The goal of any business leader is, simply stated, to drive growth.
In most cases, driving growth means increasing sales revenue. However, as trends in sales and marketing are continually changing, CEOs and CMOs are required to work smarter to understand and relate to their buyers, so they can direct their teams. The following four insights are crucial for leaders seeking sales growth.
1. Embrace Digital Buyers
There is no doubt that COVID-19 transformed the B2B market landscape. Digital communication went from being a bonus to a necessity as in-person meetings ceased. Buying behavior also changed as customers more frequently use digital channels to encounter brands. Now, in a B2B sale, CEOs need to be certain that their team is prepared to enable omnichannel selling to meet the customer where they are.
Omnichannel selling involves using multiple channels, online and offline, to create a more seamless and personalized experience for customers. According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that make the necessary advancements to provide a more diverse buying experience will attract and retain more customers and increase revenue.
It’s becoming more common that customers expect to be able to seamlessly use multiple channels to complete a purchase. In fact, HBR also cites B2B Pulse research from McKinsey, which shows ‘two thirds of U.S. buyers opt for remote human interactions or digital self-service at various stages of their decision journey, such as identifying, searching for, reviewing, and evaluating new suppliers, as well as for ordering and reordering.’
Clearly, CEOs and CMOs need to fully cater to all buyers.
According to CEO and founder, Alice Heiman, “This means your marketing team needs to provide opportunities for customers to interact digitally on social media, your website, and other internet platforms. Your salespeople need to be prepared to meet as effectively in a video meeting as in-person, and they need great digital assets from marketing to use during the buyer journey. It means you may need to do some new things, like add a live chat on your website so that customers can interact with a human at all times.”
2. Coordinate Your Sales and Marketing Efforts
Relationships between sales and marketing teams are notoriously strained. As the trend of omnichannel selling accelerated, sales and marketing strategies had to shift. As a result, the divide between sales and marketing teams became even wider. Closing this gap is a dramatic step toward increasing company sales.
When sales and marketing are able to work in tandem, wonderful things can happen for a business. Marketing services allow sales representatives to more fluidly reach online customers. Sales representatives are able to help marketing teams better understand those same customers. Sales teams also provide data that can streamline crucial marketing efforts that lead to the retention of clients.
In order to align your sales and marketing forces, ensure that all your employees are aligned when it comes to your company’s definition of excellent customer experience. Once your teams are aligned in purpose, they are able to more powerfully focus and upgrade your customer experience.
Remember, customer experience starts the moment your client discovers they have a need and continues long after they make a purchase. Sales and marketing are both responsible for the initial and ongoing satisfaction of customers. As a result, creating long-term plans surrounding customer experience is crucial to sustaining client relationships and driving sales.
3. Remember Storytelling is Key
We undoubtedly live in the era of storytelling. Those who perform best on social media platforms are the individuals who are the best storytellers. Stories are powerful because they stick. It is always easier — and more enjoyable — to remember something that is attached to a story. When you are able to tie your company’s vision and purpose to a story that resonates with others, they will be more likely to recall your services when they need them.
One aspect of storytelling that is challenging, but important, is vulnerability. Today’s society craves the authenticity found in vulnerability. The more vulnerable business leaders or companies are online, the more loyalty they gain from their audience and potential clients.
Deciding when or how to be vulnerable online may be a challenge. Nobody wants to over-share. There might also be information that some businesses feel more comfortable sharing than others.
When I am deciding whether or not to share something online, I check to see if what I’m sharing is personal or private. Information about my personal interests, knowledge, and even mistakes, can be appealing to my community. However, I tend to not share private information, particularly when it involves my loved ones or other individuals.
4. Establish Yourself as an Industry Thought Leader
As CEO or CMO, you have many opportunities to develop yourself into a subject matter expert. You may consider writing for a news outlet or publication, writing a book, or public speaking. Any effort to share novel information regarding your industry can give your business more credibility and potentially drive more traffic to your platform.
Rob Cosberg, the owner of Best Sellers Publishing, helps business leaders become bestselling authors. He has witnessed the value of positioning yourself as a thought leader. He says, “Make sure every conversation is framed properly. If you chase someone, the natural thing for them to do is run. So whether you do sales calls yourself or have a team that does the sales calls, make sure that you have a system set up to frame each conversation with you as the prize. You can do this with a book you’ve written, testimonials from happy customers, and social proof media you’ve appeared on.’
Considering this advice, you can see how CMOs can affect sales. You’re in a position of power, a position of authority. You have the ability to use your voice and influence others. In fact, one common definition of leadership is the ability to have an impact on the beliefs and actions of the people you are leading — to influence them. Why should it be any different to influence customers and clients?