Marketing Focus – The Hidden Sales Cycle
Last week I took part in a fascinating webinar by The Marketer all about how internet use is changing the buying process and changing the roles of marketing and sales and where these two functions interact and I wanted to share the insight.
The experts explained how the online buying journey is quite erratic, but that the research tends to be comprehensive and rely on different sources to make the correct decision. They summed up the buying journey as follows – Consider, Evaluate, Buy, Enjoy & Advocate
The message was that as modern marketers, the role is increasingly to create the best content on your subject matter to assist your buyers in the evaluation stage and give them no reason to look elsewhere. This is a more passive form of marketing driven by search, but can capture many more people in the research phase and drive them towards purchase.
They also said that another big marketing opportunity is post-purchase as now people are more likely to become advocates on social media, so following up after the sale and incentivizing buyers to share their experience can really pay off.
One statistic I found really interesting was that online buyers tend to be 57% through their buying cycle before they make contact with a sales person, so the content marketing needs to be really good to make them get in touch.
They suggested that if you can get a really good idea of who your clients are, what they want to know and where they are looking for information you can develop the right content for them and monitor to learn more about the prospect before they actually get in touch. This information can be provided to sales in order to help them and marketing can develop templates and tools to automatically generate content as well as streamlining the sales process.
With this new world of online research and buying there is more need for the sales and marketing function to be working well together. The marketers need to be aware of what the sales team are doing and how the customers are responding to create the right messages at the right time. The more standardised the process the easier for everyone to work together and the better the technology and monitoring the better the results will be.
I can see a lot of application for this kind of approach for small to medium sized businesses on the Costa del Sol, as it doesn’t require huge investment, just good planning and understanding customers. Armed with the plans and knowledge, quality content can be created to populate a blog to fill any knowledge gaps, position your company as the expert and the go-to source for information.
More brilliant insight like this can be found on the Marketer website which is packed with guides and downloads – http://www.themarketer.co.uk/knowledge-centre/