One of the great challenges to sales and marketing efforts in manufacturing companies is the sheer length of the sales cycle. It can take months to close a sale, and sometimes years. It’s for this reason that tactics like inbound marketing that focus on providing value and nurturing leads over time are effective for manufacturers. Industrial buyers may perform research weeks or months ahead of a buying decision or conversation. Staying top of mind is vital.
It’s that long sales cycle that makes it so important to leverage every resource you have at your disposal to build relationships, showcase successes, and maintain interest. Customer satisfaction surveys and data are a great way to do this, both for new and existing customers.
How Customer Satisfaction Integrates into the Industrial Buying Cycle
There are several ways in which customer satisfaction measures can fit into the industrial buying cycle. The two major measures of feedback – CSAT for short-term, immediate feedback and NPS for long-term measurement of a customer’s feelings – are equally important in this.
First, there is the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey. This is a simple survey that asks if someone is happy, unhappy, or neutral. It is usually sent immediately after a transactional interaction. Because of this, many industrial companies don’t use it. It’s more of a service measure. But it can be a useful tool in several situations, including:
- After a consultation call
- After or during the design review process
- As part of prototyping or tooling, before a full order is made
- Between major orders, if a long-term contract hasn’t been signed
It can even be used after a phone call with a member of your sales or production staff to ensure the conversation was beneficial to the other side. The bottom line is that, when a new interaction takes place, CSAT allows you to capture immediate sentiment. With a long sales cycle that has many potential hiccups along the way, something as simple as a bad phone call with a member of your sales team can have a lasting negative impact on a potential sale.
Using Net Promoter Score for Existing Customers
The other major type of customer feedback you can easily gather is net promoter score (NPS). NPS is a measure of how likely someone is to recommend you to a colleague or friend. Surveys are given in this format:
If someone says 9 or 10, they are considered a promoter. If a 6-8, they are considered neutral. Anything below 6 is considered detractor, meaning they are likely to give negative feedback if someone were to ask their opinion of your services.
NPS can be delivered at several stages of the project lifecycle, and many companies will ask for this feedback on a recurring basis – every 3-6 months to measure the overall health of a contract account.
NPS does several things for you when delivering it frequently like this, including:
- Providing a snapshot of how your company is handling its accounts
- Pinpointing potential problems in advance, especially if an NPS score has dropped over time
- Highlighting opportunities for case studies and testimonials from your top promoters
By using NPS surveys, you can collect invaluable data that will guide you in your marketing efforts, both for existing customers and new prospects who need to see social proof.
Using CSAT and NPS Feedback to Engage New Prospects
From a marketing perspective, NPS and CSAT survey data is immensely valuable (assuming it is positive). When implemented regularly and to a large section of your customers, you can get a clear sense of what people think of your services, what they would recommend, and who is willing to engage for further promotion. That data can be used for:
- Highlighting feedback responses on your website
- Showing your CSAT score or net promoter score in real time
- Highlighting your service efforts alongside on-time rates and safety records
- Converting high scoring customers into testimonials
All of these will help to better engage people and build strong marketing materials from your most successful projects. Better yet, you won’t have to guess or try to track down people who might be willing to sit for a testimonial. They’ll self-select via these surveys. There will be other factors of course – NDAs and proprietary technologies might make even the happiest of customers unable to agree, but there will be many opportunities to convert these successes to marketing campaign materials.
If you are not currently collecting CSAT or NPS, now is the time to get started. SimpleSat is a new tool that has been designed with business engagement in mind, offering quick publishing of feedback to company websites, integration with service desk and project management tools and more. Click here to learn more about SimpleSat and its approach to customer satisfaction measurement.