The importance of product sales is best illustrated by going back to basics. The sole purpose of most businesses is to sell a product. Without sales, a business can’t generate revenue – and without revenue, there is no business. Therefore, product sales are a critical indicator of the success of a company – which is why boosting sales is at the core of most corporate strategies.
However, it goes without saying that this is easier said than done; as consumers become increasingly discerning, companies have to alter their approach. Whereas before businesses might adopt a ‘hard sell’ approach, now, the customer should be placed at the centre of a sales strategy. In this article, we discuss why better customer service is the key to increasing product sales – and why chatbots are a key component.
Index of Content
Sales-driven vs. product-driven tactics
Traditionally, companies adopt one of two approaches when it comes to product sales: sales-driven or product-driven. These strategies have important differences, namely, one focuses on marketing and the other on product development. First off, the sales-driven approach: this sales model emphasizes consumer preferences, privileging what sells or what attracts attention over quality. Although this approach drives short-term return on investment, this strategy can compromise product decisions a great deal. Subsequently, companies that adopt this approach may experience high churn as their product may not provide real, long-term value to consumers.
In contrast, a product-driven approach focuses on innovation and continuous improvement to products. Essentially, companies with this philosophy believe that a great product will sell itself, as customers will ultimately recognise its long-term value. Often, these companies will have a different corporate structure to sales-driven organisations, where product teams such as engineering or user experience have more influence than sales or marketing. Consequently, leadership are more likely to have a background in product design rather than sales. Although a product-driven model is often successful, their sales figures can suffer if leadership doesn’t pay proper attention to product promotion.
How to increase product sales
Ultimately, the key to boosting product sales is to combine a sales-driven strategy with a product-driven approach, to create a sales model which privileges customer satisfaction above all else. Firstly, businesses need to develop an exceptional product; this will mean making significant investments in research and development. This should be complemented by extensive market research, where businesses anticipate and respond to consumer needs. Alongside an innovative product, a motivated, sales-driven team can generate a remarkable return on investment and drive revenue. In order to nurture this customer-centric environment, sales teams should employ the following strategies:
- Build one-to-one relationships
Make sure that your customers feel they have an authentic relationship with the company. This is critical in the digital age, where consumers are increasingly put off by impersonal, hard sell tactics.
- Listening to clients and understanding their needs
In an environment where consumers are increasingly savvy, it’s time to stop broadcasting and start listening. Companies that meet customer requirements and preferences are certain to gain the competitive edge.
- Provide clients with multiple channels of interaction
Companies need to meet consumers where they are. This means engaging with social media platforms as well as traditional customer service channels.
- Optimise, improve and personalise the sales funnel
Now, businesses have a wealth of customer insights at their disposal. Therefore, it is essential that enterprises leverage these data to learn more about customer behaviour, so they can continually improve and personalise the sales cycle.
- Respond to customers in real-time
Consumers expect to around-the-clock service. This means that your organisation has to be able to respond to customer queries instantly, no matter the time of day or their location.
How chatbots can boost product sales
To many sales teams, meeting the above requirements may seem extremely challenging. For instance, how can a company provide around-the-clock customer service without significant global outsourcing? Even if this is achieved, the strain on the budget would be enormous. Furthermore, it may be highly questionable as to the value foreign call centres deliver. However, there is an important technological solution to these new customer service imperatives: chatbots. With the help of artificially intelligent customer service agents, companies can meet all of the aspirations described above. Here’s how:
- Personalized customer experience
Chatbots have come on leaps and bounds since the basic models deployed in the mid-2000s. Now, chatbots can facilitate an authentic, personalised interactions with customers. You can even program them to make jokes, like Domino’s ‘Dom’ bot’s cheesy wise-cracks.
- Collecting useful information about customers
Chatbots are an extremely useful tool for collecting customer insights. Not only does this data enable companies to improve product sales, it also enables them to better meet customer expectations.
- Website and social media integration capabilities
Developers can integrate chatbots into both brand websites and social media. This enables companies to meet consumers on their platform of choice. To use the Domino’s example once again, Dom is integrated into Facebook Messenger, so customers can order pizza through their messaging app of choice.
- Immediate response
With chatbots, companies can provide that elusive, all-important 24-hour 7-day customer service. What’s more, chatbots are enormously more cost-effective than call centres.
Improve customer service to drive sales
In summary, the key to driving product sales is combining the successful principles of product-driven tactics with a sales-driven mindset. By developing an exceptional product that the sales team can effectively market, businesses can strive to provide consumers with long-term value. Furthermore, when these contrasting approaches are combined they generate a sales strategy that places the customer at the centre of business objectives. In an environment where customer expectations are only getting higher, this is the key to driving product sales. Through greater personalisation, detailed market research, and convenient, around-the-clock customer services, businesses can seek to develop authentic, long-term relationships with their customers. Furthermore, with the help of chatbots, businesses can begin to deliver a consistently high standard of customer service, that meets all of the imperatives of today’s customer-centric market.