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It goes without saying that sales is, well, about selling things: meeting numbers, beating numbers, and helping to increase revenue year-over-year (YoY). But we all know it’s easier said than done. Today the market, the customer, the buyer journey have all been facing an accelerating pace of change.

According to the recent “State of Sales” report, only 24% of those surveyed significantly increased YoY revenue. That’s a pretty stark minority. This one statistic should make everyone aware that there is plenty of room to improve the way companies sell their products and services. What are the ways successful companies are growing in light of such challenging times? Here are a few of their secrets to success.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in: More and more, customer experience is the product. The barrier of entry to become a customer and the barrier to leave have become so easy that much of the loyalty is driven after the sale, not before. Remember when you'd sign up for a two-year cell phone contract and then wait and wait to finally get out of it? Thankfully, those days are over.

In a recurring revenue business, you're earning your customers’ business every single day, every single week, every single month, every single year. Customers are saying, "Look, I'm voting with not only my wallet the first time I buy, but also with my loyalty over time." That makes optimization key, and it’s one of the core components of driving new revenue, especially for email communication.

Emails aren’t “Dear Customer,” or even a customer’s full name. Now it’s a first name. And a newsletter or sharing a new white paper shouldn’t just be a blanket catchall. What type of content are customers really interested in? If you know from the CRM that they downloaded or shared X, Y, or Z content, then think about how you can cater to that and drive even more value to them. If your communications aren’t personal, they’re  not only going to be deleted; they’re also actually working against you and brand loyalty.

Of course, if you want to optimize and personalize to the fullest, sales must reach across the aisle and align with marketing. It isn’t just about “knowing” what content or campaigns marketing is doing. It’s all about collaboration, especially with the rapid growth of account-based marketing (ABM) across B2B.

The “State of Sales” report found the “disparity between top sales teams and their underperforming peers is the ubiquity of ABM — programs in which messages and offers are targeted to a market of one. This practice is in place for 80% of high-performing teams, but only 47% of underperformers.” ABM is something that neither sales or marketing can overlook in today’s market and in trying to reach your customers. And ABM can only work with true alignment. Make that happen, and it’s another way to become a top performer.

Another differentiator for those reaching major YoY revenue growth is in partner collaboration. Partnerships are a cornerstone for new sales opportunities and reaching markets. But organizations and business development teams have to look beyond the traditional definition and go outside the box.

Think about the recent partnership between Ford, Amazon, and Starbucks. These aren’t three names you might necessarily put together as likely collaborators. But Ford added Alexa to its infotainment system, providing a new way to order that usual skinny-double-latte-no-whip order en route to Starbucks. This offering is a new competitive advantage and differentiator for the Ford salesperson on the lot, provides Starbucks with a new way for customers to order, and increases Amazon’s reach with Alexa. Such partnerships in your products and solutions can increase sales and revenue exponentially.

Customers are saying, 'Look, I'm voting with not only my wallet the first time I buy, but also with my loyalty over time.' ”

Tiffani Bova | Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce
 
 
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