January 27, 2016

Small Business (SMB) Surveys: Help Us Improve Our Customer Engagement

By Megan G.

As writers for Tek Shouts! and employees of eGumball, Inc., the concerns of our small business clients are a top priority.  It is imperative that both our articles and the services our larger company provides adhere specifically to SMB needs and concerns in the ever-changing digital market.  

The hyper-local business aficionados over at Street Fight Magazine recently released an article called “5 Timeless Sales Practices for Vendors Who Sell to SMBs” and their first two key points got me thinking: 

Are we engaging with small businesses the right way?

To ensure that the associates of eGumball interact with you adequately, Tek Shouts! has crafted a couple of surveys on customer engagement, meant for our customers and any small business owner ready to share their opinion.  Your answers are invaluable to us because, of course, you are the reason we can keep doing the work we care about!  

Be honest, be brutal—and help us be more human for you.    

The Appropriate Channels
In the digital age, communication isn’t as limited as it used to be.  Door-to-door sales still happen, but not as often and certainly not as effectively as in the past.  However, falling into the trap of using only online-based channels of communication (social media, email, etc.) can give a brand an automated persona instead of a realistic, relatable one.  No one wants to chat with—let alone, buy something from—a robot.  That’s just sketchy.  

According to Street Fight, our goal as a company seeking sales should be to combine both old and new methods of outreach—“the most successful vendors market both on and offline with varying content and cadence and a mix of scalable and non-scalable outreach.”  However, not every SMB owner will respond to a Facebook message or Skype meeting as well as a friendly phone call or coffee meeting—or vice versa.

So, what channels do you find the most appropriate and enjoyable for your business-to-business (B2B) communications?

Create your own user feedback survey

Contact Frequency
When considering the ideal amount of times to reach out to customers, every sales team wants to find that happy medium between obnoxious telemarketer and disconnected corporate monolith.  The range that Street Fight gives us is between 6 and 16+ “touches,” or times you reach out to a client for a sale.  As with most numerical magic, the 3rd touch happens to be the charm for most customer responses—whether negative or positive.  

Customer engagement isn’t all about making the sale, though!  It’s about fostering relationships with real people and creating a relatable brand for your company. 
Each of these interactions with a client should be different, with the first 6 touches or so starting off strong in both message and frequency.  The remaining outreaches, on the other hand, should be sent with less frequency and written in more subdued language.  This process, funnily enough, is a bit like fostering a new friendship. 

After meeting an enjoyable acquaintance, you message, speak with, and make plans with him/her at a higher frequency, effectively getting to know each other and—in a more mercenary sense—finding out what each of you has to offer.  The longer you know people, the less likely you are to connect with them as often as in the beginning—but that initial “sale” of getting to know the person will determine whether you are a longtime customer of their camaraderie,  or a lost lead who settled on seeing different people.

In friendship, it’s all about common interests, common experiences, and emotional availability.  Does this person entertain me, educate me, understand me, and listen to me?  In sales, the relationship develops nearly the same way except, instead of exchanging interests and laughs, you are exchanging money for an equally valuable service or product.

An article from About.com details five different sales approaches:  the instant buddy, the guru, the consultant, the networker, and the hard seller.  The latter, being the bullying and manipulative kind of salesperson, will be ignored in this survey for obvious reasons.  We’ll just wait for the hard seller persona to get the hint and leave the party. 

…Mmkay.  Now, which of the following four approaches works best for you as a small business owner?  Follow this web link to take the quiz and enlighten us!

It is always good to keep a finger on the pulse of your customer base.  Responding to these surveys will be of great help to our company, as well as our readers.  Whether you are an eGumball, Inc. client or a business owner with a pressing opinion, Tek Shouts! wants to hear from you!

The results of these responses will be reported in 1-2 weeks time.  Please respond and feel free to leave comments for further discussion in the section below.  

No comments:

Post a Comment