In this time of the “Chief Executive Customer” there has been a lot of talk about specific ways and ideas to help boost revenues. At the recent Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando, I had the pleasure to meet and talk with a number of presenters which caused me to think a lot about business process improvement and on dissecting what you already do, looking for gains.
1. Less is More in Data Collection
One of the main sessions was with Joe Megibow, VP & GM of Expedia. Joe mentioned how they took a look at the drop off rates of people on their site moving through to purchase and then abandoning the purchase. It seemed substantial. Instead of blaming it on the shoppers, they thought about what they could do to fail less in this step.
One single line on the form was determined to be a potential culprit – it was right under the credit card option and asked for company name. Company name? Most people purchase travel individually, even for business. They suspected the people got confused at this point since they might have no company to reference, or they thought it was connected to the prior question about which credit card. Shoppers would actually put the name of their bank under “company”. Clearly there was confusion. As we know, confusion always causes missed sales.
The Expedia team deleted this one line, and a funny thing happened – it altered the results. People moved all the way through the screen to sale completion, and it added $1M in profit to the bottom line- that’s profit, and over time that has been compounded many times over.
On your company website, keep in mind the power of asking for less data. By changing Expedia’s data collection strategy, customer behavior was altered – in this case for the better.
2. Get More Social & Get Better At It
In addition to hearing the wisdom of Karen Wickre from Twitter posted previously, I enjoyed two social media experts who really stood out, advising anyone in contact about the power of opening up two-way conversation in your organization.
Liz Strauss, Co-Founder of SOBCon and creator of Successful Bloggers did a fun interview with Scott Langingham and Todd Watson about blogging and finding your company voice. She shares a great story about the nursery in Austin that used to have infamous pink flamingos. Liz shares the importance of building trust before making offers to prospective customers.
On the topic of trust, Ted Rubin, author of Return on Relationship and Chief Social Marketing Officer at Collective Bias was a pleasure to meet, and speaks in a couple of interviews at the summit about seeing major corporations “start” to pay attention to the consumer and how there is still much work to accomplish from the social standpoint. Ted speaks about how “everything is social” and how difficult it has been for bigger companies to give up some control and accept that consumers really control your brand.
“Brands have to start listening,” Rubin says. “Stop just nodding your head, and really hear.” I appreciate Ted because he says he’s not an expert or a guru, he’s just a guy with opinions. It’s refreshing to talk to someone who says that, even if some of us DO think of them as experts.
Rubin cited a study by Zuberance that said for every advocate you have, they bring you 3 customers. What are your advocates saying about your company? It’s clear that people are talking – do you hear them? How can you get in on the conversation in ways that build your brand? We’ll talk about this more in-depth in a future post.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies.