ALL POWER TO THE CUSTOMER!
Cloud computing, mobile applications, social media and big data are driving a fundamental shift in the relationships between suppliers and customers. Coupled with the growing impact of consumerisation, it comes as no surprise that businesses are transforming their sales and marketing functions with a razor focus on customers.
Prospects and customers are communicating, interacting and engaging with businesses through channels and devices of their choosing. So the need to ensure customer-facing functions such as sales, marketing and customer service are not only fully aligned but also ‘on message’ is paramount for any company to deliver true customer value.
Before we take a deeper look at the importance of sales and marketing alignment, it’s worth understanding what we mean by customer value. Here’s a definition we find helps provide focus for our clients:
Customer Value Definition: “The difference between the benefits that a customer is receiving from the obtained product or service and the effort and cost that the customer has to invest to acquire the product or service.”
Sales And Marketing Alignment to Focus on Customers
An important facet of a customer-centric business model is the alignment between marketing and sales. Defining and applying common processes, language, systems and tools, coupled with a mutually agreed understanding of each function’s role in serving the needs of customers is a common challenge that many of our clients strive to overcome.
Rather than focusing on what your company has to offer, it helps to start by focusing on what your customers want, why they want it, how they want it, when they want it, and how much of their time and money they’re prepared to invest in finding it, comparing it to alternative products or services, and buying it.
Then take a look at how well your business is currently equipped to service these needs – at every stage of the buying cycle. The goal is to make it as easy, and enjoyable, as possible for a customer to do business with you.
Below are areas to consider when aligning marketing and sales more closely to customers in terms of their needs and points of value:
• Knowledge, availability and common understanding of customer intelligence, market research and target markets
• Customer segmentation models & definitions
• Marketing management & campaign development process
• Sales strategy & process; relationship management, opportunity management, business management
• Breadth of demand generation programmes; awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, retention, advocacy
• Use & adoption of systems & tools; marketing automation, e-mail marketing, lead management, marketing analytics, CRM
• Use of common language, metrics, scoring
• Customer satisfaction; metrics, reporting, analysis
• Operating costs & revenues realised at each stage of the marketing/sales process; identification, acquisition, engagement, retention, servicing