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Seller experience: The secret sauce for delighting customers

Achieve a competitive advantage with better seller experiences

Competitive advantage is about being better at what matters to customers. That means reaching them at the right moment, intuiting their needs, and delivering customer experiences that make the brand’s commitment to excellence clear. However, as companies develop go-to-market strategies focusing on the quality of customer experience, they often miss a crucial component of business growth: seller experience. The best seller experiences, just like optimal customer experiences, ensure that each seller-customer interaction is personalized, seamless, and solutions-focused. The quality of a seller’s experience is, in essence, their ability to do their best job influencing customers. It determines the probability of a positive business outcome and if a seller has the right data, technology, and knowledge to ensure that each customer touchpoint is crafted with intention. It allows (or hinders) a customer’s ability to benefit from a business’s brand promise in relevant, practical ways.

Customer experience remains a top priority

  • Over 80% of enterprises globally report that Customer Experience programs will be a priority investment over the next two years1
  • 21% of companies identified skills and people resources as a challenge in transforming and improving their customer experience2

How seller-centric experience design creates better customer experiences

Seamless. Frictionless. Easy to do business with. All are common buzz-words in the B2B customer experience domain.  But, even the most seamless experiences can seem boring without the special “sauce” that makes sales interactions drive growth. In a marketplace flooded with lookalike services and products, the difference between customer loyalty and indifference can depend on a razor-thin layer of seller effectiveness.

Now, consider how B2B buying processes have changed.

By using online content, customers have taken ownership over a significant portion of the early stages of their buying journey and increasingly only engage with a seller as they get closer to a purchasing decision.

Because these human-to-human touchpoints are less frequent than in the past, they are now priceless when it comes to the potential impact on sales and customer experience.

To win in these high-stakes point-of-sale interactions, sellers need to understand the customer’s intent in each interaction and use these insights to craft propositions that are on point and enabled by seamless tools that contribute to seller effectiveness. Easier said than done. In fact, sellers in many companies are drowning in too much content, a spaghetti soup of fragmented sales tools, and distracting administrative tasks.

So, what’s the prescription for all this pain we subject our sales professionals to? A seller-centric sales experience, intentionally designed to parallel and complement the desired customer experience. By investing in seller experience, not only will you see improved top-line results, but you’ll create a competitive advantage that delights both your customer and sellers.

A checklist:

Assessing the seller experience requires identifying the key moments that impact effectiveness and productivity. Here are three questions to ask to get started:

  • What causes friction in the day and career of a seller, particularly when it comes to customer interactions?
    While pain points vary across groups and geographies, to gain a true picture of engagement, explore the entire journey—not just during a day in the life, but also across their onboard to transition lifecycle.
  • What seller actions, customer interactions, or lack thereof differentiates between a win and a loss?
    A detailed understanding of your customer’s buying process, supported by analytics, helps to identify the moments that matter to customers. Architect your seller experience to proactively engage with customers and win in these moments.
  • What factors drive seller success over the long-term, not just in the lead to order process?
    Identify and invest in long-term drivers of success including, but not limited to: initial onboarding, coaching, territory design, quota allocation, compensation administration, and without a doubt sales enablement from lead to order.

B2B companies are playing a game of seller experience truth or dare

As a leader, you can create major competitive advantages when you create a positive seller experience by putting tools and processes in place that help sellers bring clarity and order to their environment. It’s often one of the overlooked secrets to driving sustainable growth.

Studies show that organizations that invest in and focus on the seller experience see significant returns.


lift in customer KPIs when they focus on improving employee experience (3)


Increase in win rates (4)


Increase in sellers who achieved quotas (5)

Sales organizations, whether they like it or not, are competing in a game of truth or dare when it comes to seller experience.  Let’s examine three undisputable truths:


Truth #1: Sellers expect consumer-like job experiences

Much has been written about the impact of digital buying experiences and evolving consumer expectations on changing employee expectations. Today’s employees expect simplicity, transparency, and predictability in the work environment. Those expectations are even higher with sellers who are on the hook to deliver those same experiences to customers.

Dare #1: Make it easy for sellers to do their jobs

  • Streamline and automate lead qualification, enrichment, and nurturing processes to provide sellers with actionable and high-probability sales qualified leads
  • Connect customer data from across the business, combine it with relevant external data, and give sellers insights to shape compelling offers
  • Simplify the lead to order tech stack, arming sellers with tools that enable a seamless experience
  • Radically simplify and reduce the administrative burden of configuring, pricing, and quoting a deal
  • Eliminate or offload non-value-added activities unlocking seller time to focus on call prep and execution


Truth #2: The competition wants your best people. Many companies attempt to compete on customer experience. Few, however, understand that to win at that game, you also have to compete on seller experience. Recruiting and retaining top sales talent is no longer all about the promise of rich compensation packages. Today’s sellers understand the importance of their experience on their ability to over-achieve.

Dare #2: Focus on simplicity and transparency in Sales Performance Management

  • Maximize sales coverage and opportunity with well-designed and fair territories
  • Focus your sales team on strategic objectives with easy-to-understand incentives
  • Motivate sellers with timely sales targets, quotas, and objectives
  • Keep sellers engaged by offering real-time analytics to provide transparency over sales performance
  • Continuously improve with advanced sales performance reporting and analytics


Truth #3: Absent timely insights, sellers focus on near-term and big deals

A seller’s pipeline/territory is constantly evolving and changing. Every lead, every opportunity, every deal changes daily based on customer activities sellers have little to no visibility to. Sellers often do not recognize fast enough which opportunities need attention and default to what sellers have always done. They prioritize time and activity on late-stage deals and potential whales. But what if sellers had better insights?

Dare #3: Connect internal and external data to help your sellers be more agile

  • Invest in customer analytics that provides sellers with relevant new information daily on every lead, opportunity, and deal
  • Augment internal with external data to identify events that should trigger a sales action
  • Invest in a new or enhance your existing CRM platform to provide sellers with a daily “stand-up” of recommended actions (note, for high-velocity sales, these insights need to be real-time)
  • Leverage AI-based analytics to remove the burden of forecasting from sellers, while also increasing forecast accuracy
  • Give front-line sales managers the insights they need to prioritize which reps / deals need help

Ok, so are you in the game?  If you accept these dares, there is no doubt you will need to ante up investment dollars, but the return could far exceed the investment if you win.

Consequences of Winning:

  • Raise your win rates by 5-10%
  • Increase your seller productivity by 15-20%
  • Improve overall seller performance to plan by 5-10%
  • Reduce seller attrition by 10-20%
  • Hone your forecast accuracy by at least 5-10%

Start with understanding the seller journey

Seller experience is rooted in understanding the seller journey, identifying the moments that matter, and reducing complexity. Address the underlying levers across talent, motivation, insight, and enablers to create the environment sellers will embrace throughout the stages of the sales journey.

An intentionally designed seller experience will lead to greater business benefits

The goal is to identify the moments that matter and their associated pain points or delighters to uncover why sellers stay and why they leave.

Help sellers overcome increasing complexity

Selling has always been complex, but the sales environment has shifted. Buyers are taking longer to make their decisions. Remote work has resulted in a more collaborative procurement process with more contacts than ever before getting involved in the process. Further, the same changes affecting clients are affecting sellers, too. Resulting in a longer process with more stakeholders to please and a more complex set of expectations to deliver on. Internal and external complexity combine to create risk for lost revenue, increased cost, disconnected client experiences, and demotivated employees. A thoughtful approach that works with the new environment can help mitigate modern selling complexities.

Experience led design will enhance seller effectiveness and productivity

IssueSellers who don’t have time to acclimate to the role tend to not meet performance targets New sellers lack the experience to successfully plan for and penetrate many accountsPerformance management reports are static and follow an inconsistent feedback processHomegrown IC (Incentive compensation) systems results in manual workarounds and simplistic IC statements, leading to seller distrust and shadow accountingToday’s sellers often rely on “gut” decision making and overlook intelligent selling alerts
  • High turnover costs
  • Decreased efficiency
  • Disconnected client experience
  • Lost revenue
  • Demotivated employees
  • Additional management investment
  • Lower productivity
  • KPIs misaligned to firm strategy
  • Inconsistent coaching and development
  • Lowered seller efficiency
  • Frequent comp. disputes
  • Increased Sales Ops workload
  • Lower win rates
  • Closed mindset culture
  • Reduced internal progression opportunities

Sales competency model

How might we develop a ramp up plan which focuses sellers on the right KPIs during onboarding?

Coaching & development

What is the optimal mix of coaching and development to help sellers acclimate to the role and focus their efforts?

Performance management

How well aligned are performance management targets to KPIs and sales objectives?

Incentive compensations design & administration

How reliable is operation of our IC model and how can we reduce the burden for sellers?

Customer insights & segmentation

What insights are available to help focus our sellers efforts to the right accounts at the right time?

External Complexity:

  • Average number of interactions per buying cycle has jumped 54% over the past two years6
  • Average number of stakeholders involved in buying process is increasing: 20% increase over a two-year period7
  • Organizations use an average of 10 channels to sell to customers8

Internal complexity:

  • Only 24% of seller’s time spent working on client interactions9
  • 35% of seller’s time is spent on manual updates, administrative tasks, or internal meetings10

Solution complexity:

  • 72% of customers agreed that they expect vendors to personalize solutions to their needs11

Addressing seller productivity goes beyond just technology implementation

Technical solutions deliver positive business outcomes when they are implemented with an eye on their value to each human experiences, for both sellers and customers. Seller productivity depends on the basics of performance – how well they can leverage human ingenuity and technology to make each interaction substantive and of lasting value to the customer. That requires significant, organization-wide change focused on how technology and people work together. It means sellers need a full range of tools that enable them to get the most out of the resources at hand as they develop customer strategy. Technology implemented without the transformations necessary to make these solutions accessible and functional for all stakeholders lead to unrealized returns and failed business cases. Today’s marketplace calls for a fully realized transformation. Technology is only half the picture.

How can KPMG help?

Let us develop the big picture with you. We’ll guide you as you implement new technologies and develop a competitive customer focus. We’ll show you which tools will help you transform seller experiences so that your existing resources support your revenue goals. We offer a rapid seller experience assessment to reveal attrition drivers, the limits of your existing data tools, tech debt analysis, and a review of sales and marketing processes that are due for a refresh. We’ll translate your needs and revenue goals into steps that are simple to take and easy to maintain.


1IDC Webinar; “Future of Customers and Consumers Survey”, IDC, September 2021

2IDC Webinar; “Future of Customers and Consumers Survey”, IDC, September 2021

3Salesforce, “Salesforce report shows companies can miss out on 50% revenue growth: employee experience makes the difference”, Tiffiani Bova, (March 23rd, 2022)

4Xactly, “What is Sales onboarding? Follow the three R’s. and the Three C’s”, (March 09, 2017)

5Highspot, “How to increase seller effectiveness and improve buyer engagement”, Marissa Gbenro, (November 12, 2019) 

6Forrester, “The great sales content disconnect, Jennifer Bullock, Perter Ostros, Eric Zines, (April 20, 2022)

7Harvard Business Review, “The new sales imperative”, Nick Toman, Brent Adamson, and Cristina Gomez, (April, 2017)

8Salesforce, “5th edition: State of Sales”, (2022)

9Forrester, “The sales talent divide and three things sales leaders can do”, Nancy Maluso, (November 9, 2021)

10Salesforce, “5th edition: State of Sales”, (2022)

11Salesforce, “5th edition: State of Sales”, (2022)

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Meet our team

Image of Walt Becker
Walt Becker
Principal, Customer Advisory, Sales Transformation Lead, KPMG US
Image of Ed Lang
Ed Lang
Director, Customer Advisory, Sales Transformation, KPMG US

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