Simplifying the Customer Experience Through Enablement
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Although it is often taught that challenge is necessary for success, sometimes the simplest path is the most effective. Particularly when it comes to customer interactions, there is a beauty in simplicity, as it ensures a seamless experience.
In the buyer’s journey, simplification comes down to building strong relationships with customers to deliver an experience that resonates with their needs. When sales reps turn their focus from selling a product or service to forming meaningful relationships with their customers, putting an emphasis on building deep connections, they are able to form a better understanding of their customers’ needs.
Sales enablement can help provide sales reps with the knowledge and skills needed to simplify the customer experience and build those lasting customer relationships through intentional interactions that work to fully understand the customer’s needs. With strong listening skills and a curious mindset, reps can learn to ask the right questions that help get to the heart of a buyer’s needs, allowing reps to then personalize their interactions to a buyer’s specific priorities. Similarly, reps can ensure the information they provide to customers is tailored to their needs, helping to cut through the noise and reduce information overload to increase understanding.
“It’s a natural tendency to want to share all of the things that make your product or service exceptional when engaging with buyers,” said Liz Heiman, CEO and chief sales strategist at Regarding Sales. “But in a market where customers are already overwhelmed with information, anything that takes up too much time to consume will likely get skipped over.”
Focusing on simplicity when connecting with a customer allows for more intentional interactions, providing more space for reps to strongly advocate for their customer’s needs. Simple approaches to customer engagement open the door for the development of meaningful customer-rep relationships and an overall improved experience for the customers.
The key to simplifying the customer experience through enablement is “thinking big, acting small,” as Karen Mangia, VP, Customer & Market Insights, Salesforce, and author of “Listen Up: How To Tune Into Customers and Turn Down the Noise” explains. Below, learn how small changes in a rep’s interactions with customers can lead to a big impact.
Have a Beginner’s Mindset When Engaging with Customers
Having a beginner’s mind when engaging with customers allows for the rep to approach their interactions with a curious and fresh perspective as if they are learning about something for the first time. Those who embrace a beginner’s mind are able to gain valuable context in their conversations with customers, building off of the insights shared, rather than reciting a script from memory.
A beginner’s mindset can lead to more engaging conversations with customers, as they are not rooted in a practiced monologue, but rather focus on the natural flow of the conversation. This can help lead to new and unexpected destinations that can present unforeseen outcomes and the potential for innovative solutions as opposed to recycling the status quo.
“It took many lost deals before I understood really the gift of a beginner’s mind,” said Mangia. “I think about that as having the discipline to forget everything we think we know and have heard so that we can hear what’s being said to us for the first time.”
Leveraging a beginner’s mind is rooted in a rep’s ability to be curious and eager to discover. To have a beginner’s mind, a rep must actively listen to their customers, engaging in meaningful conversations while ensuring that the resources and materials being shared will resonate with them. When reading off of a script, a rep often misses critical context that the customer has shared with them, because they are worried about what line comes next. A beginner’s mind allows for a more natural flow of conversation that is deeply rooted in exploring the customer’s needs through curiosity.
Ask the Right Questions to Facilitate Deeper Conversations
Building great relationships with customers begins with asking the right questions – and a beginner’s mindset equips reps to better identify what to ask to take the conversation to a deeper level. When reps ask the right questions, they are able to better facilitate the conversation with the customer, allowing for improved engagement that drives more efficient outcomes.
“I used to think that being a great salesperson or sales leader was all about having the right answers, and what I’ve come to discover is that great salespeople and sales leaders ask great questions,” said Mangia. “It’s about tapping into that sense of curiosity, discovery and inviting our customers to share maybe a hidden story, concern, or opportunity with us.”
A great question helps the rep better understand their customer’s goals while also building a stronger connection by demonstrating attentiveness. Enablement can help reps build the skills to ask great questions through strategies such as preparing them with in-depth playbooks to improve their expertise on a specific industry or product, helping them role-play conversations to practice active listening skills, and teaching them how to research customers to come to the table ready to learn more. This gives the rep the opportunity to think about who their customer really is and how they can best serve them without trying to fit them into a pre-determined box.
“There are implied needs, which are things where the customer recognizes there is a bit of a problem, and there are explicit needs, where the customer knows they have a problem and they want to do something about it,” said James Marrable, senior manager of enablement, UKI, at ServiceNow. “The way that you get to the crux of those two types of problems you get from a customer is through really great questioning.”
A great question opens the door for further engagement with the customer, involving them in the brainstorming and decision-making process. When a customer is brought into the decision-making process, they feel a closer connection to the rep, and become more invested in the overall project. This gives the customer the ability to share their own insights and expertise, and help solve problems with the rep as partners. This allows for co-creation with the customer, avoiding assumptions and improving the customer’s overall experience.
Leverage Microlearning to Expand Skills While Balancing Simplicity
For reps to be able to provide simple and seamless experiences for customers, they also need to have a simple experience in finding what they need to excel. While the rep experience can be influenced by a multitude of factors, one way that enablement can help streamline this is by simplifying training and development through microlearning.
Microlearning allows sales professionals to learn and discover new material in a short period of time, constantly expanding their knowledge and skill set. When it comes to improving the customer experience, small changes can make a big impact. With microlearning, reps can invest a small amount of time each day to build or practice a particular skill, which they can begin applying in customer interactions right away as their skills continue to grow exponentially over time.
“Thinking big, acting small means we can enable you on a bigger concept in five minutes a day,” said Mangia. “Think about how simple that would be if that’s how you could start or finish your day with one little five-minute enablement video. You’re more likely to retain the information, people are more likely to be consistent, you’re more able to measure outcomes and results.”
Microlearning offers a quick and efficient way for reps to expand their knowledge and skills, which can start taking effect in customer interactions right away, ultimately helping reps more efficiently improve performance and deliver excellent experiences.
“We are bombarded with so much content that it becomes very difficult to distinguish what’s valuable, what’s of immediate use or just nice-to-have,” said Sonia Pupaza, field enablement at Camunda. “If we could plan some small bites of learning into our everyday life…Those small chunks of time build your long-lasting habits of learning something new every day.”
When reps focus on the power of simplicity, they are able to deeply listen to their customers, understand their stories, and create personalized approaches to support their customer’s needs. Ultimately, this can result in a simplified experience by cutting out the noise that doesn’t matter to customers and honing in on their core values. This not only leads to a more seamless experience, but it also helps reps provide deeper value that can result in more mutually beneficial solutions.