For years, my business approach was this: If you make something truly remarkable, it will sell itself. I know, it's very "Field of Dreams," but that's how I thought.
And then I read The Challenger Sale, a book by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, and it changed my perspective forever.
In the book, Dixon and Adamson present the findings of a customer loyalty study. They found that the combined impact of company and brand impact, product and service delivery, and value-to-price ratio accounted for just 47% of customer loyalty to a particular company.
What? 47%? That can't be right. Surely people remain loyal to a company's products mostly because they like the products, right? Wrong.
The remaining 53%? That was directly attributed to the "sales experience."
In other words, if you work for a company with a rock-solid reputation that makes a truly remarkable product and prices it at a level the market believes is fair, you are only less than halfway toward creating the kind of loyal, repeat buyers every business longs for.
I confess that I never realized how critical the buying experience was to the success of my company.
We make a CRM product in a very crowded market, and we've worked hard to create features and benefits that truly help the people who use our software. But I realize now that a great product isn't enough; I have to make sure the process of buying our product and being our customer is also exceptional.