Consumer behaviors have shifted and businesses must find time to re-assess budgets and targets, but also plan how their sales and marketing teams will help meet these targets to facilitate new business growth.
The pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing requirements introduced new consumer buying behaviors. These changes to purchasing and shopping from a customer perspective are likely to become the "new norm". These consumer habits use different channels to source products and services. Today's consumers are interacting with businesses differently and have developed all-new customer experience expectations.
New marketing and sales strategies need to be developed to keep customers engaged and drive new business to sustain a competitive advantage. Here are 10 strategies for your business to consider:
Consumers now rely on social media to engage with brands, mainly since the pandemic limited face-to-face business interactions. Social selling is becoming the new preferred sales tactic over more traditional methods, such as cold-calling.
Social selling uses social media platforms to connect with, understand and research future prospective sales. It is a far less intrusive way of increasing sales. With cold-calling, you're often interrupting a potential buyer's day or catching them at the wrong time where they may be less inclined to express interest in your products. However, social selling is more subtle and allows you to build gradual brand awareness indirectly with consumers - at a time that suits them.
To build this awareness, it's important to practice 'social listening' across your target audiences by:
Social selling is a slow burn. It's essential to get the basics right first before over-committing to the practice. Start small, and focus on just one social channel. Unless you have the team capabilities, building from small beginnings will be more rewarding for your business in the long term.
The word "automation" is being referred to more and more. Automation is the process of delegating day-to-day repetitive and transactional tasks to machines or artificial intelligence systems to free up your sales and marketing teams' time. Your employees can then focus on securing quality relationships with clients and prospects without having to increase overheads.
Marketing automation involves using software to automate marketing-related activities. These can include, but not limited to:
By implementing software to complete the above transactional and time-consuming marketing tasks, your business can generate revenue more consistently and drive conversion.
On the other hand, sales automation involves streamlining tedious and often administrative tasks in the sales process so your sales teams can focus more on selling. These can include, but is not limited to:
Don't get caught up in the idea of just 'palming off' any and every task to automated software. Remember, customers still appreciate real human interactions, and at this stage in technological developments, those elements are irreplicable.
Is your sales and marketing team’s feeling under the pump? Why not consider outsourcing some of your sales and marketing team's tedious, time-consuming and administrative tasks. In contrast, your onshore teams can then re-focus on campaigning, brand development, strategy and nurturing relationships.
As a bonus, outsourcing can help reduce costs, give rise to business growth opportunities and increase efficiency and quality while giving you access to a global talent pool.
The types of roles you can outsource as part of your sales and marketing team include:
Did you know that 80% of consumers are more likely to engage with a company if it offers personalized experiences based on consumer interests and preferences? Personalization is the process of tracking a target audience's or existing client's digital and in-store preferences then customizing their communications accordingly.
Personalization tactics can include:
Various digital tools can help track consumer behavior to plan personalization techniques accordingly. These tools can identify and recommend products to customers based on previous purchases or "wishlist" items.
Artificial intelligence can collect large amounts of data, analyze it, apply it to sales and marketing strategies and provide feedback or recommendations far more quickly and accurately than if humans were to do it.
AI is beneficial in the digital marketing space and can have a significant impact on enhancing customer experience. By collating customer data, learning from customer activities creating consumer trends, predicting future consumer behaviors. This can be quite useful in building effective marketing campaigns and improving the customer journey.
Amazon, a global online retailer, is an excellent example of pioneering AI in marketing. It uses artificial intelligence software to introduce products to shoppers similar to what the customer has viewed or searched previously.
AI can also allow customers to view products in 3D or virtually "try on" clothes or glasses. This is a timely addition to the current consumer trends of online purchasing and lockdowns still in effect.
The more information AI gathers, the more accurate its recommendations. Whether that be to customers such as product recommendations or sales and marketing departments illustrating key product searches or successful campaign metrics.
Video content and streaming have helped remote consumers overcome the feeling of disconnectedness from the outside world and establish stronger connections with brands. According to Wyzowl's research, nine out of 10 people want more video content produced by brands in 2021, with a further 68% preferring to learn about a product or service through short video introductions. From an analytics perspective, content published by brands that state the word "video" is eight times more likely to be opened by customers.
Ideas for sales and marketing videos or live streams can include:
Leading social media platform, TikTok, with nearly 700 million users worldwide, allows sales and marketing teams to add brand content to target audience feeds naturally.
Live content and streaming increased during the pandemic to keep up a level of engagement with consumers. Most social platforms added in "live streaming" features during the pandemic to make it quicker, easier and easily accessible for businesses to start streaming to followers.
Consumers want to learn about brands and their impact on society, the environment and feel a part of their journey. By creating high-quality content, such as blogs or case studies, businesses could receive up to 67% more leads per month than those that don't.
Blogs can also increase search engine optimization (SEO) metrics and drive more customers to your brand. Content marketing is an effective way to discuss product features, showcase your brand's expertise within the industry and establish the business as a market leader.
Sales and marketing strategies should focus on long-form, quality content rather than short, uninformative posts to reap the benefits of content marketing.
Businesses need to focus on keeping their existing client base happy. Client retention can be less expensive than trying to acquire new prospective customers. In fact, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer over retaining an existing one and the success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
Budgets targeting B2C loyalty and retention-based marketing are expected to increase by 30% in 2021.
To capitalize on B2C customer retention, sales and marketing teams should focus on mobile marketing. These strategies can include:
All these can help to strengthen existing brand reputations, which can then indirectly lead to new sales through word-of-mouth.
Due to the tragic nature of COVID-19, a consumer trend in 2020 was the need to seek brands that showcased a strong commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability. Instead of false promises, brands need to tread carefully and follow through on promises made involving diversity, inclusion and cultural competency.
Holding events or fundraisers for social topics that ring true to your organization's values and your consumers' own will evoke a sense of respect and trust in your brand across your market.
Consumers were forced to identify new ways to shop during lockdowns, and options such as click-and-collect and cheaper delivery fees were made available and consumers expect to still be offered moving forward.
Although physical stores have reopened in certain parts of the world, digital and contactless channels are still a large part of consumer shopping preferences.
It's unlikely that customers will revert to in-store purchases quickly, and omnichannel strategies are essential to ensure different purchasing methods remain available. 86% of shoppers hop between two business channels, whether that be researching a product online or on social media before buying in-store or considering online purchases as they stand in the queue at the physical store.
If your business can deliver a consistent customer experience across all sales channels, that's when you can say you've established a genuine omnichannel approach to sales and marketing. Ensuring that each of your channels is integrated with a customer relationship (CRM) system ensures that necessary consumer data is collected, organized and reported to your sales and marketing teams.
To boost your sales and marketing plans, download our free social selling checklist today.
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