Today’s customers understand their value to business and know that the digital age of business is saturated with solution providers striving to sell to their target audience. This increase in competition has placed potential customers in an enviable position and given them the opportunity to demand more attention and personalized service from businesses looking for their business.
To meet these expectations and build lasting customer relationships, companies are under increased pressure to align their sales and marketing strategy with messaging that puts customers, not products, at the center of conversations that are aimed at converting new customers.
Strong numbers support this change in strategy: According to studies, customer-oriented business models are 60 percent more profitable than those that rely on a product-oriented strategy. With an audience and solution-oriented approach, sales and marketing teams can highlight how products address vulnerabilities, tailor sales messages to individual use cases, and cultivate relationships that support greater customer longevity value.
In order to steer this transformation in your company, we have gathered five important insights from a handful of marketing directors about how you can successfully switch to a customer-oriented sales and marketing model.
1. Gather input from sales to create target group-oriented thought guidance
The best way to align sales and marketing is with regular meetings that share insights and provide sales-specific information for developing marketing strategies.
For marketers, the sales department is an important internal relationship, providing clear customer feedback and other data points to develop a marketing strategy that considers and fulfills customer needs. To create resonant marketing stories, marketers should work with sales to understand exactly what customers are looking for when they interact with the company. This awareness supports the personalization efforts that tie marketing efforts to specific customer pain points.
“As we’ve created more and more insightful content, this library gives us the opportunity to personalize the experience for our audience,” said Colleen Brooks, director of digital marketing for Verizon Business Group. “We can deliver the next best content based on our customers’ consumption, we can deliver more effective CTAs based on their behavior, and we can include requests to speak directly to our sales teams at any point in our journey. ”
2. Discuss and strategize with a broader group of internal stakeholders
In addition to collaboration between sales and marketing, discussions about designing a customer-centric strategy can also involve other stakeholders such as product developers, engineers, and C-Suite executives.
An audience-centric, solution-centric marketing strategy is most feasible when that customer focus is anchored in all business processes, from developing products in response to customer needs to understanding how repeat sales affect the entire customer lifecycle.
“I’ve found that you need to strive to have a universal“ why ”that all team members can buy into and give them a voice and quickly and consistently show progress and value so that they can stay involved and adhere to it can participate. Says Brooks.
3. Establish a relationship of trust between sales and marketing
To gain trust, marketing must provide content that meets customer requirements – quickly and consistently, without losing relevance over time.
Without a customer-centric approach, the requirement of immediate relevance of content for companies can be a big challenge: Research shows that 5 percent of all marketing content accounts for 95 percent of customer loyalty in the average company. In other words, much of the content you create offers comparatively little value.
However, your company can get more value and ROI out of your entire marketing library: for example, working with sales ensures that content remains relevant to customer vulnerabilities. Identifying opportunities for traditional sales channels to promote useful marketing content ensures consistent value to potential customers.
“In order to be perceived as a valuable sales partner, marketing has to gain trust. . . from our own sales colleagues, “says Jill Taksey, senior director of content strategy at ADP,” and then leverage the trust we have built together to share valuable stories with the marketplace. “
4. Identify where customers need the most support
To become audience-focused, you need to understand your customers’ needs and identify the current support gaps. These areas of need can exist within your customer experience or across your industry.
Ian Forrest, Global Marketing Officer at New York Life Investments, describes the direction his company has taken to become more customer-centric. They focused on a misunderstood trend among female financial advisor clients: Research has shown that two-thirds of female advisor clients end up leaving their advisor for reasons unrelated to advisor poor performance.
“What we wanted to understand is, ‘Okay, if it’s not performance based and two-thirds are leaving for something other than financial performance, why should they leave?’ And then work to identify those factors and help advisors address them in a world where there are predominantly male advisors and an increasing number of women making investment decisions, ”says Forrest.
5. Use content to grab customers’ attention in a noisy environment
The target groups agree that there are industry and customer problems that are inundated by marketing noise. Sales and marketing can work together to differentiate themselves by speaking directly to customer needs. Underlined with a strong brand voice and perspective, this direct messaging approach can help drive engagement when competing marketing strategies fail to attract the attention of solution-seeking customers.
“If we don’t offer anything of value in exchange for our audience’s attention, we’re doing something wrong,” says Taksey. “This is the filter through which we look at all of our reasoning and our top funnel storytelling.”
Although the process of aligning sales and marketing takes time, this transformation can have a significant impact on performance metrics. The merging of the sales and marketing teams forms the basis for a higher ROI for both departments.
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Selected image assignment: Yifei Chen on Unsplash