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Years ago I was on a webinar where they were discussing a shift in how customers are acquired. They called it the customer 2.0 trend (or 3.0 depending on who you talk to). At the time, people were still running the same old sales cycles by hand-holding clients from start to finish.
This webinar stuck with me through the years, and today’s lead generation environment closely reflects the predictions detailed on that webinar I attended.
This blog post is part of "Your Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing" blog series.
The customer of today rolls around in the marketing funnel so much longer than they used to. When they finally come out of the bottom of the marketing funnel (as a lead ready for sales interaction) they are already well informed on your product, their strengths and weaknesses, their wants and needs, and if you are a suitable option.
Think about all the different ways they have been gathering data on your offerings:
Whereas in the past, marketers just made an introduction to the product and then the sales team took over and became teacher, mentor, interviewer and trainer… Now the tables have shifted a bit.
The ideal marketer can garner interest, educate and engage. By the time our sales people touch a lead they are already (or should be) qualified and ready to go into more in depth discussions about solutions and fit.
This model evolved naturally because information is now so readily available to the average customer. What is even better is that marketers can automate a lot of their processes making them more efficient and requiring less human capital to run the marketing “machine”.
In today’s world, sales people are costly and driven by commission. Furthermore, if they spend most of their time nurturing a lead to the bottom of the funnel then they are not producing the result needed by both their employers and themselves.
Sales and marketing teams have to work collaboratively so the middle of the funnel handoff is seamless. Also the customer experience needs to be smooth from awareness to the close of a sale.
In short, Customer 2.0 is better informed, more finicky, and more apt to post a review when they receive bad service over good!
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