Marketing’s evolutionary course is sometimes bizarre. Isn’t it fascinating to know that the digital marketing transformation happening now returns in a way to the principles last valid when media marketing could hardly take place – namely before industrialization?
As a matter of fact, modern, customer-focused marketing is simply trying to recreate a pre-industrial state of direct and personalized buyer-seller relations. A state with no fragmented silos operating via a few, self-contained channels, often totally independent of each other and in most cases with no valid feedback, neither quantitative nor qualitative.
The image of early entrepreneurs is enlightening: they offered their own goods, readily standing in person on the market. They continuously refined the brand, practiced at the same time PR with storytelling and referrals, integrated all sales processes and were personally present during every customer journey from start to finish – in doing so processing more and more complex data sets than any KI will be able to do in the next 20 years.
Depending on the quality and skill of the salesperson one could, from today’s viewpoint almost say: those were seamless experiences.
Back to the future. Start-ups, particularly D2C (direct to consumer) brands impressively demonstrate how it is possible to adapt old logic to a digital world. The things that are shaking up the consumer goods market today in record time will be doing the same to the B2B sector tomorrow. Being in front of this wave will secure a long-term competitive advantage.
The most important and most direct lever for increasing company performance, particularly in times of crisis is: the merging of marketing and sales. The diagram above shows the factors involved and the potential at the different interfaces.
Simply creating awareness in the lead generation phase is no longer sufficient. With competition among brands becoming increasingly differentiated it is essential for brand work to be intensified. The aim of achieving maximum reach continues to be relevant but due to the flood of information is no longer decisive. Instead, it is necessary to understand that sales or rather its employees are the central touchpoint. No other touchpoint can attract the same degree of customer attention, no other touchpoint can realistically convey a brand and its image and, in doing so, adapt spontaneous content based on subtle reactions – and no other touchpoint can as a result supply more qualitative and differentiated data, often directly and including insights.
The loop quickly becomes clear: the stronger the interaction the greater the value added in both directions and therefore the larger the impact on the leads.
The same interaction applies in the following phase but on the content level. When marketing content is directly integrated in the sales manager’s dialogue, it not only makes the interaction more substantial, more innovative and more eventful, but it also makes the brand’s stories with their messages penetrate the minds of the customers a lot more effectively as if the same content had been made available on a corporate blog according to the pull principle. Optimization potentials for marketing that would have otherwise only surfaced in market research panels will also be revealed here due to the data input of the sales manager. Not only effectivity is gained here but also efficiency.
There is also huge potential for synergies in the critical conversion phase. In addition to a new brand experience due to intelligent use of sales mechanisms, the platform can itself also become a conversion driver through joint insight processing and further development of the interaction platform with the customer. Due to direct access and the mentioned data input, the platform can be set up so that it supports the negotiating process – for instance, with measures for additional transparency, the visualization of (low) inventory and time-related limitations or calculations of alternative price models.
What is required to turn these thoughts into reality? A clear strategic vision, an integrated organizational structure, fast, easy-to-implement processes and tailored software solutions that promote structure and use and feed a joint database (customer data platform).
The challenges for marketing and sales are therefore complex but nonetheless clear and solvable. Because as already mentioned, the first brands are demonstrating how it’s done – and are strengthening their advantage by the day.
Are you looking for expert assistance with this transformation process? KPI Consult Staudinger offers an appropriate package.
We offer future-orientated solutions that will further your performance based on 30 years of top-level experience in marketing & sales. Combining strategic target orientation, a hands-on implementation mentality and complete independence.
You are more than welcome to contact us for more information.