Who is the more effective sales person? Man or Machine? The correct answer currently is “it depends”, but this is changing and in ways we don’t even yet comprehend. All the PhD level talk about Big Data and doing business in the Cloud is real. Every one of Google’s 140+ Products and Services now incorporate some level of Machine Learning (aka, Artificial Intelligence) in these Apps we use on a daily basis. There is already considerable proof that establishing a marketing or sales relationship with these A.I. tools in place will advance the sale further and at a faster pace.
We are entering an era where… If your computer is smarter about the Customer than my computer you will find, win and retain your customers at a higher rate than I will. Digital Competency in all aspects of business now matters more than ever. The Consumer (both b2c and b2b) is increasingly equipped with an impressive set of applications on-board their PCs and Smartphones to aid in making the best purchasing decisions about price, options and vendor.
This set of technologies help shape the Customer Experience. Some apps like, Gas Buddy, you may have heard of, seen and/or use, but there are millions of other lines of code you interact server-side within your daily research and purchasing activities on web-pages, social media, your phones, PCs, Cars, TVs and (Internet of Things) Appliances that you will never see. These Digital Relationship technologies are here to stay and be will guiding more and more of the purchasing decisions that we are part of in our business and personal lives.
Brands address their Digital Relationships with You through construction of compelling and highly unified Customer Experience Ecosystems that include most if not all of these five elements… How many do you currently have in the works at your company?
- What Original Content can you create that is considered interesting, valuable and/or helpful to your most important audience?
- What Lines of Communication can you establish and maintain with individuals / entities who offer your Organization a potential relationship that advances your mission or goals?
- What Tools, Resources or Subscriptions can you produce that increase the depth or frequency of engagement through your Online Presence to your Target Audiences?
- How can you interject Technology, Automation and/or Intelligence to reduce friction in your Buyers’ Journeys to speed and increase brand knowledge and purchase loyalty?
- Define what creates Fully Engaged Leads, Prospects and Customers by planning and researching what steps in your Online Workflows / Conversion Paths need to be achieved as an end goal at each stage of the customer relationship journey?
Digital Transformation is the process an organization goes through to advance their abilities to take advantage of these new technologies, processes and strategies for creating more valuable and on-target customer experiences. I believe we are witnessing the shift from “nice to have” to now becoming “essential to remain competitive” in meeting our customers expectations. How this applies to your individual business, industry, size and available resources is as unique as your DNA.
Taking the time to learn about what is missing from your own digital front-door experience should be at fore-front of you current planning initiatives. A simple benchmarking of what is currently possible can develop into one of the most powerful arguments for upgrading your Online Presence and Digital Marketing, Sales and Customer Experience ecosystem. The upside for doing this well can be game changing for almost any type of business. Conversely, an ill-conceived or incomplete Digital Transformation plan is a Rocket ship that you just don’t want to strap your fortunes too.
Increasing Demand for your Company’s Products and/or Services is an easy to agree on first-phase goal for a new Digital Transformation initiative. In the digital realm the available forms of performance Measurement are like the rungs of ladder to success or failure. Gaining new Insights about your Markets, Customers and optimizing of the quality and average customer acquisition costs is a critical layer of the digital ecosystem that most businesses are still unskilled on creating, managing and optimizing effectively even with the right tools available.
These data-sets are increasingly what enables “The Smarts” of your Website, Marketing Automation, AdSpend and customization of the Customer Experience. Digital Relationship Management and Insights technologies are two of the fastest growing web-based applications types. Each intelligence gathering equipped engagement with a lead or prospect serves as a valuable way to up your organization’s digital dating skills for future engagements. Only by assembling the right team, technologies and content strategies can you create and extract this valuable and enduring Digital Relationship Intelligence from your current and potential customers.
Applications, Automation and Machine Learning, Oh My!!
Up until now I have only been speaking about what you need to have in place today to be an up-to-date and cost effective Digital Marketer and Sales Organization.
This is point in this blog where I want to figuratively grab most companies, shake them and scream… “Wake-up! The Cyborgs are at your front door and they are about to render your online presence irrelevant!!” or something like that, because as many as 60% of companies surveyed have failed to implement their own goals for transforming their online customer experience.
Every Business needs to work fast and smart on this front. January 2020 is just over 500 days away. What Uber and Lyft have done to the Taxi and Limo Businesses should be fair warning that all leaders need to reimagine how to not just promote their products but think about is it a man or a machine that will be guiding the next generation of purchasing decisions within your industry.
Think about this next generation of the Internet, which is being ushered in by 5G Cellular service in 2019 and an almost fully digital economy in place where our technology ecosystems with increasingly powerful Machine Learning will interact on our behalf to match the best customers and sellers, including the friction-less details of the transactions all completed, sourced and exchanged without any human intervention. Having only a website without this smart technology ecosystem surrounding it is not enough anymore. You just won’t be seen or found online without these rapidly emerging Marketing Technology tool-sets.
It’s clear that there will be trillions of dollars of our purchases transacting each year through these Programmatic Business Relationships networks. How do you plan to embrace and meet these new standards for Marketing, Sales and Customer Service levels of technology engagement?
Identifying and growing the level of traffic of information across Application to Application Interfaces (APIs) is where the new value will be exchanged for both local (i.e., ordering a pizza) and global (i.e., selling your expertise) purchases. Data exchanges like in the apps installed on your smartphone will be essential to establish and sustain enduring business models in the age of these new Digital Relationships increasingly powered by these advanced ecommerce technologies within the hands (or voice) reach of both the buyer and seller.
Most companies grossly underestimate the time, money and temporary loss of productivity a Digital Transformation can consume in the first six to eighteen months of these initiatives. Well thought out communication and project management play’s a critical roll in producing the desired results in these Customer Relationship Ecosystems rollouts that have so many moving parts to plan, build, manage and optimize across the organization.
You may already have some of the needed bits and pieces in place like, a blog, live chat or a burgeoning CRM that can help form the genesis of your Digital Ecosystem.. Start by getting everyone on your team thinking of your new owned and controlled Ecosystem as the on and off ramp for your Business established to generate many new meaningful interactions with the target populations found within the much larger ecosystems of Google, Facebook, Apple and soon, anything you can imagine on the Internet with an I.P. address.
These “Ecosystems Projects” are clearly a poster child for being careful of the adage “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Regretting what you could or should have done in the first phase is best minimized by hiring experienced partners and/or staff. The guide I wrote earlier this year… "Marketing, Sales & the Customer Experience: A Spec-Sheet for Creating Success” is a good primer for determining the key ingredients and factors that need to be present for success from this important business asset.
The good news is the upside of creating your own Digital Marketing, Sales and Customer Experience Ecosystem far outweighs the inherent risks, costs and time you need to invest in getting it and your team fully operational with it. First hand, I have seen client companies increase their qualified leads counts by 4.5x in the three months following the launch of a Marketing Ecosystem. A $1.2 million gain in first year new contracts signed was ten times the initial capital investment for this impressive new online presence and HubSpot-based Marketing and Sales ecosystem.
The longer-term payoff with this better and far more capable form of business development is that entire organizations can shift their revenue generation model from interruptive Marketing emails and Sales calls to a new level of customer-centric relationship building capabilities (also known as the Inbound Marketing methodology).
So where do you rank your own organization’s efforts to raise-the-bar on transforming your Brand’s mission and value into a carefully curated digital experience that generates and knows how to measures each new relationship it establishes for your business?
Or, in short… Are you ready for 2020?
If not, MORE Online NOW can help!
Email me at email@example.com