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Today we wrapped up our short but sweet trip to Arizona for Forrester’s Forum for Sales Enablement Professionals. Day two was a bit shorter in length, but there was no shortage of quality sessions. I was fortunate enough to attend a working session with Peter O’Neill, where we discussed how to make the case for sales enablement technology in your company. Other than that, today’s sessions seemed to have an overarching theme of customer engagement. Here are a few things I learned today about how to improve customer engagement and why it’s necessary in sales.

  1. Customer engagement is about building relationships. In today’s selling environment, it is ineffective and counterproductive to sell transactionally (meaning offering a price, sending a contract and never talking to the customer again). Customer engagement starts at first contact with a customer and should become more personal as they progress through the sales funnel. Further, it shouldn’t end as soon as the contract is signed, either. Maintain engagement with your existing customers by offering webinars, support collateral, and other informational sessions to ensure they continue to utilize your product or service as best as possible.
  2. Use storytelling to engage customers. Many sales conversations come across as “selling rather than telling.” This means that the customer isn’t receiving any real helpful or beneficial dialogue and they aren’t being given a reason to buy your product. By using stories to relay your message, you’re establishing trust and credibility, which is compelling to prospective customers. They will also be much more likely to remember a creative story than your sales pitch.
  3. Sales and marketing are both responsible for customer engagement. Marketing might be better at developing and writing the story, but sales is just as important. Sales must be able to understand what the customer needs (through dialogue with prospects and existing customers) and what stories will resonate best with them. Sales is also responsible for telling the story to these customers, and telling it consistently. Pooling the resources and skills of both teams is essential to customer engagement.
  4. Make it memorable. Your customers are inundated with messages- advertisements, commercials, social media, email, phone calls, etc. If you want to get through to them, you have to stick out, and it has to be memorable. There are plenty of ways to do this, but making sure it resonates and is relatable will help your audience–and customer– remember it.
  5. Your customers are your best salespeople. We know that customer referrals are undoubtedly important when it comes to bringing in new business. But it’s impossible to do this if your existing customers aren’t engaged. They may use your product, but they sure won’t be telling others about it.

With the end of the conference upon us, we are packing our bags and heading back to the east coast. Stay tuned in the following days for more in-depth recaps of specific sessions and more!