This one word describes what Apple has done for us. iPhones, iPads, iTunes…me, me, me. Whether it’s music or a marketing message, we live in a world where we expect and demand a personalized and relevant experience. Does everyone in our sales pipeline and our customer base deserve the same monthly newsletter? Logically, we know the answer is “no.” So why do so many companies continue to deliver a one-size-fits-all communication strategy?
There is a misconception that it’s difficult — and that it’s marketing’s job.
I host Lifecycle Workshops for our new clients and in two hours we create a communication roadmap for every stage of the customer journey and it involves marketing and sales. We use a simple game of “imagine if” to determine the strategy.
- Imagine if, you were a prospect.
- Imagine if, you were a new customer.
- Imagine if, you’ve been a customer for 10 years.
What would you like to hear from a company at each of these points? We break down the B2B Lifecycle journey into five stages: Attract, Convert, Onboard, Expand, and Appreciate. In this two-part blog series, we are going to highlight each stage of the customer lifecycle, as well as provide you with sales tips for every customer lifecycle stage. First, we will discuss the Attract and Convert Stages.
These are contacts and companies you don’t know a lot about. You may only have their name and email address. They typically have not engaged with your sales team.
Goal – The focus at this stage is thought leadership. I heard a VP of Sales recently say “I don’t care if you buy my product at this stage. I want you to come to our website and consume all of our information because we are the experts in this field.”
- Don’t sell. They aren’t ready to buy.
- Don’t throw up all over your prospects about your features and benefits. They are just learning about your company.
- Do make your website the hub of every message you send with a strong CTA to go back to the website so you can begin capturing the web behavior.
- Do be present where your buyers are looking. During this stage, prospects are typically looking for a solution through Google or other online search engines.
- Do use social media to engage. Participate in groups on LinkedIn. Respond to relevant posts with a “non-salesy” response.
By the time a prospect is in the Convert Stage they are likely labeled as “qualified” in your CRM. These prospects have shown an interest in your product and are engaging with sales team members.
Goal – You want your prospects to start recognizing the value of your products and services.
- Don’t assume you have the sale. The buyer is researching you, but they are also looking at your competitors. Ensure value proposition (and positioning against competition) are strong.
- Don’t do one-size-fits-all emails. The buyer is transitioning from search marketing to discovery. They want to learn about your products and services, but only the ones that interest them.
- Do provide information based on their engagement. Because you are tracking website activity at this stage, you can provide targeted content based on their unique engagement.
- Do make it personal. Engagement at this stage is going to become more one-to-one. Sending automated alerts to a sales rep when a certain action is taken can be a vital step at this stage. If someone looks at more than 4 pages of your website, that may be a “hot lead,” so you can send an alert to sales.
Within the first two stages of the customer lifecycle, it’s important to remember that prospects and potential customers are learning about you and beginning to realize the benefits surrounding your product(s). Therefore, educate and engage these individuals; do not try to force a sale that they may not be ready for.
Be sure to check out Part II, as the Onboard, Expand and Appreciate stages are further explored!