by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low
Ask yourself this.
How and why do my customers/clients buy from me?
If you don’t know the answer to this question. Stop reading this blog and pick up the phone to Chris Lang at Acuigen and he will be able to help you answer this question. Then come back to this and continue reading.
If you do know the answer to this question, assuming this is based on you going to ask them rather than making assumptions.
My next question is this,
What do you do with this information?
I bet not much. Likelihood is it is sitting in an internal report somewhere, box ticked as part of your client care conversations and you move on. Having learnt nothing. Having not reviewed your sales & pitching processes. Having not shared this insight with marketing. Carry on as you were, we are doing alright.
I am afraid this is not alright. In the slightest. Your buyers expect a hyper personal experience. Both online and offline. Not some bland boiler plate, one size fits all approach.
In order to achieve this, you have to get your compass out to help you map your buyers journey to understand where they have come from and where they are going to.
This process will be a blend of a continual feedback loop with your customers/clients using a mix of technology and one to one conversations with them. There is zero excuse today to say this is not possible to do.
From a technology standpoint, you can use platforms such as MRP, Thunderhead or if you are a Dynamics 365 user, their Social Engagement platform which is part of your licence. You then layer this a marketing automation platform such as Eloqua or Hubspot, again if you are a Dynamics 365 user, check out Microsoft Marketing which sits in the 365 Ecosystem. These 2 pieces of technology will give the where, who and when data points of engagement online.
You then map your sales processes against CRM data to understand what typically happens, within what timeframes, with which buyers. This of course relies on sales reps actually putting the data in. Again, check out Vyn who can make this incredibly straightforward through the power of video.
So, you now have data verbatim from your buyers on the how & the why. This will help marketing shape what content and which mechanisms to deliver it. White papers, video, long form blogs, short form blogs, podcasts, infographics and so on.
You also have the data of their online behaviours, typically this will spike when they are in due diligence or research mode before engaging with your sales teams. Check out what Bombora do in this space.
Theoretically you will also have the data of what a good sales process looks like when they engagement starts, what needs to happen when and with whom. Alongside the continued online buying behaviour of your target/client/customer. If you do and are a Saleforce user, then Node will be your best friend.
With all of this, you will be able learn, iterate, improve, start again from the top. This will drive a better buying experience, a quicker one, thereby reducing your overall cost of sale, drive more customer/client loyalty and referral business.
Before you start saying, this all sounds too difficult, it isn’t. Yes, there may be some technology investment to be made. You will need to understand what it is you are looking for online, so collaboration with Marketing is a must. Start with maybe 5 existing clients and 5 your targeting, ideally all in the same sector, and build from there.
Finally, it will ultimately boil down to the mindset and will of you and your team. If you are not prepared to think differently, well, unlike Columbus who set out to discover new lands, you may as well stay on dry land.
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