Keeping the customer experience top of mind
Successful businesses don’t just market to external customers. In fact, they can’t successfully do that without, first, focusing on something else: internal marketing.
Too often, frontline teams don’t know how to talk about products or services with conviction because the tools they are given don’t inspire belief or confidence. When marketing teams lack internal marketing strategies, they struggle to align customer-facing representatives with the overall brand vision. This creates conditions for disappointing results.
To address this, a company needs to consider its mindset around products and services. Is the focus on making products or delivering outcomes? The former focuses on the company, and the latter focuses on the customer. It’s hard to believe that in 2020, there are still so many businesses struggling to keep customers’ needs and the customer experience top of mind, but it’s a serious reality.
The Risks in Real Time
Too many frontline representatives are pushing products on customers because corporate teams are making them. That will not translate to an outstanding customer experience. These reps should be talking to customers about a product because it offers them value.
Another risk is information overload. When frontline teams feel so bogged down in product details that they can’t see the value that the product offers, they start to selectively ignore it and never bring it up during customer interactions. They stop talking about the product altogether (if they ever started talking about it at all). It’s not hard to imagine that this is detrimental to results and success.
We’ve seen this play out in the real world time and again. A number of our clients in the technology and telecommunications spaces have run into issues when they’ve launched security products and home automation services. They were overloading frontline teams with too much product information and taking them away from their jobs for days at a time to attend new product training. Customer-facing representatives were being asked to know granular details about products, down to precise technical specs.
They were so focused on trying to memorize the minutiae that they didn’t know how to turn that information into a compelling, cohesive story. The sheer volume of details kept them from believing in their ability to help customers understand information that they felt was too complicated even for them.
So what changed? The breakthrough to belief came when these reps started hearing stories about how customers were using the products and services to make their families safer and their lives better. Being able to put product details in the context of relatable, everyday scenarios like that completely changed their outlooks on how they could shape the customer experience. These use cases are evidence of the outcomes, and they are more memorable for your employees.
How Consumer Manufacturing Brands Can Create an Outcome-Focused Mindset
How do you build your internal marketing strategies in a way that keeps outcomes, not products, top of mind? Start with these three things:
1. Look at your customer data.
Who are your target customers? What are their personas? Understand what they want and why they need this new product you want to sell. Outline how it enhances their lives or solves a problem for them in all your marketing — not just in your external efforts.
Customer data is used to build advertising all the time. However, it’s not used nearly enough to help frontline representatives understand the customer perspective and story they need to tell. Use the same customer data that drives your marketing campaigns to the public to create internal marketing campaigns that educate and empower frontline teams.
2. Map out the conversation.
Look at your team members who are actually talking to the customer. How are they doing it? Think about when they’d have opportunities to share a use case or scenario with the customer and how they can position a product’s value, not just its information, in that conversation.
This is a great practical way for corporate teams to build strategies with a customer-focused mindset while also being realistic in terms of how and when products should come up during these interactions. Frontline teams should be more than just product pushers. That only drives a bad experience. When marketing teams think through how to equip them to share a product story and not a list of facts, they set up these customer-facing representatives to create customer experiences that differentiate both the product and the brand.
3. Sell the story.
Armed with a customer view and an understanding of frontline teams’ sales opportunities, you can paint a picture of how to position this solution. When you design strategies with customers in mind and work backward, your messages will be rooted in value and not product features.
Think about how to deliver new information to frontline teams. Emailing a one-sheet just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t grab attention or compel employees to believe in a product — it just gives them homework. Find ways to supplement your training in a way that’s relevant and engaging. Internal marketing campaigns get frontline reps excited about finding ways to add value to customers instead of adding another product to their pile.
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