Building customer relationships has always been important, but now technology has enabled us to be more connected. Plus, it has become more of an expectation than in the past to have a great relationship with your customer just to keep up and stay competitive. The best marketers start building great customer relationships while their customers are still prospects. The marketing technology stack can help marketers get the right message to the right people at the right time by harnessing and integrating the data held in marketing automation software, CRM systems, data management platforms, and other systems in the marketing stack.
Customers that are most valuable are the ones that are advocating for your product. If you don’t have those successful customers out there talking about the success of your service, you won’t grow your business. Email, social media, and other digital formats have given customers a megaphone to either advocate for – or denigrate – your business. You have to be able to harness to the voice of your advocates. And you have to be able to address the concerns of your detractors and satisfy them.
Data is critical and will become even more critical in the future to enable marketers to understand their customers. Data will give them insight into who their customers are, what they care about and potentially even more importantly who their best customers are. Data will enable marketers to target messages to prospects and customers wherever they go online. And data will also enable marketers to understand which of their programs are working and which are not, so they can invest more in what’s working and stop doing what’s not.
B2B buying decisions are much riskier than B2C – mistakes in a purchase for an individual can be career limiting. That’s why B2B marketing is so complex and challenging. You’re not trying to convince somebody to spend $1 on a Coke. Someone’s job is on the line when they’re buying your B2B product. The best B2B marketers know this and understand the value of a strong brand message at the top of the funnel and consistent reinforcement of relevant reference clients and their success stories.
The buyer’s journey has changed. Forrester Research found that as much as 90% of the buyer’s journey is complete before he or she reaches out to a salesperson. That means that marketing – via email, search, display, and host of other tools – is responsible for communicating with that potential customer before the salesperson even has a crack at them. Marketing is significantly more important than it ever was in the past and more than any other department, is becoming responsible for the customer relationship.
Being multi-threaded is an opportunity in the buyer’s journey – have multiple relationships with the prospect company. The best and most forward-thinking B2B marketers make sure their message is reaching the entire team of potential buyers at every point in the marketing funnel – even when that buying team is not currently in the market for your product. That’s because you need them to know your name when they are getting ready to buy.