In a previous blog post, I wrote about the movie “Yes Man” in which the main character is unhappy and withdrawn, engaged in few outside activities or social interactions. After going to a motivational “Yes!” seminar in which participants agree to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes their way, the character’s life is transformed in multiple ways.
Much of the focus of my earlier post centered on sales team involvement in the Win Loss process. In this post, I’ll discuss the importance of buyer and customer participation in Win Loss and Customer Experience programs.
In much the same way that Win Loss and Customer Experience programs benefit the companies that run them, these programs also benefit buyers and customers.
Changing the Sales Approach
By gathering feedback about what’s working well and what could be improved, vendors can make changes to their sales approach, product offerings, pricing models, and service and support programs—hot spots that are commonly cited as problematic in buyer and customer feedback.
Using the phrase “Help me help you” helps to frame this concept. If you, buyer or customer, help me, vendor representative, better understand what you need, I can do a better job of delivering solutions to you in a way that best meets your needs.
In my 2+ years as a Program Consultant at Primary Intelligence, along with my 16+ years of conducting market research and competitive intelligence prior to Primary Intelligence, I’ve found that buyers are often eager to give their feedback about the evaluation and selection process (Win Loss) and their experience as a customer (Customer Experience). This is especially true when there are issues or pain points that don’t get resolved, or don’t get resolved adequately.
Three Best Practices for Capturing Buyer Feedback
In many of my interviews with buyers and customers, the individuals readily pour out their feedback, providing rich color, context, and commentary about their experiences—some exceptional, some astoundingly poor. Sometimes, I have even felt like their therapist, listening to their experiences and giving them the opportunity to vent.
Below are some of the best practices I’ve observed to help maximize your chances of capturing buyer and customer feedback.
1. Incentives: While some of our clients offer incentives to buyers and customers as a way of encouraging participation, this is generally unnecessary, especially if the expectation has been set early in the process about the desire for feedback, regardless of who wins the deal (Win Loss programs) and the desire for feedback on an ongoing basis (Customer Experience programs).
2. Interview Logistics: While it’s generally seen as a best practice to gather buyer and customer feedback directly within organizations that don’t have Win Loss or Customer Experience programs already in place, this can be counterproductive for organizations that are working with external vendors to gather buyer and customer feedback, or for organizations that have a centralized group performing this data collection.
Once a buyer or customer provides their feedback, they rarely want to provide it again. If individual pockets within organizations are collecting their own feedback—such as individual sales reps when they win or lose a deal—the information is typically not stored or shared in a central location, leading to silos of customer and competitive feedback that’s difficult to locate and aggregate.
3. Notification: It’s a best practice for sales or account teams to let their buyers or customers know that their organization has a Win Loss or Customer Experience program in place, especially if they are using a third party to conduct research on their behalf. Notification alerts the respondent to expect a call from the party conducting the research and, especially when working with external providers, confirms there is a partnership agreement in place.
If you’re a buyer or a customer and are asked for your feedback, be a “yes man” or a “yes woman” when presented with this request for input. Help your vendors better meet your needs by providing your feedback about their products, sales, and support effectiveness. Help them help you.
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