Sales Force Automation (SFA) Software & Social CRM Forum

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This online forum shares experiences, lessons and learning about the selection, deployment and continuous improvement of Sales Force Automaton software (SFA) systems, Customer Relationship Management software, Social CRM (SCRM) and to a lesser extent Marketing and Lead Management systems.







Monitoring Customer Signals For Increased Customer Share

Growing Customers Into Super-Advocates

Marketing automation and lead management systems have created unique opportunities to use software technology to monitor customer activities and flag important queues for the sales team. Whether it's a buyer behavior that immediately qualifies a prospect or a series of buyer activities that boost a lead score into sales-ready status, the software technology accelerates our capability to process, understand and act on these actions for the benefit of sales. Whether our sales team has the bandwidth to use all this information is still in question, but the technology allows us to refine sales data in new ways and at new velocities.

Customer signals work great for sales – but sales is not the only CRM benefactor. Interpreting these customer signals are key for building long-term relationships with customers. So, while we have triggers to help us understand when people are ready to buy, do we have the understanding – or the technology – to spot triggers that indicate a customer who desires a deeper relationship with the company they buy from?

Here's an illustration that got me to thinking about this. My wife and I have a favorite Thai restaurant, and since it's a culinary style of food neither of us is too familiar with, we ask a lot of questions. My wife will frequently ask the waitress for an explanation of a new food, or for more of a sauce, or ask how a dish was cooked. After several visits, she said, "I know I must be a terribly annoying customer … "

Our waitress quickly and vehemently said absolutely not, as she was very happy to talk about the cuisine with anybody who loves the food. That comment set off a spark in my head. My wife had unknowingly said something that flagged her as a potential customer advocate for the restaurant. She acknowledged her greater than usual interest in the food and how it was made, and how she clearly enjoyed it. But she also expressed a degree of empathy for the staff working there. By doing those two things, she signaled she would be a great candidate for additional attention to nurture her as a super-advocate.

In the face to face setting, nurturing this customer relationship is pretty easy. However, just like much of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the difficulty is making it scale. Are there any behaviors, activities or transactional cues that customers are sending your company – in responses to marketing campaigns, product renewals, blogs posts or social media channels – where customers are suggesting that they are ready to be converted into super-advocates?

As is the case in many such business processes, some of those customer signals may be unique to your industry, geography or your particular business. The key is to develop a process to identify those signals, but that's only the first step. The next step is to design the processes for following up on those signals to build that deeper relationship – and then making sure those follow-up processes are attended to consistently.

Implementing such business processes could create a valuable group of customer advocates for your business who work for no salary – and who will influence many additional customers. While paying attention to sales signals can result in one sale, paying attention to "relationship signals" can influence many sales.


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