Enhancing Customer Engagement with Enablement in 2021
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After a year of being physically distanced, people are craving real human connections now more than ever before. While many are hopeful to head back to in-person offices in the upcoming year, it remains likely that video meetings and virtual work streams will continue to be a regular part of normal work environments and communication norms going forward.
In the absence of face-to-face customer interactions, it is especially imperative to prioritize fostering authentic customer relationships and enticing engagement. To make things less transactional and more human, enablement professionals must prepare salespeople to deepen their connections with customers in order to drive more loyalty and advocacy.
As work environments have shifted in the past year, so too have customer preferences. In response to these shifts, it has become all the more critical for enablement professionals to successfully guide salespeople toward consistently upholding and improving customer engagement. Here are three tips to enhance customer relationships through enablement.
Be Mindful of Customer Pain Points
It is important to recognize that people shift and adapt as they go through major changes in their environments. As many adjusted to a completely virtual work setting within the past year, people have collectively experienced increased fatigue, personal distractions, and constant battles for their time and attention. Sales enablement professionals need to pay attention and be mindful of how these pain points are impacting customers in order to deliver authentic experiences.
For example, the nature of working from home tends to blend the work-life and personal-life boundaries, which can be taxing on one’s mental well-being. Therefore, it is important to realize that customers’ attention is constantly being split and demanded by both company and personal matters. Knowing this, salespeople must display empathy and understand the exhaustion of their customers throughout the day. With time and energy at a premium, it’s important to keep customers engaged and captivated.
In order to address this issue, sales enablement professionals must aim to help salespeople make it easier for people to buy and interact with them. To connect on a deep level with customers, Zoe Meyer, customer engagement and operations lead at Commvault, suggests following the Four Rs:
- Keep It Real with authentic communication.
- Stay Relevant by making your company more human by giving it a persona and connecting customers with other departments within the company.
- Be Responsive by answering questions or being providing customers with updates about current company news and events.
- Always Be Ready to get to know customers at a deeper level.
Without interactive conference room meetings or conversations over dinner, customers right now are on the receiving end of most interactions. Thus, it’s important to demonstrate empathy for the customer’s current state of mind and show genuine interest in connecting with them as human beings.
Curate Purposeful Connections
When it comes to choosing engagement methods, every communication with customers must have intentional meaning. Providing holistic and meaningful content for customers will keep them engaged and more likely to become a loyal advocate for the company. To do this, aim to follow two pillars: consistency and flexibility.
“We have to consistently be a guide,” said Gail Behun, senior director of sales enablement at PandaDoc. “We can’t just do it once, we have to consistently give them all the pieces of the puzzle.”
This consistency gives customers peace of mind knowing they can rely on salespeople to be always present with useful information and thought leadership. On the flip side, sales enablement professionals need to remain flexible and understand that customer needs are always changing; what buyers need today may be very different from what they need next month.
“We have to be flexible,” said Behun. “We have to make sure we are very in the moment with how we’re responding.”
Further, sales enablement professionals can encourage sales teams to expand outward by following the ABCs: Always Be Connecting. Following this principle, salespeople can help create a meaningful community for their customers by helping them connect with one another.
Whether it be suggesting a relevant industry webinar customers might be interested in or professional communities for customers to join, salespeople should strive to keep customers engaged through networking. Not only will this deepen their relationship to the company and help salespeople build trust, but it also recreates those passing hallway conversations by building a community of people chatting informally and working together to solve problems.
Look Beyond the Numbers & Listen to Your Customers
Continuously monitoring the success of customer engagements is a crucial step for sales enablement professionals to assess what is working and iterate as needed. While closely analyzing metrics is essential for directly seeing successes throughout the different stages of the customer journey, it is important to go beyond those numbers and deeply listen to customer feedback.
Regardless of what customers have done previously, it is important that sales enablement professionals continue to keep their ears alert and always listening, instead of assuming based on past behaviors. This means being explicit about asking questions, gathering new information, and accurately making sure that customers are getting the help they want and need.
A smart way to do this is by launching a survey to collect feedback from customers. Aside from asking about overall satisfaction levels, make sure to ask questions regarding their engagement preferences, for example:
- What is your favorite type of engagement?
- What is your least favorite type of engagement?
- How can we be better in engaging with you?
After gathering these responses, enablement professionals need to take it one step further to implement the feedback.
“It’s not about having feedback,” said Meyer. “It’s about whether you can act on that feedback and respond back to the customer. It’s taking it further to get to know the customer and then acting on that information.”
Being responsive and action-oriented lets customers know that the company is responsive to their needs and has their best interests at heart. As a result, customers will feel more valued and excited to form a deeper connection to the company in the long run.
Prioritizing relationships and optimizing engagement levels can help to build trust with customers, generate future long-term sales, and boost overall brand loyalty and advocacy. Neglecting these vital relationships can hinder the success of sales enablement teams and hurt the company’s overall reputation among its customers.
Sales enablement professionals must constantly look at ways to deepen genuine human connections and facilitate valuable interactions in every step of the customer journey. Moving forward amid continuous change, enablement professionals need to take a step back and understand that the single most important agenda for their sales teams should revolve around enhancing their customer relationships.