35: Karen Dunne-Squires – Why Customers’ Perspective a Central Part of the Sales Journey

May 31, 2020
Scale Your Sales Podcast Karen Dunne-Squires

My next guest has a diverse sales background and understands customers experiences across many sectors. In 2010, she created the award-winning growth framework which equips small businesses with the skills to convert and retain clients. Karen Dunne Squires founder of Elation Experts.

Given the unique challenges that we are all experiencing, the methods by which supplier win new customers, those methods have needed review and revision in the last few weeks to ride out this pandemic. There are two things Karen suggests that have become even more relevant today. How do we add value to our target market? And how do we solve the problems that our target market is struggling with? Sellers need to be in constant contact with their target market of prospects and customers to understand what’s been the impact of this pandemic and how we need to adapt and flex to continue to present value and help solve their problems.

Sometimes salespeople assume not realising that the thing that added value last week last month might not be valid anymore. Karen shares an example of two businesses she works within precisely the same sector selling the same products to the same target market but in different parts of the country. We can easily assume that both of those businesses are having the same challenges right now. What is happened is one of those organisations has been innovative and effectively pivoted their business and is booming right now. The other business is decimated.

One of the critical challenges for every sales department is that salespeople can very easily fall into this trap of being blinded by their targets. Thinking the objective is to put a number on the board and to close a sale. She said this thinking is not about how well do I know this individual, how deep is my relationship, and how effectively am I meeting their needs? It is a very experienced and capable salesperson who recognises first must come the emotional connection. Then the relationship builds, but it still lacks in a lot of sales teams that Karen work with, she says.

Sales training should be about getting a team of salespeople to recognise what is the best quality customer experience that they want our clients to have. And understanding the way that they want to lead their customers through a journey that makes them feel like they are engaging with a credible business that makes them feel recognised that makes them feel listened to is. Then teach the sales team how to implement the journey to the highest possible standards. It is not transactional number chasing, but an emotional connection with a customer through a series of interactions.

Before we start talking about delivering skills to any sales professional, says Karen, we always ask the business first and recognise, what customer experience do you want this team to provide? And we like them to map three stages.

Karen get businesses to talk about, what are your strategies, approaches and practices around lead generation? How are you generating awareness? How are you generating interest? What activities do you have in place at that stage?

We then asked them to move on to looking at lead nurture so once you have generated an inquiry into your business, what the processes and practices you have in place to combat that inquiry into a confirmed order.

And then the third area we ask them to look up is once you have won that piece of business, what account management strategies you have in place, how are you engaging with your existing customers? If a company has defined that end to end journey, we work on how they implement that journey, to ensure its consistently happening across our entire sales team.

The creation of a customer journey is fundamental. You know, when people are creating their sales plans, when they are thinking about their sales activities and communication, Karen is always asking them to step back and think about it from the customers perspective.

Karen has talked about this many clients come to her to help us to recruit more diversity team? The reputation that sales lend itself to a male environment. We are constantly talking about being aggressive, though getting, you know, killer attitudes. And that type of language is just more appealing to the male gender,

She worked with a business on changing their job description. We did an A B split test and wrote a job advert in their traditional language using this killer attitude go-getter, results-focused, proven driven strong language. We also wrote a  customer-focused advertisement, the same role, same salary, same job title.  The language in this job description was seeking an individual who will invest time and get to know our clients and prepared to build long term relationships. Someone who will be prepared to engage at volume with many diverse clients and seek to develop a better understanding of their needs. And lo and behold, no surprise, we have 10% female applications for the first example. And over 50% of female applications for the second example, same job, same company, same job title, same salary. If we emphasise on at nurturing relationship-building side of the role, we attract more women.


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