Charlie Dorrier

What is an “uncommon” customer experience? Very simply, it’s a moment that stops you in your tracks, an interaction that stuns you. The salesperson that brings you an idea you had yet to consider.  The service call that treats you like a human being with an urgent problem.

Such experiences are the bedrock of the Challenger philosophy.  One of the greatest pleasures in our business is watching thousands of sales people, the world over, deliver commercial insight to customers, deepen loyalty and close large, profitable business each and every year.

The context of the message and the presentation may change, but excellence in Challenger always follows some common themes and when done right, stuns customers, stops them in their “status quo” tracks and leads them to true customer improvement.

5 Commonalities Among Uncommon Companies

Here are a few common themes we’ve seen recently from companies embracing an uncommon customer experience, and some of the fantastic results they’ve achieved.

1. Never Stop Innovating How You Sell

Sales teams are constantly given more things to sell, but how often do we re-evaluate the how we sell these things? It is likely, as our research has shown, that newer, more complex, more integrated solutions, don’t fit nicely in old, worn-out sales bags. Many sales forces that are highly experienced, and have been in the game for decades, are too busy focusing on the solution to see how it’s being presented.

But the most progressive organizations think differently. They do what it takes to keep a culture of continuous learning and improvement alive, and are always willing to make adjustments not only to what is sold, but how it’s sold.

See it in action:

Flowserve is a large industrial manufacturing organization that was facing growing competition and changing customer demographics.  They wanted to inject a fresh energy and new way of thinking into a sales organization of over 1200 people speaking 10 languages.  After 6 months of deploying Challenger across the organization, $75 million in closed business was attributed to using this new sales model.

2. Don’t Assume New Products or Services Will Sell Themselves

New product launches are exciting events for any company, large or small.  We put so much energy and investment into the creation of a product or service, it’s easy to move too fast to launch without prepping the sales and marketing organizations on how to talk about the value of the offer.  This results in longer sales cycle times and messaging that doesn’t effectively connect with the customers the first time.

See it in action:

Triose focused on reducing cycle time during new product launches by creating messaging that presented greater urgency for customers to move forward.  The company saw $3.5m in closed business directly attributed to the use of Challenger principles in that messaging and related sales behavior.

Universal Hospital Services (now Agility Health) was focused on convincing customers of the value of a new clinical engineering service offering.  After 12 months of sustained focus on Challenger and creating new commercial insights, the company saw a 31% improvement in revenue from this targeted segment and maintained its strong position in traditional equipment rentals.

3. Key Accounts Deserve More

It’s easy to think that putting more people on top customer accounts results in better sales and service, but that’s not the case if those key account teams, like a bad crew team, aren’t  coordinated and rowing in the same direction.

See it in action:

Cisco’s sales team in APAC used Challenger with a very specific team of Account Managers serving a single client and saw a 128X ROI in top line revenue attributed directly to Challenger.

4. True Commercial Insight Wins the Day

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last ten years supporting clients around the hard work of building insights, it’s this:  it’s not easy, but when you get it right, your insight will travel far and wide, and it will sing to your customers.

See it in action:

Arco sells safety equipment and work apparel and was looking for a better way to highlight the fact that many common safety standards are simply inadequate.  On the heels of its  work to build true commercial insight, the company saw 44% higher site visit conversions and has won multiple awards for excellence in marketing and workplace safety.

5. Your People Should Be the Difference

Companies invest every day in new technology, processes, and systems, but how invested are they in developing human capital?  We often underestimate the difference front-line staff have on the customer experience.

See it in action:

Dealertrack sells inventory management software to automotive dealerships.  The company wanted to increase employee engagement and reduce the volume of call-backs into its service centers.  After rolling out the Effortless Experience model across the service organization, Dealertrack saw a 5% improvement in first call resolution and a positive cultural shift.

Are you delivering an Uncommon Experience?

These Challenger themes and related examples beg the question, are you delivering an uncommon experience for your customers?  Or do you sound the same as the next 5 conversations your customers will have. . . . [cue the white noise] . . .

From heavy equipment to network communications, medical devices to safety equipment, large organizations to small teams, the Challenger model delivers major ROI to your business while engaging your people and helping your customers.

Charlie Dorrier

Charlie Dorrier

Charlie is the Director of Global Client Delivery at Challenger, and leads the global team of consultants that partner directly with clients to transform Sales & Marketing.