The Power of Surveys for Mobile Business

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You don’t know your customer nearly as well as you think you do. This fact that is costing you money.

A previous version of this article appears in
Bellwether, a magazine produced by Blytheco, in the Fall 2015 edition called “Who is Your CMO?”
http://issuu.com/bellwethermagazine/docs/bellwether-fall-2015

The great news is that if you empower your sales people with a bit of mobile technology, you’ll not only be able to create customer greater loyalty, but you’ll be able to generate more marketshare, too.

The answer to building these relationships can be found with the use of surveys combined with the unique capabilities of smart phones such as push notifications, alerts, photo enablement, and GPS.

We all know that the key to effective B2B marketing is creating relevant and informative content for your target customer. Think, though, do you really know what is pertinent to your customer? Sure, back when their business was a lead, you may have courted them with a lot of attention. Now that they have moved through the pipeline and became a customer, though, how much time and effort do you and your sales team dedicate to really learning about the company and understanding the customer’s ongoing behavior?

Winning new customers—especially in the B2B world—requires a significant investment. And losing hard won customer relationships is doubly expensive. It not only requires replacing lost customer revenue, but the loss means dealing with the potential fallout of your reputation, especially when a competitor takes your customers.

So where does that leave you? Many companies have data rich enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems brimming with information. By leveraging a modern survey application, tied into your back-end systems, your sales team can become the conduit to your company’s unbelievably high level of understanding of your customers and their behaviors. This allows you to stand out from the competitors in all new ways.

To maximize the impact of survey apps for mobile devices, here are some things to consider:

Create a profile of your ideal customer.

Your company’s sales reps should know how to identify the ideal customer. Does the customer participate in your promotions? Do they meet your branding standards? Are they cross selling and up selling your products? How does their behavior and performance compare to customers of a similar profile? (For instance, customers that are big box stores should only be compared to like businesses, and not to small distributors.)

Make sure sales reps understand desired behavior changes.

Once you’ve created a profile of the ideal customer, your sales reps should focus on specific target behaviors to try to modify to move each customer toward those goals. For example—Does the customer include your brand or offerings on their website and/or store window display?

Use a smart phone.

The smart phone is the ultimate business tool because it can do everything (including make phone calls) and at a low cost. Surveys as web apps can be effective too, but they lack the comprehensive capability of a mobile device. With a properly flexible survey app you can push customer-based surveys to your smart phones and unleash the power of characteristics like GPS, camera, alerts and so on.

A picture tells a thousand words.

A challenge in wholesale distribution is that even with a distributed or remote salesforce, executives have a limited ability to physically see or inspect customers, especially on a regular basis. A good survey app will allow for photo enablement—giving you eyes and ears on the street to ensure the environment your products are being sold into—and from—meet your quality standards. If the customer keeps your products stocked on the highest shelves, out of reach of the retail customer or the warehouse personnel responsible for picking orders, you could get overlooked.

You can remedy this neglect, though. Have your sales rep tour the store or warehouse, and attach a photo to a survey question about the physical accessibility of your goods.

Make surveys part of your culture.

To know your customer is to love your customer. We believe this wholeheartedly. Get buy-in from your sales reps about the kinds of questions you should ask. Then, make surveys a required part of the sales process. To be clear, this isn’t to say that all questions need to be asked of every customer on each encounter, but the right survey app will allow you to learn their requirements. If you make surveys part of your DNA. you can have the most informed sales team in your industry.

Provide your customer with the survey app, too.

It’s one thing to have your sales reps answer questions based on their own observations, but a great survey app with mobile and push notifications can provide a great means to gently coax information from your customers—and engender uncommon loyalty.

Surveys should be integrated with your ERP or CRM system.

Great surveys can be designed to capture any information you want—including non-financial or non-transactional data. With survey that’s integrated with back office systems, you’ll be able to generate meaningful reports that will show you the correlation between desired behaviors and sales results.

xkzero believes that the most successful sales people are confident, informed and equipped with the best technology.

Consider the power of surveys as you create your next marketing plan. What you learn might surprise you, and the increased profits and marketshare will have you making surveys new part of your business DNA.

This entry was posted in Mobile Commerce, Mobile ERP, Mobile sales, Revolutionize ERP, Sage 100 ERP, Sage X3 and tagged , , , , , , by Paul Ziliak. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Ziliak

Paul Ziliak, co-founder of xkzero has helped conceive and launch mobile sales and delivery automation apps for smart phones and tablets. Designed for mid-sized and growing manufacturers and distributors, the xkzero brand apps leverage the power of popular back-end ERP and accounting systems. A registered CPA and former auditor, Paul has spent 20 years designing and implementing ERP and accounting solutions using Sage 100, Sage 500 and Sage X3 in industries such as food and beverage, wholesale distribution, and numerous discrete manufacturing environments. Paul lives in Chicago and is a married father of three sons. An active leader in Illinois CPA Society networking events, Paul has also coached youth baseball since 2007. Websites: www.xkzero.com Blog: www.erpappsblog.com Social media handles: @PaulZiliak @erp_apps