It has four main aspects.
In the 21st century, customers dictate the flow of the buying process and they make their own purchase decisions. Marketing and Sales are in the position of facilitators and enablers.
57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer engages with Sales.
This statistic comes to show that satisfying the early stage needs of customers has never been more important. The strategy that your company employs to drive awareness determines whether the customer will decide to call your Sales department or your competitor’s Sales department.
The relative cost to market continues to rise because the ways that a company can gain exposure and reach their customers are multiplying by the hour. Consequently, the ways that a company can waste its marketing budget trying to implement each and every tactic under the sun are also multiplying.
The majority of companies continue to be unable to measure the results of the various marketing tactics they utilize.This leads to the company being trapped in a vicious circle of wasting marketing funds.
It may be so that your company is spending its precious budget to proliferate a marketing message that is misaligned with customer needs. What if you’re targeting the wrong persona? What if that persona never presents your marketing content to their manager because they would only stand to lose if they do?
There is one big advantage to digital marketing and that is the incredible level of specificity it allows you to achieve in your targeting. In this day and age, you are able to approach the individual buyer. You are able personalize your marketing collateral to their needs so that they end up reaching out to your company instead of your direct competitors.
The problem is that different people are involved in the different stages of the buying journey. This fact, coupled with the fact that the customer—whether it’s an individual consumer or a company, treads on their own path to purchase, makes the buying process very intricate and difficult to map.
Typically, you will recognize three distinct groups of stakeholders who are engaged in the buying journey:
Each of them has a role in the process and the power that they hold within their own organization can vary from industry to industry and, sometimes, from company to company.
Naturally, the end goal of marketing, sales or the business, as a whole, would be to reach the decision makers within the most desirable target market and persuade them to purchase the company’s solutions.
So, if we were to reverse-engineer this process, we would have to answer these questions first:
“How does the decision maker choose?”
“Where do they get their data?”
“Who aggregates data and presents potential solutions to the decision maker?”
“Who do they trust the most within their organization?”
When you begin to answer these questions you might reveal the following scenario: Someone who is not the decision maker creates a carefully vetted shortlist of solutions and then presents this shortlist to the decision maker.
In this case, your marketing content for the Awareness phase will not be geared towards the decision maker. It should, instead, correspond to the needs and the motivation of the person who makes choices at this stage—the aggregator of research data. It should resonate with that person and help them achieve their goal which is, first and foremost, to leave their manager with a good impression.
As I mentioned before, at CONDUIT, we’re targeting four different customer demographics:
These are the decision makers in our target market. However, when creating our marketing content and driving awareness around our solutions we know that we are, in reality, speaking to someone who is not the decision maker. We’re speaking to the person who is a trusted source of information for the decision maker.
Let’s take the CFO as an example. In this case, we strive to help the sales enabler, the aggregator of information, with evidence as to why our solutions are right for the ultimate decision maker—the CFO. What we’re essentially doing is enabling this trusted advisor to “sell” our ideas and our solutions to the CFO. So, the value proposition goes along the lines of:
“For years, CFOs have struggled with competing budget requests from Sales, Marketing and IT in order to further the company’s goals. The CFO is under tremendous pressure from the CEO to make the right decisions and to allocate the funds as effectively as possible. The problem is that, for much of the last 15-20 years, marketing has not been quantifiable. With the advent of digital marketing, it is technically possible to quantify the impact of marketing but rarely does this happen in practice. As customer acquisition and digital marketing techniques are becoming more complicated, it’s becoming more and more complicated to attribute results to a specific tactic or action.
The benefit of CONDUIT and the concept of Smartech convergence is that it enables the CFO to get a singular view of where to invest and divest across departments. SMARTech Convergence associate all marketing tactics with concrete outcomes. The philosophy is geared towards helping non-technical people and, in this case, finance people, align the company’s funds for predictable results. Through SMARTech Convergence, CONDUIT can provide the CFO with a talk track that can be relayed to the CEO or to the board when it comes to discussing the macro business goals.”
Following the same model, we have also constructed a value proposition for the Head of Sales and the people who assist the Head of Sales in their decision making process. It is roughly this:
“Historically, one of the biggest challenges to the Head of Sales challenge is being able to convey to the CFO the need to hire more salespeople. In an ideal world, the Head of Sales would not need to constantly increase their staff or, when this is absolutely necessary, it would be easy to explain why.
So, why do sales departments continue to inflate nowadays? The underlying issue is that, out of 10 salespeople, 2 will be your best salespeople that drive the most revenue, 2 are close to getting fired and 6 have moderate performance. Unfortunately, the Head of Sales knows that great salespeople are born, not made and, unfortunately, they know they are not going to be able to staff 10 out of 10 great salespeople. However, what they can benefit greatly from is the ability to evaluate the performance of each and every salesperson against the sales and business goals.
Through SMARTech Convergence, Conduit helps you understand the performance of each and every salesperson on your team. What is even more important, by adopting SMARTech Convergence, you are going to be able to reveal details about the specific customer types and you’re going to be able to understand how each one of your salespeople performs with each customer type. You will then have the ability to align your salespeople with the customer types they perform best with, streamline the sales process and, ultimately, drive more revenue.”
There are, of course, specific value propositions for the other two customer segments in our target market but we will not dive into these. I hope this example illustrates the ways you can address the needs of the decision makers, sales enablers and gatekeepers involved in the buying journey.
Influencing the right people with your marketing depends on how well you know who they are, how they buy, what challenges they face and what outcomes they are after.
By adopting SMARTech Convergence, you have the ability to take segmentation to an entire new level.
You have the ability to paint accurate pictures of the target customer rather than use generalized personas. You have the ability to achieve close coordination between Marketing and Sales, to create sales material and website experience that streamlines the buying process. You have the ability to use appropriate technology back-end that can align the right leads with the right salespeople based on personality, or market segment, or product, or service.