“Just trying to keep my customers satisfied. Satisfied…”

Every company exists to service customers. The fastest growing companies are those that find a real customer need and service it before, or better than, anyone else. In light of this, few are better placed than the sales and marketing departments to understand the customer and use their feedback to steer the business.

This central theme of this year’s TechTarget ROI Summit, which focuses on how IT marketers use data, was ‘the customer’. The focus of every session putting the customer at the heart of the business, whether it was how sales can use their close relationship with customers to inform marketing decisions, or how data can be used to listen to what the market is screaming out for.

These were my main takeaways from the event:

How to align sales and marketing via customer feedback

Even though they might not always act like it, sales and marketing are a team. If one fails, usually the other does too. Communication is the real key to sales and marketing alignment. Sales know how customers buy, when they buy and why they buy. That’s the key info set for marketing – those three things shape marketing plans! The more information that passes between sales and marketing, the better the results will be.

Read how our client BlueJeans aligned their Sales and Marketing departments.

Data makes a difference

The uses of data are numerous. You can use data to plan your channel selection and engagement methods by finding out where your prospects reside, or you can validate campaigns by reviewing analytics. The main thing is to make sure you’re using good quality data. If you put bad data into the system, bad results will come out. Unsurprisingly, businesses are clamouring to find Data Scientists – they are the ‘rockstars’ and ‘saviours’ of modern companies!

Everyone is a salesperson

No one is more on the front line than customer service teams. Sales and marketing departments need to embrace and empower them. After all, the more data they have on the customer, the better than can do their own jobs.

With more and more marketing departments being judged on targets, marketing should be agile enough to cope with all-important customer input, but have a deep-rooted strategy so it can aid the commercial goals of a company. Targets are hit faster when everyone pulls in the same direction.

Why ABM won’t work unless is it truly personalised

Account based marketing isn’t new. The scale on which it can now be done is. Yet, while data is being utilised to massively scale operations, customers have become used to being marketed to. Anyone can send an email to “Dear {FIRSTNAME}” – it is personalisation that differentiates. No two companies are the same, so why market to them in the same way? ABM should force companies to learn more about the customer and get them the right messages at the right time.

Read about how ABM will power true personalisation in B2B marketing  

Earn the respect of customers

We’ve all heard this oft-quoted SiriusDecisions statistic by now: 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales. Some customers really want to do their homework. You can’t change that, so plan for it. Earned media is an integral cog in this uncontrollable part of the journey – the Church of England IT team, for example, looked at Gartner and ComputerWeekly to shortlist suppliers.

Conclusion

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, once proclaimed: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

At Octopus Group, we believe, like Sam, that you should put the customer at the heart of your marketing. That’s why we launched Loudhouse research back in 2005, so all the campaigns we create for our clients are built on customer insight. Get in touch to hear more about how we can help you get closer to your customers.