An important aspect of providing an effective customer/consumer experience is in the development of the sales strategy/plan. This comes from developing an in-depth knowledge of who your customer is. Your customer may be the same or entirely different than the consumer of your product or service. By definition, the consumer is the end user of your product. The customer is the entity who initially buys your product or service.
To illustrate this point consider your product to be a hairbrush. If Target buys your hairbrush to sell at its stores, then they are your customer. When Sally buys your hairbrush at a Target, she is your consumer. If Sally would buy the hairbrush from you on your website, she would be both your customer and your consumer. The key difference you must remember to be effective in business is – you market to your consumers but you sell to your customers! A separate plan/strategy must be developed to both of these groups even if they are the same person. Many businesses fail to establish both an effective consumer based marketing plan and a great sales customer focused selling strategy. It is a one two punch combination you should NEVER be without.
Just as in developing an understanding of your consumer, you must develop a through knowledge of your customer. This knowledge must be based on asking:
Who is your customer?
What are their buying patterns?
Why should they buy from you?
How are you going to do business with them?
What do you offer that your competitors do not?
What is your value proposition?
It is the answers to these questions which form the base of your sales strategy. Armed with the answers and a great knowledge of your customer, you are now prepared to begin the development of the sales plan. In it, the plan should encompass the following:
What product am I selling?
Why am I selling it?
What value do I offer in the marketplace?
Who is my consumer?
What understating do I offer of my consumer?
What is the purchase cycle of this product?
What type of sell through is expected?
How do I best merchandise this product?
How easy is to do business with me?
Whether or not your customer and consumer are different or the same, you must effectively address the above questions in your sales plan. In effect, you are building your case as to why this person/merchant MUST (not should) buy your product from you and why not buying it is out of the question. The sales plan must exude confidence to the customer that you have developed a through understanding of your consumer and their buying needs. While at the same time convincing the customer you know them and their buying trends/needs as well. I cannot say this enough…..most businesses fail to fully understand what is expected from them by their customer. You need to do this to succeed. You can have the best product in the world and if you can’t convince the merchant to buy it – what good is it?
Remember – an effective marketing and sales strategy is a one-two punch. To be effective you must develop and utilize both to your advantage. Market to the consumer with an understanding of who they are. Sell to the customer by knowing who and what they want.
By John Benson