Digital transformation has radically changed the buyer journey. The wealth of company content available online means that customers are savvy and educated about our products and services and often won't even speak to a vendor until they've already made a buying decision.
Statistics such as these speaks volumes: 67% of customers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions and a survey by Roper Public Affairs found that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to find the information they need via articles, not advertisements.
How does digital transformation impact the traditional relationship between marketing and sales?
Historically, these two departments would work in silos, marketing producing leads via lead generation campaigns which would then be passed on to the sales teams to feed the top of the funnel.
Even if both marketing and sales were performing their roles to the best of their ability, the quality of these leads would sometimes be rejected by sales teams. Sales reps would feel that the leads weren't 'warm enough'. lacking the necessary qualification to make them worth following up.
I've worked on numerous lead generation campaigns in the past, and remember feeling frustrated that all our efforts in generating leads would often be wasted as sales reps would (quite rightly) prefer to spend their time upselling and cross-selling with 'hotter' existing customers. I also remember feeling slightly isolated from the customers; we were pushing out marketing messages aimed at them yet had no contact with them. We also would spend an infinite amount of time tracking leads to justify our existence and demonstrate ROI. Thankfully, this has all changed due to the implications of digital transformation as traditional silos between marketing and sales are being broken down.
Marketing now has to educate and inform customers about products and services through strong, engaging content marketing and consequently has more direct contact with prospects and customers online on social media . This means that marketing now holds onto the leads for longer, and when they passed over the sales teams, the leads are 'warmer' and better qualified.
This new buying process in the digital age has great potential, but its success depends on two key factors:
Marketing and Sales Working TogetherMarketing and sales organisations need to embrace the new way of working digitally to be mutually beneficial, an integrated team approach is key (no more silos!)
Investment in CRM SystemsInvestment in CRM systems which allows both marketing and sales a 360° view of the customer and every interaction throughout the buyer journey. Vital data and insights should be readily available to all to provide a unified view of prospects and customers.
Personally, I am delighted with the change which digital transformation has meant for the marketing and sales relationship. Feeling closer to prospects and customers through Social Selling via online channels has renewed my love of marketing, making it feel more dynamic, rewarding and 'real'.