Clients and prospects are taking a much different path in their purchase decision journey as the buying process has been transformed. Technology has provided them the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and dive into information and discovery like never before. A recent study by Google and the Corporate Executive Board reported that buyer behavior has so quickly evolved that decision-makers are now 57% of the way through the purchasing process before they engage with a company. So with all of this research being done, content is king, right? Well, yes, it has grown enormously in importance but many traditional marketing tools and soft skills will continue to play a role and actually are required ingredients in the overall marketing recipe. We do know that organizations have an urgent need to transform their marketing and sales roles to adapt to this change in the buying process.
As Marketing changes and practitioners expand their duties they need to let their creative sales DNA emerge and proactively take the lead in areas previously in the sales realm. Marketers need to embrace and own the areas of:
• Consistent image and perception across all marketing activities including social media platforms.
• Story-Telling: use original case studies, testimonials, blogs, research papers and newsletters.
• Use curated content to share industry knowledge, discoveries and trends.
• Internal and external knowledge-sharing will grow and expand the sphere of influence.
• Webinars and video repurposing of personal speaker presentations and their transcripts.
• Participation in seminars and tradeshows.
• Expanded, focused, goal and results-driven networking.
• Listen to and engage with clients and prospects through on-line communities, groups, virtual “chat rooms” and forums.
• Integrate personal engagement above with powerful and informative on-line profiles and activity to project an impactful image as an industry participant and contributor.
From the on-line and personal engagement, client/prospect profile(s) can be identified and developed focusing on what content and contact will lead to interest, response and interaction. The next step is to analyze the profile and information to formulate a specific buying journey for each individual/organization.
From the soft skills of personal engagement and the original content generation, associates will develop into what author Landy Chase called “value generators” and become “Top Of Mind Awareness” in the eyes of those clients and prospects. By integrating new Social Media tactics and tools with traditional marketing practices and soft skills, the marketing plan and strategy will have a synergy with different segments cross-promoting each other. Now is the time to embrace change and transform your organization into an industry influencer and actively participate in leading your clients through their new purchasing journey.