Customer relationship management: the 4 human touchpoints of sales

By now, most of us know what “CRM” stands for.

We understand that customer relationship management software helps sales organizations keep track of their clients and manage leads through their sales pipeline, which makes selling easier and more effective.

While technology continues to make this process easier, there’s no way to fully automate the human touch that’s so necessary to effective sales. In each step of your sales process, you should be making direct contact to educate your buyer, inform them about your product, and establish trust.

So what are the exact things you should be doing to ensure you’re hitting each of these points and helping to guide the buyer towards a decision?

To help you refine your efforts, we’ve outlined the crucial touchpoints that should be present in any sales process, with suggestions for different ways you can deepen your relationship with potential buyers along the way.

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Touchpoint #1: The Potential Buyer Makes Contact

Your first opportunity to create a connection with your buyer is during their initial contact.

At this point, the buyer has visited your website and has shown an interest in your company or your solution. For example, they may have filled out a form for a free resource like an eBook or they may have just contacted you directly with any questions they have.

(image via Landingi)

This is your first chance to speak to their needs and create a good impression.

It’s important to realize that in most cases, now is not the time to make a pitch. The buyer has simply shown interest, so it’s your job to figure out what exactly they’re looking for and how you can help.

You may decide to follow up directly and if you do, you’ll want to identify the following:

  • Why did the buyer come to your website?
  • How did the buyer find your website?
  • What caused them to reach out?
  • What problems are they having?

This is a chance for you to better understand the buyer’s needs, wants, and pain points. You can then decide if your company is a fit and suggest ways you can help.

In addition, you can also direct the buyer to other helpful resources, such as videos, blog posts, case studies, and FAQs.

You can also ask if they want to sign up to your email list if they didn’t already when reaching out or signing up for your free offer. This way, you can send them your best content and keep them engaged with your company.

Most importantly, you have to be available when the buyer has questions and wants to talk to someone. Make sure that you can be reached via phone, email, and possibly even live chat, and include all of your contact details in your email signature so that the buyer can easily find your contact info.

PRO TIP: Use a calendar scheduling tool like Calendly so your buyer can select a specific time to connect that’s convenient for both of you.

Touchpoint #2: The Buyer Is Evaluating Your Solution

Once the buyer understands how your solution can address their pain point, they advance to the mid-to-late stages of your sales funnel, where they’ll likely be evaluating your solution against similar options.

So what can you do to persuade them into choosing your company? What further information does the buyer need in order to make a decision?

Every situation will be different, but the key decision factors boil down to:

  • Does your solution meet the buyer’s needs?
  • Does your solution make financial sense?
  • Will going with your company make them more successful?

Now is your opportunity to address each of these questions.

To answer the question “Does your solution meet the buyer’s needs?”, you can:

  • Set up a call or product demo. This will allow you to speak directly with the buyer and show them how your solution can address the specific needs that they have. You will have the opportunity to ask exactly what they are looking to do and show them just how to do it with your software, solution, product, etc. You can use tools like Google Hangouts, Soapbox by Wistia, or Invision to set this up.
  • Invite the buyer to a webinar. A webinar is an alternative to a one-on-one product demo where you can invite multiple prospects. This option is best served for demonstrating a few key features of your solution and explaining how these features will benefit the user. Tools like WebinarJam and Demio can help you set this up.
  • Invite them to use a test account or sign up for a free trial. This will allow the buyer to try your solution on their own. You can then follow up to answer any questions they may have.

Related: Product Qualified Leads: Why Trial Users Are So Valuable in B2B Sales

To answer the question “Does your solution make financial sense?”, you can put together a personalized plan that fits the buyer’s budget. This will allow them to see the exact costs for your solution and everything included in that plan.

Additionally, you can take this time to clear up any misunderstandings about your pricing.

To answer the question “Will going with this your company be the right choice?”, you can place confidence in the buyer’s decision by:

  • Providing case studies
  • Providing positive testimonials
  • Referring them to clients who will speak positively about your company on your behalf

Finally, even after all of this, you may need to give the buyer a bit of a “nudge” in order to choose your solution. Of course, you should continue to follow up via email or phone. However, if it’s been some time since the buyer first considered your company, you may reach out with a new offer.

Including a bonus, unexpected item in the original plan you offered or creating a limited offer (for example, save 10% during the next two days) can be a last-ditch effort to secure the sale.

Touchpoint #3: After the Buyer Has Purchased Your Solution

The buyer has decided to go with your company and has purchased your solution. Congratulations! You’ve won the sale. However, that doesn’t mean your sales process is over and that it’s time to move onto the next qualified lead.

Customer retention should be your next step in developing the buyer relationship. Since it can cost anywhere from five to 25 times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, it’s vitally important to place just as much, if not more effort to keep customers happy, versus simply pursuing new business.


(Global management consulting firm Bain & Company found that their acquisition costs were 6 to 7 times higher than their retention costs.)

At this point, you want your recent buyer to feel comfortable that they’ve made the right decision so that they continue to stay with your company and you can start to build a long-lasting business relationship.

So what can you do to ensure they are satisfied and you are doing everything you can to make their transition a smooth one?

You’ll want to make sure that you:

  • Thank the buyer. A simple thank you can go a long way and show that you actually care about building a relationship.
  • Provide fast delivery. The buyer shouldn’t have to wait for days or weeks to receive your product or get access to your software.
  • Help the buyer set up your solution. If you sell software, you can help the buyer set up their account and even walk them through using it if you haven’t already.
  • Reach out frequently to see if they need help. Make sure to follow up routinely to ask how everything is going and see if there is anything you can help with.
  • Make sure you’re easily available. The buyer should be able to contact you easily via multiple communication methods and they shouldn’t have to dig for your contact information.
  • Send use cases. This can help the buyer to learn your product or solution better and discover different ways they can meet their goals.
  • Send surveys. By sending surveys, you can find out questions such as:
    • How satisfied are customers with your solution?
    • How satisfied are customers with your support?
    • How easy or difficult do they find your solution to use?
    • What unexpected problems are they experiencing?

Touchpoint #4: Going Beyond the First Purchase (Continuing the Relationship)

The final customer relationship management touchpoint is continuing your relationship going forward. One of the biggest reasons customers leave is because they believe the company doesn’t care about them.


(image via SuperOffice.com)

So what can you do in the days, weeks, months, and years after purchase to ensure you keep the buyer happy?

Some of the same ideas listed in the section above will still apply, but you can also:

  • Create a loyalty program. This type of program rewards your customers for completing certain actions such as continuing to buy from your company or even completing a survey or sharing your content. This is another great way to keep your customers engaged.

  • Set up a referral program. A referral program rewards customers for referring new business to your company. For example, you might award a customer a $100 gift card for every new sign up that they refer.
  • Send them freebies. You can send your customers unexpected freebies such as free eBooks or PDFs, or even a free gift.
  • Upsell or cross-sell them on your other offerings. Existing customers spend 67% more than new customers. This is a great opportunity to upsell your current customers on upgraded plans or cross-sell them complimentary products.

Wrapping Up: Never Lose That “1-on-1” Connection With Buyers

Although customer relationship management software makes our lives easier, it’s still important to maintain that “human touch” with buyers. Every buyer is different and their specific needs, wants, and pain points will vary.

By continuing to implement the ideas listed in this post, you can increase the effectiveness of your sales process all while building stronger, personal relationships with your potential buyers.

Does your business use any other methods to build strong customer relationships through your sales process? Tweet them to us @nutshell!

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