Today’s sales and marketing organizations place the majority of their efforts into driving leads and optimizing spend. Teams measure clicks, test different marketing creatives and negotiate ad agency contracts to maximize results and reach more customers — and I believe most companies would agree that these common practices are tried and true. For example, seasoned marketers know it’s best to use a diverse array of tactics and optimize each one to lower a company’s cost of acquisition and maximize lifetime value.
In my experience, what differentiates the most successful companies is that they think beyond traditional marketing and partner closely with product and operations teams to align goals and optimize across the end-to-end purchasing process. Gone are the days of the sales department saying the leads are bad or the product is too expensive. Instead, all teams work together to optimize within and across their respective functions.
Regardless of your product or industry, there are three ways an organization can think beyond traditional marketing approaches.
Simplify the shopping experience.
Don’t confuse a customer or waste their time. Instead, make the process easy with fewer questions and clicks by using emerging data sources and a customer-centric design. For instance, if your current process requires your customer to answer 10 questions to complete a sale, challenge whether you could do it with three using behind-the-scenes data calls.
Assume that your customer is thinking, “Don’t make me think about what I want. Serve up what you think I need.” By employing predictive analytics, you can identify products and services a specific consumer is likely to desire based on their characteristics and purchase selections.
Just as important is keeping things simple. Don’t overwhelm your customer with too much information or detail about a product; just tell or show them what is important. Instead of listing all the materials a polo shirt is made from, highlight the fabric, and if they want specifics, provide an easy way for them to learn more. Eliminate the clutter to increase the likelihood of a sale.
Shop on the customer’s behalf.
This might seem counterintuitive, but providing competitive product options to help your consumer choose will ultimately help you to win more business. Be transparent, and make it easy for your customer to evaluate options to keep them engaged and comfortable with their purchase. If the customer does decide to go with someone else’s product, make sure to monetize the referral to keep your acquisition costs down.
In the financial services space, you are now more likely to find a representative offering three product options across three different companies than providing a single option with one provider. In this model, you may find consumers selecting your product, even if it’s at a slightly higher price, because your brand stands out or the consumer values the ease and transparency you provided.
Use technology to enhance operational processes.
There are multiple ways to use modern technology and data to enhance the shopping experience and win more business. One way data and technology can create better alignment across marketing, product and operations is by using it to create analytically driven processes.
For example, if someone is shopping over the phone, an organization can intelligently route phone calls to the representative who is most likely to relate to and create rapport with that customer. Once that customer is connected to a representative, real-time call guidance can trigger based on the tone and speaking patterns between the customer and representative. Throughout this process, the marketing creative, customer segmentation and operational processes are all aligned to maximize the interaction.
If someone is shopping online, organizations can use digital customer service to engage with them through webchat, audio, video and co-browsing capabilities. Companies can use these tools to keep customers engaged and reduce the buying cycle.
I’ve found that many organizations spend lots of money driving leads to their website and only experience conversion in the low single digits. With customer segmentation, proactive webchat and more online engagement options, you have the potential to double your online success rate.
The sales and marketing landscape is always evolving, especially with technology enhancements. It’s important to examine your end-to-end purchase cycle and product to truly optimize your team’s sales and marketing capabilities. By doing this, you might even find that some of your low-performing and dated marketing tactics can become your best.