Episode Forty-five

Why You Should Leave an Empty Seat at Every Meeting

Guest: Dale Zwizinski, SVP of North American Sales at SmartAction

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About This Episode

There are robots out there working for call centers who are better at providing a stellar customer experience than some of your sales team members. Is that your team? If your customer experience isn’t a top priority for everyone in the organization then you’re not doing it right.

Dale Zwizinski is the SVP of North American Sales at SmartAction where he is crazy passionate about building a customer experience that will have people excited to speak with a bot. SmartAction is a customer experience organization with AI technology designed to make life less hard. They’re on a mission to make life less hard for those customers who have to dial into their favorite brand’s call center.

Dale is sure about one thing: the customer experience is everything.

Dale Zwizinski Customer Experience Sales Engagement

A sale is only a promise to deliver value, but then you have to actually deliver that value. And if you can do that, not only will they continue to buy from you, but they’ll recommend you to their friends and family. The ultimate compliment.

Marketing will say a lot to drive customers to your product, and if you can get them into your funnel you can start having conversations with them. If you deliver the value you and your marketing said you would deliver, you create a trust proxy that drives revenue.

A Better Customer Experience Will Drive Revenue for the Organization

Customer experience has everything to do with sales. People in the sales industry need to understand this is a long-term strategy. A great customer experience never ends- it’s all about how easy you are to do business with, even if everything isn’t smooth sailing. If you over-deliver value on the front end of the sale, you’ll have built up some currency you can use on the backend if you encounter any bumps in the road.

If you sign a $100,000 deal tomorrow, that $100,000 is only 1/10 of the value of that customer if you can keep them around for 10 years. It’s exponentially more valuable than that as well because you never know who that customer knows or is talking to.

Dale Zwizinski Sales Engagement Customer Experience

Which leads us to…

Once you’ve delivered the promised value to your customer, you should be asking for introductions to their networks. Salespeople hate asking these questions because they hate being rejected.

But all you have to do is ask them: who else can I help? If you’re not there yet, you have to be intentional about practicing that referral muscle. Salespeople are afraid to fail, but you won’t get comfortable asking for referrals if you don’t first fail a few times. It’s inevitable, so just get it over with! The failures that you execute on create a better next time. It can be helpful to think of each failure as one step closer to the next success.

Designing a Sales Engagement Process with Customer Experience in Mind

Don’t miss this: you have to think about the customer throughout the whole process. As you’re creating your organization’s sales engagement process, always put yourself in the customer’s seat. Amazon leaves an empty seat at every meeting. That empty seat is meant to be for the customer; so if the customer was sitting in on the meeting, how would you conduct the meeting?

Imagine how that image in your conference room would shift and shape your conversations.

When Dale talks with his sales team, it always comes down to three whys:

  1. Why do anything?
  2. Why do it now?
  3. Why do it with SmartAction?

Those three questions are very simple, but they’re all focused on the customer. Too many sales processes narrow in on the organization’s sales process; first I have to do this, then get a contract, then… You’re thinking about it from your perspective when that’s not what’s going to give a customer a memorable experience.

When your team discusses these three why questions, make sure they’re measurable and time-bound.

You Can’t Do It Alone

Making the customer experience a priority isn’t something that happens in only one part of the organization, and it also doesn’t come from the bottom up. This kind of prioritization has to come from the top down; the C-suite needs to be aligned with it and needs to lead the charge.

There’s no destination, it’s a journey that’s evolving all the time.

Because this approach can’t be done alone, open communication and transparency with both your teams and your customers trumps everything else. Even if something feels like it’s going to be a challenge, if you’re upfront with the person in charge at your organization or with the customer from the beginning, they’ll have that expectation but with an understanding that you’ll get through it together.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Dale Zwizinski. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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