Do you feel like your market has potential? Like your business can do better?

If yes, you’re right.

No matter where any business currently stands, it can serve its market better. Even giants like Amazon, Google and Apple are always pushing the envelope to deliver a better customer experience and discover new markets.

On the other hand, companies which think they’ve achieved the pinnacle become irrelevant and experience a painful decline before competition kills them. In Jeff Bezos’ words, such companies are in “Day 2.

But let’s go deeper. Do you feel that your company is underserving the market? That the potential for sales is tremendous but you don’t know where to start?

If these are questions that really bother you, here are five actions you can take to achieve long-lasting success and stay ahead of the competition.

In a nutshell:

  1. Target the right customers
  2. Sell what your customers need
  3. Maintain genuine relations
  4. Generate references
  5. Stay ahead of the curve

Let’s deep dive into each of these points.

1. Target the Right Customers

Here is the most common blunder that many business leaders commit: they think that everyone is their customer. This might be correct theoretically but in practice, it creates massive problems for the entire company.

Different customer segments have different needs. When a company caters to various segments at the same time, it spreads all its resources – marketing, sales, product development, customer support, operations, etc. – too thin. And it sends out signals that confuse all its customers. This leads to tremendous wastage of effort and resources and poor return on investment.

Focus on one customer segment at a time. Optimize ways to prospect it, to make your product address its pain points, and to deliver it satisfactorily. Collect data to add value at every touchpoint in your buyer’s journey. You can capture this customer data in your CRM software and use it to empower your sales reps to close deals faster.

Once you’ve streamlined operations, move to the next customer segment. This is the most effective and sustainable way to grow sales.

2. Sell What Customers Need

Steve Jobs believed that customers don’t know what they want. Like many things, he was right about this too.

Most customers often confuse “need” with “want.” They think what they want is what they need. And companies follow them in this soup. They simply sell what customers ask for instead of understanding their latent needs.

Such companies get seen as “transactional” i.e. ones that customers approach only when they want something specific. And because they have an abundance of choice, customers “bargain” with transactional sellers on price.

The truly profitable companies follow a different path. They understand how their products solve customers’ unmet needs. If they sell real estate, how do their homes make people’s family lives better. For Enjay, it’s how our software make our customers’ businesses more efficient.

According to research, the most important factor in customers’ loyalty is reducing their effort to solve their problem. Thus, if you identify how your product fulfills your customers’ pressing needs, you’ll get rewarded with loyal customers and increased profitability.

3. Maintain Genuine Relations

Customers don’t prioritize products and services anymore. They prioritize relations and knowledge. According to research, customers prefer to buy from sellers who can provide expertise and consultation about their industries.

But knowledge and expertise are just one part of the relation. The other is to understand that a relation comprises of two or more parties. This relation gets built on the back of top-notch customer service and experience. A Harvard Business Review study showed that customers who had the best past experience spend 140% more compared to those who had poor past experience.

Be proactive in providing customers with a robust experience instead of giving them service only when they reach out to you. Use your CRM data to identify touchpoints where you can add value and enhance after-sales experience.

The stronger your relations with customers, the easier it becomes for you to turn them into advocates.

4. Generate References

The possibility of selling to a happy customer is fourteen times higher than selling to a new customer, according to a study. But happy customers don’t just buy from you over and over again. They also share their experiences within their circles.

This word-of-mouth is the most powerful medium of marketing. Yet, most customers don’t give referrals because only 11 percent sales reps ask for them. Imagine that! All you have to do is ask.

Apply systems and processes to empower your sales reps to ask happy customers for referrals. And don’t forget to thank and reward customers for them. This will not just shorten your sales cycle; it will also increase your loyal customer base. Both these aspects will make your business more profitable.

5. Stay Ahead of the Curve

According to Jeff Bezos, “the outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly.” This means that if you fight big trends that are about to change the industry, nothing can save your business from becoming irrelevant.

Don’t just stay connected with customers to sell to them. Stay connected to identify changes in their needs and behavior. These provide insights on up and coming trends. Rather than fighting these trends (which are essentially the future), prepare yourself to embrace them. This way, you might lose a product that turns obsolete in the future, but will retain the customer.

Leverage industry insights and your CRM data to look for new trends. Embrace them to stay ahead of the curve and your competition.

Summing Up

It’s time you accept one thing: you’re no longer in the product industry, even if you resell or manufacture goods. You’re in the service industry. Customers don’t want your products anymore. They want solutions to make their lives better.

Create solutions that customers care about. Promise a superior customer experience. If you fail to keep the promise, customers will abandon ship. But if you succeed, customers won’t just stay with you, they’ll turn into your best salespeople.

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