Biz Tips: Sales dynamics have changed drastically in the past few years, so should your marketing strategies.

Biz Tips: Sales dynamics have changed drastically in the past few years, so should your marketing strategies.

GROWTH:

Sales dynamics have changed drastically in the past few years, so should your marketing strategies.

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No matter the industry, from product conceptualization to design, marketing positioning and sales enablement efforts, we are noticing a trend being carried throughout the process.

Companies are becoming more consumer focused.

Let’s take Southwest Airlines as an example. They have their entire ecosystem designed around the customer. They value putting the customer at the heart of everything they do.

Not only has this lead to high satisfaction scores from Southwest passengers but has also built brand loyalty and trust for the company.

Southwest has been profitable for 45 years consecutively along with having served 130 million plus customers over the years. Among all that, many sources have ranked Southwest Airlines as the number one airlines for customer satisfaction.

Image by Bambi Corro on Unsplash

So what’s their secret? Consistency in having an ecosystem built around the customer a.k.a a cohesive brand and product story.

A month ago I attended a conference in Florida where the keynote speaker
Dr. Daryl Tol had asked, what do we value most as a company? followed by do we have a values problem?

Companies value many things starting from the brand to the output of our sales and the relationship with our customers. The fact is, our values get fragmented and at the end there is no cohesion.

By putting the customer at the center of our work, we form a strong foundation around the purpose we serve as a company to our audience. That then trickles down to: are we meeting their expectations? and is our audience going to be satisfied with what we have produced for them?

The following quote really stood out to me from his presentation:

Quality [of the product] does not drive loyalty.
Quality of experience increasingly drives loyalty.

So how can our marketing efforts drive that loyalty among our customers?

STORYTELLING

Image by Jamakassi on Unsplash

Storytelling is becoming a prominent tool that most marketers use to build a narrative around the product that customers can relate to.

In fact, nowadays, you rarely find a product that doesn’t have a story to share. Whether it’s Nike, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, or Apple, every company has been utilizing the power of storytelling to hook their customers and turn them into advocates or brand ambassadors.

But the only way for that story to work is to weave it through all touch points a customer will have with that company.

That is where the marketing efforts must be very strong. The narrative must paint a clear picture of what the company is trying to get across as their core message. That story creates the cohesion, hence enhancing the quality of the experience that makes customers want to be loyal to your brand.

THE SHIFT IN RESPONSIBILITIES

Recently, there has been a change in the dynamics between sales and marketing teams. Traditionally, marketing would be responsible for building the top of the funnel (TOFU) content that hooks leads and sales was expected to massage that relationship with more of the middle and bottom of the funnel content (MOFU and BOFU).

Now we are noticing a shift in those responsibilities (see image below) where marketing is being leveraged for the longer period of the customer journey. Those efforts are converting leads into potential buyers until they are at a point where they are ready to commit. The act of selling still sits with the sales team, however, the marketing teams are, as my VP likes to call it, “providing all resources necessary to convert that lead into a sale on a silver platter”.

Image from Google

The stages above focus on various aspects of a customer/prospects journey that eventually result in a sale of the product. The power of storytelling can be channeled through each of these stages differently to build cohesion and provide the customer with the true value of your product.

  • The Awareness Stage focuses on pain points. This is where you show the big picture of where the industry is at today and what our customers should be thinking about. We build thought leadership by showing an understanding of the market we play in and how our solution can help.
  • The Interest Stage focuses on solutions. This is where your audience generates interest and begins to discover trends in their pain points. You then educate your audience on the value of your solution and why it’s a viable option for their needs and goals.
  • The Consideration/Intent Stage focuses on evaluation. Here you show the potential customer what it’s like to work with your company. You have peeked their interest and they would like to know more about you and how your solution can solve their problems. Slightly contrary to the above diagram, this is where the relationship with the sales team starts to form. Customers request demos, trials, pricing, references, vendor comparisons, etc. to make their decision.
  • The Purchase Stage focuses on validating the decision. Here the is customer looking to commit to a solution. They justify reasons for their purchase and sometimes that requires a little extra convincing (especially when a large cost is associated to the product).
  • The Post-Purchase Stage focuses on continuous learning. This is where a customer expects good product performance and excellent customer service — driving loyalty.

SALES ENABLEMENT

To convert a potential lead into a customer, marketers must walk them through the entire customer journey. A process that requires a structure to paint the picture of your narrative. A goal like this must be accomplished in a way that the audience can relate to and understand.

Image by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

You goal is to convince your audience to your solution. To accomplish such goal, you have to position your product as the only solution they would need to overcome their problem, and such make the case as to why they should chose to buy your product.

Here’s how you are going to do that:

For starters, understand that this is no longer about you, it’s about them (your customers). You see, doesn’t matter the demographic, location, personality or what-so-ever that you have come to understand about your customer, all they care about is can you help them? if so, how?

The best way to do that is construct a narrative that checks off the items below.

  1. Identify your audience. Without an audience, you don’t know who you are selling to. This is where you go as broad or as detailed as your team requires to get an understanding of who is it that you are ultimately trying to convince.
  2. Identify their problems. What are their needs? their wants? Are they facing a problem that need a solution for? Do they even know there is a problem that they will need a solution for?
  3. Convince them you understand their problem. You must be able to relate to them, otherwise why should they believe that you have the perfect solution. With that being said, never undermine someone’s job. The best way to relate to your customer is to show that you’ve done your research and you understand what they are looking for. You’ve done more than just listen, you’ve heard them and you are proposing the ideal solution that could work for them.
  4. Offer them the most viable solution. Show how your solution works and solves their problem. Describe how it fits into their situation and what benefits will it provide them. If you have multiple audiences, make sure they understand that this solution is the answer to all their needs.
  5. Prove that it works. Back up your claims. Is it really the best solution? If so, prove it. Provide client case studies, testimonials, results that have been achieved with your product.
  6. Have a call to action. Leave them with the decision of are you ready to commit? to partner with us to see results? for the ultimate client experience?

While you are constructing this narrative, keep in mind, the voice, the tone, the design — they all matter.
People care about what they see — it makes an impression. Remember pictures can be speak a thousand words.

Other pieces of advice, don’t be afraid to have your customers try your product out. Once people get a feel of something they are interested in, it’s hard for them to put it down. A lot of times, people don’t realize they need something until they become dependent on it. Let them get a feel of the product to hook them on.

From one marketer to another, my advice is also to keep experimenting and exploring! There are lots of ways to creatively tell your story.

I’d say, be more daring with your marketing.

Anjali Arya is a Product Marketer at RL Solutions and a budding Medium blogger from Toronto, Canada. Have something interesting to share? or just curious about her work, follow her on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter and start a conversation!

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Sales dynamics have changed drastically in the past few years, so should your marketing strategies. was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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