In these days of measuring and metrics, when it’s so important to be able to demonstrate your marketing impact on the business, it helps to go back to basic, simple marketing: Are you looking to win, serve, or keep customers?
When you’re looking to win customers, it’s about getting people engaged quickly and inspiring them to take action. This might be to get them to contact your sales team, attend an event, or download a piece of research, for instance.
Once you’ve moved them to take action, you must look at: How many is ‘good’? How many is ‘great’? This is what marketers need to understand more of, whether it falls under their OKRs (objectives and key results) or KPIs (key performance indicators). Because how do you know you’re making an impact if you have no idea what you’re looking to achieve?
So when you have a direct-sales team, winning becomes about engaging with them to drive that impact and to provide the tools, functions, and capabilities that enable your sales team and help them do their jobs. Because, realistically, marketing is sales enablement. And any marketer that disagrees with that is not a marketer.
Serving customers, then, is about delivering on your ‘winning’ promises. Whereas the sales phase is about wowing customers and getting them excited, support is following through on what you’ve sold. This service should provide them with really clear communication as to what they can expect and answer such questions as:
- What’s happening next?
- Where do I go?
- Who do I talk to?
And this is the case across both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors.
I like the analogy of being stuck in the Tube in London (which has pretty much happened to anybody who’s ever been on a Tube in London – or any subway, for that matter). All of a sudden, the Tube stops between stations, the lights go out, and nothing happens. And all you need as a rider is for someone to come over the public-address system and say, “Apologies ladies and gentlemen. We’re just stuck. There’s something happening ahead of us. We’ll get back to you shortly.” Great, you think. You’ve kept me in the loop – thank you very much. But if that doesn’t happen, you feel that lack of information. You’re frustrated and left wondering, “What’s going on?”
You want to keep customers informed and engaged with what’s happening next. Make them feel valued. They’re thinking, I’ve trusted you. I could’ve gone to several other providers, but I’ve chosen you. Help to justify my decision to choose you with my peers and my company, and help me look good across my business. Value me as an individual, not as a number.
This all relates directly to an improved customer experience. And that’s the age we’re in today. It’s a prerequisite, because customers have more choices now than they’ve ever had before – across every single industry. We’re also in the age of non-tie-in contracts, so customers can move around, and they’re not afraid to do so. Give them all the reasons to not move around.
If you can win and serve customers correctly, then naturally the evolution of that is to help keep customers. And for this, you need to continue to inspire them. Inspire them to stick with you. Inspire them to do something else, whether it’s to grow how much they purchase from you; to buy other tools, products, and services from you; or to encourage them to discuss with others about their choices. Your customers are your greatest advocates; they’re your greatest sales tools. There’s no one better to help you sell than your existing customers; likewise, there’s no one better to damage your brand than your existing customers. Which is why it’s so important to serve them and keep them happy.
This article was first featured in B&T magazine on 8th July 2016