It’s that time of the year when top-level executives are setting bold goals and implementing strategies for a successful year. Consequently, I’ve been talking to a lot of clients lately about business disruptors; you know those pesky things that seem to block, change and disrupt the status quo and can create a formidable roadblock to having a banner year.
The bad news is that there are at least five big business disruptors currently looming that will directly impact most organizations in 2015 and beyond. The good news is that with all business disruptors comes opportunity. In other words, failure to act can lead to big problems, but the right strategies can catapult you past your competitors and make you even stronger by year’s end!
Let’s talk about one of the biggest business disruptors sweeping the land – less customer loyalty. This is related to other trends in the marketplace. Among these are the facts that there is more competition and more price sensitivity with customers. Combine that with the fact that you and your competitors are fighting for those key accounts and it’s no wonder that client loyalty is at an all-time low for many firms.
The fact is that customer loyalty is not a given. Just because you’ve done a good job for a client, does not mean that they are going to be faithful to you and only you. It takes more.
According to research findings by CEB, there are a number of drivers to customer loyalty. These include:
• Company and brand impact
• Product and service delivery
• Value-to-price ratio
• Sales experience
You may be surprised that sales experience impacts customer loyalty more than the other three drivers combined. So what does that mean to sales leaders who want to strengthen customer loyalty? Bottom-line, it means that the salesperson or account manager must drive unique value beyond the products or services offered. It means that they must be seen as a trusted partner whose advice, counsel and insights are truly invaluable.
To get loyalty, being good at what you do is NOT enough. Are you an expert who can help your clients navigate alternatives and avoid potential landmines? Can you educate them on new trends, concerns and issues before they become problematic? Can you teach your clients how to do their important work better; adding perspective that can drive action and compelling results? Can you tackle the difficult issues head-on and provide insights that steer them to new paths?
These questions are all important ones. And they require REAL and substantial answers and actions on the part of salespeople in search of loyal customers. In addition, they need to be part of a bigger and ongoing conversation orchestrated by salespeople to create a chorus of loyal clients willing to sing them praises far and wide.