Marketing and sales are changing under the influence of consumers who have in their pockets a gadget with Internet access. Sellers are finding it harder to make deals: buyers want to buy on their own, and not remain sales items. Marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell, staying away from sellers and customers. In the digital age, sales managers and marketers should join forces and move to the bright side of power: work for the consumer. Why do they have to act together, how to do it and, most importantly, in which team they need to work? Read below.
And what, marketers and sellers work in different teams?
No, online business usually does not share marketing and sales. In Internet companies, marketers provide sales, and sellers do marketing. The problem persists in medium and large companies doing business offline.
Offline marketers are actively using online channels to attract audiences. They advertise products, lead blogs, develop communities in social networks. In a word, they do the same thing that their colleagues from online business do — integrated Internet marketing. Moreover, they are trying to create conditions for modern customers with gadgets: they put a QR code on products, provide access to free Wi-Fi, install computers for customers in retail outlets.
And what are the sellers doing at this time? Imagine an expensive car dealership. A tablet PC is installed near the new car model - hello from advanced marketers. Using the tablet, you can study the technical characteristics of the model, select a configuration, familiarize yourself with the terms of a loan from a partner bank, etc. The car is good, but you are in doubt: the price bites, and it is not clear whether you can drive out of town with such a low landing.
The seller will surely dispel your doubts. He notices your look, fits and asks a million dollar question: "Can I get you something?"
The seller does not bother with marketing tricks: making contact, clarifying the needs of the buyer. He doesn't even appear. The sales manager is in a hurry to create a familiar and convenient situation: he sells. If you ask about a low landing, he will say that he himself went a hundred times on such a machine to the country on the road. Take-no-regret-what-here-think-where-same-you-climb-here-different.
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In this case, the offline business does not use a key tool for success in the digital age: customer focus. Despite the efforts of marketers who worked with social networks, wrote articles to a corporate blog, even installed a tablet on a stand near a car, the seller remained product oriented. He does not play in the same team with marketers.
Digital transformation and customer focus
The offline business is undergoing a digital transformation. Car dealers, sellers of clothing and haberdashery, grocery chains, clinics, insurance companies, banks and other representatives of the real have to take into account the influence of the virtual environment on commerce.
Buyers are online almost around the clock. They have a PC at home and at work, and they use smartphones on the way from home to work. To interact with consumers, brands use dozens of tools and channels: SMM, search marketing, targeted advertisements in search and social networks, free Wi-Fi and free access to computers. However, success does not depend on the set of selected tools and not even on the way they are used.
The digital environment has transformed the buyer. He has unlimited access to information. He knows about the product as much as your consultants do not always know. In the information age, he buys, not you sell. Therefore, today the main path to success and the way of business survival is to turn into a customer-oriented company. Everything. Tools and approaches to work can not be discussed. There are a lot of them, they are changing and developing, everyone can use them.Customer focus is a way of organizing a business, providing for the primacy of the interests of the consumer.
Say, this does not happen? Any businessman working for profit? It's like that. Only there is no contradiction: you can work for profit and put the interests of the client in the first place. This happens when the values of the buyer and the business coincide.
For example, an insurance agent can vtyuhnut motorist expensive hull insurance, get a good commission, and next year to look for new customers. This is a product and transaction orientation. It can increase the franchise slightly, play with the coefficients and reduce the commission. The buyer will pay less, but will gladly reissue the contract next year. This is customer orientation.
Customer-oriented business takes into account the long-term interests of the buyer. Because of this, he takes care of his own interests in the long term. In fact, this is the whole focus of digital transformation.
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How to check business orientation
Use the following checklist:
- A client can instantly contact the sales department or customer support in at least two ways (for example, using the online chat on the website and by phone around the clock support).
- The buyer has easy access to important information. For example, the company’s website has a detailed FAQ section, instructions and guidance for consumers, and product reviews.
- The brand has a good reputation and high ratings on industry resources and review sites, for example, Banki.ru, TripAdvisor, Otzovic.com, etc.
- Consumers have a simple opportunity to complain to the company, evaluate its product, propose a way to improve the service. The company quickly responds to customer requests and takes into account their opinions.
If your business corresponds to these theses, it is customer-oriented. Of course, no one bothers to organize the work of the call center and wind up the ratings to the grabber and temporary worker. Therefore, it is easier and faster to check customer focus. When you find yourself in the insurance agent from the example above, what do you choose: once you buy expensive insurance to the client or constantly offer him the best conditions for the contract?
The role of the seller is changing
Due to the digital transformation, the rules for offline business have changed. Brands are faced with the following phenomena:
- Customer demand for information is growing.
- Buyers appreciate openness, high level of service, lack of imposition.
- Increased competition. The development of online marketing has created an environment in which even small firms can successfully compete with transnational giants online and offline.
Under these conditions, a business can count on long-term success only if it is customer-oriented. Oriented real, not declarative.
To be called customer-oriented, a brand must perform two steps. First, he will have to use digital marketing tools, including internet marketing, organizing free access to computers and the Web. Secondly, the business will have to reconsider the role of the seller.
See also: How to sell a product to top managers
Imagine the following situation: you and your wife come to the online shoe store to buy her shoes. Your spouse saw these boats in the brochure and fell in love. But bad luck: the store does not have a pair of the right size.
In the course of communication, the seller understands that your wife is madly wanting just such shoes. Therefore, he does not spend time on "a similar model that just suits you." A consultant looks into a computer and reports that there are shoes of the right size in another store of this network. If you go to another area not with your hand, then no problem, he will agree, the shoes will be brought here, and you will take them away the day after tomorrow. Your spouse is happy, and the trading network has acquired a loyal customer.
The seller did not try at all costs to sell at least something here and now. Figuratively speaking, he is from the center forward, who must score goals, turned into a playmaker, distributing passes. He played in the same team with marketers. And in the role of the attacker was the buyer. Receiving verified transmission from high-class players, he can not score a goal in an empty net.
Customer focus - the main secret and digital transformation tool
To work successfully in the information age, the offline business needs to take a small step. A brand should be oriented towards the needs of the client, act in its interests and build long-term relationships. This will help him to safely go through the digital transformation and find his niche in a new commercial environment, where the boundaries between online and offline are gradually blurred. Having transformed, a business will quickly find answers to private questions: what digital tools to choose, how to work with social networks and search engines, what advertising is most effective, what information the client needs and how to ensure access to it, finally, how to combine the efforts of marketers and retailers.