Measuring Buyer Loyalty to Drive Sales Performance
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For most businesses, long-term success relies on both the acquisition and retention of loyal customers. While bringing new customers in the door through effective sales interactions is a critical piece of the puzzle, businesses also need to keep those customers satisfied and willing to commit – ideally growing that commitment – over time. This loyalty starts with the relationship established in the pre-sales interactions, and is solidified throughout every touchpoint that an organization has with a customer.
As such, understanding buyer loyalty through satisfaction, retention, referrals, and more can help enablement teams better gauge sales performance. This knowledge can then help practitioners design programs aimed at improving the customer experience across a buyer’s entire journey to enhance their impact on performance goals.
“It’s about going back to the beginning about why your customer engaged with you in the first place,” said Susan Porter Nunes, director of customer experience and success communications at VMware. “Go back to the fundamentals of understanding your customers, doing the homework, and having a proper account plan in place.”
Here are a few ways that enablement practitioners can better understand the customer experience and its impact on sales performance.
The Impact of Buyer Loyalty
As buyers are becoming progressively more self-sufficient in conjunction with the solidification of virtual and hybrid work environments, sales enablement practitioners need to ensure that sellers are armed to transform prospects into clients. By leveraging the knowledge and resources at their fingertips to provide consistent value in conversations with buyers, sellers increase their ability to build meaningful relationships and in turn secure long-term loyalty.
Attaining buyer loyalty is important as a means to analyze sales performance across the entirety of the customer journey from pre-sales to post-sales. Customer experiences that enable a greater level of customer self-affirmation and eventually a higher level of loyalty are often indicators of positive client interactions and personalization of the customer experience. This can be seen with enablement teams that track net promoter score (NPS) as a measure of their sales performance, as it correlates with a 7-percentage-point increase in customer retention rates.
“We have to always make sure that we’re keeping the voices of the customer, whether we’re using listening tools that are from our customer success managers or doing surveys out to our direct customer,” said Gail Behun, senior manager of sales enablement at PandaDoc. “We have to hear our customers directly, and buying signs and metrics are a great way to do so.”
Additionally, the willingness of customers to stay with an organization can contribute to long-term revenue streams. Data that reflects on customer experiences along with their eagerness to recommend a solution to others can indicate the performance of the entire revenue engine, identifying areas of opportunity where enablement practitioners can prioritize upselling and cross-selling of existing customers.
For example, organizations see a 10-percentage-point increase in customer retention when they track the percentage of revenue from existing customers. They are not only able to create customer commitments through positive, repeatable experiences, but are more likely to attract additional business to further increase revenue.
Similarly, understanding buyer loyalty as a measure of sales performance can also provide intel on who the right customers are, which enablement can then funnel to leaders across the business to more effectively target the right buyers.
“We have to think about what our data should be telling us about what it takes to be a great customer,” said Laura Ramos, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. “That’s what’s going to help you really understand your ideal customer profile, and then use that to understand the total available market.”
Metrics that indicate buyer loyalty and retention as a means to understand sales performance are substantial toward enablement’s goal of streamlining high-quality behaviors aimed at increasing revenue and producing successful outcomes. As practitioners use this data to improve the processes that impact performance across customer-facing teams, they can better arm reps with all of the tools they need to successfully sell throughout all stages of the customer journey.
Improving Customer Experiences Through Competitive Intelligence
Building a healthy sales pipeline relies on competitive intelligence in order to keep customers and avoid churn, all while simultaneously growing the customer base.
By understanding sales performance through the lens of competition, enablement professionals can help improve customer experiences. For example, they can identify gaps in the market where they can work toward acquiring and maintaining their customers’ attention and more accurately quantify performance areas with the highest revenue opportunities. In fact, organizations that track the number of deals lost to competition also experience a 7-percentage-point increase in quota attainment along with a 10-percentage-point increase in customer retention.
“We really have to do a lot of digging and research on our own to understand who we are winning and losing against, why we are winning and losing, and then take the reasons why we lose and what we can do to help qualify deals more effectively,” said Joe Booth, senior director of global revenue operations at Sumo Logic. “And then for the reasons we win, we want to say how do we scale this and make sure that all the reps are able to take these best practices.”
Identifying this intel also helps enablement better extract additional forms of feedback and insights from customers and prospects on what works well at engaging them deeply and providing them an exceptional experience, in addition to what doesn’t work. This can help prepare sellers to interact with customers in more meaningful ways to drive loyalty.
“Once we collect feedback, it’s not just about having it,” said Zoe Meyer, customer engagement and operations lead at Commvault. “It’s how we act on that feedback and respond back to the customer. It’s about taking it farther to get to know the customer and then acting on that information we received.”
More enablement teams are tracking more performance metrics year over year, showing an increased ability to elevate data-backed insights to improve sales performance. As sellers have had to level up their technique and incorporate appropriate selling tools in order to adhere to changing buyer expectations, it is becoming even more critical for enablement to keep a pulse on how performance metrics impact customer experiences.
Optimizing the buyer’s journey end-to-end relies on sales enablement analytics to ensure that customer-facing teams are equipped to maximize performance. Ultimately, this helps enablement expand its support of revenue teams to retain new prospects, maintain happy customers, and cultivate revenue streams.