ENGAGE: Increasing Engagement
Aligning Engagement Goals with Engagement Strategies
“It’s easy to get preoccupied with tactic and channel selection. Be useful, be interesting, deliver value - these attributes organically give way to better engagement.”
~ Ashley Shailer, Senior Associate, Inverta
Goal: Increasing Engagement Across All Channels
Connecting with customers in a way that feels genuine to them is both an art and a science. Much like the romantic idea of engagement, the B2B version encompasses all of the things your company says and does as you attempt to coax customers toward a lifelong committed relationship with your brand, products and/or services. However, nowadays the balance of power has shifted and your once loyal customers find themselves in the flattering position of being courted not only by you, but by your competitors, too. From chatting on social media and comparing online or in-app offers, to receiving calls, emails and invitations to events, etc. your customers have lots of options. So what will be the deciding factor for them? Valuable, personalized, omni-channel content that informs, nurtures and resonates is the irresistible enticement that will persuade your prospects and customers to become fully engaged and ready to commit.
Martech: A good omni-channel strategy needs a CRM; a MAP with omni-channel capabilities or the ability to integrate channel plug-ins; a content management platform that pulls content from sources throughout your company and organizes it for use in personalized campaigns; and a marketing/data dashboard for monitoring campaign performance.
“To get customers, you need to go from the heart to the brain to the wallet. Content should provide value upfront.”
~ Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur, Author and Social Media Influencer
The Content Combo: Style + Substance
In the not too distant past, marketers developed volumes of content because it was the way you got ahead in the information age. But customers soon learned to ignore the onslaught of self-serving articles, blogs and campaigns that were stuffed with keywords and sorely lacking in substance. As you are already aware, the modern customer is a discerning researcher whether by phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. To earn their interest, trust and dollars, your brand must develop marketing pieces that are as smart to the eye as they are to the mind. Customers want informative communications that demonstrate thought leadership and are genuinely helpful. Producing content of a higher caliber that resonates with a customer’s pain points, wants and needs requires a data-driven approach. When creating content for your customers make sure the information you provide is:
- Relevant — Address customer pain-points sooner rather than later. Make it clear you understand their needs. Then, and only then should you introduce your solution.
- Direct — Speak the customer’s language clearly and concisely.
- Timely — Use your CRM and content management tools to send the right message at the right time.
- Real — Treat jargon like the social pariah it is and banish it from all communications.
- Valuable — Know what’s on your customers’ minds and then become their thought leader by providing content that answers their questions.
- Respectful — Above all, honor their preferences. Use the channels they prefer and communicate with the frequency they request. In time, they will note and reward your willingness to genuinely listen to what they are telling you.
Personalization Is the Name of the Game
A report by Salesforce found that percent of B2B customers will switch brands if a company fails to make efforts to personalize communications to them. Moreover, by 2020, 75 percent of B2B customers expect companies to both anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions. Justin Shriber, the Vice President of Marketing for LinkedIn Marketing and Sales Solutions, maintains, “B2B buyers want to be approached with relevant offers at the right moments, not when it’s convenient for a sales rep. They have little to no patience for ill-timed, generic pitches.” In summary, your customers not only want, but expect, you to know them, their needs and to guide them toward a solution that’s right for them. Martech: Personalization tools you will need include a CRM; a marketing/data dashboard for mining customer insights; and a data management tool that keeps data in a perpetual state of readiness.
Become a Sales Enabler
Nothing is worse for your brand or your sales, than for the marketing team to create pieces that communicate one message and sales teams to send communications with an entirely different message. It appears uncoordinated to potential customers at best and completely amateur at worst. As noted author Kate Zabriskie says, “The customer’s perception is your reality.” Your products and services might be the greatest solutions to hit the market ever, but if you can’t get the teams within your company to speak about them in a unified manner, all your customers will hear is noise. A few of the ways you can speed the cultivation of sales and marketing team alignment include:
- Take the Lead — Host a series of meetings between the leaders of both departments to hash out how to better help each other unite and conquer. Once a plan is in place, keep momentum going by continuing meetings on a monthly basis. The goal is to build and maintain healthy and supportive relationships.
- Develop Shared Goals — Build camaraderie between the two departments by identifying goals you have a mutual interest in and can help one another reach. Track the progress of all goals in a public space so they stay on people’s minds and priority lists.
- Get on the Same Page — Identify and catalog all communication pieces that are in use on both sides. Create a timeline to retire, update and develop new pieces.
- Coordinate the Look — Any marketing or sales piece that is customer-facing must uphold your brand’s image and feel related to all other pieces through design, colors, fonts, imagery, logos, etc. Remind everyone regularly of the importance of presenting a unified front to customers.
- Make it Easy — Employ the aid of a user-friendly content management tool with a searchable library of omni-channel marketing-approved messages that sales teams can customize and send on-demand.
- Share Results — Encourage and inspire sales teams to keep using marketing-approved messages by using your marketing dashboard to share highlights from individual efforts of sales team members, as well as results from various campaign pieces.
- Provide Incentives — Create contests around using marketing-approved messages. Reward those who are consistent with something tangible and honor them in company-wide meetings to inspire others to follow suit.
“If marketing and sales aren’t aligned and if they don’t collaborate, they will be disintermediated by buyers themselves who find other ways to get what they need or by more agile competitors.”
~ Mary Shea, Ph.D., Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
Benefits of Focusing on Engagement
- Goal: Increasing Engagement
- Strategy: Use High Quality Data to Provide Customers With Relevant, Valuable and Hyper-Personalized Content; Enable Sales to Leverage Marketing-Approved Content Across All Channels
- Martech: CRM; MAP; Content Management Tool; Data Management Tool; Integration Platform; Marketing/Data Dashboard
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