The Real Cost of Average: The Importance of Customer Feedback as a B2B Sales Strategy
With so much emphasis on prospecting and gaining new customers, many salespeople forget about their current customers. It usually isn’t until they receive really terrible, or really great feedback do they start paying attention. You’ll rarely hear from a customer when their experience is just so-so. In fact, only 4% of businesses hear from dissatisfied customers, according to Understanding Customers by Ruby Newell-Legner. When feedback is received, most field sales reps are left scratching their heads thinking it’s not their problem; it’s a customer service issue. Here are three reasons why listening to your customers should be a part of every sales strategy, the best way to gather their feedback and what to do with it once you have it.
Why bother asking for customer feedback? The better question is, why not? All it takes is one awful product experience for a customer to look elsewhere and move on. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been a customer for five months or five years. Over half are willing to try a new company for a better experience, according to a recent survey by American Express. Don’t assume that customers will remain loyal. Not to mention, it can take up to 12 positive experiences to make up for just one negative experience, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. As a salesperson, your time should be spent making sure your current customers are happy and not trying to make up for a bad experience.
Taking Action on Retention
Focusing your time and energy on current customers can not only save you time but boost your sales too. It costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). So how do you know if your current customers are happy? Just ask. Ask simple questions like, “How happy are you with your purchase?” Or, “how well have your expectations been met?” “Is there a way we can improve?” By asking questions, it shows you care and that can have a tremendous impact on the buying experience for future products. You have a 70% chance of selling to an existing customer, versus just 5% to a new prospect, according to Marketing Metrics. A little goes a very long way. Plus, if something negative does come up, you can be proactive rather than reactive.
As a field sales rep, customer feedback is one of the best measurements of success. Better than most sales metrics. And when measured properly, it can help predict sales, customer loyalty and provide invaluable improvements to your product you wouldn’t otherwise receive. Not only should you be proactive in gathering feedback, but gathering the right type. The most important feedback will come from the other 96% of customers who won’t make an effort to voice their opinion. They’ll have the biggest impact and give you the ability to provide priceless feedback about the product, paving the way for improvements. Don’t ignore the really bad or the really great feedback entirely, just the focus on the average. It’s the only time it’s acceptable in sales.
How about you? How has actively seeking feedback from your customers become a part of your B2B sales technique? Let us know in the comments below!