Chapter 7

A Renewed Focus on the Differentiated Customer Buying Experience

Ron Ref and Ami Palan

 

Chapter Summary

  • The message is clear: More and more customers want things that traditional sales approaches may not provide: context; relevance; and deep product, service, application, and market insights that resonate with customer needs.
  • Research shows that nearly half of all surveyed firms with annual revenue exceeding $1 billion believe that “the customer buying experience is a significant competitive differentiator.”1 However, those executives' actions speak far less loudly than their words.
  • The time and money spent to create a differentiated customer buying experience are among the best and most fundamental sales-related investments a company can make.

The basis of selling used to be about products and services: “What our product can do for you.” “How our service can enhance your business.” “How what we sell benefits what you do.” Products and services are still the heart of any selling ecosystem. But more and more often, the defining variable is context: creating, managing, and leveraging a positive, motivating customer experience that is matched to the customer's specific needs.

Numerous trends are behind the increased focus on the customer buying experience. The most obvious and long-standing is a steady rise in customer power. Although still happening, for the most part it is old news: Power has been shifting toward the consumer for years, with most every innovation and ...

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