The Marketing Strategist:

Marketing Leadership Panel—How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?

July 9, 2014

As the arbiter for customer insight and data, it is marketing’s responsibility to ensure the voice of the customer is carried throughout the organization, especially when enabling the sales organization. However, the only way for marketers to truly know their customers is to get on the proverbial delivery truck. As David Lee, former VP of Marketing, Strategy and Sales Enablement at Dell, shared during a recent marketing leaders panel convened by ITSMA, “Only when you put yourself in the shoes of the salesperson and ride that truck all day long through the sales cycle will you discover the difference between enabling and disabling.” Marketers need to commit to understanding the buyers’ journey, not just at one point in the purchase process, but throughout. Too often, marketing’s focus is at the early stages of the process—building awareness and generating leads—and their job “ends” when they hand the lead off to sales. Sales need to build relationships based on customer insight and relevance. To effectively enable the sales organization, marketing must serve as a conduit between what customers are saying and what sales needs to know to elevate the conversations. This means that marketing needs to have direct contact with customers. Relying solely on secondary sources and survey reports is not an option. Marketers should take these steps to capture the voice of the customer: 1. Engage with customers. Interact frequently with customers participating in user groups, forums, and customer advisory boards. Collect feedback—both formal and anecdotal—on the value customers are getting and whether their needs are being addressed. 2. Insist on customer-centricity. Translate messages and value propositions into customer benefits 3. Analyze the trends. Watch NPS and CSAT scores over time, keeping in mind that the score is not as important as what the number represents 4. Drive that truck. Participate in sales meeting to see firsthand what sales needs and how marketing can contribute. Prioritize sales enablement activities that deliver the biggest impact. To read more about what marketing leaders at KPMG, Oracle, and Dell are doing to demonstrate value and transform the role of marketing, read the ITSMA Viewpoint on Marketing’s New Mandate: Get on the Delivery Truck.

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