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How to Bridge the Customer’s Trust Gap

Does your company use a direct sales force? If so, there is new research that shines light on the needs and wants of buyers and the disconnect between those buyers and the sales force. It’s a disconnect of trust (a ‘trust gap’ if you will).  Potential customers don’t trust the information they get from the sales force.

Content from customer service and marketing generates the most trust

When asked “Would you find information or advice given by people in the following business units to be trustworthy or untrustworthy?” customers responded like this:

KEOMarketing-bridge_gap-part1-WebReady

With an almost 30% difference in trust between sales and customer service, it is obvious that there needs to be a change in the customer-interaction process so the buyers feel more confident in the information they receive from the sales team.

Create a positive experience for the customer

Customers were then asked: “What can a sales representative do to make your experience positive?”  They responded like this

KEOMarketing-bridge_gap_part2-webready

With a 70% response rate, it is obvious that the customers believe the sales person doesn’t listen to them but instead tries to close a sale no matter what the customer wants.

These pieces of data provide opportunities for B2B companies to develop processes and procedures that are beneficial for both the sales force and the customers. These processes need not be huge changes, but instead modification of what already exists.

Customer-Service Team

Presenting the image of a complete team to the customer is of paramount importance. Customers need to know that the sales person is one part of a team of people who wants to help the customer. The sales person needs to let the customer know that the marketing people and the customer service people are also ready and willing to help the customer make the best decision.

Customized Content Marketing

70% of the customers stating that they want the sales force to listen to them creates a huge opportunity. Content should be developed and disseminated based on common customer wants and needs. How can you find out their wants and needs? Make sure that the sales force is asking the right questions and reporting the answers back to the marketing team. With enough answers given, you’ll be able to produce two levels of content: (1) universal content; information that all customers want and (2) specific content; information for that one particular customer.

A Lead-Nurturing Mindset

Sales people need to realize that not all customers are ready to buy. As we discussed in a previous blog post on lead nurturing, many times potential customers are just researching the company’s products and they are not ready to buy.  Contact with the sales force means they are interested and want more information.  The sales force should realize the opportunity that has been presented and be ready and willing to sit with the customer, listen to their needs and then provide the information they are looking for in a timely manner. This iis not wasted time for the sales team; it is building a relationship with the potential client in order to get a sale soon and more sales in the future.

Summary

Theodore Levitt, the professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, wrote a lengthy paper about the importance of building long-term relationships with customers.  Customers don’t want to buy a product and then have the salesperson disappear. They want the sale to be the beginning of a relationship between them and the vendor.  With properly trained sales people who listen to the customers and strong content-marketing and lead-nurturing processes in place, that relationship can be achieved and the long-term value of the customer enhanced.

As an award winning inbound marketing agency, KEO Marketing can help you build strong and profitable relationships with your customers. We offer customized content marketing and lead nurturing programs that will help you achieve the results that you want.  And yes, we’ll listen carefully to your needs before we suggest anything!

Are you ready to receive even more qualified prospects? Then don’t waste another minute copying the tactics of your competitors. Download our complimentary Advanced Content Marketing Guide today.

PG
    About Sheila Kloefkorn
With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.
Sheila Kloefkorn (658 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.


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