Aligning for Growth
The 24/7 customer requires Marketing, Sales and Service transformation
As power shifts from suppliers to buyers, leading companies are transforming how they manage the revenue function to better serve the 24/7 customer. At our 2021 Executive Forum and through our latest Sales Pulse Survey findings, industry leaders shared challenges and best practices with pivoting the revenue organization toward a more proactive, customer-centric culture.
The Evolving Revenue Function
Alexander Group’s research indicates that 75% of sales resources are targeted at persuading customers to make decisions. Yet, most buyers make up their minds before ever contacting a vendor. This gap highlights the need for more investment in resources to influence buyers BEFORE the buying decision
Emerging best practices include resources to such as chat specialists to shape opinions before a sale, and post-sale specialists to enable faster and more efficient solution adoption. In addition, companies are building a revenue ecosystem that connects all customer-touching functions, linking Marketing, Sales and Service.
More companies are investing in a CRO or COO to lead the total revenue function to bring harmony to programs, policies and behaviors across marketing, sales and service to deliver a consistent, superior experience to customers. These companies frequently embed common goals across functions and use incentive plans to motivate team-oriented behavior. Investments in shared digital platforms that link these functions are also on the rise.
Click here to listen to more about today’s Revenue Management function.
Marketing Collaborates with Sales and Service
Executives shared five best practices that help marketers collaborate with sales in this new business climate:
- They establish well-articulated, tailored marketing motions at specific customer segments with solutions that reflect their unique problems.
- They invest in digital resources that use virtual technology to connect Marketing with Sales that can track customers before, during and after the sale. These powerful tools make Marketing more productive and powerful in reaching buyers before they make decisions.
- They establish highly capable revenue operations functions that bind marketing, sales and success motions with common data links, metrics and digital platforms.
- They have a new understanding of what it takes to attract, retain and leverage talent to deliver a great customer experience, reducing future Marketing hurdles.
Executive forum participants shared how connecting Marketing to revenue responsibility creates more targeted engagement. Customers engage with Marketing pre-purchase to acquire information, insight and explore options. Companies with relevant solutions are rewarded with a dialogue after which Sales can engage with a legitimate prospect. Digital channels help marketing and sales reach buyers at any point in their journey. But effectiveness depends on Marketing and Sales engaging in a far deeper partnership than ever before.
Click here to listen to more about today’s Marketing function.
Sales Becomes More Focused and Productive
Studies show that 75% of buyer decision-making happens before a prospect engages with a seller. This means that sales motions must integrate into digital engagement with customers before they make a buying decision. Therefore, it has never been more critical for Sales and Marketing to align with a common, customer-first goal while sharing digital resources that identify potential buyers and existing customers. But there is more.
Sellers spend two-thirds of their time in activities that are not related to customers, according to Tiffani Bova, Global Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. As companies struggle to allocate limited resources, they need to train sales managers and sellers to become customer-solution oriented, and support them with sales efficiency and additional solution expertise, both onsite and virtual.
The sales environment is evolving from primarily field-centric to a hybrid model which blends on-site and virtual selling techniques. Alexander Group’s research indicates that sellers are now 50% onsite and 50% virtual, going to the client site to secure relationships or address complex issues. A virtual environment increases seller productivity and enables easier integration of virtual solution support thus bringing more value to the customer interaction. In addition, Sales, and their related departments, are leveraging AI tools to predict customer selling patterns, helping them target their sales focus on customer needs instead of pushing products that may not be useful.
Click here to listen to more about today’s Sales function.
Service Departments Anticipate Customer Needs
The Alexander Group Sales Pulse Survey indicated that two-thirds of executives had seen an increase in virtual post-sale support and nearly 60% are investing in customer outreach tools for the service function. They are also changing the focus of service, from a reactive “break-fix” approach to a proactive stance where they anticipate what customers will need to help them succeed.
Success is dependent on customers adopting a solution and using the solution. The Service function monitors customer usage, identifies where issues arise, and provide an extra lever for success.
Click here to listen to more about today’s Service function.
Talent and Connectivity
Corporate culture is dynamic and must balance the needs of a primarily millennial workforce and the 24/7 customer.
Executive Forum speakers, Warren Stone of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and Tara J. Frank, noted strategist and author, shared that today’s employees are searching for three fundamentals:
- To be heard and express their ideas on what works and what doesn’t, without fearing backlash or retribution.
- They want to feel that their input is valued, which leaders can do by putting ideas into action.
- Employees want to be recognized for their contributions, which can be both monetary and non-monetary (e.g., being recognized publicly). Connection, empathy and a shared vision help companies attract talent while making employees feel valued for who they are as individuals and contributors to a greater cause – serving the customer.
Click here to listen to more about today’s talent imperatives.
Join Us at a 2022 Leadership Series Event
Sharing challenges, outcomes and best practices are how we all succeed. Our 2022 theme of Enduring Leadership is exploring insights from executives across industry sectors. The first of this year’s events is the Women Revenue Leaders Forum on April 18 – 19, 2022, at the Four Seasons in Chicago. This is a compelling two-day program shaped by the Alexander Group’s multi-industry expertise in Revenue Growth and an Advisory Committee of Fortune 1000 Women Executives.
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Alexander Group Forum Overview
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