Marketing used to be about building awareness and running campaigns at the top of the funnel. Those campaigns generated interest, and then, at some point, there was always a handoff to Sales, who would ultimately guide the buyer toward a decision.
Those lines have blurred.
"80 percent of the sales cycle happens in digital or remote settings. And that has profound implications for the future of your role."
Buyers aren’t just talking to Sales to make decisions—they’re using digital content to learn and shop at their own pace. Marketers are also more involved in keeping and growing business with existing customers. It’s Marketing running the renewal cadences, leading upsell campaigns, creating the business review decks, and educating customers on additional purchase options.
As your role evolves, one thing is clear: It’s no longer enough to drive awareness or interest—you are now in the business of influencing buying decisions.
Here are four trends that are shaping the future of Marketing.
1. Marketing is the Sales Development Team
The B2B buying process isn’t as linear or predictable as most companies assume. Buyers are interacting with marketing content much further down the sales funnel, and they often only talk to Sales after they’ve researched and narrowed down their options.
In fact, some industry leaders believe that more than 50 percent of sales enablement organizations will eventually report to Marketing.
Buyers are actively looking for information that will help inform their buying decisions. Unfortunately, most marketing content isn’t designed to guide those decisions. As a result, buyers are getting wrapped around the axle trying to make sense of the available information.
Marketing needs to make it easy for buyers to find useful content that informs and guides their decision-making process. To make it happen, you must be willing to rethink the messages, content, and interactions driven by your marketing department.
2. All Selling is Inside Selling
Before the pandemic, 70 percent of B2B selling was already happening via email, phone, and web conference. Then, in an instant, selling became 100 percent virtual, and it’s going to be a long time before customers go back to their buildings, let alone allow reps in for meetings.
This has been a significant shift for field sales reps who were used to selling in person. Now you don’t have the luxury of looking your audience in the eye and pulling them back in when you sense their attention is starting to wander. The presentation deck that was the backdrop for an in-person conversation is now the center of attention. And your presence is reduced to a small square in the corner of your buyer’s screen.
For Marketing and Sales Enablement, that means you need to use entirely different tactics when designing virtual sales presentations. To be successful, you need to engage your buyers, hold their attention, and deliver a clear message that motivates them to take action.
3. Training and Enablement Must Adapt to the Speed of Business
Market changes, competitive threats, key product launches, and strategic business shifts that pop up during a year require an urgent, Marketing-led response. What’s more, when these unplanned challenges and opportunities arise, your marketers don’t have time to start from scratch every time—you need to respond specifically and immediately.
That requires an entirely new set of skills for your team—skills that take them beyond campaign design and SEO strategy.
Establishing a strong foundation of science-backed knowledge and process around messaging and content creation allows your marketers to respond at the speed of business. Think beyond the technical skills that might improve individual work, and focus on more thought-provoking, behavior-based training that enhances your overall commercial enablement strategy.
To deliver training and enable marketers to respond at the speed of business, organizations need to move from problem recognition to solution rollout in weeks, not months. That means enabling your marketing team with dynamic, situational training and content that equips them with the vision, methodology, and skills they need.
4. Customer Success is Customer Selling
By some estimates, renewals and upsells from existing customers account for 70-80 percent of the average company’s annual revenue. But most marketing and sales organizations use the same provocative, demand-gen messages with existing customers that they use for conversations with new prospects.
Recent research, however, shows this one-size-fits-all approach will backfire with your existing customers. Renewal, upsell, and price increase conversations require an entirely different approach, and if you don’t tailor your messages for these situations, you’re putting most of your revenue at risk.
Marketing needs to develop a second, dedicated funnel for customer expansion. Many companies are beginning to separate customer engagement marketing from customer acquisition and demand generation. This dedicated staff develops custom messaging, content, and outreach programs timed to key milestones in the existing customer journey.
Where to Next?
Digital buying behavior is blurring the lines between roles. Sales must adapt to the reality of virtual selling. Training and enablement need to be faster and more flexible to respond at the speed of business. And customer engagement marketing is now a priority if you want to keep and grow existing customers.
Marketing and Sales are changing forever. Is your organization ready?
To learn more, please visit https://corporatevisions.com/