First, these insights become critical factors influencing customer loyalty. Then, they impact customer retention within complex industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) selling environments.
However, sales operations insights are only as good as the questions the C-Suite and sales organization asks of sales operations folks. Consider that in complex selling environments, great questions connect the plant floor to the C-Suite.
As a result, these insightful questions compare end user experience reality with sale promise fantasy. That is the place where strategic hard calls are made by decision makers.
Shouldn’t your organization be the first to know about deviation of sales fantasy from end user reality?
I have a new school, data-driven and holistic definition of sales operations.
In my Playbook, I define IIoT sales operations as:
The sales operations function describes the groups of individuals, teams, software, applications interfaces and equipment which facilitate day-to-day execution of sales process-planning, including pre-sales support and demos, and post-sale implementation activities. The sales operations function also is responsible for extracting valuable and actionable insights from business, sales and operations analytics. Sales operations professionals collaborate with other teams to identify and interpret Voice of the Customer specifications which enhance customer experience, success, loyalty and retention.
This definition reflects an enlightened business model which embraces an IIOT workforce hiring strategy. That hiring strategy creates dynamic, cross-functional, team-based operations environments. Those team-based environments share information and decision-making throughout a robust, data-driven organization.
Do you really – and realistically – understand how End User Experience marries up with the way Sellers sell?
Ponder that the honeymoon is over once equipment, products, services and software go live in a smart plant environment. That scenario is where the rubber meets the road.
Sales fantasy meets end user experience reality.
Why? First, in their rush to consummate the sale and make their quarterly numbers, sellers often become short-sighted. As a result, they do not pay enough attention to key issues impacting post-sale end user experience.
- Are end users properly trained to use products, services and equipment?
- Is the entire plant floor comprised of bright shiny-spanking new equipment or a hodge-podge of new and aging assets?
- Is the entire plant interconnected or a mix of legacy IT infrastructure?
Also, depending on what is discovered, there may be no way that the sales ideals proposed and agreed to by decision makers will come to fruition. Finally, if deviations and anomalies are identified early and often by tech teams – and communicated to the sales ops folks – you build a loyal and retained customer base.
A proactive strategy to create more robust sales operations insights leverages teaming up with the post-sale tech teams serving your clients.
Consider that these internal and external field tech teams become your eyes, ears and (literally) boots on the ground. Ponder the value of teaching tech teams, outsourced or not, to observe and report deviations in product and equipment usage.
Also, teams can assess the comparative age of capital equipment within the plant environment. Consequently, when these professionals are conversant in collecting voice of the customer insights, they enrich sales operations insights. As a result, this operational insights-rich workforce culture impacts customer experience, success, loyalty and retention.
Are the processes I’ve described similar, or different, from current sales operations practices? How about the way you interface with tech teams?
Download my Complex Sales Performance and Sales Operations Checkup. See where your sales organization excels. Identify areas for improvement.
Without connecting these dots, your organization overlooks opportunities or fails to identify obstacles impacting customer experience, success, loyalty and retention.
The choice is yours. What are your next steps?
Take the next steps.
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- Are you an Owner, CEO, VP, decision maker or manager? Book a brief consultation with Babette at firstname.lastname@example.org . What are you waiting for?
Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.