A Customer is Always Right is the Wrong Sales Approach because when we do this, we immediately put ourselves in a place of keeping score and counting pain points. Why we put a customer first in SaaS Sales Management Methods at Demo Solutions comes down to productivity. It is not about the customer always being right, it really has little to do with trying to prove points either or keeping score with objections and pain points, where we excel in training SaaS Sales Methods is keeping the customer engaged in the sale. Why? Because the sale is entirely about the customer. It is more productive and closes more deals quickly if the focus of the sale is on solving needs of customer, with little distraction. But what about the managers? How does putting the customer first effect the sales force?
Harvard Business Review recently published a statistic that got us thinking about this from an organizational perspective. 2,500 salespeople working in 38 countries for 50 companies suggests there are significant, often overlooked, differences between management systems that encourage salespeople to put the customer first and those that encourage sales reps to put their district or regional managers first. If you are selling and always putting the customer first are you truly putting them first or have you been trained to make concessions, in lieu of truly listening to them and solving their problems. Let’s dig into this.
How do a Customer First and Manager First Sales Process Differ?
Customer first is focused on the outcome of the sale individually, results oriented, and the Manager first is focused on behavior and process. That tells you all you need to know about the process and culture. Why would a sales rep pay attention to the process or their manager or the motivation, when what really matters is the customer or outcome? Yes, we just basically said the customer is not always right, but why?
Implications of Manager First Sales Methods vs Customer First Sales Methods
When sales organizations are process-oriented, if they follow a process, including cooperating with presales and marketing, then they all win when an outcome of a sale is achieved. If you sales organization is outcome-oriented, it is the wild west and no one explicitly needs to cooperate. This is where Demo Solutions often gets called in.
Why Customer First can be the LAST Thing you Need
Putting a customer at the center of a demo or sales presentation, and putting their needs ahead of your own is actually not outcome-oriented. It is empathy training and part of the marketing, presales, and sales process. Contrary to the old adage “the customer is always right”, in our experience of best practices in the long term, the customer is always right, but not at the expense of your process and your team.
Old School Sales
Old School Sales would do anything to get a deal done, hit a target, and as a result, much of the content around SaaS Sales Methods in the past, would say the customer is always right, but it would be at the expense of the entire organization. An unintended consequence of this is high churn in sales roles and a hermetically sealed executive who only worried about the bottom line.
New Era Sales and Sensitivities
In a new era of sales, where we are still putting the customer first, it is in our pitches, collateral, and in our process. We put our needs first as an organization, build processes that support sales, presales, and marketing, and the way we sell is inclusive to our audiences and we try to make connections and solve their problems. Part of this is admitting when sales are not a fit and when an organization as a whole needs to refine its sales process to achieve better results.
A Customer is Always Right is the Wrong Sales Approach
For the most part, we don’t intimately know our sales prospects, so why would we be doing them any favors unless something was in it for us. Giving the customer all of the power in saying they are always right and submitting to any demands is not honest and denies that ultimately, sales is a transaction. Any other way of framing it lacks transparency. Your prospects deserve more. What works best, is getting into the customer’s shoes for a minute and trying to figure out what best solves their problems. The best way to learn how to use these approaches is to follow along with Demo Solutions on all our content on Empathy!
We hope that A Customer is Always Right is the Wrong Sales Approach was a provocative piece of content and welcome feedback always. Please let us know if this resonated with you.