More and more dig­i­tal mar­keters are being held directly account­able for sales – online sales, that is. And by ‘account­abil­ity’ I do not mean the usual ‘Oh look I influ­enced this sale’ type of mea­sure­ment. Au con­traire, I mean ‘Oh look, I did this sale’ type of mea­sure­ment. And this trend has been slowly gain­ing momen­tum, not only in indus­tries that have a strong B2C retail aspect, but also in those that sell to their con­sumers via a channel.

This is a mas­sive cul­tural and mind­set shift for dig­i­tal mar­keters in those organ­i­sa­tions – the rever­ber­a­tions of which are being felt in other parts of their busi­ness, such as sales, plan­ning and fore­cast­ing, finance and sup­ply chain, to name a few.

So to become bet­ter at online sales, what can you learn from the enter­prise sales discipline?

Ask any enter­prise sales pro­fes­sional about their crit­i­cal suc­cess fac­tors and you will find that being able to make their solu­tions rel­e­vant to the require­ments of their tar­get cus­tomer fea­tures very high on the list. In fact, most of the enter­prise sales organ­i­sa­tions are con­structed to do exactly that.  When senior exec­u­tives design and/or refine their enter­prise sales organ­i­sa­tion, they aim to increase capa­bil­ity and band­width to pro­duce more rel­e­vant and per­son­alised solu­tions for their cus­tomers.  Sim­ply put, per­son­al­i­sa­tion is on the exec­u­tive agenda and is treated as a com­pet­i­tive dif­fer­en­tia­tor for mar­ket outreach.

For dig­i­tal mar­keters how­ever, the mar­ket out­reach require­ment is on a very dif­fer­ent scale. They there­fore need to use tech­nolo­gies such as advanced con­tent man­age­ment sys­tems, A/B and multi-variate test­ing tools, arti­fi­cially intel­li­gent tar­get­ing engines etc. In doing so, some dig­i­tal mar­keters get so engrossed in the tech­nol­ogy itself, that they become at risk of treat­ing per­son­al­i­sa­tion as a fancy add-on, as opposed to being core to their online mar­ket­ing strat­egy. This approach leads to short-term uplifts, which are nei­ther sus­tain­able nor scalable.

The answer is to treat per­son­al­i­sa­tion as a key dif­fer­en­tia­tor and build an organ­i­sa­tional capa­bil­ity around it. Per­son­al­i­sa­tion needs to be at the cen­ter of your online strat­egy, across chan­nels, across cam­paigns and across your ‘always-on’ mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties. And if you have a global-local organ­i­sa­tion struc­ture, you need to cre­ate a cen­tralised center-of-expertise that works with local cham­pi­ons to cre­ate and exe­cute the per­son­al­i­sa­tion strate­gies at the local level, while ensur­ing that the global best prac­tices are leveraged.

This mind­set tends to be most com­mon amongst enter­prise sales organ­i­sa­tions — and it’s some­thing that dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing organ­i­sa­tions need to get bet­ter at.

In doing so, you will invari­ably put the cus­tomer at the cen­ter of your strat­egy.  This is a fan­tas­tic tac­tic for busi­ness lead­ers to align their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing organ­i­sa­tion around the needs of the end customer/consumer.

Fur­ther read­ing: Adobe & Econ­sul­tancy Report: Per­son­al­i­sa­tion, Trust and ROI

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