As the head of sales and marketing, your customers are your number one, two, and three priorities. Whether you have a couple hundred or several thousand customers, you have a dedicated team of account managers and customer support reps working with them on a personal level. When each of these reps started, you most likely had a training session to get them up to speed on the company’s standards of operation including how to use the CRM system (document contact info, discussions, proposals, etc.). By this point in the game, you probably place the utmost trust in them. However, there is really only one way to guarantee that they are carrying out the proper procedures and effectively communicating with important prospects and customers – that’s through e-mail mining and e-mail analytics. These concepts are vital to cost containmentand generating revenue for your business.
While you’ve heard plenty about e-mail mining and e-mail analytics, perhaps you haven’t committed to it yet. Maybe it’s because the phrase “e-mail mining” makes you twitchy – but don’t be quick to jump to conclusions. Instead, think of it as making sure your reps don’t wander off the path to success. You want to make sure the time and energy you spent training your sales reps and customer service reps was not wasted. So just how effective is their communication with customers? How much of their training do they regularly implement? Mining and analyzing e-mail communications will answer these questions and others by highlighting the following areas:
- Total number of email communications it takes to close a deal
- Time from first communication to closed deal (the real sales cycle)
- Issues and concerns brought to the sales reps’ attention
- Customer frustrations not being addressed (new product and service ideas)
- Sales reps and customer service reps’ responses (valuable ‘tribal’ knowledge)
- The overall sentiment of your reps’ communications – positive, negative, or neutral (correlated to the top performers and bottom performers)
- How satisfied or dissatisfied customers are with their service (correlate negative tone with outstanding issues and specific reps)
As a sales and marketing leader, e-mail mining and e-mail analytics is valuable because it will make you a more effective manager. Since your employees’ success reflects on you as a manager and mentor, you want to be certain that they are performing at their fullest potential. So just how can you use e-mail mining to your advantage?
1. Identify poor performers early on and address communications and behaviors (Cost Containment)
Do you know what separates your top performers from the underdogs? Learn how your top performers communicate (how often, language used, etc.) and utilize this knowledge so that you can turn your “C” players into “B” players and your “B” players into “A” players. Transform your underdogs into top sellers.
As you know, your sales reps are the face of your company. You only get one shot at a first impression with each customer, so be sure that your reps are strong representations of your company! By choosing what factors matter to you, you can then utilize e-mail analytics to help provide feedback to your reps.
2. Get to the root cause of customer churn issues (Cost Containment)
Ever wonder why customers aren’t sticking around? Does it seem that you’re better at customer acquisition than customer retention? Don’t just assume why these customers disappeared - get to the bottom of it. Know the overall sentiment of your reps’ communications when they are interacting with customers. Was there a problem that could’ve been prevented? Could your rep have handled a situation with a different communication style or choice of words? Most likely, it’s a problem that can be addressed and corrected for the future.
3. Create new products and services from customer complaints (New Sources of Revenue)
Let’s face it - nobody likes to hear negative comments, especially when they revolve around the people you trained. But the truth of the matter is no matter how good your reps may be, customer complaints are inevitable. Since you will get them, you may as well use them to your company’s advantage.
Pay attention to what the customer is saying. The customer could very well dictate nonsense, but there is a good chance that he/she makes a valid and valuable point. Think beyond the short-term resolution – or merely tackling the issue and pleasing the customer. Take the extra strides towards the long term – more precisely, how this feedback can be the basis for the generation of new products and services. Your company’s next successful product or service idea is probably buried in millions of emails. E-mail mining and e-mail analytics will bring it to the surface.
4. Keep track of your customer base to optimize marketing campaign effectiveness(New Sources of Revenue)
You want to be sure that your marketing efforts are successful. Whether marketing to current customers or prospects, it’s essential for your message to be received by everybody possible. But it’s incredibly difficult if not impossible to guarantee that all of this contact information has been entered into your CRM system. Extract valuable pieces of contact info from your reps’ emails. When it comes time to launch that marketing campaign, you’re communicating with everyone who will be receptive to your messages.
5. Don’t let opportunities slip through the crack when a rep leaves (New Sources of Revenue)
Out of the blue one day, you rep decides he no longer wants to work for the company. Maybe it just wasn’t the right fit or perhaps he’s off to a competitor. Whatever the reason, this is just another part of the reality of managing a sales team. While you are losing this top dog sales rep, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you also need to let valuable opportunities and contact info slip through the crack. The longer the rep worked for the company, the more communications he had with customers. These customers represent precious time and money – things you can’t afford to lose. And even if they aren’t clients just yet, they represent valuable sales leads and sales opportunities. You need e-mail mining and e-mail analytics to quickly identify the 10 or 15 critical customer communications out of 5,000+ messages in his inbox and a spreadsheet list of the contacts he’s been communicating with most frequently.
If you originally had doubts in your mind about e-mail mining and e-mail analytics, hopefully you can now be assured of the numerous cost containing and revenue generating benefits. You take your job seriously, so it only makes sense if the same thing can be said about your reps. Now that you have the answers, it’s time to raise the bar and leverage the unstructured data sitting idle in your email messages.