Think, for a second, about what you do before you purchase a product or service! The path a buyer takes is called the customer journey and usually looks like this:
- Need awareness
- Resolve concerns
Often steps are added or changed but however it looks, successful sales relate to:
- The number of people with a need
- The conversion rate at each step
Some things are largely beyond your control, like the need itself, the demand for solutions, the number of competitors, etc. The effectiveness of your marketing campaign across multiple channels is something you can control but let's talk about the step conversion rates which are much easier to improve. Look again at the steps thinking as an individual:
- I want something!
- Where can I find it?
- Is it the best solution?
- What's wrong with my choice?
- I'm going for it!
- I need more!
Notice that it's all about me, myself and I. The bottom line is that sales and marketing is about individuals, not groups of like-minded prospects, segments or verticals. Just like good conversations, people need to be listened to and answered with captivating responses. Clearly, we cannot actually listen to every prospect in the early stages of their journey so we need to emulate the conversational experience on the website and with other interactions.
But how can a website listen? Better than a human it turns out! Every visitor arriving at a website does something! Clicking, scrolling, filling in a form! Whatever they do, and do next, and next is telling a story about who they are, what they are interested in and, by omission, not interested in. Good website software, like Sitecore, meticulously collects the actions of each individual visitor and then, using clever algorithms, shows them targeted content aligned to their needs i.e. more captivating.
The digital conversation between a prospect and a Sitecore website could look like this:
- Arrival on the website - Anonymous experience with no personalization
- Automated personalization - Begins after Sitecore learns from the prospect's behavior
- Web form submission - Sitecore pushes the form data and behavioral analytics to the CRM
- Web form submission acknowledgment - CRM responds with a friendly email
- Manual website personalization driven from the CRM - Salesperson tweaks the lead record
- Real world conversation - Salesperson communicates with the prospect
- Manual website personalization driven by the CRM - Salesperson tweaks the lead record again
Of course, ultimately there is an email automation system that is also wired into the Sitecore analytics to make sure the conversation is continued on multiple fronts.
Give me an example I hear you ask! Take an aircraft company who make a range of small personal aircraft, and luxury business jet aircraft. The visitor's budget is for the former. Their digital conversation could be:
- Arrive on the website - they get an initial "show all aircraft" experience
- The visitor looks at small personal aircraft - Sitecore refocusses on small aircraft
- The visitor gets sidetracked by luxury jet aircraft - Sitecore begins to refocus on jets
- The visitor submits a web form - Sitecore pushes the form data and analytics to a CRM lead record
- Salesperson sees the initial page visits relate to small personal aircraft and adjusts the lead record - Sitecore will target small aircraft when the prospect revisits the website
- Salesperson communicates with the prospect by phone
- Salesperson retweaks the lead record to the exact model of interest. When the prospect revisits Sitecore, the personalization will be targeted to small aircraft
You can see that the value of digital conversations is significant, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.