Salesforce recently released their 2017 State of Marketing report. It’s the fourth annual bird’s eye view of the marketing landscape released by the company. The survey of over 3,500 marketing leaders from around the globe is an important litmus test for marketing professionals and their efforts.
The report covers a range of topics and provides insights into the way high-performing marketing departments view the future of their field and the tactics they view as the most important moving forward. Marketing professionals at any organization and any point in their career will find the report useful, and walk away with ideas to improve their work.
In today’s day and age it’s no surprise that the desire for personalized experiences and instant gratification carries over to buyers’ interactions with companies. Today, everyone wants to feel like they’re having an experience that no one else is having. Selling interactions are no different.
The State of Marketing Report bears this out with a couple of illuminating facts about today’s buyers. The first details how buyers expect initial interactions to play out with vendors. “89% [of business buyers] expect companies to understand their business needs and expectations,” the report states. This dovetails with another interesting fact: 82 percent of decision makers think sales reps are unprepared, according to SiriusDecisions.
Buyers are expecting vendors to come to the table with a clear understanding of their needs, and yet they don’t think that’s happening. The best way for sellers to be properly prepared for these initial meetings is for organizations to employ an effective sales communication strategy. Ensure reps are receiving important information about organizational developments and industry trends in an easily digestible format from a platform they access regularly. An effective sales communication strategy provides sales reps with an advantage over the competition.
The desire for personalization doesn’t stop once a contract has been signed. One of the most shocking statistics from the State of Marketing report concerns buyers’ expectations after they’ve become customers. According to Salesforce, “65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor doesn’t personalize communications to their company.”
Read that again: two-thirds of buyers will switch vendors if content isn’t personalized. The importance of personalizing outreaches during the buyer’s journey has become well understood. But less widely accepted is the necessity of continuing with personalized engagements after a buyer becomes a customer. For enterprise-level organizations, the idea of personalizing content for every customer may seem like a daunting task. But organizations would be remiss to neglect this duty. The price of not doing so is the likelihood of a customer switching to a competitor.
To meet the needs of customers’ requirement for personalized content, organizations should turn to a platform that enables them to customize at a large scale but doesn’t require a huge time investment. Fulfilling one-off requests from Sales or Customer Support for personalized pieces isn’t viable for Marketing; however, letting those departments create their own materials also isn’t necessarily the best course of action. Marketing needs a solution that lets them retain a degree of control over the content for branding and messaging purposes, but also gives others the freedom to personalize the material for specific situations. A platform with that capability will give customers the personalized experience they desire, while also not being too taxing on content creators.
The State of Marketing report by Salesforce highlights that Marketing and Sales need to be well aware of what their buyers and customers expect. Not staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends can make the difference between closing deals and always finishing in second place.