Welcome to 2020, a new decade where we all pictured growth, progress and prosperity for ourselves and for the companies that we work for. Every futuristic endeavor embarked upon in the past five years seemed it was destined to be fulfilled in 2020. Clearly, none of us knew that the world as we knew it was going to change. Especially when it came to the relationships that we build with one another. In this new world where we’re all expected to stay at least 6-feet apart, while also understanding the six degrees of separation, how can we truly “stay-in touch” with one another?

Especially in the world of Sales, where that very ‘touch’ with our prospects and customers is what’s required to generate pipeline for our firms. Although the importance of digital touchpoints within the purchasing cycle had been steadily rising, this shock to our lives has only made the impact more pronounced. Digital is now playing a bigger role than ever before! Since the pandemic hit, more than 90% of B2B sales has transitioned to a virtual sales model. This move to remote selling has transformed traditional sales into a world of video conferencing, chatbots, virtual events, and everything e-sales.

Wouldn’t it be great to understand the behaviors and patterns of your prospects, about where they live on the web, what they search for? Or, perhaps you’d like an indicator to inform you of where they are in their buying cycle? Would it be valuable if there was a model out there that could predict whom within your account lists to first call? Who would be more responsive to you on which channels? Maybe it would be prudent to know whom the right person within that big account your trying to land is, a true decision maker that can help push your deal through.

All these and more questions are being asked by the omnichannel team within your company. In fact, the very job of that team is to create what’s known as a “Touchpoint Strategy,” where they map out every single interaction (web or otherwise) of a prospect’s  journey. The slight issue is, you don’t see what they can see, and they don’t see what you do. Imagine having the marketing, sales and CX teams in your firms aligned on the same set of data and platforms to be able to not just answer the questions above, but also execute an experience that reaches your clients exactly where they are on their journey in real time.

Here are some immediate steps you can take to build alignment internally… to succeed externally:

  1. Share data: Build as many pipelines betweenSaleforce.com (SFDC) and the rest of the marketing technology stack as you possibly can. Here’s the crucial part: make sure that data flows both ways and is as real time as possible. This will give you the most accurate picture of the touchpoints that your customers have already interacted with, you can then decide which direction to guide the conversation in order to close the deal.
  2. Coordinate on strategy: Prioritize your target account list, split them into net new acquisitions, protect accounts, and existing customers. Having a pre-defined strategy on segments will help build and retain your pipeline.
  3. Scale using automation: Once you have the data and strategy in place, build end-to-end customer journey programs that allow for optimization instead of running one-off sales sprints. Trust me, it pays off in the long run.
  4. Up-skill your staff: Start with cross training the marketing, sales and customer experience teams so they understand one-another’s abilities better. Ask what you can do for each other, not what you want from one other.

One thing is clear, the use of digital and self-service channels is not going away any time soon. This is why companies need to be more internally in-sync than ever before.  This will help enable effective digital interactions and empower sales reps to put their best ‘click’ forward. It might seem daunting at first, but re-engineering the customer experience along with the sales process across all channels must be a priority for sales leaders. Deploy your sales teams across channels in order to deliver the best customer experience and deliver that ‘touch’ that’s most required at the moment. Ensuring that when we’re all “back to normal,” that first ‘touch,’ won’t result in a cold shoulder.

As Global Omnichannel Marketing Lead at Workday, Spandana Lakkamraju is responsible for the customer engagement strategy and roadmap, including segmentation, touch-points, and success metrics. Spandana also assists with planning and orchestrating the omnichannel team and projects, partnering  with sales, demand gen, segmentation experts, content marketers, channel managers, and  analytics teams to craft an extraordinary customer experience. Previously, she was a Global Omnichannel manager and a Revenue Marketing Specialist at Cisco.

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