The Buyer Journey: It’s Not Just for Marketers Anymore
Marketers, analysts, thought leaders and academics have waxed poetically for years about the concept of the buyer journey and what it means for business … specifically marketers. An entire industry emerged in technology to help marketers like me transform unknown website visitors into known leads, qualify them and seamlessly pass them off to sales to close the deal. It was beautiful – an elegant solution to address an incredibly challenging environment of building and scaling demand generation.
The reality, I’ve now learned, is that the idea of buyer journey is far more than marketing. In fact, it is the very essence of the most successful companies. From world-class consumer brands like Nordstrom and USAA to leading business-to-business brands like Salesforce and DocuSign, great companies are developing teams and deploying technologies to react and respond to the evolving buyer journey from the first visit to the website until long after the prospect becomes a customer.
This new reality means it’s no longer enough to simply “nurture” prospects with marketing automation systems like Pardot, Eloqua, Marketo and others with data-informed messages that drive to a demo. Companies must extend that data-informed personalized experience and adopt a “sense-and-respond” urgency throughout the sales cycle. Today, there is not a company on the planet using marketing automation that wouldn’t reach out to a prospect immediately after she requests a demo online. However, too few sales teams have the tools and know-how to employ that same approach to sales.
In my latest post on VentureBeat, I shared how this new reality requires a modern approach to go-to market. Rather than viewing teams and technologies as “marketing” or “sales,” it’s time we take a broader look and align tools, technologies and teams around the customer, not simply organizational charts and reporting lines. At its core, this seismic shift requires companies prioritize the buyer journey from lead to customer above all else and adopt an entirely new approach to the analytics, automation and technologies that can make this concept a reality.
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