COVID-19 has opened a new era for marketers. We have always known the power of the digital and mastered the strategy, tactics and technology to harness it. Now other departments of digital transformation that companies have been talking about for so long have had to face and these colleagues are reaching out to us in marketing for guidance.
While it’s a brave new world for everyone else, it’s another day in the proverbial office for marketers.
The digital evolution is now resonating in all organizations. The pandemic has changed internal structures and relationships with customers, and as a result, marketers are more valuable than ever.
The change within organizations: Marketers are becoming indispensable in a digital world
Marketing is often known as the department that creates PowerPoints and polishes websites. That was never close to the whole truth, of course, but previous corporate structures – where marketing always played second fiddle after sales – let this lie stand.
The pandemic has changed the importance of the marketing team to an organization: it has given us the opportunity. It turned the customer journey upside down. How sales and marketing teams should interact has been redefined. And it is forcing companies to recognize the value marketers offer in a digital world.
According to McKinsey & Company, digital interactions are now 2-3 times more important than traditional sales interactions, according to B2B companies. With these impressive statistics, marketers are at the forefront of revenue generation – because we have mastered the digital game.
Take the new sales trend “asynchronous selling”, where digital touchpoints and interactions take place at different times – usually whenever it works best for the prospect. That sounds a lot like B2B marketing. Because of this, more and more sales teams are relying on their marketing departments to navigate this new reality and give marketing more control over the sales funnel.
As it is, marketers had gradually taken more of the funnel over the past few years; The pandemic has accelerated this trend as more and more companies have had to switch online faster.
In short, now that buyers are more digitally connected, marketers are more connected to sales.
Businesses are also recognizing this shift: 56% of businesses have either increased or maintained their marketing budget since the COVID outbreak began.
Rethink lead qualification
Lead qualification can no longer be measured solely on the basis of content consumption. Visiting a website or downloading content says little about a prospect’s intent. You may not have planned to visit the site or you may have been disabled by your white paper. In a digital world, understanding who is ready to buy means finding those who have already raised their hands to be contacted.
While marketers have skillfully shifted their priorities to take on an expanded role, we have been lagging behind in changing the way we measure our performance to reflect the shift. MMS are no longer the end of everyone, but everyone. New metrics have emerged that reflect the entire sales funnel, but also areas beyond.
Marketers should now look at customer loyalty and longevity value, attracting current customers to potential upselling, and ensuring that customers are getting the most from your product or service. At the top of the funnel, you should measure engagement from digital marketing campaigns and examine how certain actions, like downloading a resource, relate to a prospect’s purchase intent.
Think beyond leads: which actions in the customer experience really correlate with the bottom line? These are the things you should invest in and measure.
In a more digital world, we no longer just pass on leads to sales, we need metrics that reflect our new role.
Be possible with foresight
The term “predictive” has been used widely in recent years. It’s an ambitious buzzword for most businesses, and it wasn’t a reality for sales and marketing in particular. But that’s changing. One of the advantages of a fully digital world is that we can measure engagement, understand intent, and predict action.
Think about which triggers and interactions indicate a qualified lead in the context of the digital age – and for your own company. For ON24 and those involved in our marketing, for example, this usually means that potential customers are only really in the lead when they have done something useful – e.g. For example, ask a question, respond to a webinar survey, or spend more than 50 minutes with us.
However, when every interaction yields a data point, a prediction becomes possible. In a digital environment, sales and marketing can follow the entire buying journey without relying on the leaky faucet of real-world interactions – when people say one thing and mean another.
Predicting is Powerful: It helps marketers understand what actions certain behaviors signal, and how each will affect your bottom line. This, in turn, can dramatically change the way you invest as a marketing organization – how you forecast and how you determine which markets to enter.
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We all know that the best companies are those that work seamlessly between sales and marketing. Now this level of alignment has to go even further: Sales and Marketing are no longer separate departments. You are part of a larger sales organization that operates various digital channels. Marketing creates one-to-many interactions, e.g. B. LinkedIn ads, while sales are one-on-one, such as sending direct messages.
To be successful in today’s world, it takes a lot more than digital transformation – it takes sales transformation.
Tomorrow’s most successful companies will be those that recognize that their sales and marketing teams must change in the same way the world does. Home and office have become one, and sales and marketing should follow suit. As a marketer, we have the opportunity.