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Prospecting and Customer Experience

Customer Experience is incorporated into many aspects of an organization and receives quite a bit of attention for data, analytics, supply chain, logistics, technology, marketing, and more. Without sales, there is no customer, and without customers, there is no organization. It could be argued that this is the most crucial area to incorporate in the customer experience, starting with the prospecting phase.

In the sales strategy, customers fall into four categories: Prospects, Growth, Risk, and Maintain. Each person on the sales team needs to build their strategy around these four categories and prioritize the customer experience. Once there is some knowledge on the customer, the process to personalize and maximize the customer experience becomes less complicated and more specific.

On the customer journey map, the phases prospecting covers are Awareness and Consideration. Tying the CX strategy for prospects to this will ensure that CX is permeated throughout the relationship with the customer and more easily convert to a long-term, loyal client.

Working through the prospecting process needs clarification. There is an easy six-step process to work through this. There is a process of learning as much as possible about the customer from professional to personal, understanding their pain points and what emotions this elicits for the customer. All of this enhances the ability to really listen and understand the voice of the customer. 

The six steps are:

  1. Learn about the customer personally and professionally. This includes charities, causes, family, birthdays, anniversaries, lifestyle, accomplishments, goals, tenure. For organizations that have larger audiences, use demographic information and AI to zero in.
  2. Start with selling small. Work through the process with something that is low risk. If this is not possible, then simulate this so that you and your teams understand the customer, their reactions, and their needs. 
  3. Follow up. Make touchpoints to reach out; this is commonly called Care Contact. Add in something that is specific to that customer. The important part here is that this is NOT a sales call or pitch. 
  4. Communicate to grow the relationship. This is an investment in the long term; make it work with greater ease by communicating and following through. 
  5. Now is the time to SELL! If needed, hold the proverbial hand of the customer through this. Make sure that you are identifying their emotions through this process using empathy. Be available.
  6. Thank the customer and add in something that is unique to that customer, influencer, and/or decision-maker. This is to show that you care and are interested in a long-term relationship. This also opens a conversation about how the product/service is working for the organization.

Those on the selling team that really know their client are the top producers. Simultaneously while these six steps are going on, the selling team should be working with their support teams, communicating effectively how the process is moving along. This helps the support teams be able to deliver when the time comes with Step 5 and the sale. The support team can also join this process to further cement the relationship. For example, have someone from product development join in one of the meetings and hear the voice of the customer directly. Imagine the impact that this can have when customizing the product for the customer.

This creates the customer experience and ties prospecting into the customer journey. Most importantly, it takes the customer from pre-purchase in the customer journey to purchase and post-purchase. We all know that delighting the customer is key to the customer experience, and with this process, there is an opportunity to continually delight the customer. Further, this moves a prospect more quickly to a customer and eventually a client.

About the author

Patty Soltis
Patty Soltis
As a customer-centric strategist and consultant, Patty develops growth strategies for organizations with a focus on the customer propelling sales and profit growth in double digits. Prior to that, Patty was a VP/GM for Neiman Marcus, Marshall Fields and Lord & Taylor creating customer centric cultures and strategies that exceeded financial goals and CX metrics. Patty is a member of the CXPA and has earned her CCXP and her CX-PRO. She received her B.S. from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and her M.B.A. from Oakland University.


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