25.06.2018

Within any organisation, the commonly shared information should include knowledge of how, why and when your customers decide to buy from you. But very few companies document this information in any way. Staggering, really, when you come to think of it! Why is it then that such central information is known only by the sales team?

Doesn’t this constitute a huge risk, waste of information and insufficient sharing of valuable first-hand experience, which in the end manifest as poor customer service and inefficient sales operations and marketing? Just think about if production processes remained undocumented like this: the result would be chaos and products that could best be described as duds.

In fact, I claim that there is chaos brewing under the surface in marketing and sales, as companies don’t know how to make the most of their channels, resources and sales investments in order to influence the prospects even before the point of purchase. At the same time, the customer’s purchase process drags on, with even minor decisions – on matters such as half a day’s training – only taking place after prolonged toing and froing and several reminders.

While as B2B buyers we don’t make decisions on a spur-of-the-moment basis, most sales and marketing collaborations are based on individual campaigns! It’s a mind-boggling contradiction in terms!

And when I talk about reasons for purchasing, I am not referring to such general grounds as good customer references, extensive experience or competitive price. In the digital era, a company seeking success ponders questions such as when and how to attract potential customers’ attention as early as possible and how to guide a customer forward on the purchase path.

Do you want your company to step up its game? If you answered ‘yes’, read our tips below. 

  1. Sit down together to define three main purchase-decision-maker profiles. This means not the business sector or job title but the profile of the people making purchase decisions: who do you want to reach and why, what is their company’s market situation like, how can you assist them in the initial stages and what are the factors that will catch their attention?
  2. Highlight your main customers’ purchase paths. We have witnessed how enthusiastically our customers are adopting new approaches. Various teams within organisations are now working together to document hidden knowledge garnered from hands-on experience and to determine priorities, instead of it all being left to sales and marketing teams to do. There is no point in treating the purchase path as a great mystery or something that only the sales team need to know about! If you want to realise modern and successful sales and marketing operations, everyone in your organisation should have access to information on and understanding of your customers’ progress on their purchase path.
  3. Prioritise. While constructing purchase path models, you can set priorities with the help of management and sales staff. Once they are involved in the work on the customer’s purchase path, they will come to realise that marketing plays an extremely diverse and extensive role in building and managing the digital customer journey. This will provide you with new prestige and a strong mandate as a marketer.
  4. Organise an internal process for getting all parties involved in the work around the same table for regular meetings. Depending on your business sector, the suitable frequency of meetings to share results, develop initiatives and invite wider participation could be four times a year or more.

Maarit Asikainen from Basware Oyj sums up the process perfectly: ‘All those people who are in direct contact with customers play an important role in adding to our knowledge of our customers. With their contribution to the customer’s journey, they are helping us to fulfil our promise. We want this to be a seamless journey, a process that offers added value to the customer every step of the way.

Interested? Why not find out more?

Read about how Marketing met Sales!