Marketing 4.0: how the relationship between sellers and customers is changing
The digital transformation, the big data and the increasing use of Internet have changed the relationship between companies and customers, bringing them a lot closer than they used to. Today, “marketing 4.0” has extremely sharp weapons available for generating leads and, above all, for accompanying them effectively throughout the customer journey, which often happens online. Today, in fact, those involved in marketing do not simply have many tools but can also access a large amount of data and convey punctual and personalised messages to specific targets.
How, then, do the new data-driven marketing strategies influence and change the classic relationship between seller and customer? Simple. Unlike what happened in the past, when the strategies were less precise and ‘data driven’, today the seller has a lot more information available on the potential customer and on the basis of this, they are able to foresee their needs, consequently defining the most effective sales technique.
From a specular point of view, targeted communication and marketing strategies also increase customer preparation, a further reason that should push sellers to review sales techniques and negotiation management methods. Today the commercials interact with potential customers who are – exceptions excluded – highly trained. This can happen because they have already searched for solutions online or because they are constantly pressed by competitors, but also because the marketing activity of so many companies has sent them messages aimed precisely at the sale of that product or service.
Marketing and sales, two sides of the same coin
If in the company – which is anything but obvious – there is information alignment between the divisions, adopting advanced marketing strategies turns into an advantage for sales and puts the company one step ahead of its competitors.
Using the entire arsenal of tools and strategies at its disposal, marketing seeks to acquire as much relevant information as possible and brings the lead as far as possible into the customer journey. Then, the seller looks very prepared for the meeting, knows exactly how to handle the negotiation and can embody the proactive seller. In fact, only by knowing the needs of the potential customer and the criticalities that could occur during the sales cycle, the sales agent can act as a trusted consultant, as the one who is there to solve a problem and simplify the customer’s life.
The relationship between seller and potential customer has changed as a result of the evolution of marketing: today, to be successful, you must be fast, quick, envisage few hypotheses but good ones and act to solve problems. Because today’s customer has no time to waste, they don’t like to wait. You must give them a quick solution.
However, if in the company the alignment between marketing and commercial does not exist (or is imperfect), the situation becomes more complicated from different points of view: first of all, in terms of information, the seller could not have all the information he would need to propose an effective sales technique. Furthermore, an inefficiency in supplying updated materials to sellers can prevent them to deliver quotes at the right time.
In full marketing 4.0, merging online and offline experiences, community focus and omnichannel marketing, success also passes (some would say, above all) from the marketing ability to prepare the ground for the sales force. And here, technology has a role: if the marketing team is able to support, thanks to a centralised online platform, the sales network with in-depth data, updated materials and lots of punctual information, success becomes increasingly likely.