David Tomas is an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Barcelona. He's the founder of Cyberclick, an agency specializing in optimizing digital advertising campaigns. We asked him how the modern buyer's journey is impacting today's companies. Here's what he had to say.

Many of us can't remember a time before the Internet, but just 20 years ago the "old-style" buyer's journey was much simpler than today's. Back in those dark days of non-connectivity, you simply went to a store (yes, physically walked into a store!) and asked a salesperson for information. If the salesperson was knowledgeable and explained the product's advantages convincingly, the sale would happen. If not, the prospective buyer would leave empty-handed and visit another store. Old-style salespeople needed to be very convincing and informative to close a sale. In our current era, this alone simply doesn't cut it.

Because the buyer's journey is evolving rapidly, your company's sales and marketing processes must adapt to keep up. The modern, three-part buyer's journey looks like this:

  1. Awareness phase, when consumers realize the need for a product or service;
  2. Consideration phase, when they research a product and the various companies offering it; and
  3. Decision phase, when they evaluate different options and make a final choice.

The awareness and consideration phases are causing a huge shift in strategy in which the marketing and sales teams must collaborate to drive results. As a digital advertising expert, I'd like to share specific examples of how companies can succeed in this effort.

Content and Inbound Marketing

What's the first thing you do when you have a problem? Surf the Internet to look for solutions, of course. This is where content and inbound marketing efforts shine: If your company website provides potential customers with viable solutions and product information through blogs, videos, podcasts or eBooks, you will grab a consumer's attention and trust right off the bat. Your marketing team can gather leads from this content and share them with salespeople to move prospects along the sales funnel.

For inbound and content marketing to succeed, your sales team must provide constant feedback to the marketing team. Do certain blog topics or titles glean more qualified leads than others? Do some video topics bring in very few qualified leads? Lead number and quality data can help to optimize content and attract not only more leads but a higher percentage from the ideal audience that convert into paying customers.

It's a great idea to bring your sales and marketing teams together weekly to review results obtained from previous content. You want to ensure that your content is customized to your target audience, which the sales team knows best. This collaboration will align marketing and sales efforts, creating open communication and generating creative ideas for new content to attract qualified leads. Open communication between teams provides your target audience with impeccable value and gets you the results you want!

For example, one of our clients is a train ticket distributor that sells to more than 120 countries. To increase website traffic and purchases, we create intriguing content about different destinations, optimizing keywords in each post. The sales and marketing teams provide feedback on which topics and keywords are working--and which aren't. In addition to increasing website visits and sales, these actions help position keywords in Google's top results.

Segment Your Audience

Increasing website views is exciting, but what matters is the quality of the hits you're getting. Marketers know the numbers, but actual quality is harder to discern. This is where the sales team comes in. They know which company size, industry, market and job titles comprise a qualified lead. Defining your target audience helps attract more qualified leads.

Once your target audience is defined, identify strategies for reaching them. Keywords are a great starting point. Which keywords would your target customer search on? SEMRush and Google Keyword Planner can offer suggestions.

Another way to reach your audience is with social ads that narrow in on specific language, location, demographics, job titles and other preferences. Twitter Tech Marketing (T2M), a solution for Twitter that allows for thousands of segmentations in minutes, can optimize campaigns and boost efficiency―getting you to the right people without wasting money on unqualified leads.

Automate Processes and Track Data

Sales and marketing can obtain a lot of different data from campaign results, all of which is relevant to both teams and should be shared regularly. Analyze the reasons for any increase, decrease or neutral results and implement action steps. If the number of qualified leads decreases, maybe your marketing content isn't relevant to your target audience. Staying on top of this information is crucial in catching missteps early and avoiding long-term issues. In addition, by optimizing both teams with automation, salespeople can send out personalized emails to hundreds of new leads, while marketers can program all of the social ads, often using the same automation software.

Reviewing all data available keeps the entire team updated on recent advancements and any potential issues. By discussing briefly each morning, the whole company can work toward the same purpose: finding ways to help each other increase these numbers!

Published on: May 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.