It’s long been understood in the modern world of sales, the customer is king. Faced with near limitless choice and instant purchases through websites, both B2C and B2B customers are wielding that power every day. Now, the single most important sales metric for any sales team is how your customers perceive their experience of dealing with you. That is something that no product or service can buy.

Salesforce State of Sales Release
Now in its second year, Salesforce’s important State of Sales report provided some interesting information for sales teams. It demonstrated quite categorically that customer experience stands head and shoulders above every other metric in the KPI index. To be judged a great salesperson or sales team, you must listen to your customers and offer services that they want.

The statistics bear this out:

  • 83% of those surveyed say it’s important that the sales team focuses on their business needs rather than on their own sales targets
  • 82% say they value the availability of the sales team for queries, issues and consultations at all times
  • 80% placed a high value on salespeople who don’t try to hard sell products and services they don’t want or need. Trustworthiness is now part of the customer experience
  • Most expect sales personnel to advise as well as sell (79%)
  • A further 79% stated the importance of understanding a customer’s needs

Businesses are Already Adapting
The trend has been moving this way for quite some time. The state of the market is not the only driving factor here; technology also plays a part. As sales teams in most industries incorporate more and better analytics, particularly AI, it allows them to tailor their sales techniques and customer service to deliver precisely what each customer requires. Technology has empowered the customer in both B2C and B2B and sales teams are reacting with greater nuance and personalised experiences.
Customer focus is no longer just a buzzword. It’s forcing wholesale changes throughout the sales world in how they determine and measure success. The Salesforce report also examined some statistics from sales teams, especially

what managers are discovering:

  • 51%, that’s just over half of sales executives and leaders, consider deeper relationships vital to customer retention and now make it a key philosophy
  • This is now in balance with improving customer prospecting quality (56%). It seems increasingly that sales executives value a long-lasting relationship as much as they value the initial sale
  • Teams reporting the highest performances were nearly three times as likely than the lowest performing teams to say their focus has switched to personalising the customer experience in 201

This latter statistic is particularly interesting because it shows that B2B customers are responding positively to the personalised approach.

They’re Using Technology to Do It
The report went on to highlight the importance of continued technological development. Salesforce AI, in particular, has helped a wide range of business professionals process information faster and this is no better demonstrated than through the application of Salesforce Einstein for sales. According to the data, 79% of teams surveyed use or will soon use technology in analysing their sales performance. Data-driven decisions are already here, and they can only help to develop the relationship between sales personnel and their customers.
76%, that’s just over ¾ of sales professionals, directly referenced such analytical tools as improving their customer interaction. This has two advantages – it improves the selling process for the sales team while allowing them to tailor a better experience. In return, customers respond better when they feel valued.