Your customers’ needs, perceptions, and preferences constantly change. Even if customers are purchasing the same products that you sold over the past five years, you can be assured that something is different with your interaction from five years ago to today. You can see this change in the way that customers conduct research and communicate with you and in what they expect in the form of warranties and returns.
The way that your company adapts to the customers’ ever-changing needs can mean the difference between success and failure. Although consumer-focused businesses typically feel the impact of customer change first, it now affects everyone, even those in the business-to-business world. Therefore, marketers need to focus resources on meeting, if not exceeding, those needs and expectations.
To keep up with today’s customer, you must consistently rethink and rework your approach. Only then will you be able to systematically anticipate and respond to the customers’ needs. For the buying process, there are more influencers and decision-makers than ever before. Customers expect a sales representative to have extensive knowledge of the business, as well as the product or service.
With a more fluid B2B sales process, it is important to change the way that you sell, interact, and do business. Many consumers read reviews, check out online forums, conduct research through search engines, and visit various social media sites. Because of that, you have to rethink how you manage your sales channels.
For starters, you need to recognize that change is happening. You also need to gain a better understanding of how your customers prefer to buy. For instance, you may have customers that are interested in making online purchases in the middle of the night. In this case, you need to offer 24×7 customer service.
It is also important to learn how customers engage with the products that you sell. Based on your findings, you can then hone your product line, develop new value-added offerings, and sell to specific customers. Determine how your customers’ needs, perceptions, and behaviors have changed over the past five years.
To accomplish this, ask pertinent questions. For example, ask your customers what it is that they are looking for now as opposed to five years ago. You should also uncover why their buying habits have changed and what you can do differently to accommodate their needs. The answers will likely be eye-opening. Unless you know what your customers are thinking and what they expect, you cannot make the appropriate changes.