Ways to use Marketing to Improve Customer Experience & Customer Journey

http://www.interaction-design.org

The Customer Experience and Customer Journey is being disrupted by technology. The technology comes in the form of social channels such as the internet, mobile, social media, publishing platforms, audio books and video on demand. All of these channels have the effect of giving consumers instant access to information about products and services. Mobile is becoming the biggest channel with 6.2 Billion Devices projected globally by 2020 According to Ericsson’s Annual Mobility report.

The way customers request information is changing. They may approach Sales, Marketing and Customer Service or an independent source for information and help choosing a product.

Competition in every product and service category has never been higher. This marks a significant shift from the days of Mad Men where brands controlled information and the conversation. This marketing shift is known as information marketing through content or simply content marketing. As a result, Marketers and brands have to become the educators or teachers of consumers. To become the educators of consumers, brands have to become the industry resource to consumers; showing how their products can solve problems and improve the lives of consumers.

Content Marketing needs to be used in Sales, Marketing and Customer Service because customers expect a consistent experience through out their journey.

2017 State of Marketing Report Key Findings

The 2017 Salesforce State of Marketing report focuses on four emerging trends:

  • Marketing is undergoing an AI revolution. The marketers surveyed anticipate their AI use will grow more than 50 percent over the next two years, helping them deliver more targeted campaigns, smarter personalization and higher ROI.
  • Marketers realize the importance of delivering customer journeys, but are having a hard time breaking down silos between sales, service and marketing, and bringing customer data together to deliver on this vision.
  • Marketers are making significant organizational changes, within their own departments and in how they collaborate with others, such as sales and customer service.
  • Over the next two years, marketers expect to see unprecedented growth in their marketing technology usage.

“According to a recent research study by Forrester, 71 percent of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation), and 74 percent reported using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).”

https://searchengineland.com/value-search-across-modern-consumer-decision-journey-270021

Once brands convert prospects into customers, they still need to focus on and support customers post sale. Here is where Content Marketing can help. Brands can use Content Marketing for customer retention, cross-selling and up-selling. To take advantage of this, brands need to involve their Marketing, Sales and Customer service teams in their Content Marketing strategy.

Sales Teams

Sales teams can provide a lot of information about customers, product concerns or issues and objections they face. They are front line soldiers that have a direct line to customer intelligence.

Including the Sales Team in your content marketing strategy

Meet with the sales team and encourage them to compile a list of customer complaints, objections and questions about products that they face. Ask the team to create materials that address these concern that customers can access. This could take form of blog posts, Power-points FAQ’s, product demonstrations and tutorials.

If the sales team feels uncomfortable creating content, they could be interviewed by the marketing department. The marketing department could take content /basic materials, emails from the sales team and polish it up into visually appealing content that customers can access.

Customer Service

Similar to the sales team, your customer service teams are front line soldiers to help customers with issues they face at call centers or through social media. Ask them to write down complaints they get from customers with the answers. These complaints of FAQ’s could be put up on a web site via a PowerPoint presentation, blog etc… If this is not possible for the team, interview them, collect basic materials, emails, notes and create the content yourself.

Customer Retention

Sales and Customer service team are an important part to using a Content Marketing Strategy for customer retention. The more products a customer uses from a brand, the less likely they will switch to a competitor. Remember it costs more to obtain new customers that it does to keep existing ones.

Cross-Selling & Up-Selling

Sales and Customer service teams can also help with cross and up-selling by sharing promotion and new offerings with customers. The Sales and customer service functions of brands are essential to creating a great experience for customers.

Marketing Automation and AI

Salesforce is rolling out a Customer Success cloud where Sales, Marketing and Customer Success can track the Customer Journey across the organization. Each function of the organization can create tasks for the other to make sure the customer does not fall through the cracks. I saw a demonstration at Salesforce World Tour.

This is how brands can integrate sales and customer service teams into their Content Marketing and automation strategy. How are you using content from sales and customer service teams to help your brand retain customers? What are the goals of your brands content marketing efforts?

Feel free to comment and share.

Additional Resources

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2017/06/fourth-annual-state-of-marketing-report.html

Salesforce 2017 State of Marketing overview

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include Start Ups, Political Campaign and a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing and Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content and Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

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How Customer Objections are Sales & Marketing Tools

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Image via dreamreport.net

Many people who are new to Sales think that if a Customer does not ask questions or raise Objections during a Sales call; the Sale is moving forward. They find themselves surprised when the customer does not want to buy when they ask for the order. This assumes the Sales person has the courage to ask for the order.

Why Customer Objections are Sales Tools

When the Customer does not ask questions about a product or service it demonstrates a lack of interest. Sales objections are sales tools because the customer shows interest by asking questions. These questions allow the Sales person to build rapport and trust with potential customers. They get to demonstrate their product knowledge and expertise. Without any customer objections or questions, reps have no way to measure their progress during the sales call; making it impossible to pivot. This makes it hard to make sales and build a relationship with the customer.

Why Customer Objections are Marketing Tools

There are certain things that come up when customer raise objections. Over time, Sales people will be able to see patterns of these objection. Objections are raised about pricing, bad past experiences, budgeting, being happy with a competitor and product inferiority. While Reps need to be able to handle objections; if they keep losing the sales for the same reason, they need to share this information with the marketing and product development teams.

How Marketing can Help Sales

Based on the feedback from Sales, Marketing Teams can Create and improve Sales/Marketing Collateral to address potential objections.

On issues of one product being better than another, the product team can: see how the product can be improved, or help provide Sales with Market researchposition materials to illustrate how the product is better.

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image from smartdraw.com

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image via justworks.com

Customer objections are Sales and Marketing tools because they provide customer intelligence that can be used to sell more/improve products.

Do you think Customer objections are Sales and Marketing tools? Comment and share how you have handled and used customer objections.

EdTech’s Growthhacking Guide

Image via schooldata.com

Trends in Education are changing. This will provide a great Opportunity for EdTech Companies to improve Education while increasing Sales and Revenue. If you are in EdTech, looking to get into this $13,190,456, 456,848 K-12 Market not to mention the opportunities in Higher Education; read my LinkedIn post to find out more.

 

10 Ways to Build an Audience & Grow a Customer Base

There are many ways to grow an audience and build a customer base.

Here are 10 strategies for you to grow your audience and build a customer base.

1. Starting a Blog based on Buyer Personas

Create a blog within your website focusing on customer pain points discovered in your buyer personas.

Image via http://www.garrisoneverest.com/inbound-marketing-2/how-to-implement-inbound-marketing/

2.Use Social Media to share Blog Content

Share the content of this blog on Social Media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc….

3. Employees LinkedIn Company Pages & LinkedIn profiles

Start publishing on your LinkedIn company page. Also, encourage employees publish and share content to their LinkedIn profiles if you are not doing so.

4. Content Repurposing

http://bluepolointeractive.com/ 

Repuropse blog content in the following ways: On SlideShare,

http://www.whitehatmedia.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/linkedin-buys-slideshare.jpg?itok=PZQMLnYm

YouTube videos, podcasts, ebooks, whitepapers, newsletters, webinars etc…

5. User Groups

Create a user group on LinkedIn, and Facebook to facilitate discussion of your product and service.

6. Twitter Chats

Host Live Twitter chats on topics that are important to your customers

7. Using Groups to organize and announce off-line events

Use LinkedIn and Facebook groups to organize off-line events such as trade shows; invite customers to provide in person testimonials to prospects.

8. Stay In front of Customers

Be where your customers are, share a value message based on Market Research,Customer Analysis, Big Data Analytics and Competitive analysis.

https://marketingtruth.wordpress.com/category/analytics/

Image via http://smartdraw.com

9. Content  & Customer Retention

Create content to keep current customers engaged; share new features and ways they can get the most out of your product or service. Use the content to stay in the mind of customers.

http://www.invespcro.com/blog/customer-acquisition-retention/

Use your blog and product check out to ask customers to opt in to your marketing messages. Once you obtain permission, you can create email marketing campaigns targeted to subscriber needs and interests.

10. Develop Marketing Partnerships & Relationships

Strength comes in numbers. It helps to have other noncompeting businesses with complementary products promoting your product and services. These businesses can have a similar customer base and audience that can help your business.

Cross promote partner content/offerings on Social Media and at events to facilitate a reciprocal relationship.

Bonus Tips Statistics & Related Content

http://www.marketingcloud.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/audience_infographic_w640.png 

How have you built an audience and customer base?

Comment and share below.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 15,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 10,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

Steps to becoming your own Sales Manager with Activity-Based Selling

Image via Salesforce.com

In order for Sales Reps to be successful in sales, they need to think like a Sales Manager. To be able to do this they need to be able to track their own numbers and activities in the Sales pipeline. Using a system such as Activity-Based Selling, it is now possible to see your numbers in real-time along with pending deals and actions needed for the next step. This kind of Sales analysis will help you be successful.

There are five tasks in the Activity-Based Selling system that you need to master to become your own Sales Manager which includes: 1.Meeting and Exceeding your Monthly quota, 2. Creating and implementing a daily sales plan 3. Prospecting for new leads and customers, 4.Turning in timely reports, 5.Using Sales CRM to aid in accomplishing the above.

Below, we will see each of these steps in more detail.

1.Meeting and Exceeding your Monthly quota

To be successful as a Sales Rep, it is imperative that you meet your monthly sales quota. In order to meet this quota or goal it is important to know what it is. To achieve this goal it’s important to have a conversation with your manager about how you will be evaluated and what numbers you will need to hit.  The monthly sales quota that you receive may seem overwhelming at first.

Image via http://salesmanagement.org

Therefore, you should break it down into smaller parts. For example, a $100,000 per month quota divided by 20 working calendar days means that your sales must be a minimum of $5000 per day on average. To exceed the monthly goal, double the daily goal.

Now before you can dive head first into calling on customers and prospects you’ll need to have belief in yourself and the products you offer, product knowledge, competitive analysis of how your product measures up to competitors and at least a basic understanding of how to handle objections; if you are new to sales.

Image via http://smartdraw.com

Common objections voiced by prospects include: pricing, loyalty to a competitor, bad prior experience, not being the decision maker and wanting to think it over.

Images via www.scpgr.com, www.areyouresourceful.com

2.Creating and Implementing a Daily Sales Plan

 Once you are assigned a Sales territory, it is important to understand its demographics. As a Sales Rep in a new territory, you want to know: the number of prospects, the geography of the territory and the locations of prospects on a map. Using this information, the next step would be to divide the number of prospects by the 20 calendar working days in a month to come up with the amount of daily calls needed to visit everyone in the territory. Use a map to determine the order of people you will call on. As a Sales rep, you will want to call on people near one another to manage your time effectively. Write this plan out and go over it with your manager and most importantly make sure to use it every day.

3. Prospecting for New Leads and Customers

 

Image via www.nateleung.com

Now that you are executing your sales plan, it’s important to get in front of the people who could say yes to your offering. To be able to do this effectively, it is essential to be able to handle objections during sales calls. To have success, handling objections are the key to obtaining more sales from appointments. As you hone your selling skills, you will find it easier to make presentations and ask for the order. Once Sales are made it is important to make sure customers are satisfied with their purchase. You have earned the right to ask for more business, testimonials and referrals only after the sale and successful implementation of the product.

4.Turning in timely reports

Image via www.merapi.holes.es

As a Sales Rep, it is easy to get lost in the details when you are running a sales territory as there are many things to manage at once. However, you are still responsible to turn in your reports and update your records for customers and management; incomplete records can hurt your sales and your performance evaluation.

5.Using Sales CRM to aid in accomplishing all of the above

Sales CRM software allows you and your Manager to track all Sales pipeline activity which allows you to make informed decisions on all actions for all required interactions on pending deals.

Sales CRM enables Sales Reps to become their own Sales Manager, tracking their numbers and comparing them to other time periods gaining valuable insights on what is going well and what they can do to improve. This kind of Sales analysis and reflection enabled by Sales CRM is essential for sales success.

Major Sales CRM providers are:

Salesforce,

Image via Salesforce.com

ACT!,

Image via FlexAct.net

Oracle and

Image via docs.oracle.com

HubSpot

You can sign up for free trials and/or product demos by clicking the links above.  

What Sales CRM are you using? Comment and share your experience below.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 15,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 10,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.