Today's buying process is vastly different from the process just 20 years ago. Buyers used to learn about your company and products through billboards and sales call while today, they are tuning out interruptive messaging and using Google to take the decision-making process into their own hands.
Not surprisingly, your audience is well-informed about your company and your competitors long before they even pick up the phone to talk to your sales team.
The internet and social media sites have made this new dynamic a reality for years now. Still, not all businesses have adapted to accommodate this shift in power. In fact, only 48% of marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing. Successful entrepreneurs have adjusted their marketing and sales mindset to work with this shift, instead of fighting against it. Here's what those thriving entrepreneurs know, and you should, too.
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1. Data is a Marketer’s Best Friend
Marketing used to be thought of as arts and crafts but today's top marketers must be analytical, make data-driven decisions, and provide measurable results. If your marketing team doesn't have the insight to evaluate campaign ROI, they can't possibly prioritize one over another, let alone tie campaigns to revenue. For example, marketers are quick to invest resources into social media but a whopping 83% of businesses don’t even bother to measure their ROI from their social efforts. Not knowing how your marketing impacts your bottom line will end up costing you time, money, and energy.
Equip your marketing team with a robust analytics platform that allows them to close the loop between marketing and sales activities. Being able to tie campaigns to actual customers closed and dollars earned will make your efforts more informed and your budget better spent.
2. Your Website Can Make or Break Customer Relationships
For businesses, websites are the storefronts of the digital age. If your website isn’t intuitive, user friendly, and personalized, visitors will never turn into customers because they won’t make it past your homepage. Unfortunately, most marketers spend too much time worry about brand colors and layouts to turn their website into an effective sales tool. Design is important but user experience is paramount.
To build relationships with visitors, you need to prioritize making your site responsive and dynamic. Start embracing smart content so that when a stranger, prospect, or customer visits your website, the content they see is tailored to them. The right content management system will let you show different calls-to-action and copy to different contacts.
Next, don’t discount mobile. 61% of consumers will immediately leave a mobile website if it isn’t easy to navigate. I don’t have to tell you how prevalent mobile is for web browsing (but just in case, consider that over 20% of all Google searches are performed on a mobile device today), so it’s safe to say a chunk of your web traffic is coming through smart phones and tablets. Bottom line: optimize your site for mobile. Your audience will thank you.
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3. Valuable Content is the New Billboard
With buyers having more access to information than ever, your marketing efforts should focus on engaging them with helpful content. This becomes even more important when you consider that modern buyers have found ways to tune out traditional marketing methods. Interruptive ads, cold calls, and email blasts are no match for DVR, call screening, and email filtering, so businesses need to focus on owning content online that your audience actually wants to consume. Evernote does a great job of this on their blog by sharing helpful, valuable posts about their industry and products making their business a resource for buyers.
Creating easy-to-find content like blog posts, case studies, and product videos can help companies play an active part in the buyer's research -- and even become a trusted ally in the purchase process.
4. Your Sales and Marketing Teams Have to Talk to Each Other
Since nearly 57% of the buyer’s purchase decision is made before even talking to Sales, reps must come to the call with just as much information about the prospect. If reps start asking questions that the prospect has already answered in a landing page form or in social media interactions, the work Marketing has done to warm up the lead is diminished. Instead, reps should be having conversations that position them as helpful consultants -- and they can only do that if they're equipped with the information Marketing has gleaned thus far about the prospect through their website and social media interactions.
To present this information seamlessly, companies must invest in an integrated sales and marketing platform that captures, organizes, and shares this data with reps, and your reps should be discovering new prospecting tools to facilitate the process. This way, they spend less time cobbling together information about the prospect from their CRM, LinkedIn profile, and company website, and more time providing consultative services that actually help the prospect make a smart purchase.
5. The World of Sales and Marketing Isn’t Slowing Down
Marketing and sales professionals need to keep up-to-date on industry trends to stay relevant. The landscape has already dramatically shifted, and the pace of innovation will continue to cause incremental shifts to the way people do business. Marketing leaders should be testing out new tactics, and staying abreast of changes in current digital platforms. Sales leaders should be staying on top of their prospects' problems by keeping informed of industry trends and adding social selling to their resume; consider that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.
The digital age has introduced obstacles for Sales and Marketing, but it has also opened doors to countless new ways to connect with buyers in a meaningful way. To succeed today, you need to dive in and evolve your strategy to keep up with the shifting landscape. Most important of all, effective marketing and sales teams are equipped with the data to tell them what works and what does not -- and to shift strategy with agility when the time comes to try something new.