Marketing, Sales, and Customer Experience—Oh, My!

So, I’m strolling down the aisle in Bloomingdale’s when a woman’s enchanting smile caught my eye. She said, “Welcome to Dior.” A few hundred unexpected dollars later, I was a new, and loyal, Dior customer.

The thing is, I wasn’t even headed to Dior. My birthday was looming, so I intended to splurge on something decadent for myself that (wasn’t chocolate and) I had never purchased before: Chanel lipstick.

But the sales manager at Dior changed everything. Her beguiling approach captivated me. Her enthusiastic introduction to beauty advisor Kristene convinced me that she was the right salesperson for me. And she is. Kristene is knowledgeable, upbeat, and charming. In fact, I like her so much that since that fateful day I will only buy from her. If she’s busy when I arrive at the Dior counter I go browse elsewhere until she’s free.

I buy all my other makeup and skincare products from Clinique, and as pleasant and knowledgeable as its salespeople are, they’re no Kristene.

The whole thing got me thinking about the relationships between marketing, sales, and customer experience. As a beauty advisor, Kristene’s role is salesperson. She never pushes products, but I often purchase more than I intended when I visit. I try new items or new colors. I go for a lipstick and leave with three other items, too.

The point is that her sales style is fun and engaging. It’s a great customer experience. But it’s also excellent marketing. Kristene’s approach builds customer loyalty; it encourages word of mouth and repeat purchases. She has the “customer data” she needs to upsell and cross-sell in real time. She engages in “direct marketing” when she mails or phones me with invitations to special events that she knows will interest me, or simply calls to check on how I like a new product I’ve tried. (As for “personalization,” she remembers my name even if I haven’t been there in a couple of months.)

A great salesperson is a key touchpoint in a multichannel marketing strategy. Consider: I saw an ad for a new Dior product last week. Then I received an email with a link to learn more about it online. I clicked and now I may try it, so I’m headed to Bloomingdale’s this afternoon for Kristene’s opinion.

Think about your own experiences with salespeople—B2B and B2C alike. You probably all know a Kristene. At least I hope you do. Engaged and engaging employees are as potent a marketing tool as the most avid customer. They’re an integral element of the customer experience that links marketing and sales. And, a potent one at that.

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