For many in marketing and sales, the march continues towards the attempt to develop tactical plans that will connect them to buyers. We have seen many variations over the past two as these attempts are made. Whether they relate to demand generation, content marketing, sales enablement, and more, efforts are being made to make adaptations to changing buying behaviors.
After two or three years, there is still much frustration that some of these new tactics are not working. Senior executives are scratching their heads and wondering where the ROI is on some of these new tactics. The problem may lie in the inert marketing and sales systems that are in place. By systems, I do not refer to technology. Technology enables systems and processes. What I am specifically referring to is that companies have built-in systems and processes that have been in existence for years and may not have undergone a serious overhaul in many years. Simply put – in today’s connected buyer world company marketing and sales systems can be broken and out of alignment with buyers.
Buyer Designed Systems
B2B companies today will need to evaluate whether they have systems and processes that are buyer designed. If they are not designed with the buyer in mind, then getting good results from whatever systems or processes you have in place will be a difficult mountain to climb. This especially true for larger organizations where layers upon layers of systems and processes have been designed over the past two decades – and they can be as thick as the United States tax code.
In marketing and sales, various systems and processes have been built around how to market and sell to the customer and prospective buyer. When we live in a frantic chaotic world, the annual budgeting process unfortunately can become routine and thoroughly evaluating the results of in-placed systems and processes can be overlooked. Sales systems, which have been put into place several years ago and with considerable investment, may no longer be aligned with the buyers of today. Marketing systems and processes may be slow in transitioning to be more aligned with new buyer behaviors associated with search and content.
Here’s what happens when strategies and systems as well as processes are out of alignment themselves. There is a struggle to execute. When there is a struggle to execute, teams generally will fall back to the way things have always been done. And, when you go back to the way things have always been done, then they will be out of alignment with buyers.
Based on Knowledge of the Buyer
The key to aligning newer marketing and sales strategies with your systems and processes is buyer knowledge. Without it, the connection between them will not be evident. With true buyer research, the glaring holes in systems and processes get shined on with a bright light. For example, many a frustrated sales rep will personally walk a buyer through systems and processes to close a deal – out of fear that the company’s own systems and processes will cause a deal to go awry. And many a frustrated buyer has abandoned a buying process and decision with a company out of frustration from too many hurdles to jump before they can get the information they want.
The design of systems today within companies will need to revolve around the buyer. What’s interesting in this area today relating to strategy, tactics, and systems is that companies struggle to get the right frame of reference. Most organizations continue to have the frame of reference that even with new strategies in place – the focus is still on marketing or selling to the buyer. The buyers of today are looking for a connection with them - not seeking a connection to them.
Do you know enough about your buyers to discern the difference between strategies and systems designed to do activities to the buyer versus with the buyer? Understanding this critical difference today in designing system and processes that allow you to be with the buyer can put you in alignment with buyers – and ahead of competitors.Follow @tonyzambito
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