Have you created a customer journey map?

How do you measure success? Is it by how much more you make from one year to the next? Unfortunately, that’s a too-limiting view of business achievement — but it’s one that many companies rely on. What if instead you focused on a different measure — say, how customers felt about their journey with your company?

In fact, if you’re not thinking through the steps on that customer journey then you might be letting customers slip through your fingers before they have a chance to repeat sales, and those can be the most valuable kinds of customers ever—the ones with a relationship, not just a sale.

That journey, of course, isn’t just the sale — it’s all those points from awareness to sale to post-sale. And along those points, you can provide very different pieces of marketing in order to deepen that relationship. How do you do that? This graphic can help.

Customer Journey Maps: How to Guide Your Leads to Customers

How to Effectively Respond to Sales Objections

Sales isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, and every customer would buy everything you wanted them to.

In reality, though, there are objections that you have to respond to, and if you don’t do it well, you’ll lose not only the sale, but momentum for sales in general.

For starters, instantly dismissing customer concerns isn’t the right path to take. Work harder on understanding and sincerely reaction to their points. You’ll also have to find out what would convince them of the sale, and learn how to build points around that.

Interested in more effective ways to work through sales objections? Use this graphic.

 How to Effectively Respond to Sales Objections

Via Salesforce

3 Ways to Grow Your Pipeline Through Social Selling

Off the bat, you may think of “social selling” as an outward action—where a salesperson reactively reaches out or responds to a target audience through social media to direct traffic.

Social selling, however, also includes proactive, gathering of information and behind-the-scenes work to create better qualified leads and increase traffic flow.

Using the three approaches we highlight below, you can put social selling to work and see significant growth to your sales pipeline.

Brand Yourself, and Suit Up
Remember when we were #hashtag crazy? In the early days of social media, hashtags were the key to getting found. We hashtagged every noun we thought was vital to our brand identity, and waited for someone to grab our hook. To be honest, social selling then was the equivalent of a sandwich board and a megaphone versus a good suit today. Social listening has evolved into something more refined, and social algorithms have advanced to now mute overly-spammy social “voices”. If the technology has evolved, it’s usually a sign that user behavior has evolved as well. In social media, it’s no longer about shouting to be heard, but instead, using your brand’s identity to develop the right audience through consistency.

When establishing yourself on social media, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Think about your market positioning, and what makes you stand out from the rest that your audience will find compelling. Look at your website traffic to get an idea of what’s already bringing your audience to you, and echo your website’s best-performing keywords on social to grab the same audience. Create your social media bios and populate your scheduled content with the terminology that’s true to your brand. By putting the megaphone aside and using technology to build an audience intelligently, you’ll actively create an audience that contains a higher percentage of qualified leads.

Find Your Audience
There are a few different tools out there to help you develop your social audience. You can use technology to find your existing customer base on social media and engage with and repost their content to tap their compatible networks and grow your own.

Match a social audience to your primary market brand persona through keyword matching and geographic location. Use the identifiers that you associate with your market segments, and run searches or combine with social listening to find similar social media accounts.

Follow relevant accounts, and create public and private lists to positively and helpfully segment your audience on social.

Actively Market
If you’re at a party and want to have a great conversation, you don’t just mutely stand next to someone—and so many brands repeatedly make this error.

Once you’ve connected with your audience, actively engage with them to develop the relationship. Comment on their own content, give it a positive rating, and/or repost it. I often get followed on social media by businesses that don’t ever engage, and I never really know if they were interested in my services, or if they wanted me to be interested in theirs! Awkward.

Automate the cadence of your social content using free or enterprise scheduling tools, and once you’ve engaged, connected with, and collected email addresses for your social network, automate the connection process using email tracking.

Automation sets the pace for your content, and lets your audience anticipate when they will hear from you. By learning when to connect with your audience, you’ll develop trustworthiness with your audience, and leads will become better qualified.

How Long Does It Take?
You can begin developing your online presence and building a social network today. Within the next 2 weeks, you can automate a steady stream of content, and engage with your audience. By the end of the first month, you’ll have established a voice and consistency. Within the first three months, you should be developing regular, better qualified leads that are regularly feeding into your pipeline.

What Makes Exceptional Customer Service (infographic)

What do you think about your customer service process? Does it work well, and can your employees conquer any hiccups—big or small—that pop up along the way? Even if you feel like you have exceptional customer service, it’s important to analyze it regularly for new issues and new challenges that you can address.

That starts by thinking about the qualities that are essential to great customer service. Some of them may surprise you—empathy, for example, or generosity. Timeliness shouldn’t, nor should the solutions that customer service needs to be focused on.

Here’s the thing to know about customer service: It’s something that you can always work on. This graphic can help.

How to Ensure the Very Best Customer Experience Every Time

Via Salesforce