I just finished reading Kristin Zhivago’s book, “Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell The Way Your Customers Want to Buy.” Kristin is a well-known “Revenue Coach.” The premise of her book is that we need to be Customer-Centric instead of Company-Centered.
How shocking! Sell to Customers the way they want, instead of forcing company-focused marketing, sales, processes and services on them whether they like them or not?
And the best part is that Kristin doesn’t talk pie-in-the-sky theory about this. She shares a system that she says, “uses proven methods that have worked” regardless of the product or service sold or who the buyer is.
In the beginning pages of the book, she lists 21 “Barriers to the Sale” that companies create which make it difficult for customers to buy. She adds that these are just a FEW examples. Scary reading indeed! As I read her list I found myself nodding in affirmation. I’ve experienced most of these either as a customer or as a consultant observing how some companies operate.
Here are just two of the sales barriers:
- Failing to include needed and helpful information on product packaging and in product documentation (I had to call, wait in queue and then finally get the information)
- Using the latest technology without regard to how it impacts customers (loved the one that disconnected me 2 times and the Agent when reached said, “Yes, it’s been doing that all week”)
She also discusses a common mistake the C-Suite team often makes: imitating the competition (What is Joe doing? What kind of system did XYZ competitor buy, and so on), instead of creating their own marketing and service culture based on what their own Customers love and how they want to buy from them.
Once she’s laid out what is happening or what could be happening that’s failing, Kristin gives us three key steps to get on the right track:
1. Discover: Start to approach things from your Customer’s point of view. Get feedback on everything they experience, perceive and even their thoughts on your competition. Kristin provides specific instructions on how to get this information quickly – as in, weeks – using a simple but proven method.
2. Debate: Brainstorming rules here. What do your customers want, how do they want it, decide what you will promise to your customers and how will people, processes, policies, products etc. keep these promises. She says the latter is your “brand” (not to be confused with “branding”).
3. Deploy: Take Action.
Many companies are great at Debate. In fact, they will debate and then debate the debate (note: please see my Blog post on “Meetings”). Where they fail in my experience, in addition to effective Discovery, is the Action part. Lots of data collected. Lots of talking. Not so much walking. And so the same things they discuss implementing in January are still being discussed in November or even the next year.
Kristin goes into great detail on all of these stages, giving you examples that you can follow in theory, but more important, in practicality. She was spot on with this observation:
“The (Marketing and Selling) Channels you decide to use should be guided by two reliable sources: your Customers’ buying process and testing.”
YAY! Someone not afraid to say, maybe you don’t need the latest and greatest Marketing or Sales invention, media, etc. unless your Customers (or Prospects) want to find you, buy from you, learn about you using them. Don’t set some marketing or sales plan in motion because YOU like it or you think you have to have it to keep up with everyone else.
Last but not least, Kristin discusses how to keep all this going including dealing with internal roadblocks that may continue to pop up.
I loved Kristin’s no-nonsense tough talk about what needs to be done to be successful. She pulls no punches and is clear about the roles (or whining of various departments) that you may encounter as you make the Customer-Centric changes needed, and how to deal with them.
Filed under: Business Process Improvement, Communication, Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention, Marketing, Retail Sales, Revenue generation, Sales Tagged: | Business, customer experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer satisfaction, Customer-centric, Marketing, Revenue, Sales