Since the start of the pandemic, sales and marketing have reacted to evolving tactics to reach customers whether B2B or B2C. Some of the requirements have continued even as the pandemic slows. The use of digital and print in combination to reach and inspire buyers to further action has become the norm. But what about the messaging and the performance of the company during and after the sale? Customers have expressed the need for marketers and sellers to be authentic in their behavior, provide continuity from initial marketing to selling promises and post-sale response, and have agility in providing solutions that meet the customers’ needs. The focus on these three elements can make the difference between success and failure.
To provide a high-touch experience for customers, brands must take a foundational and objective assessment of their authenticity, continuity, and agility. Authenticity is measuring customer, employee, and supplier sentiment, which informs brand culture. Continuity is harmonizing business delivery systems from first touch messaging through to successful solution execution. Agility is the ability to proactively harness change and replace the status quo.
“Continuously assessing and improving these three foundational elements of the organization will reap the tactical outcome all companies want,” Preston Herrin, Founder and Managing Director of management consulting firm HCG Inc., says. “Public praise, referral activity, and positive metric scores will lead to satisfied, loyal, and stable customers with predictable revenue streams.”
Let’s define authenticity, continuity, and agility further.
- Authenticity is borne of company culture and is the most critical. You want to populate your customer-facing organization with people who crave objective assessment and honest dialogue from customers, peers, and leadership. This helps create a learning-oriented organization where the best ideas win.
- Continuity is the knitting together of all the systems and processes, including external communications, that convey the importance of the customer to the organization. You can have the best intentions to create an amazing customer experience, but it will come up short unless you create seamless continuity. In Atomic Habits, James Clear wrote, “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
- Agility is the adaptation process of interpreting and absorbing change. While it is an important element of a complete Customer Experience Management program, it will not be effective absent an authentic culture and seamless business delivery model. “A critical aspect of this stage is moving the organization from a metrics collector to an analytics predictor of outcomes,” Herrin says. “In its perfect form, these three elements are a continuous cycle: Data gathering feeds predictive intelligence into a learning organization with nimble systems that can pivot to keep pace with customers’ businesses that are continuously changing.”
More easily said than done, let’s look at some ways to ensure authenticity, continuity, and agility in the marketing and selling approach. First, for brands wanting to build the perfect customer experience, you must build a detailed customer journey map and endeavor to measure outcomes at each defined touchpoint. This informative practice can help an organization establish better context for customer interaction. “I always emphasize the importance of context in marketing tactics,” Herrin says. “It’s critical to understand the context of how the customer wants to interact with you, why they are interacting with you, and what the customer expects based on promises made. Often, customer-facing teams don’t establish the full context of customer interaction, which can lead to a poor customer experience outcome.”
Second is the ease of doing business. While customers may try your business because of the brand, they will not be repeat customers unless you make it easy for them to do business with you. Depending on your brand, ease has different definitions. For commodity items, it may be how easy and fast it is to find, pay and take ownership of the items. For luxury, it may be personalization, knowing who you are when you walk in and having items ready to share that are appropriate for you. “As a supply chain professional, I have worked with some amazing marketers,” Evan Wexler, Global Supply Chain Thought Leader says. “The most successful know how to advertise the brand to their core customer and push the product teams to let the business sell itself by word of mouth. You can always drive spikes in demand with deals and discounts, but the best marketing is customer retention due to brand loyalty and experience and word-of-mouth advertising.
Finally, remember to make it convenient for customers to get in touch with you. All brands should focus on customer service. Ensure that you are living up to your promise. Making your customers feel connected throughout the marketing, selling, and post-sale processes is the best secret you need to know to ensure loyalty and successful growth. Make certain that all of your communications and actions reinforce the concepts of authenticity, continuity, and agility. You will be well rewarded for your efforts.
In summary, since the start of the pandemic, sales and marketing have reacted to evolving tactics to reach customers whether B2B or B2C. Some of the requirements have continued even as the pandemic slows. Brand messaging and overall performance of the company during and after the sale have become critical. Customers have expressed the need for marketers and sellers to be authentic in their behavior, provide continuity from initial marketing to selling promises and post-sale response, and be agile in providing solutions that meet the customers’ needs. The focus on these three elements can make the difference between success and failure.
For more information on authenticity, continuity, and agility in your marketing, selling, and after-sale performance, contact your Think Patented account executive or call 937.353.2299.