No products in the cart!
Please make your choice.View all catalog
CEO of TREW Marketing. Author of Content Marketing, Engineered. Podcast host. Helps technical companies build trust and grow their business.
The technical buyer’s journey has increasingly shifted online with each passing year, and Covid restrictions provided an accelerant to this shift as sales travel was grounded and working from home became the norm. In fact, according to our 2021 State of Marketing to Engineers report, technical buyers complete more than half of the buying process online before they engage with a company directly.
As life begins to return to a “new normal,” companies that meet the buyer where they are (online) and add value through content and personalized experiences will be much more likely to make it onto the selection shortlist. This can be particularly useful when considered against the backdrop of the digital transformation movement where companies are implementing new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and sophisticated data analytics to optimize production.
Just as modernizing IT practices creates a competitive advantage, the value of a digital customer experience cannot be overlooked. A powerful catalyst for this is found in the Industrial Sales and Marketing Report for Manufacturers, which shows that a whopping 72% of design engineers will choose another supplier if helpful content, such as native CAD (computer-aided design)/BIM (building information modeling) data, is not available online.
There are many ways to digitize the customer experience, all with the goal of adding value for the buyer, whether that be with more in-depth information, customized content or a streamlined process. Here are a few examples of these shifts:
MORE FOR YOU
• From sales as the primary information source to robust educational website content.
• From print catalogs to product configurators and online stores.
• From product spec tables to 3D CAD drawings.
• From cold sales calls to personalized, automated lead nurturing.
• From in-person networking to online social engagement.
• From customer service phone calls to online chat.
Technology can also be used internally to improve efficiency and provide more insight. Using machine learning, marketing and sales can predict which contacts are most likely to buy and prioritize outreach. When sales does reach out, they can use behavioral insights (i.e., web pages visited, emails opened, etc.) to more quickly home in on buyer needs during those first important sales motions.
If all of this sounds like charting unfamiliar territory, start with defining your target audience personas and then serving their educational needs through a user-friendly website and lead-nurturing sequences to address long sales cycles. Save the cool interactive features for once you establish this foundation.
You’ll need a web structure that is easy and intuitive to navigate, a marketing automation platform and content targeted to each persona along the buyer’s journey. These elements are the foundation of any modern marketing plan where educating prospects is important, and translating that educational information into a digital experience can make a big difference.
From here, you can layer more and more helpful features to enhance your buyer’s experience — from resource libraries and interactive graphics to product configurators and real-time product availability tables.
With digital transformation happening on the shop floor, extending this to the customer experience will build an expectation among prospects that you’re a trusted resource. And by meeting buyers where they are, you can remove friction from the sales process, shorten the sales cycle and build your brand as a modern, forward-thinking partner.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Go to Source
Author: Wendy Covey, Forbes Councils Member
You should select subscription list in your builder component