Leadership Masterclass: The future of sales and customer experience with Tiffani Bova of Salesforce
In the height of the pandemic Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff put out a challenge to his people.
He asked them to have 1 million conversations with customers.
Not sales demos, not sales calls.
Tiffani Bova, Chief Growth Evangelist at Salesforce, said the 29,000 staff in fact had 1.5 million conversations that year, and have had added another 4.5 million since.
“We learned to ask better questions. We became master askers,” she tells the Growth Faculty’s Getting Back to Growth masterclass delegates.
The future of sales
This story illustrates the future of sales says the author of GROWTH IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business.
It’s learning to cut through “the noise” of a digital-first world by:
· Being more engaging and more value-based.
· Reaching out to customers despite no revenue being attached.
· Being better, smarter, and more empathetic.
Sales is navigating uncharted skies, she says.
“We are at a crossroads, reimagining what is possible. There is no roadmap.”
Sales is harder…and different
There’s no doubt sales is becoming harder.
Tiffani Bova says the numbers on sales reps meeting quota have been (mostly) declining in recent years.
· Meeting client expectations is the top sales challenge.
· 64% of sales reps report taking on new responsibilities, with 66% of their time spent on non-selling activities.
· Relationship building takes time, as reps develop empathy, trust and insight with customers.
As well, reskilling and re-tooling for a digital age was needed.
So Tiffani recommends leaders invest in training in such skills as conducting online demonstrations or writing better emails, for example.
In some cases, new digitally-savvy sales reps may need to be hired.
Bridge between silos
Tiffani suggests sales operations be renamed “growth ops”.
She recommends building bridges between the silos of sales, marketing, and customer service.
“One brand, one experience,” she says. “I’m a customer. I buy from sales, if I have a problem I call customer service, but they then send a field technician to the house.”
Tiffani says customer service agents were the new sales reps.
“They have ability to upsell, cross-sell, save a customer money, bring in revenue. Make sure everybody is empowered to make add-ons etc and quotes.”
If we employ disconnected teams, we offer a disconnected experience for customers, says Tiffani.
Giving back time to the human
Many technologies don’t deliver better experiences for customers or sellers.
Digital is technology but transformation is people and process, says Tiffani.
So, consider giving back time to the human in the picture.
· Take data entry away from the sales rep (via automation).
· Offer flexibility and autonomy to sales staff.
· Don’t make sales reps log in to three apps to get a quote out the door, or wait a week to get a pricing decision.
· Let artificial intelligence (AI) look at data and suggest next best action for a sales rep.
· Remember there’s a human at the end of every interaction, even B2B.
Customers want you to know them, what they want.
You can’t force your sales process onto your customer. Don’t employ tech and try to force the behaviour to change. Understand the behaviour.
In the past, real time might have meant same day or within 2 hours…but now it’s NOW.
76% of customers expect a seamless experience across all departments but 53% feel it’s not co-ordinated.
· Start with journey maps, and map the buyer's journey and the sales process.
· Where can you go back to personalise and optimise?
· Can tech help you to be more responsive…even if not with a full answer or full resolution?
· Remove hurdles. Improve your FAQs on website, install a chatbot.
Employees love their job so customers love the brand
“The fastest way to get customers to love your brand - is to get your employees to love their job.” – Tiffani Bova
89% of revenue growth leaders say that improved Employee Experience (EX) led to directly to improved Customer Experience (CX).
To succeed, companies need to focus both on CX and EX.
“The CMO owns ‘customer experience’ and HR owns the ‘employee experience’ but how often does the HR speak with marketing officer to connect the human?”asks Tiffani.
She also recommends including the IT department as follows:
1. Align your company with strong leadership and vision
2. Align IT and operational strategy to focus on CX
3. Incentivise cross-functional teams to enhance both CX and EX
4. Invest in technologies to measure CX and EX
A focus on wellbeing, flexibility and empathy will continue to accelerate, she suggests.
“In the U.S. many employees are choosing not to go back to work. We need to look at them individually,” she says.
With few exceptions, it's been a tough slog for sales reps over the past 18 months.
But growth expert Tiffani Bova says the beginner’s mind always looks for the possible.
Being an expert leaves you in danger of a closed mind, not the best solution for right now, she says.
When experts don’t know the answer, they must be willing to try and learn.
As Bill Gates said, success is the worst teacher.
Trying and learning is the only way to growth.
If you'd like to increase your professional development why not consider becoming a member of The Growth Faculty? One membership, unlimited access to 30 live virtual Time For Transformation masterclasses and the best live virtual events - PLUS year-round leadership content On Demand with videos, podcasts and book summaries. Join a community of knowledge seekers who are inspired by the best. Access $4350+ value for just $398 AUD. See who's up next.