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