Are You Minding The #DigitalGap? How to Align Marketing And Sales to the Buyer’s Journey
We hosted our first ever TweetChat last week with Heinz Marketing, and we’re happy to say it was a great success! Thank you to everyone that joined the conversation. The topic of our chat was on the #DigitalGap that exists between where marketing and sales are spending, and how customers are buying. We took away some key insights from the chat, and thought we would share. Let’s take a look at the answers we received to the five questions posed during our TweetChat.
Q1: Is there a mismatch between how companies are spending and how customers are buying?
A1: This one was met with an overwhelming YES.
@HeinzMarketing: Companies buy what is familiar or affordable, vs. paying attention to where their customers are and how they are influenced
@ReIntent: Sure, it seems like customers want to “lurk” on SM without feeling like they’re being actively advertised to
@DSPMark: Companies must update web to provide info for customers without sales getting ‘in the way’
Judging from the responses to Q1, it’s clear that sales and marketing organizations are misaligned with their buyers. A big reason for this mismatch is companies aren’t investing enough in digital marketing spend and digital sales tools to accommodate customer buying preferences. Thus, creating a #DigitalGap.
Several followers asked for advice to B2B companies looking to achieve a balance between the buyer and seller journey. Matt Heinz suggested that it comes down to three things: precise customer understanding, lots of great content, and tools to segment delivery.
Q2: What are the primary channels customers are using today to conduct research before buying?
A2: Interestingly, many people responded that customers are using a lot of difficult-to-intercept channels, such as referrals and online reviews. Many also responded that the digital breadcrumbs buyers leave behind may be evaluated with intent modeling.
@reintent: Referrals! Yelp! Their moms! The low tech channels (that are so hard to intercede)
@debindc The key is getting signals of buyer intent before and after visiting the website
It is not easy to distinguish between true intent to buy and “just browsing.” Customers are spending more of their buying time online, which means companies should be putting more resources in the digital space, be it online advertising or digital selling tools. There are some approaches we recommend as a starting point. Predictive modeling can be used to analyze historical data and path to purchase, allowing marketing and sales teams to target more efficiently and deliver the proper messaging to distinct audiences.
Q3: Which portion of the buying journey are customers “missing” with their marketing programs?
A3: The consensus here was a lack of valuable content to nudge buyers to purchase, which typically sits beyond the awareness stage.
@heinzmarketing: Create content your customers would pay for. Surprise & impress them with constant value.
Others tweeted about the difficulty of crossing the finish line to conversion, and the lack of content that exists to facilitate this.
@ReIntent: Converting trail users to paid users. There’s interest, but often too little to commit
@DSPMark commented, “biggest challenge=time. So much of the content exists, but putting it in a digestible, presentable form…”
We learned that there are a couple gaps when it comes to this question. The first gap is the misalignment between the buyer and seller journeys, and the second is a lack of valuable content to fill every stage of that journey – especially consideration and purchase stage. Content is a vital piece of the buyer’s journey, and it shouldn’t stop with acquisition. Be sure to integrate personalized content at every stage of the buying journey, even beyond the sale.
Q4: What % of marketing budgets should go to digital programs? Is there a difference for B2B vs. B2C?
A4: Everyone agreed that a significant portion of the budget should be allocated to digital, and many chimed in that it depends on your customer’s habits.
@liv_mariani: over 50% depending on where your customers tend to be.
@heinzmarketing: Follow your customers. Where are they at each stage of the buyer’s journey? Different answers for everyone.
However, @dilianna pointed out that, “some marketers don’t know where those customers are,” to which @heinzmarketing responded: “Ask! Ask your customer-facing teams, ask analysts, ask the customers directly!”
We also suggest conducting some data analysis and understanding the touch-points of conversion for your content as well as which channels are receiving the most engagement.
Q5: Which digital programs continue to capture the largest share of online spend for your company?
A5: There were diverse answers here. Responses included paid search, advertising, personalization tools.
The bottom line: it depends on where your customers tend to be and what sort of historical engagement these channels have received. These were some smart marketers: it’s all about the data!
Stay tuned for our next TweetChat. Don’t forget to follow us @MarketBridge!
To learn more about the #DigitalGap, watch this video.