How to make sales KPIs more customer-centric

The modern buyer is more resourceful than ever. Internet research with tools like social media and software review websites can reveal enough information to make a buying decision without ever talking to a salesperson.  

Modern sales teams know this, which is why many have switched to a more consultative, solution-oriented sales approach. Their reps don’t manipulate and spin to make a sale. They educate. Whether that means sharing new research or sales strategies, buyers appreciate the valuable knowledge the reps provide. It builds a relationship, and that’s where the sale is made.

But many organizations aren’t getting the most out of this buyer-aligned sales process because they’re missing a key ingredient: customer-centric sales KPIs. These metrics make the sales process about the customer (instead of the rep).

Winning By Design founder Jacco van der Kooij recently published an article on Medium explaining how companies can transition from money-driven to customer-centric. Here are five sales KPIs he recommended using.

5 sales KPIs for a customer-centric sales process

1. Prospected Leads > Conversations Started

Cold calling or emailing someone to have a meeting so a rep can introduce their product or service is not starting a conversation. This signals to a potential buyer that the rep is most interested in talking about their offering, rather than trying to solve the prospect’s problem.

To start a conversation, demonstrate you have done your research, how it can impact their business, show curiosity with the intent to understand,” van der Kooij writes.

Starting the conversation from a consultative approach lets the customer know that they are what’s important to the rep (not making a sale).

2. Qualified Opportunities > Problems Diagnosed

Qualifying a prospect to figure out whether he or she is a good fit for a product or service serves the rep. Diagnosing a buyer’s problem and proposing solutions serves a potential customer.

During a conversation diagnose the client’s situation, which means you have to prepare the right questions and listen to/understand, and take notes on the answers,” van der Kooij explains.

Reps have two ears and one mouth. They should use them in proportion to understand a buyer’s needs and determine how to best address them.

3. ROI Pitches > Customer Stories Shared

Pitching a product will, again, inform buyers that a rep is more interested in making a sale than solving their problems. Instead, van der Kooij recommends sharing customer stories. When reps share stories of customers with similar problems (and the solutions that worked for them), the buyer knows that the rep understands how to help them.

“The way how you interact with a customer makes all the difference,” he writes. “In a noisy world those that are experts in interaction will rise above the rest.”

Quick tip: Don’t have reps just email over a one-page case study. Teach them the art of storytelling so they can engage buyers by sharing real stories in a compelling way.

4. Negotiations > Agreements Approved

Sales is not a hostage situation. So why is negotiation part of the process? Your reps should understand and communicate the value of the product or service they are recommending to solve a buyer’s problem. Negotiations often result in discounts, van der Kooij writes, which brings down the innate value of the rep’s offering.

“Instead think of it as trading using an exchange of products and/or services of equal value, which reflects value of your products and service,” he suggests.

This way reps are helping the buyer through an agreement between both parties (instead of under-valuing their offering just to get a sale).

5. Deals Closed > Customers Committed to Success

Customers are not automatons to be ignored after they sign on the dotted line. That agreement is a commitment to their success, which should be a top priority for every organization. The final piece of advice from van der Kooij is to love your customer. In that, he says, there is no downside.

Click here to read the full article for comprehensive advice from van der Kooij. For more ideas on sales KPIs, check out the latest research in the 2017 Sales KPI Report.

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