Disappearing Sales Process & Emergence of Marketing Automation
According to research conducted by CEB marketing leadership council in partnership with google, around 57% of the sales process or due diligence process is over before a prospect ever talks to sales person. The classic sales process of engaging a customer, qualifying the customer, creating opportunity, making a proposal, closing sale and following up, is fast changing. The customers are changing the ground rules. With advent of social media, smartphones, apps, mobility etc., there is a demographic of customers who are swaying away from the traditional sales process.
In the past, a customer looking for a product or a service would call the agent and that would set the tone for the sales process. But not anymore, customer are now looking for same information on the company website, facebook pages, reading blogs, customer feedback and reviews, posting questions on forums etc. So the challenge for any marketer is to deliver relevant content earlier in the process and understand the behaviors of the prospects and follow the actions they are taking by nurturing them.
So with this shift in the sales process, it is essential to understand the digital body language of the prospects and apply all that information in the targeting efforts both from the email perspective and web perspective. Web has too much information which can be overwhelming for the customers. The marketing efforts should be able to break through the information clutter and deliver the relevant content at the right time.
This brings in fundamental shift in the way organization have been allocating budget towards sales and marketing. As the prospects change their buying behavior there is a need for the organizations to tilt the balance of budget allocation towards marketing. There is also strong need to enhance the digital and internet presence so that prospects can easily get information about your product and services. The idea is to be always digitally accessible with all the content because there will be no opportunity for you to go back to the customer who abandoned your product or service because of lack of digital content. Too much information can also be overwhelming and prospect may abandon you amid information clutter. Hence it is essential to identify your prospects, what kind of information are they seeking and then personalize their digital experiences. This entire process is called digital marketing.
The entire process of digital marketing can be broken into three phases.
The observation phase is about the understanding the digital body language. What actions prospective customers are taking? What type information they are clicking on. What kind of content they are downloading. How many times they are visiting your website. What keywords they are clicking on. What kind of information they are seeking. Answers to these questions will help you build your customer's digital body language.
Using the digital body language, you respond with most relevant content at the appropriate time. Personalize the content by delivering right content which could be in terms of nurturing content, campaigns, offers etc. And over the time you develop intelligence around what's performing the best, and then optimize that process.
All of these actions are critical to components in ensuring that marketers are getting through the prospect earlier in the sales process. More information you capture about your prospects, better targeted content can be delivered.
Oracle's Eloqua (Oracle marketing cloud) is one such platform which transforms the way we approach digital marketing and marketing automation. Oracle's Eloqua not only helps in automating how marketing messages are delivered but also builds understanding of targeting and market segments; understanding of each prospect's buying journey that can guide conversations and help in delivering personalized content, compelling offers and captivating visuals. This is what differentiates the best from the rest, marketers who can understand the pulse of its prospects and Eloqua is one of the means to achieve that.