Era.” The most difficult sale “your salespeople have to make is asking for time off somebody’s calendar,” Tyson stressed. And, when interacting with sales pros, “the folks we’re dealing with are a heck of a lot more prepared than they were in the past. Where 15 years ago, as sales professionals, we spent more time educating a prospect on a product or service, I think right now we need to spend more time figuring out what they know or don’t know, or what misinformation they have, and adjusting or adapting to that.”


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