The most effective salespeople are those who focus on customer success. It may sound obvious, but there’s a good reason this sales philosophy is currently trending in the industry.
Back in 2013, a report from Walker predicted that, by 2020, customer experience would be a more important factor in sales than even price or product. In a 2017 follow-up report, Walker largely confirmed that initial forecast. In today’s sales environment, customers are more influenced by their interactions with sales reps than by how much they have to pay for a solution.
It’s critical, then, for companies to build teams of sales reps who are dedicated to delivering personalized customer experiences. That’s how organizations can get a competitive edge in the current marketplace.
But how do you know whether the candidate in front of you is really focused on customer success? Here are four tactics you can use to assess their commitment to the customer:
1. Ask Them to Discern Between Success and Satisfaction
“Customer success” and “customer satisfaction” are two very different measurements. Satisfaction means a customer was pleased with the product and the sales rep’s service. Success, however, means the customer actually reached their desired goal. While customer satisfaction is a short-term accomplishment, sales reps focused on customer success will make longer-lasting progress.
Look for candidates who know the difference between the two. You may even want to simply ask outright how a candidate defines customer success vs. customer satisfaction. Pay careful attention to reps who have practical systems for keeping track of customer success.
2. Put Them in the Moment
Situational and behavioral interview questions can reveal how sales reps act in real-world situations. By asking a candidate to describe how they would respond to a given situation, you can see whether they’re prioritizing customer success over their own concerns.
For example, try a question like: “You go to a scheduled meeting with a customer, and they’re having a crisis that has nothing to do with your product. What do you do?” A candidate’s response to this situation can say volumes about the kind of experience they’re likely to deliver your customers.
That said, it’s important to note that situational and behavioral interview questions can be gamed. Candidates may respond with rehearsed answers that reflect what they think you want to hear, not their actual behavior. You can mitigate this by asking follow-up questions that add new constraints. This approach is more likely to show how candidates adapt to and solve new problems.
For example, you could dig into the original question posed above by asking: “Once they’ve investigated their crisis, they realize your product may have contributed. What’s your response?”…