Have you ever wondered where all this rapid change is leading us in the sales and marketing professions? What does the rise of the social networking fabric, advancements in technology and changing buying habits mean for our companies and our jobs? While nobody really knows where all this change is taking us, I do believe there are some tell tale patterns that have emerged. These patterns will continue to etch themselves into the marketplace until they are just the normal course of doing business. Below are some fascinating quotes on these patterns and my take on what it means for sales and marketing leaders.
The digital revolution that created so many new business and marketing opportunities is now driving the customer revolution. Digital media and channels allow more data capture, and the ability to capture information in real time is enabling real-time interactions. Technology platforms and advancements are creating mass engagement, changing consumer decision making and buying processes. Because customers have grown accustomed to real time interaction — primarily through their experiences in social media — they expect the same level of engagement, the same level of attention, from companies with whom they conduct business.
We live in the always on economy and your prospects and customers expect instant access to information that can help them make profitable decisions. They also expect real time interaction with your sales, marketing and service employees. Are you meeting these expectations or are you striving to keep up with the giant pivot happening in the marketplace?
The closer you can get to real time with your communications, the greater your competitive advantage will be in the marketplace on the real time factor. The closer you can get to true personalization based on an individual’s engagement with your company by channel (website, social, CRM, helpdesk, billing, email, your product or app, etc.) the greater your competitive advantage will be on the engagement factor. The two factors of real time and engagement are critical success factors in the new world of business.
I realize just how powerful social network analysis is for the future of marketing. The web is no longer just a collection of HTML pages linked together. It is a network of networks of people who are totally connected to each other. I believe it’s the understanding of these connections that will shape not just search, but all of marketing.
Marketing and Sales departments need to merge together and adapt to the change in buyer expectations. Your buyers are not a one time transaction or a series of transactions that calculate lifetime value. They are living, breathing people that share experiences with their social connections; these social connections increasingly influence perceptions of your company in the marketplace and perception is reality. Social is the new normal, the social network and your company’s ability to make meaning of connections and take action will drive the future of your company’s engagement with your prospects and customers.
“Google has launched a new API to graph social networks across the web. This intensive research by major search engines into the web’s social fabric clearly indicates that we’re moving into a new form of information retrieval, one of networks of trust.”
Pay attention to what search engine giants like Google and Bing are spending their R&D dollars on now. Whatever they are throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at in R&D costs are things you should be paying attention to at a strategic level. It just so happens that Google and Bing are in the process of making meaning of social. If social networks and the meaning that can be derived from them is important enough for Google and Bing to focus on to stay ahead of the pack, you should probably be paying attention and adapting too.
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- Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing
- Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing – Is There Really a Difference?
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR — Interview with David Meerman Scott