When you think about the customer journey, the first thing that usually comes to mind is marketing. Companies tend to allocate big budgets for attracting customers, and mapping a customer’s journey is the area that needs the most attention. But the new trend organizations have been noticing lately challenges this notion. The shift in priorities that favors building long-term relationships with customers over acquiring a higher percentage of sales forced businesses to reevaluate every department’s role in the customer journey.
Here’s where sales representatives come into the picture. Often, they don’t have a good understanding of what the customer experiences when he’s being sold a product or a service. Yet they have all the data required to learn more about every step a customer takes when deciding to purchase. It turns out that this process known as customer journey mapping can benefit from the close involvement of the sales department.
Where do sales fit in?
When leveraged well, customer journey mapping helps understand and improve every customer experience step. It lets you in on the customers’ feelings, preferences, likes and dislikes, and, most importantly, decision-making factors. This way, you’ll be able to figure out at what stage exactly your prospects get lured into the sales funnel and drop off of it.
Sales come in when businesses set out to get to the core of why people subscribe to their newsletters and what makes them sign up for the free trial. As a result, sales contribute to identifying the buyer’s persona that goes through emotions before committing to making the purchase. While becoming aware of the offer’s pros and cons, customers will need the helping hand of the personnel to navigate through the buying process.
With the customer journey map in place, the company becomes aware of every sales cycle stage. From the marketing pitch that got the prospect interested in the first place to closing the deal, it enables the organization to analyze the touchpoints the buyer has with the brand and work on optimizing the customer journey.
Using customer journey mapping to boost sales
Salespeople are the intermediary that helps the marketers connect with the prospect and turn him into a loyal customer. This makes the role of sales in the customer journey mapping a rather instrumental one. To understand the buyer’s persona and incorporate tactics that would drive revenue, businesses should pay attention to the input of sales representatives. Here are the main actions that can benefit the customer’s journey when undertaken by the sales department:
- It collects valuable data to use in marketing campaigns and customer support strategies. As mentioned previously, sales reps have access to a wide range of data, including basic demographic data, behavioral data, content performance, and transaction history. They also keep tabs on why the customer left and what referral sources he used to become affiliated with your company. In addition to that, the sales analytics department uses Average Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), Revenue Per Sale, and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to track sales performance. When combined, all of this data can appeal to customers in a more efficient manner that would yield better results. It can also help tackle customer issues and build meaningful relationships with them.
- It helps brainstorm a content strategy and push the marketing team to develop more sophisticated promotional campaigns. The availability of all sorts of data makes it easy to adopt the buyer-centric content strategy that focuses on matching the needs of a customer’s persona to the relevant promotional content. The center of attention is visually pleasing and well-researched content that educates and keeps the customer hooked at the same time. Customers need you to help them solve an issue, and this is what content marketing based on accurate sales data can provide. Here’s where close cooperation with the marketing department can come in handy.
- It addresses the customers’ concerns and points them out to the R&D, production, and marketing departments. Another sales role is to communicate the main points of parity and differences that distinguish you from your competitors to the rest of the company. This insight will play into designing the customer journey map and figuring out what should be worked on. Make sure to insist on open communication through various channels so that the entire company works in tandem to serve the customer better. You can also invite a representative from the marketing team to the sales meeting so that both parties can share their stance on what touchpoints can be optimized for the quicker achievement of business goals. An example of the touchpoints that need extra scrutiny is the word of mouth, customer onboarding, and customer loyalty programs.
- It takes care of brand awareness and the company’s online reputation. Regardless of how many social media channels a company uses, having a solid digital presence is necessary. When drafting a visual story of a customer’s interaction with your business, you should consider the impact that sales have on his perception of the brand. If for some reason, the customer wasn’t satisfied with the purchase, he might resort to leaving a negative review which will inevitably ruin your reputation. Since social media is an easy outlet for angry customers to express their dissatisfaction with a company, your sales department should make the process of closing a deal a priority. It’s that much more productive if you can use customer data to recognize the common patterns when deciding whether or not to leave a review after making the purchase.
Sales are an inherent part of the customer journey mapping
Don’t forget that you’re dealing with real people when developing intricate ways to attract and keep the customer. It’s not merely the job of marketers and data scientists to figure out how to make the customer’s experience with your company better — salespeople also play a role in the customer journey mapping.
So, gather the data that’s widely accessible to the sales department and utilize it to create the buyer’s persona and map out the main touchpoints for optimization. Once you have all the necessary insights under your belt, you can start outlining the next steps your company has to take to reach the pre-determined sales goals.