The goal of every business leader is, simply put, to drive growth.
In most cases, driving growth means increasing sales. However, as trends in sales and marketing are constantly changing, CEOs and CMOs need to work smarter to understand and engage with their buyers so they can manage their teams. The following four insights are critical for leaders seeking revenue growth.
1. Embrace digital buyers
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the B2B market landscape. Digital communication turned from a bonus to a necessity when face-to-face meetings stopped. Purchasing behavior also changed as customers increasingly use digital channels to come into contact with brands. Now, in a B2B sale, CEOs need to make sure their team is ready to enable omnichannel selling to meet the customer where they are.
Omnichannel selling uses multiple channels, online and offline, to create a more seamless and personalized experience for customers. According to Harvard Business ReviewCompanies that make the necessary progress to provide a more diverse buying experience will attract and retain more customers and increase sales.
It’s increasingly common for customers to expect to seamlessly use multiple channels to complete a purchase. In fact, HBR cites McKinsey’s B2B Pulse research showing that “two-thirds of US buyers choose remote human interaction or digital self-service at various stages of their decision making process, such as identifying, sourcing, assessing and evaluating new suppliers, but also for ordering and reordering.’
Clearly, CEOs and CMOs must fully serve all buyers.
According to CEO and founder Alice Heyman, “This means that your marketing team needs to empower customers to interact digitally on social media, your website and other internet platforms. Your sellers need to be prepared to meet in a video meeting just as effectively as they do in person, and they need great marketing digital assets to use throughout the buyer journey. It means you might need to do some new things, like add a live chat on your website so that customers can communicate with a human at all times.”
2. Coordinate your sales and marketing efforts
Relationships between sales and marketing teams are notoriously strained. As the omnichannel selling trend accelerated, sales and marketing strategies had to shift. As a result, the gap between sales and marketing teams widened even further. Closing this gap is a dramatic step toward increased business revenue.
When sales and marketing can work together, wonderful things can happen for a company. Marketing services make it easier for sales reps to reach customers online. Sales reps can help marketing teams better understand those same customers. Sales teams too provide data that can streamline critical marketing efforts leading to customer retention.
To align your sales and marketing forces, you need to get all of your employees on the same page when it comes to your company’s definition of a great customer experience. Once your teams are aligned, they can focus more powerfully and improve your customer experience.
Remember, the customer experience begins the moment your customer discovers they have a need and continues long after they make a purchase. Sales and marketing are both responsible for initial and ongoing customer satisfaction. As a result, creating long-term plans around customer experience is critical to nurturing customer relationships and driving sales.
3. Remember that storytelling is key
We undoubtedly live in the age of storytelling. Those who perform best on social media platforms are the individuals who make the best storytellers. Stories are powerful because they stick. It’s always easier – and more fun – to remember something associated with a story. When you can tie your company’s vision and purpose to a story that resonates with others, they’ll be more likely to recall your services when they need them.
One aspect of storytelling that is challenging, but important, is vulnerability. Today’s society craves the authenticity found in vulnerability. The more vulnerable business leaders or companies are online, the more loyalty they gain from their audience and potential customers.
Deciding when and how to be vulnerable online can be challenging. Nobody wants to share too much. There may also be information that some companies prefer to share over others.
When deciding whether or not to share something online, I check whether what I’m sharing is personal or private. Information about my personal interests, knowledge and even mistakes can be attractive to my community. However, I tend not to share private information, especially when it comes to my loved ones or other persons.
4. Establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry
As a CEO or CMO you have many opportunities to develop yourself into a subject matter expert. You may consider writing for a news broadcast or publication, writing a book, or speaking in public. Any attempt to share new information about your industry can make your business more credible and potentially drive more traffic to your platform.
Rob Cosberg, the owner of Best Sellers Publishing, helps business leaders become bestselling authors. He has seen the value of positioning yourself as a thought leader. He says, “Make sure every conversation is properly framed. When you’re chasing someone, the natural thing they do is to run. So whether you’re making sales calls yourself or have a team making the sales calls, make sure you have a system in place to frame every call with you as the prize. You can do this with a book you’ve written, testimonials from happy customers, and social proof media you’ve appeared on.”
Given this advice, you can see how CMOs can affect sales. You have a position of power, a position of authority. You have the ability to use your voice and influence others. In fact, a general definition of leadership is the ability to influence the beliefs and actions of the people you lead – to influence them. Why should it be any different to influence customers and clients?