Has Marketing’s obsession with all things digital left big holes in the customer journey?
If your company has recently gotten on-board with an inbound or digital marketing methodology, you’re probably used to things going smoothly with automated email nurturing, a solid content strategy, and bespoke landing pages – all leading to more informed customers who are potentially ready to buy.
You’ll have made a huge investment in time, money and resources developing persuasive and engaging marketing campaigns to nurture and grow these prospective customers.
However, the only problem is that if you’re anything like a lot of the companies we work with, there’s a very real disconnect between the slick inbound marketing messages that you’re sending out, and the way you present your products or services when meeting potential customers face-to-face.
Face-to-face meetings are probably the most important stage of the customer journey, this is where they get to meet you and decide on whether they want to give you their business.
In a recent survey by B2B Marketing the most influential factor in a B2B buyer’s decision making was “Meeting with suppliers”.
What’s the old saying ‘people buy from people’?
Marketing departments seem to be all consumed by arm’s length contact with prospective customers, investing in all the latest digital wizardry and despite talking about ‘Human-to-Human’ and ‘personalised journeys’.
So many face-to-face presentations are left to the very last minute, with a minimal amount of thought behind them and are typically:
- Product-led, rather than customer-centric
- Lacking focus on value and opportunities for the customer
- One-way dialogues, rather than two-way conversations
- Full of dry, uninspiring corporate platitudes
The whole idea behind digital marketing is to take your offline sales process and adapt it for the digital age, meaning the face-to-face presentation is often completely overlooked, or more likely just left to Sales as it’s seen as a Sales function.
Despite this, the art of face-to-face interaction isn’t particularly complicated or time-consuming; it’s actually quite an easy fix, with most of the hard work having been done already – however, it is a unique part of the customer journey and has its own rules which have to be followed if you want to convert those conversations into business. In fact, if you get this one last thing right, you could reap huge rewards especially given the small margins now that separate winning a customer from losing a customer.
So what should you do?
Marketing can do a lot to make sure Sales are armed with the right messages and tools to convert those potential customers into willing buyers.
You should first and foremost be helpful throughout the sales process, whilst ensuring that all the hard work you’ve put in up front – creating a value proposition, educating and nurturing with personalised content – is carried right through to the end of the buyer’s journey and beyond, maintaining consistency throughout.
Crafting a visually persuasive and engaging presentation that works hand in hand with the narrator is absolutely key to engaging and winning over customers, it’s simply not an option to fall at the last hurdle.
It’s not hard, time-consuming or costly so why aren’t more marketers doing it?
Maybe it’s because they feel this is a Sales job? Or maybe it’s not quite as exciting and sexy as a marketing automation system or high profile campaign, after all, it isn’t going to win any awards.
If you’re in Sales do you think Marketing just don’t care?
If you’re in Marketing, is this a Sales problem (and you’d rather work on something sexier?)
We’d be interested to know what you think.