How to Bring the Best In-Person Buying Experience Online

How to bring in store buying experience online Drift

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post. Interested in contributing content to the Drift blog? Email Gail Axelrod at

I walked into the Verizon store today for the third time this year. I was shocked by how bad the customer experience is.

It’s actually not that different from trying to buy on many B2B sites where you fill out a form and wait for days for someone to schedule a call. And then, when you finally get to talk to someone, it’s an SDR who wants to take 15 minutes to size you up for the account executive they will pass you to.

There’s something about being in the middle of a bad process that we don’t like. Usually, by the time I’m ready to talk to sales I’m either deciding between 3 products or have decided. In other words, at worst the sales team has at least a 33% chance of winning my business, but often more.

So here’s a quick recap of that pretty horrible Verizon experience:

  1. Go in, you wait for someone to come up to you and check you in (no estimate on timing).
  1. Wait.
  1. Once someone comes up to you, no one has any training so every question you ask, they need to walk over to someone else and ask for the answer, and then walk back to you to provide the answer. (This step repeats a couple of times if you have a couple of questions).
  1. While the person helping you is away, three people come up to you asking if someone is helping you (why did I need to check in in the first place again?).
  1. Now they are ready to help you with the thing you need to buy.
  1. Before you buy, they try to upsell you on something else.
  1. Then finally, when you think the product is close, they need to check inventory to make sure they have it in the back.

WHAT!? I knew what I wanted, I walked across town, I went to the store, told them what I wanted and I was put through a 7-step process that at multiple points almost had me walking out of the store.

Now is the time to think about the customer experience. The technology exists to make every touchpoint a positive interaction, and to provide the customer with exactly what they need, when they need it.

I recommend every marketer go through this process and think about how it applies to your own customer experience.

Are your sales teams trained with how to manage leads?

When a lead comes in, does your sales team know:

  • Who they are talking to – like the person’s name, position and company?
  • Why they are talking to them? Give your reps context for why they should be reaching out to these leads and how they can be most successful with them.
  • How this lead converted? The difference between someone who came in from a conversation vs. trial vs. ebook is HUGE – your sales reps should be prepared to reach out based on the different scenarios.
  • Where and When. Speed is key. Having context of where the user is coming from and following up quickly will make an impact on your conversion rate to opportunity.

Does your CRM give your sales team the information they need?

If your sales team is trained on how to respond to leads, they need to know the key contextual information that will give them hints for handling the conversation. Marketing and sales operations often puts the data in the CRM, but never trains the sales team on where to find it. Think about the CRM as the front end of your marketing operations team. Think of it like a product. Make it great.

Is there confusion internally with sales reps?

Duplicate leads can be killer. I’ve yet to find a company that has completely solved this problem. You should be able to build a system for distributing leads that limits the amount of duplicate leads and at least makes sure that the same leads go to the same reps every time.

How easy is it for people who are ready to buy, to buy?

Play secret shopper. Try filling out a form, starting a conversation or beginning a trial and see what the buying experience is like. You will learn a lot. While you may map out the perfect process in Lucidchart, and build the best position scorecards, you will never truly know how the market should interpret your product until you go through the process yourself.

So as your gearing up for 2019 and thinking about how to best optimize your funnel for conversions. I urge you to evaluate your end to end process first. Walk through it yourself. Are you getting the all-star treatment you think your would-be customers deserve? If not, it’s time to rethink what you can do to make it better.

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