According to Gartner, customer acquisition today is more likely to be influenced by the purchasing experience than by product or price. You can see this trend in action with the skyrocketing popularity of the web-based car buying model. This trend eschews the painful “spend your Saturday afternoon at the car dealer” experience in favor of a customer-friendly invoice with straightforward pricing. These services then drop your new car off in your driveway and haul away your old one.
But company leadership can’t just decide on a buying experience and make it so. For any strategy to achieve coherence, revenue teams—sales, marketing, product, operations, and customer success—must be on the same page.
When your revenue teams aren’t aligned, the buyer’s journey can look more like a quest, testing their resolve to purchase your company’s product or service. This buying experience is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Left unaddressed, it will restrict the growth of your sales pipeline and leave you vulnerable to competitors capturing your market share.
- Do your teams have a shared definition of a “lead?”
- Do you have a unified lead nurturing process in place?
- Does your deal cycle run smoothly?
- Can you identify the holes in your customer experience?
- Do you have a plan to get your teams on the same page?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, keep reading.
A Memorable Customer Experience Starts With Account-Based Marketing
According to Forbes, 73% of customers say that a good experience significantly influences their loyalty to a brand. The core concept around a great customer experience is the same as ever: Make your customer feel like a person, not a quota.
Technology is a double-edged sword in this area. These days, you can saturate prospects with emails or hound them through (sometimes terrifyingly granular) search history-fed ads, but doing so will get you categorized as “noise” by prospective customers.
Marketing tech works best when it’s the foundation for account-based marketing (ABM) efforts. ABM allows you to segment your customers and prospects to deliver targeted, often personalized messages that speak directly to their needs. What better way to make someone feel less like a number?
But the world’s most sophisticated marketing tech and customer relationship marketing tactics are only helpful if the teams responsible for following through align on standardized language, tactics, and success metrics for each stage of your marketing funnel. It’s an area where many companies have room to grow: Gartner found an alignment gap of 36% between sales and marketing teams on simple definitions like “high-quality lead.”
Identifying Holes in Your Customer Experience
Businesses often incorrectly attribute increased customer acquisition costs (CAC) to marketplace fluctuations. Yet a McKinsey study found that B2B companies have a customer experience index rating of less than 50%, indicating that many need to improve customer retention to maintain market share.
Here are a few common trouble areas for customer experience:
Weak Personalization Tactics
As mentioned earlier, treat your customers like people, not a quota. For prospects, this means more than seeing their name and logo on your PowerPoint: Your reps need to demonstrate how your product or service will solve a particular problem to win their business.
It doesn’t get any easier once you win their business. The deeper a customer’s relationship with your company, the more they expect you to remember about them. This might be as simple as recalling purchase history and billing preferences for some companies. For companies with sales reps, customers expect each conversation, promise, and plan to be on hand during any new discussion.
Don’t assume you know how your customers talk: Get real feedback from the field to ensure prospects can hear themselves—and their pain points—in your messaging. There’s no better way to differentiate your solution in a noisy marketplace. Cross-team alignment is vital here, too: If your prospects and customers are getting a different story from marketing, sales, and customer service, they’ll be confused, and confused customers will look elsewhere to get what they need.
Your Sales Development Representatives Still Rely on Quantity Over Quality
Most professionals open only 60% of the approximately 180 emails they receive daily. If your SDRs aren’t delivering personalized, relevant messaging each time they hit “Send,” they’re not just contributing to the noise. They’re actively making your company look like part of the problem—and likely getting you blocked by prospects.
Shoring up these common trouble areas is a great way to start your customer experience audit. Once you’ve got them under control, it’s time to take things to the next level by fully aligning your teams.
Teaming Up for an Unforgettable Customer Experience
Getting your revenue teams aligned forges a full-funnel customer experience with many advantages. You’ll keep prospects engaged from awareness to purchase to retention, more precisely attribute leads (and therefore success) to campaigns/sources, and be better equipped to execute unique, creative campaigns that create demand.
Differentiating the Customer Experience Requires Collaboration
To get the most out of your ABM efforts, go beyond sales and marketing: Make your customer success teams, product leads, and anyone else who influences revenue generation responsible for the customer experience.
This comprehensive approach to the customer experience isn’t just ABM, it’s account-based everything (ABX) because it considers your customers at each stage of their relationship with you, from prospect to retention and, hopefully, to advocate. Use what your various teams hear in the field to generate cohesive messaging that will resonate with prospects and differentiate your buying experience from the get-go.
Be Innovative in Outreach Across the Funnel
Doing something different can help you stand out from competitors. Direct mail and gifting can be differentiators in a digital world and can even help you increase velocity through the sales funnel.
Check out our “Ultimate Guide to Corporate Gifting” to learn how the right business gift at the right time can make all the difference.
Embrace Cost-Effective Solutions
Establish an ongoing, cross-functional effort to align on tactics and discuss what’s going well vs. where you might be able to make cuts or adjustments. In many cases, personalized direct mail is an economical way to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of your ideal customer group.
Ready to take the next step toward ABX mastery? Don’t take our word on what works: We interviewed marketing and sales leaders from multiple companies to get their perspectives on aligning revenue teams and delivering a customer experience that sticks.
Download our full eBook, How to Deliver an Unforgettable Customer Experience, today to learn more.