The #1 Challenge For Sales and Marketing In the Next Decade

Without oil and grease, the most beautiful sports car with the most powerful engine will not make it out of the garage. Oil and grease reduce friction, allowing the cylinders to fire and the wheels to turn.

Business is the same way. Without the right oil and grease, your Revenue Growth Engine® comes to a grinding halt. 

What are the oil and grease every business needs? Trust and loyalty.

Trust removes the friction for deciding to become a client. Loyalty removes the friction for continuing to be a client.

The #1 challenge of executives, sales professionals, and marketers in the next decade will be building trust and sustaining loyalty.

Let’s explore how trust and loyalty connect to business results.

Net-New Business Requires Trust

To grow a net-new business we must develop enough trust for buyers to approve the first order. However, trust is at an all-time low. 

In 2021, Edelman’s Trust Barometer showed that the trust bubble had burst, putting trust in information sources at an all-time low. Gallup’s research in Honesty and Ethics showed the bottom four professions were business executives, advertising practitioners, car salespeople, and members of congress.

The number one question marketing and sales professionals need to ask is, “How can we build trust with prospects?”

Sadly, much of today’s marketing focuses on tactics and metrics. What we need to focus on is building a trustworthy brand. Similarly, sales focus on sales skills and activity. What’s needed are skills in building trust.

Here’s the frustrating thing about a post-trust marketplace. You and your business may actually be trustworthy. You may operate with congruence and character. The problem is that your buyers have been burned by other businesses. They are highly skeptical. They have been burned. 

How do you build trust? I’m tempted to put down the expected answer of demonstrating competence and credibility. To be sure, these are critical marketing and sales functions. But I believe these have become table stakes. To build trust, we are going to need to dig deep and get creative. This is the “moon-shot” that sales and marketing teams need to work together to figure out.

Cross-Sell Revenue Requires Loyalty

Over dinner a few weeks ago, Don Barden, behavioral economist and author of The Perfect Plan, says that when you get the first order you have a customer. It’s the second-order where they become a client. This requires loyalty. 

If you want to experience exponential growth in your business you need simultaneously land new business while cross-selling more to your current customers. If your business struggles in cross-selling, you may have an issue with building loyalty.

In Never Lose a Customer Again, Joey Coleman presents research that shows that new customers decide whether they will remain a customer during the first 100 days. They may not cancel their contract in the first 100 days, but they will decide whether or not they will buy anything from your company going forward.

Most companies talk a lot about the service they provide when something breaks. The problem is that they don’t get to demonstrate this service during the first few months of a relationship since that’s not typically when things break. Instead, most companies go radio-silent during the first 100 days. During that time, buyer’s remorse rears its ugly head, destroying the possibility of loyalty.

Sales and marketing professionals need to wake up to the reality that the potential for cross-sell revenue hinges on what they do after they get the sale. This is the time to build loyalty.

Similar to trust, I believe most companies have only scratched the surface of the potential for building loyalty. Yes, we need to say thank you to new clients and provide them with a smooth onboarding experience. Must like trust-building, I believe there is much more development to be done on the frontier of loyalty.

Trust and Loyalty Will Determine Future Your Revenue Results

I admit that touchy-feely things like trust and loyalty seem disconnected from the bottom line. However, as we have said on the Selling From the Heart podcast, “Soft skills yield hard dollars.” The work we do in building trust and loyalty will be the oil and grease that remove the friction to create high-performance Revenue Growth Engines®!

Originally published by Darrell Amy on LinkedIn.

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