Part 4 – Failing to Maximize Marketing & Sales Efforts to Build Relationships
According to Salesforce Research, 80% of customers now consider the experience a company provides to be as important as its products and services. Consumers are interested in more than great products and fair prices. They seek brands who are authentic, truly understand them as an individual, and personalize customer interactions. This means companies can no longer solely rely on a sales strategy to guarantee their success.
It is important to have a sales strategy, but companies also need to implement a marketing strategy that addresses their target audience’s unique habits, communication preferences, and motives for making a purchase. Having a solid sales strategy and marketing strategy that complement each other is key to reaching consumers where they are with the right messaging and fostering long-term relationships.
At GRIT, we believe that when a company focuses on developing deep-rooted relationships with customers, they will always win. If your organization is ready to maximize your marketing and sales efforts to provide customers with a positive brand experience that will build loyalty and long-term success, check out the insights below!
How To Build Long-Term Relationships Through Sales & Marketing Alignment
According to HubSpot, sales and marketing alignment is the process of creating a shared framework of goals and strategies backed by continual communication that enables sales and marketing teams to work as a cohesive whole. When sales and marketing alignment is achieved, companies may see up to 36% higher customer retention, according to Learning Experience Alliance. Let’s dig deeper into how your organization can increase customer retention and brand loyalty through sales and marketing alignment.
Know Your Target Audience
Before you can develop relationships with your customers, you must truly understand who those individuals are. Where do they go to gather information? How do they consume content? What motivates them to buy specific products or services? Identifying your target audience and answering these types of questions requires comprehensive research, including examining your current customers for insights, monitoring online engagement to determine who is interested in your products and services, and conducting surveys to gain a deeper understanding of prospects. To dig deeper into how to identify your target audience, check out our blog Assuming You Know Your Target Audience.
Once you have identified your target audience, creating a customer persona (also referred to as buyer personas or avatars) is recommended. Customer personas outline the nitty gritty details of your target audience based on themes uncovered during research. The visual sheets include a fictional name and image of your ideal customer along with demographic and psychographic information, preferred communication channels, goals and motivations, challenges, and more. Some companies may have more than one customer persona based on the number of themes and ideal target audiences discovered during research.
It is important that sales and marketing teams work together to develop the customer persona since each department brings unique insights and plays a role in communicating with consumers. Once the customer persona is finalized, the piece should be used by both departments to guide their efforts and ensure consistency. The customer persona will be key to developing communications and initiatives that resonate with your consumers and provide them with a positive brand experience.
Increase Brand Awareness to Support Sales
Once you have identified your target audience, you will need to build brand awareness among these individuals. Customers will only make a purchase or recommend your products and services if they are familiar with your brand and can easily recognize your offerings. Increasing brand awareness through marketing efforts can establish trust with customers, create positive brand experiences, and build long-term relationships, which are all key to supporting recurring sales.
One way to build brand awareness is through storytelling. According to HubSpot, people like hearing stories about each other, so crafting a narrative around your brand humanizes it and gives it depth so people will latch on. For example, you could share the story of how your organization was founded, how your business overcame a major challenge, or something your company is passionate about and how it is integrated into your culture and everyday efforts. Ensuring your story and other marketing content are easy to share is also important to increasing brand awareness. When a current customer shares information about your products or services with their network it increases visibility and builds trust, as people are more open to brand recommendations from their family and friends.
Leveraging marketing tactics to increase brand awareness will help grow your consumer base and allow you to begin developing personalized relationships with individuals to support sales and ongoing success.
Ensure Consistent Messaging
While marketers engage with consumers on social media, through online blogs, and other content, sales professionals often communicate directly with individuals. Both departments play a role in developing positive, deep-rooted relationships with these individuals, so it is important they work together to achieve a consistent brand voice and share the same information. For example, if marketing developed a seasonal promotion that includes discounts, the sales team should have a background on the language and materials being used for the campaign. This will ensure that when they are communicating with current and prospective customers, the information they are sharing is the same as the marketing team. Producing clear messaging that is in alignment throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey can enhance their brand experience and result in repeat purchases.
To guarantee a consistent brand voice and messaging that is relevant and personalized to your target audience, marketing and sales teams should meet regularly to discuss efforts and confirm they are in accord.
Coordinate & Share Relevant Content
While a member of your marketing team may be responsible for content development, it is important to ask for insights from the sales team to ensure cohesive messaging that will help achieve your set goals. Members of your sales team are in direct contact with both current and prospective customers, and they have valuable insights that could be used to draft effective content. For example, sales people often have in-depth knowledge of commonly heard objections or pain points consumers often experience. When shared with the marketing team, these scenarios can be addressed to ensure customer satisfaction and retention.
It is important to develop content that is specific to your audience segments. Producing relevant and engaging content that will be applicable to your consumers’ lives can play a role in their brand experience and desire to continue interacting with your brand. Share tips, tricks, insights, and entertaining content through the mediums they prefer (i.e., video, blogs, etc.).
Additionally, as the marketing team develops blogs, videos, case studies, and other collateral, it is important that they share it with the sales team. This information could be used to give prospects a glimpse of your company’s full range of services, areas of specialization, customer testimonials, and other details that could convert them to lifelong customers.
Establish Goals & Track Progress
Often, marketers focus their efforts on increasing brand awareness, boosting customer engagement, and generating quality leads while sales professionals strive to turn leads into paying customers, reduce customer turnover, and increase customer lifetime value. The goals of each department differ, so to successfully align sales and marketing, it is important for teams to understand each other’s priorities and establish common goals both parties can work towards.
When establishing common goals within your company, it is important to think about your prospective and current consumers. What can your organization do better to provide a positive, personalized brand experience that will develop lifelong customers? Once goals are set, it is important for sales and marketing professionals to remain in constant communication and track their progress using agreed upon KPIs and metrics. Reviewing data together on a regular basis (i.e., weekly, monthly, etc.) will help you determine what efforts are working well, areas for improvement, and allow both teams the opportunity to optimize their strategies to achieve the set goals.
Take Your Marketing & Sales Strategies to The Next Level
As a fully-integrated marketing agency based in Central Pennsylvania, we are committed to solving problems and getting brands noticed. We help clients across a range of industries develop a strategy and then apply our expertise in digital marketing, communications, public relations, branding, and graphic design to enhance their efforts and achieve their goals.
If you are looking for support taking your marketing strategy or sales strategy to the next level so that you can build long-term relationships with consumers, reach out to our team to learn more about how we can support the process and provide valuable insights.
To read previous blogs in this series, click here. Then, be sure to stay tuned for part five of The 7 Sins of Marketing blog series, which will focus on the importance of not leaving your marketing on autopilot.