We’ve talked about how closely aligned Sales and Marketing need to be in the planning of customer journeys. However, there is still a great deal that needs to be done once you’ve launched your campaigns. These things are equally as important to your overall success, as you may recall if you saw how the food resupply mission failed after launch in The Martian. Take these into account as you set up your marketing transformation.
Take on Basic Education
One issue many Sellers I know complain about is when customers just contact them for basic information that they should have gotten as a standard part of the journey. Some examples of this that I’ve seen personally include not telling buyers that the product meets industry regulations that affect the buyer or whether the product supports another piece of technology that is commonly used in the buyer’s industry. Frustrated buyers had to find a phone number, chat line, or some other contact information to reach out to a Seller well before they are ready to purchase.
Sellers are usually commission-based. That means they prioritize their time in relation to what is most likely to get them a closed sales opportunity as quickly as possible. To them, it is a colossal waste of their time to do such basic things as answer questions like whether a product supports platform A or industry regulation B. And they are right.
When sellers have to fill in basic informational gaps, it indicates that the team mapping out the customer journey didn’t really put themselves in the shoes of the buyer. Either they failed to do the research on what they buyer really wanted at that stage or they failed to make that information a priority when building campaign content.
Frustrated buyers who find that you can’t even meet their needs when you’re trying get their money will be less receptive to messaging later on. Even worse, this frustration and the fact that the buyer still needs to move through the other, normal steps they would take de facto extends the purchasing process. If the frustration is high enough, it could end the sales cycle.
Avoiding these errors is not hard. Rather, it’s a matter of self-discipline and whether the marketers leading the campaign development effort can stick to the tenants of buyer-centricity. Ensure marketing understands that it is their responsibility to provide all the basic information that the buyer needs.
Don’t Overwhelm Sellers
Your marketing transformation will need to include some level of informing your Sellers about your marketing programs, if for no other reason than you want to ensure the customer experience isn’t disrupted by the hand-off from marketing to sales. This often includes some basic behaviors, such as briefing your Sellers on themes and major sources of leads from an upcoming campaign. Often, it also includes briefings on materials created by marketing for Sellers to use when they interact with buyers.
Organize all this material in a simple content management system (CMS) that lets reps quickly find the latest assets. Then use buyer-centric thinking to give your Sellers what they need.
- Make sure there are thumbnails of what the item looks like, both to help visual learners among the Sellers and so they can understand quickly if a buyer describes something to them.
- Make the CMS mobile-friendly since Sellers often need to access this material on the road.
- Provide summary statements that encapsulate what each piece of content is trying to convey so Sellers know what message to convey at that stage/on that topic.
- If the content is client-facing material (like case studies, presentations, etc.) be sure that its print-ready.
But make sure your marketing transformation processes don’t overwhelm Sellers with too much “help,” since they may not actually have the time to use your wonderfully robust content library. Ask them what they need, how it would be best presented to be most useful to them, when it makes sense to brief them, etc. Then, follow up and see if Sellers are actually using the material in the way they thought they would. If they aren’t, find out why not and agree on a different method or get a commitment that Sellers will use it as they indicated they would.
Comments are welcome, especially if you have examples of how your marketing department support Sellers after the campaign is in market.