Posted by Laura Ramos on February 6, 2013
"Hello, I'm Laura Ramos, and I write for chief marketing officers."
- Invest in thought leadership. Buyers complete half the purchase decision-making before they talk to sales. Top marketers create provocative positions and big ideas that capture customer attention when they discover hidden needs and explore untapped options. They share this information without expectations to engage buyers in dialog and position their firms as trusted resources.
- Nurture prospects — and sales — with productive business conversations. B2B buying is like courting. Unfortunately, digital technologies have turned some of us into stalkers with all the manners of a bar fly. Instead, the best marketers use technology to woo prospects appropriately and make their sales pitches more endearing. And that's as far as I'm going with this close-to-politically-incorrect analogy right now . . .
- Take charge of the customer experience. Business activity tends to focus on the transactional — marketing owns the customer relationship as a lead, sales when it's a deal, service during implementation, and support when there is a service call or open case. As the steward of brand and customer experience, top marketers take a more holistic approach. They own the lens through which the entire organization looks at customers throughout their lifecycle, and they work to get everyone to deliver remarkable, unmistakable, and desirable experiences with every interaction.
- Demonstrate business accountability. Marketing operations is the smallest but fastest growing function inside of many marketing organizations. Top marketers use this function to build sophisticated demand management models — ones that incorporate customer analytics, predictive models, conversion rates, pipeline value and velocity, and transaction size — and map this against the buyer life cycle to predict future growth opportunities.
- Deal with change. Digital disruption is always on the horizon. Changes from automation, content marketing, big data, digital media, and mobile force marketing to rethink its structure, skills, and program mix. Top marketers use digital to make the firm's business model more agile, cheaper, and more in tune with what buyers want five, 10 and 15 years from now.
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