Digitalization has fundamentally changed the user and purchasing behaviour of customers. And the Corona pandemic has driven these changes even faster. Medium-sized companies are faced with the challenging task of having to rethink, change and adapt sales channels, communication channels and business models in order to retain customers and win new ones. In marketing, there are new challenges that need to be overcome. In sales, there are hurdles that have to be overcome. The problem: in most family businesses, marketing and sales perform their functions separately. But while this separation of departments may have worked in analogue times, it can become a stumbling block in the course of digitalization. The customer journey has changed dramatically and is becoming increasingly complex. Marketing and sales can only be successful in the future if they pull together and pursue a common strategy. This strategy should have its finger on the pulse of time. Or even better: ahead of the times.
The Self-determined Customer
Digitalization has massively changed the needs, expectations and behaviour of customers and given them the reins: Today, the customer decides when sales comes into play, what needs he wants to have covered and how, and in what form the interaction with a company or brand should take place. Against this background, the entire marketing and sales strategy changes: the company must sense what the customer expects today and tomorrow from the product or service offered and what needs he will have now and in the future. If you want to reach customers today, address them effectively and convince them of your offer, you have to dovetail marketing and sales. Because the areas can no longer be clearly separated from each other in the online world. The areas must assume their responsibilities together and break down barriers between the departments. This requires a holistic strategy. And transparency.
The Customer Journey – Creating Transparency
To create a good basis and transparency for a sustainable marketing and sales strategy, the customer profile of the typical buyer is summarised in the so-called Buyer Per-sona. What does the customer want? What makes him tick? What does he want? The customer needs and experiences are analysed along the touchpoints in the customer journey. Where does the customer come into contact with the company and what are his expectations? How would he like to be addressed? What level of information do they have about the product or service? A detailed customer journey creates the necessary transparency to develop a target group-focused marketing and sales strategy and to identify the right communication channels.
In the meantime, the customer journey in the B2B sector is set up similarly to B2C: the data collected in 2020 for the bvik trend barometer show that over 80% of the participants expect a similar customer experience for customers in B2B in the future as in B2C. Digital tools play the main role here, as sales take place primarily online. McKinsey, for example, already showed in a study in 2020 that 70% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote or digital interactions. Relationship management will therefore become a decisive success factor.
Know what the Customer wants tomorrow
A company should build a relationship with its customers early on and ideally know their needs better than they do. The early knowledge of market information and the analytical deductions from it are decisive. Those who incorporate this knowledge into their own products and services and implement it in a customer-focused manner will be able to act much more efficiently and effectively on the market. Ideally, the company will shape and mould the market.
Companies have a great opportunity in intensive customer relations and a correspondingly adapted offer. Important questions lead to an intensive understanding of the customer and his expectations or wishes: What benefits does the customer value in our product or service? What makes us unique? The customer should understand at a glance what benefit he gets from the offer. They should be taken by the hand at the first point of contact with the company and their personal needs met. Digitalization can be used to respond more individually to customer needs. But this will only work if marketing and sales work closely together.
Marketing and Sales pull together
Marketing and sales must adapt to the new challenges, respond to the changed behaviour of customers and use new technologies. If the purchasing process is oriented towards the customer and is viewed holistically by marketing and sales, this cooperation can lead to more profit for the company. This requires a new mindset: winning customers is the joint task of marketing and sales. If teamwork is viewed more strategically, this represents a great opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses. THE MAK`ED TEAM analyses the customer journey and develops a holistic marketing and sales strategy for its medium-sized clients on this basis. Always with a view to the set corporate goals. In this way, the company can make the best possible use of the opportunities that lie in the transformation processes and set the course for growth and a successful future.
More about Customer-Centricity-Management and Sales & Marketing.
- Rainer Elste: Digitalisation Index Marketing & Sales – An approach to measuring the degree of digitalisation. 2023, Publisher: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden
- Bundesverband Industriekommunikation: Trendbarometer Industriekommunikation, in: Marc Gasser, Laura Mäder: Automation von Marketing und Sales für B2B-Unternehmer. Springer Verlag 2022
- Bages-Amat et al.: These eight charts show how COVID-19 has changed B2B sales forever, 2020, www.mckinsey.com