Growing competition has forced businesses to become more and more creative in their attempts to capture the imagination of the buying audience. As imaginative as sales tactics are, they have revolved around one very simple principle: a strong promotional sales message with the aim of a prospect talking to a salesperson leading to a purchase.
Yet in recent times, the sales model has undergone a radical change. Customers have access to multiple sources of information to conduct their own research before they buy, rather than the traditional route of seeking advice from a brand’s sales team.
This is the dramatic evolution of the new customer journey.
In recognising this change, businesses also need to evolve and adjust their strategies so they can be found easily. This drives the need for a new Marketing approach that catches potential prospects early on in their buyer journey. So how do you net new prospects?
Focus your aim
By knowing your current customers, you can reach out to similar types. Rather than this being an overwhelming and arduous task, there is good news: you don’t have to start from scratch. You already hold a lot of data on your current customer base. By analysing the information you hold, you have a window into what kind of customers are working with your business already and you can target lookalikes or ‘personas’. Careful examination should help you pick up behavioural trends, interactions and patterns such as the typical path that took a consumer from being a prospect to a valued customer. These clues enable marketers to clearly see the communication routes that are appealing to prospects so they can exploit them.
Make your content count
According to recent research of Google Analytics by ClickZ, ‘the average person consults 10.4 different sources before finally making a purchase’. This clearly shows that marketers need to reach consumers in the initial research stages, by developing content which is beneficial within channels such as digital blogs, whitepapers, thought leadership articles and intriguing social media posts. How many times have you looked on YouTube and come across a helpful “how to video”? Your prospects are likely to do the same, so ensure your business’ expertise is being displayed where it can be found and is genuinely helpful. If a prospect is interested in a piece of content, then they are likely to download it by completing an online form. This detail should ideally be captured by your Marketing team and stored in a central data repository, possibly a CRM solution. Your business will then have the information on hand and based on the previous interests the prospect has shown, your marketing team will be equipped to send ongoing relevant communications. This process can continue until their details are ready to be passed to Sales as a ‘warm’ lead.
Of course, there are many marketing tools that can be utilised to promote your company, but implementing a CRM solution will enable you to take an omni-channel approach to the process. You can engage with prospects wherever they are in the channel. A word of advice: ensure that your company messaging is consistent and seamless, but most of all, interesting!
Get your Sales and Marketing to work in tandem
Avoid having a disconnect between Sales and Marketing, as this can inflict significant commercial repercussions on a business. These departments need to work closely to ensure that the customer journey includes a series of actions aimed at building trust and credibility. The aspirational scenario would be that Sales and Marketing shift to an inbound system, attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful, not interruptive.
The additional benefit is that the intelligence Marketing have accumulated enables Sales to take a personal approach to each prospect. By adding notes in the CRM, you can build an overview of each lead, carefully nurturing and tracking them up to when they are purchase ready. The facts speak for themselves: nurtured leads on average produce 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads, while companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower costs than those who do not .
Solve, don’t pitch
Sales can’t assume that they can slip into neutral. With a wealth of choice at buyer’s fingertips, your Sales team will still need to establish a rapport with the prospect. Rather than selling the features, your Sales Team should position themselves as knowledgeable consultants, ready to address and solve the prospect’s challenges whilst demonstrating excellent customer service skills. These interactions should aid the prospect in their final decision. The new customer journey has caused a seismic shift, the Sales team are no longer in possession of power – this power is now with the buyer.
Consumer behaviour has significantly altered, forcing companies to be more strategic in their approach so they are significant contributors in the buyer’s journey. Utilising various tools to move to an inbound marketing approach will enable your business to focus your efforts on specific channels and relevant content to attract leads. As the well-known author Andrew Davis says “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue”.
So provide the content that prospects can trust, that will steer them towards your business as the company that offers the right fit solution.