Note: this article was originally published as a guest post on wired.com
What’s the downside to getting information from your sales force into your CRM system? If you’re like most managers, you’ll answer, “actually getting the information from the sales force.” There are a couple of reasons this seemingly simple task is like pulling teeth. Which ones do you recognize? More importantly, do you have a plan to rectify this opportunity-costing situation?
- The sales rep didn’t make an accurate record, if any, of the exchange they had with the customer.
- Too much time elapses between when the rep and customer spoke and when rep can input the data.
- The sales rep forgets, or simply won’t, put the information they did collect into the CRM system.
- When a sales rep does input the data, it’s the sales rep’s interpretation of the data.
The best CRM system money can buy won’t produce the results that sold you on it…if the system can be compromised by human factors like these.
Mobile Surveys Let Reps Gather, Send Customer Feedback in Real Time
In one step, in as little as a minute, your customers and prospects can take a custom-written, totally branded survey — on any mobile device. And because the best mobile surveys don’t require an app to be installed, customers can access the survey via:
- A tablet your rep hands them.
- A unique QR code they scan with their own mobile.
- A customizable URL or link your rep can text them from across the table.
Customers will be more compelled to take a survey when your rep asks them in person. This in-the-moment information collection provides instant, high-quality feedback you can’t get days or weeks later via email.
Smartphones and tablets simplify data collection by merely requiring reps to ask for one additional minute at the end of their face-to-face meetings. Your dependence on your sales reps’ gathering, recording and interpreting the data is over. Mobile surveys pave the way for the objective, timely collection of the data your company needs to stay competitive and profitable.
The Benefits of Real-Time Mobile Customer Surveys
An on-going stream of feedback from customers and prospects into a centralized, easily accessible system can give your company a competitive edge in many ways. It can also position your sales reps to earn substantially more money, by making them more cognizant of customers’ needs, of up- and cross-sell opportunities and of competitive threats. By consistently asking for feedback, your organization could:
- Enjoy up-to-the-minute opinions, comments and forecasts from those who actually use your products or services.
- Evaluate sales force efficacy, to adjust in real time the information they present.
- Seize first-mover advantage when customers or prospects reveal a new product need.
- Instantly address misperceptions or rumors that may be preventing prospects from becoming customers.
- Validate product-development assumptions regarding a planned or proposed product enhancement.
- Evaluate resellers’ knowledge about your product line, defining training changes to address deficits.
- Make competitive pricing adjustments.
- Pivot to seize a marketing or operational opportunity as it develops.
- Prove to customers and prospects that you care about their feedback.
This list is nearly limitless. As are the types of questions you can ask through your sales force—your company’s eyes and ears with direct customer and prospect contact.
See Your Company Through Your Customers’ Eyes
Using any mobile phone or tablet, mobile surveys allow you to literally experience your company, its products, services and representatives, in real time, through the eyes of your current and future customers. Perception is reality: which means you should know how your customers and prospects think about your company, your products and your competitors.
Invaluable Data Collection, Simply Executed
By the end of the day today, you could put in a place an intelligent customer feedback system your sales force could begin using tomorrow. Because there are no apps to install, any mobile device — your reps’ or their customers’ — can be used to take your survey.
- Identify the information you’d like to collect from your customers and prospects.
- Create your own personalized survey on a mobile survey website.
- The day of your next in-person sales meeting, email to each sales rep’s tablet or smart phone the unique URL generated when you created your survey.
- Ask them to take the survey themselves.
- Explain to each rep that they need to ask each of their customers to go through the same simple process they just went through.
- Motivate your sales force by illustrating how collecting customer data gives your company competitive insights, which give them a better opportunity to close more sales.
- Analyze the feedback in real-time and take adequate actions. Repeat.
The Tools Exist — The Motivation is Up to You
A company in tune with their customers, with competitive threats and with newly identified opportunities is a company whose sales reps will earn more money. Period. Obviously, instilling in your sales force the importance and urgency to collect feedback each time they meet with a prospect and with customers is paramount.
- Do you create a contest for highest percentage of customers surveyed?
- Do you mandate it, as a requirement of their employment?
- Do you simply rely on their sales instincts, and their ability to see this as the advantage it is?
Carrot or stick, you know your sales force best. Knowing what motivates your customers and prospects will in turn motivate a now more-informed and better prepared sales force to meet more needs…and make more money. For themselves, and for your company.