Marketing isn't the way it used to be.

While marketing tactics once relied on cold calls and not-so-subtle persuasion to achieve success, that's no longer the case. Nowadays, consumers are less interested in hearing about your company's amazing product and more interested in hearing about how you, as a company, can help them meet their needs.

Why? Because customers no longer rely on salespeople to inform them about the product. About 81% of customers begin their journey through the sales funnel already having conducted extensive online research.

As a result, trying to sell to these customers simply by expounding the virtues of your product won't bring them any value. Instead, what will bring them value is a customer-centric approach--one that addresses customer pain points and helps customers find solutions to their unique needs.

Adopt an inbound marketing approach

When it comes to your marketing strategies in general--whether they're content, SEO, or social media--your company should adopt an inbound marketing an approach. An inbound approach is customer-focused, rather than product-focused. It's about the customer finding you, rather than you going after the customer.

Hubspot, the marketing platform from which the term "inbound marketing" originated, offers a few different marketing strategies for aligning your company less around closing the deal and more around customer needs.
The idea is that when you shift your messaging and interactions with customers to address their pain points and offer solutions to their problems, they'll organically be drawn to your site and to your company.

There are a few different ways your company can shift to inbound. Whether it's through phone calls, visits to your company's site, or reading your company's blog posts, users should feel like all their interactions with your company are centered around them.

When you call potential customers, for example, ask them about their challenges and pain points, rather than focusing on closing the deal. And when you write content, use the blog as a platform to offer users actionable advice and helpful suggestions, rather than preaching about the virtues of your product.

When users see that you genuinely care about helping them solve their problems--rather than just about making a sale--they'll feel more intuitively drawn to your company.

Show customers you put their data to good use

One of the biggest changes you can make if you want to become a more customer centric company is to transform the way you view and analyze your customer data. Marketers should use the full scope of customer data for relationship-based marketing, which will show customers that you use their data to provide them with personal value.

How can marketers take a more rounded approach to the way they analyze customers? Once they segment their customers, marketers should start building profiles, or customer personas, for each distinct customer type. In addition to using the standard customer data, they should also reach out to customers for input through surveys, feedback and other means.

Not only will this help them build more human customer profiles, but the process of reaching out to customers and asking for their input to help you improve their experience will communicate the message that your company genuinely cares.

As you reach out to customers for their input, you should also make use of the data they're providing in a way that will make them feel genuinely understood. And this data is something you should never underestimate.

Pini Yakuel, CEO of the relationship marketing hub Optimove, suggests that you start this engagement with your customers as if you're wooing someone: "Be as attentive to your customers' expectations as you are to your new date. Maintain this stage and anticipate your customer's needs using emotional intelligence," he explains.

Tailoring messages to customers not only based on their personal details, but also on their real-time behavior or product preferences, will allow you to communicate with them at the moment they're most receptive to your product or service.

Encourage transparency and collaboration 

In addition to sending your leads targeted marketing campaigns, communication is about calling up your most qualified leads and engaging with them personally. And in order to do this, your teams need to have full knowledge about each potential customer.

Your company needs to keep a written record of customer information, the status of each lead, customer interests and previous purchases, and the outcome of all communication between the customer and your company.

Collaboration is essential when different people within your company are engaging with the same customer. Open and thorough communication regarding customer details is particularly important for your marketing and sales teams, which need to work closely with one another in order to get the full view of the customer. If your marketing team fails to communicate an important piece of information to your sales team, that could make it harder for your sales team to close the deal.

So how should you ensure regular communication between both teams? One good strategy is to view your marketing and sales departments as two parts of a single team, and to have both groups meet during their weekly team meetings.

Another strategy is to use digital management platforms like Monday to help all employees keep team members up-to-date with customer information. When employees can collaborate between teams, they ensure that details about leads, such as what their pain points are, what solution they're looking for, and how they left off at the last call, will smoothly pass from one team to the next.

Putting your customers at the center

By adopting an inbound approach, setting aside time to communicate with your team and customers alike about customer needs, and developing a three-dimensional picture of each customer, you'll be able to shift your company away from a product-centric mindset. The customer-centric approach is the most effective way to grab the attention of today's savvy modern customers.

Published on: Jan 17, 2018