Sales and marketing executives are already executing new plans and strategies that will continue to propel business growth. After all, companies with aligned marketing and sales teams are 67% more efficient at closing deals and 58% better at retaining customers according to research from Marketo and Reachforce. An effective sales and marketing initiative could mean the biggest difference between bolstered profit margins or losses this year.
To keep up with new customer demand and acquisition strategies, companies must adopt new, highly-specialized martech solutions to optimize every step along the buyer journey. Misalignment of marketing tactics and goals can potentially reduce sales teams’ abilities to achieve set goals. As organizations look to maximize ROI, they need to consider how to succeed in the new world of marketing where every interaction is an opportunity for a customer sale.
Marketing automation is dead
Email has been overused in marketing and is getting less and less effective. Impersonal messages and flooded inboxes are just a few of the reasons. Email marketing is now a minor part of pipeline generation for most companies as they’re incorporating other tactics with stronger abilities for growth and increased ROI. Capturing email addresses and running nurturing campaigns has become obsolete so companies need to rethink the old way of doing marketing and adopt new best practices. Rather, if a prospect is kind enough to grace your website with a visit, return the favor and roll out the red carpet to book a meeting. True ROI is only determined when a business optimizes concrete connections with a customer base through proactive methods aimed at producing meetings. With a steady cadence of qualified meetings, teams can move prospects through the pipeline even faster.
Embracing the dark marketing funnel
Analysts no longer dictate marketing trends. Gartner reports that buyers only give 17% of their time to vendors during their market education process. The remaining 83% of buying research activity is done in what 6Sense calls “the Dark Funnel.” In this new way of marketing in the dark funnel, buyers, marketers and salespeople self-educate by networking. Potential buyers talk to their peers on social networks and in Slack groups (“word of mouth”), meet at events, read others’ blogs, check out reviews on G2, etc. This is all happening outside of the vendor’s control and access and is not trackable in marketing attribution models – hence why it’s dark. Vendors need to identify ambassadors that will represent them in the dark funnel, and this is why this approach is also called “People-Powered Marketing.”
ABM companies will continue to succeed
In the B2B marketplace, marketing strategies and concepts like account-based marketing (ABM) will continue to hold a high place in leadership minds. ABM is meant to drive better ROI by identifying intent in the dark funnel and providing the means to act on this intent. ABM is meant to cater to B2B markets and is a strategy that allows B2B marketers to drive interactions that are personalized and focused at an account-level by adding relevance to every messaging no matter how many decision makers with the power to buy are present.
Inbound marketing will remain a key practice
In a time of digital transformation, embracing inbound marketing is an incredibly smart move. The key factors affecting customer experience are speed, knowledgeable assistance, convenience, and service. Given the critical importance of converting web visitors’ interest to revenues, many solutions have emerged to optimize this conversion such as A/B testing, landing pages, chat, real-time meeting request routing, and real-time lead routing.
Inbound sales development reps will be obsolete
With speed to lead, in a buyer-centric world, sales development representatives typically delay inbound conversion rates and may often upset the potential customer leading them to move on to a competitor. Organizations should skip qualification calls and rely on automated qualification instead to shorten the sales cycle to convert leads and create a better buying experience. All potential buyers ready to emerge from the dark funnel come to the vendor’s website and are typically ready to purchase at this point. From here it is imperative to engage with them on the spot and book a meeting instantly. Any delays in this process may cause the buyer to choose a competitor instead.
With the emergence of these trends we’ll see organizations who adopt the new way of marketing see quicker conversion rates and overall higher ROI. With the proper tools and strategies in place, marketing and sales teams can be set up to succeed at much quicker rates than we’ve seen before. As buyer expectations have changed, it will be crucial for marketers to stay at the forefront of productive trends while constantly working on optimizing processes to improve business efficiencies and margins. 2022 and beyond will be a time to focus on optimized growth models and customer engagement that creates long-term success.