Over the past several years, there has been a marked shift in the way companies improve their sales and reach new customers. To use an example from this morning, I was perusing twitter on my Windows Phone when I noticed a tweet from an individual whom I respect professionally about a new 4k projector system.
What is striking about this interaction? It:
- Completely avoided traditional advertising models
- Relied primarily on social channels
- Required a strong app (in this case, a micro-site) dedicated to the product
- Could scale up to more customers without requiring additional sales people
If we step back and think about how the industry has evolved over the past several decades, the uniqueness of this interaction comes into focus. 50 years ago, an organization might have put together a marketing campaign based loosely around print media, television and radio advertisements for a new product. 20 years ago (1994), the conversations would have been largely the same, although there might have been a greater focus on direct mail. 10 years ago, the conversation would’ve shifted greatly to using a CRM system, armed with websites and emails as a marketing method, but even then, the focus would’ve been on the seller (in this case Sony) pushing content to customers, rather than the other way around.
The past 10 years, however, have been revolutionary, rather than evolutionary.
Look at the explosion of marketing focused technology companies alone! It is difficult to conceive of the entire space of organizations devoted to helping companies sell, market and service their customers more effectively. Ideas at many organizations go from early stages to production faster than ever before, forcing organiations to rethink their sales channels and how to drive customer awareness. Increasingly, customers want to self-service their desire for knowledge around a new product, either through research, social connections with others or quick targetted chats with corporations. By the time a customer is “ready to buy” there’s little an established seller can do other than to faciliate the purchase. This isn’t unique knowledge: many others are keenly aware of the shifts.
This is a unique challenge for many organizations who have built very successful sales models on lengthier timeframes, more organized marketing motions and less savvy customers. Yet having knowledgable customers is a huge advantage in the long run for organizations like yours. Why? Because your company makes great products, delivers value-packed services and produces amazing customer experiences. Instead of spending time convincing customers that one is going to be amazing through a sales process, the work itself sends the message.
Put another way: every sales organization says that their products are great. If a customer can explore social tools to sift the wheat from the chaff, they’ve just saved a great deal of marketing and sales cost that your team might have spent on them. (We’re assuming your organization is one of the great ones mentioned above!) That money can be funnelled to either building great self-service sites (e.g. the projector microsite above) that scale effortlessly, or alternatively helping drive a great customer experience after the sale, which closes the loop to assist with future sales. I’ll discuss this post-sales customer experience in a future post, because innovation in this area is occuring even more quickly than on the front-end. For those of us using Dynamics CRM to enable this experience, the next six months are going to introduce an arsenal of new tools to help shape and guide customer experiences to an even more positive place.
I may not have enough to acquire the projector mentioned earlier, but for those that do, I imagine they will have a very positive experience, which will lead to future sales opportunities. Can your organization say the same? If not, it’s time to rethink how you can modernize your sales motion. New Signature sits at the intersection of customer experience and technology, and is uniquely positioned to help your organization understand what works and what doesn’t. Reach out to us today to learn more about the tools, techniques and training to help your sales team flourish.