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Enhancing Your Sales & Marketing Dialogue – Best Practice 3: Elevating the Customer Experience

A critical aspect of transforming business outcomes begins with elevating the customer experience. A traditional product-feature sales pitch involved talking at the buyer. In a business value mindset, the focus shifts to engage the customer in an interactive conversation. There’s a lot of information available today, and customers have ample opportunity to educate themselves. An interactive conversation is different, in that it requires creating a compelling story that focuses on solving the buyer’s problem. In this scenario, think of the buyer as the main character of the story.

When the buyer is the protagonist of your story, there is a higher probability the buyer will adopt your product or service. Interactive content inherently allows for a two-way conversation in which you both provide valuable information; you convey information to buyers and collect information from buyers. This mutual approach serves to inform better, targeted and ongoing conversations.

The Personal Approach

One of the most significant benefits of this customized conversational approach occurs when the buyer has that ah-ha moment. It is during times like these when content seemingly adapts itself based on the buyer’s profile and provides something new, different, and unexpected. Studies show that deep personalization can drive a 17% increase in revenue. Interactive content allows you to introduce third-party validation and customer testimonials to strengthen your story. And interactive content allows you to put a comprehensive story together, linking research to your products and services.  This approach shows the decision maker that you can help them increase ROI, reduce costs, and improve business outcomes.

Here’s how this works. Begin any conversation with the customer. Identify whom you’re speaking to and what his or her persona is. Outline the relevant business goals and highlight the particular challenges that stand in the way from achieving those goals. Ultimately, it’s those challenges you highlight that you’ll want to help the buyer resolve.

We often use a maturity approach in this process – an approach that involves asking the customer a set of questions designed to gauge where they are in terms of the company’s digital transformation journey. Companies that are less mature are not yet fully prepared to successfully adopt digital technology on the way to transformation. Engage customers to show them where they are today with the idea of providing insights about what they need to do to move forward. Speak to them about how they compare with their peers so they understand where they fit in the competitive landscape.

The Power of Conversation

These conversations identify customer needs by crystallizing where they stand with their peers and what they need to do as companies to compete effectively and accomplish their business goals. Here’s when you describe what your solution does and how it’s relevant to customers’ challenges. What are the benefits of your solution? How are you going to help them increase their maturity? What specifically can you do the help them overcome their challenges and accomplish their business outcomes?

Since it’s important to quantify the business value of your products and services wherever possible, helping customers answer these questions provides a foundation for determining value. Take the time to assess the value from moving from a lower maturity level to a higher maturity level. How about the value of helping customers overcome the gap between where they are today and where their peers are? There’s also a value around tackling challenges and accomplishing business goals. All these benchmarks can and should be quantified in dollar terms to help customers clearly understand the ROI they can expect from your products and services.

That’s the benefit of having an interactive conversation with your customers. Learn about their issues and problems firsthand, and then link how your products and services can resolve those issues. Associate a business value in the process — this is what elevating the customer experience is all about.




Nancy Selig

Vice President, Interactive Platforms Services

Nancy Selig is the Research Vice President of IDC’s Interactive Platforms Services, a team of experts in the design and development of lead generation and sales enablement web-based tools. Nancy is responsible for managing custom research engagements involving clients’ transformations to both digital marketing and sales enablement.

Previously, Nancy was Research Director with IDC's Business Value Strategy Practice, a team of ROI and business value experts. Nancy's research was focused on the financial impact of technology on organizations. Consulting engagements, managed by Nancy helped clients provide financial justification for their products and solutions across a wide spectrum of technology areas.


Nancy has over 20 years of experience in the high-tech industry helping organizations grow their businesses through innovation.

Prior to joining IDC, Nancy was Vice President, Operations of a privately-owned retail/wholesale business. Previously, Nancy worked at Texas Instruments and Digital Equipment Corporation in product management, marketing, and sales.

Education/Industry Accomplishments

  • B.S. in Engineering from the University of Vermont
  • M.B.A. from Clark University
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