The New Era of MarketingFeatured
Let’s combine two concepts: customer-focused companies and modern marketing. I want to start with these two as I’ve seen the massive change in both instances. I’ve been immersed in marketing for a little more than a decade and customer-centricity became my obsession from the first time I heard the methodology of Design Thinking. I believe that focus on the end-user is truly the foundation that has changed the entire Go-to-Market structures for good and as such, it was crucial for me to find a ‘new name’ in order to be able to clarify it to my teams. That’s when relationship-based marketing came to mind and I have talked about it ever since. Knowing exactly who you are trying to sell on the human leve makes the difference. It allows the main revenue instances (of course including Sales and Marketing) to easily customize their outreach and deliver a true personal experience to prospects, leads, and customers at every stage of their journey. As the power of automation and new martech/salestech tools arise and the shiny platforms come to ‘solve all our problems’, the danger of losing what makes brands human increases. To prevent this, companies must be able to harness the power of casual, friendly conversation. Here, I want to discuss how relationship-based marketing can elevate your GTM initiatives and especially in programs like ABM, which will have the greatest impact on your revenue engine. What changes for Marketing? Because marketing is all about touching the customers at the right time with the right messaging and on the right channels, it’s a no-brainer that a practice that enables companies to tailor their message according to whom they’re selling is going to up the game. In a world where we’re all constantly being marketed to, the value of relationship-based marketing is that it’s done with the customer’s deepest needs in mind (even if they have nothing to do with your product). You can’t really go to a company’s website anymore without seeing a chat bot of some kind flashing in the corner of your screen, but instead of being extra noise, we have hit the era when it’s our comfort zone to talk to a bot before even talking to a human. Often, that company has already made a prediction—hopefully, using data— about which tone will resonate with you and what kind of interactions you will be having with that little robot. The aim, of course, is to elevate engagement that will help move metrics like velocity rates through the funnel, eventually leading to conversion. The time has come for B2B to start looking and imitating the successes that the B2C world has held for decades. For B2B organizations, being able to add a customized touch to any given channel is a gift that keeps giving. In addition to providing your prospects and customers with a way to speak to you without the perceived finality or commitment of providing our most precious resource today (our emails), you can use bots and other strategies as liaisons between different pieces of content that you want people to see and engage with. The end result? A customer that will down their walls faster and with whom you will have a long lasting relationship. Here is the last golden nugget on how this new way of perceiving marketing will gain you extra brownie points with your executive team. It will allow you to measure what people have thought as unmeasurable for years: brand. As well as being a way to bring added visibility to your organization, relationship-based marketing can be extremely effective in solidifying the voice of your brand and gathering data. Supplementing your greetings (in person or digitally) with specific questions will encourage users to interact with your brand and supply you with valuable information about their intentions, pain points, and more. For example, asking multiple choice questions where each answer corresponds with a customized messaging sequence adds an extra touch of personalization to the experience and gives prospective customers a hand in the value they’re receiving. What changes for Sales? You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Time is money. That’s a statement that has leaked not only to marketing from sales, but to the entire revenue organization. The more time that passes between a prospect interaction and a response from Sales, the less likely it becomes that that lead will convert. Gar Smyth at Mimecast once shared a somewhat shocking statistic: “If you wait ten or more minutes to follow up on a lead, your chances of converting that lead drop by 10x as compared to if you were to only wait five minutes.” I have to be honest and say that it stood with me over the years because all that this means, very simply, is that the ability to easily have real-time conversations with your prospects is more than likely to positively impact your revenue. Historically, if Marketing was all about that initial messaging to draw in leads, Sales was about cultivating relationships that will turn those leads into conversions. Not anymore. Those handoffs need to be understood differently and through the lens of revenue. Going back and forth via email or phone (if you have invested in the right enrichment tool) is not an ideal way to get to know someone, let alone keep them engaged enough to move through the funnel. Additionally, tactics like direct mail, conversational marketing, and the good old happy hours provide an organic way to gather contact information for leads, whereas things like contact forms and gated content tend to be more alienating and therefore less effective. Having a clear plan in place for where and how Marketing will work along with Sales is also necessary in order to create a seamless experience. Reality is that internal miscommunications will be felt by your customer as well. Whereas Marketing messaging casts a wider net in search of leads, Sales then has to be able to determine which prospects are most likely to convert. Being able to automate the qualification process by having tasks and responsibilities well delegated will save your Sales team the time it would take to talk to every site visitor. What It Means for strategies like ABM Honestly, it kind of feels like all good things eventually boil down to personalization methodologies like ABM. By this, I mean that the practices that seem to truly work are the ones designed, first and foremost, to improve your customers’ experience through your brand. In order to do good relationship-based marketing, you need to first do your homework. Training and enabling your teams is crucial for them to understand that even when selling to an account they will always be selling to a person. Tactics like effective shadowing, insights creation which by the way is not the same as interviewing someone, and body language perfection can immensely contribute to the already established processes like having good and clean data. By doing this, you are already well on your way to ABM. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that relationship-based marketing has become a fairly crucial component of ABM in its own right. After all, what better way to streamline your customer experience than with real and deep connections? Unlike some strategies, this new type of marketing is much more than a fleeting trend. It is a product of today’s go-to-market landscape—a response to brands’ desire to further close the gap between themselves and their customers, and customers’ desire to be heard and spoken to like a real person. It is a powerful tool, and one from which every organization can benefit. ...as long as we learn to love it and do it right.