The buyer’s journey has changed dramatically in the last few years. The times when the first step was contacting a sales rep. are long gone. These days, customers handle most of the information phase themselves by searching on the web, reading blogs, and by discussing on forums and social media. The customer will not contact a sales rep. until they are at the very end of their buyer’s journey.
Changed consumer behaviors means that businesses also have to change, not least in terms of their marketing. Previously, marketing did their job at the top of the sales funnel. They made the world aware of a product being for sale. It was then the job of sales and other departments to handle the rest. Nowadays, marketing is present in all steps and contributes towards the sales, profitability, and success of the company in a different way than before.
Social Selling and Inbound Marketing
When there are changes to the market and the buyer’s journey, a need for new marketing and sales methods will follow. The line between these two business components is getting more and more blurry, and marketing has had to work on new methods to generate leads and customers to increase sales.
One of these methods is social selling, an efficient sales method where marketing spreads information about the brand, creating trust and becoming an authority. When a customer is ready to talk, they know that they can trust you. This means that you will be the company they think of when it is time to buy.
Inbound Marketing is another sales method. The focus of Inbound Marketing is meeting the customer early on in the buyer’s journey with the information they are looking for. By providing them with interesting and relevant content, you create a relationship, resulting in valuable leads that can be funneled to sales who can close the deal.
Marketing with Measurable Results
Previously, it was the job of sales to talk to customers, but this has slowly shifted to being more the job of marketing. By creating a constant flow of relevant and helpful content, you guide customers in their decisions throughout the sales funnel. Marketing has become an integrated part of the sales process, and the results are there to back it up. Forrester Research has noted that companies that create leads using these methods generate 50 % more sales-ready leads, and numbers from Annuitas Group show that these kinds of leads buy 47 % more than leads that were nurtured differently. A study from MIT Sloan School of Management reviewed the economic effects of inbound methods, and 69 % of the 5000 participating companies had increased sales after starting working on inbound.
This shows that marketing has come a long way from just creating good-looking brochures and neat slogans. The job now includes actively generating leads and increasing sales, leading to greater profits for the company.