We all know that for businesses to grow they must acquire new customers, and so the customer experience – whether it be over the phone or via digital channels – has an integral part to play in fostering positive relationships. In recent years, the direct marketing sector has received negative press due to bad practice displayed by its professionals. We, at Webhelp, are keen to encourage a change in industry behaviour and support this by communicating best practice through whitepapers and thought leadership articles.

Our recent whitepaper focuses on respecting customer information in order to drive the best possible results. Making every contact relevant to the individual is the holy grail of sales and should be a top priority in every organisation. In order to do this effectively, sales professionals need to ensure they understand customer data, value it and never lose sight of the person it represents. Of course, this isn’t always easy – especially with data on new prospects – but even the most basic demographic information allows you to model the likely behaviours and preferences of leads and improve your hit rate.

Consolidating existing data and applying analytics to profile the customer is a good approach to take. This will allow for a tailored approach, which ultimately makes for a more positive customer experience meaning the customer will be more receptive to the message. There is also one particular motto that sales companies would be wise to bear in mind: ‘Farm, Don’t Hunt’. In the past companies have relied heavily on outbound sales but companies would be wise to reduce their dependency on new customer recruitment by focusing on effective retention, cross and upsell strategies. Through this, we are advocating a new level of pragmatism and urgency that should be applied to acquiring new business from existing customers and to seeking fresh ways to introduce sales conversations.

The important thing is to use data judiciously and to think very carefully about who you are targeting and when. Those who are ignorant to this will likely find that their outbound sales campaign – a critical part of their operation – is actually doing more harm than good.

For more expert advice on best practice, download our white paper, ‘Dear data… How respect for customer information will win confidence and secure sales’.