"Close" and "Win" Are Deadly Terms

The terms “Close” or “Win” are age-old Marketing and Sales terms for a new sale. They are also key performance metrics. They are also deadly, because they move our organizations in precisely the wrong direction when it comes to dealing with customers.
We need to move beyond just hunting for “closes," “kills," “scores,” and so on, as these terms perpetuate the traditional Acquisition focus of Marketing and Sales.
What happens as a result of this “hunting” orientation? Per our Voice of Customer research, this is how customers of many Fortune company clients feel:
arrow“The fastest way to be forgotten is to buy from you.”
arrow“Relationship? You guys are about ‘buy and die’!”
arrow“We buy. You disappear without a trace. Oh, except for the monthly bills.”
The combination of a tough economy and Internet-empowered customers requires that companies focus on Retention and create deeper customer engagement. The “Close” should be re-conceived as the beginning of a relationship, where the company has earned a sale and now has the opportunity to provide increasingly greater value as it better understands the needs of that customer.
Recently, I had a conversation with Matthew Schwartz, Editor of ZoomInfo and “Follow the Lead”, about this issue. Here is a snippet of the conversation:
“...the ‘close’ should be looked upon as the beginning of a relationship, not an end …This is as opposed to a life-time value oriented point of view, which says I have earned the right to drill deep into problem-solving, needs-assessment for the customer, which will make me a much more valuable resource and will drive, incrementally, significantly more revenue.”
To read more, click here.
To change our view of customers, to shift from short term “Wins” to long term relationships, we have to recognize that people are “coin operated.” Therefore, unless compensation plans for Marketing and Sales are changed, people’s behavior will not change. As a mentor of mine once said, “Pay them, and the heart will follow!”

I’m conducting an ExecSense webinar on November 4th at 12 EST, titled:
Hope you can attend!

Try This:
What would happen in your company if Marketing and Sales had common metrics?
What if a portion of compensation for both groups was driven by factors such as: customer lifetime value, cross-sales, up-sales, and customer satisfaction?
Wouldn’t that drive deeper engagement and stronger relationships?
FYI, unrelated to the specific story above, but relevant and deeply gratifying, last week NPR.org highlighted an excerpt from our new book, “Voice-of-the-Customer Marketing”, as a blog post by 800 CEO Read. To see the story, click here.