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Is Marketing the new Sales?

Harald Behnke
Director Digital Marketing Strategy EMEA

You probably all heard this in one way or the other: in our digital era, buyers are 2/3 through the decision process before they engage with the first sales person. Both in private and business life, Google, Amazon, blogs, social networks and mobile completely changed our buying habits - which disrupts many legacy sales and marketing mechanisms. The business challenge is how to adopt to the new buying dynamics - with legacy CRM or eCommerce systems not built for these use cases?

Should we even follow innovators like Apple who closed their silo’d online store to seamlessly integrate shopping into the main marketing site? Looks like there’s an elephant in the room: now dominating the funnel, is marketing the new sales (system)?

We believe the answer is all about orchestration. Marketing systems have to step up and lead the transformation, closely connect with sales systems, manage the customer journey cross-channel and learn to integrate all data involved in the go-to-market. But all that’s easy said.

How is it done?

First, it’s all about WHO is your customer. We need to turn anonymous digital visitors into personal contacts as early and often as possible. The key innovation in modern marketing is to activate all the customer data you own and map it with anonymous prospects. Like a good in-store sales person, this enables your systems to read the „digital body language“ of online and even offline visitors and react with personalized emails, ads, content, offers and pricing. "Personalization at scale“ is how companies like Aer Lingus increase their revenue attributed to marketing way over industry benchmark.

Second, solving the WHEN challenge - we need to master the timing of our lead flow from marketing to sales. Enterprise lead management should be smart and flexible at scale: neither handover leads too early which spams our sales team and makes us look creepy in front of the customer - nor too late to risk loosing a deal to a competitor just one click away. Moreover, marketing should empower sales teams with 360° customer profiles in real-time, whenever they want. A good example is how Thomson Reuters aligns their B2B sales and marketing teams.

Last but not least, we need to master WHERE to reach our customer in the process. Cross-channel orchestration needs to sync online, mobile, social, advertising, call center and offline communication allover the customer journey. We often hear this is the most complex challenge given the dynamics of news social networks, mobile devices or other digital consumer technologies coming to play. Retailers like Missguided significantly grow their revenue attribute to marketing across various channels.

To learn more about marketing orchestration, download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Cross-Channel Marketing. This guide uncovers tips to help marketers personalize at scale, engage with insights based on digital body language and a lot more.

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