Clients don’t see businesses as departments. They see the cohesive front that a business may call its “face.” When businesses earn a sale, the only expectation a customer has is that their needs with respect to the product will be met. Unfortunately, many business departments operate in silos, away from each other, and without cohesion. Marketers, sales people, and customer reps all contribute to the consumer experience. If they aren’t working together, they create a huge gap in the sales cycle.
Why These Departments Don’t Work Together
Marketing, sales, and customer service were once completely different areas of business. Sales people and customer service representatives were typically the only company representatives who interacted with consumers and that was in person or over the phone. Marketing personnel worked to create print content and advertising. Then, digitalization changed everything. Today, all three departments are engaging with consumers during different (sometimes overlapping) times in the sales cycle.
Marketing typically brings brand awareness to the table, and it may take part in some nurturing activities. Sales people are there for leads who are ready for conversion. They’re the ones on the front line, who are under pressure to get old customers to become repeat buyers or to convince new customers to seal the deal. Customer service representatives take care of clients who have already made an initial purchase and who need help with a product afterward.
Each department has distinct goals, but they can and should blend seamlessly together. A consumer should not feel like he or she is engaging with a new entity during any point in the customer experience. However, the managers of each department may all have different managing styles and goals. Getting these departments to work together synergistically can be a difficult internal feat.
Why These Departments Must Start Working Together
Consumers can tell when a company’s employees are not on the same page. They may get a different answer when they go online, talk to a sales person, and then speak with a customer service representative. As mentioned above, each interaction should feel like part of the same process and have the same comfort level. But that’s not the only reason why collaboration is the key to long term business success.
When the marketing, sales, and customer service departments start collaborating, suddenly the window into the life of a consumer expands and you don’t see just one interaction. Instead, company strategists and representatives can put together emotional intelligence that may transform the marketing, sales, and support process entirely. Combining the departments creates a deeper understanding of the journey a customer takes with your brand.
Much of this information may not be what you would get by combing the internet for data or recording purchasing habits. Those patterns are important, but they don’t deliver a complete customer picture. The way consumers interact with each company representative provides insight into their thoughts and emotions. That information can be synthesized by all three departments to yield new ideas for content marketing, sales angles, and other subliminal messaging. But only the full cycle experience provides this in-depth emotional intelligence. Companies won’t see it if they allow these three departments to remain isolated from one another.
Collaboration for Acquisition, But Also for Retention
Lifecycle marketing is not a new term, but it is a concept that is beginning to take hold in many companies across the world. The idea is that a company should be focused on engaging with and supporting a consumer at every stage of the buying process. Most consumers complete the majority of the purchasing process on their own today. What they need is a company that can recognize their point in the lifecycle and cater to that level of need.
As an example, a sales person who comes up to you in a store and asks if he or she can help you find something after you’ve already loaded up your cart is probably not asking the right question. Instead, he or she could ask if you’re missing anything that they can help you find. Lifecycle marketing is about recognizing a consumer’s current needs and addressing that instead of sticking with a static script.
By focusing on lifecycle marketing, companies will not only secure more new customers, they can also tailor the right messages to repeat customers. Only by promoting collaboration in marketing, sales, and customer service can all of these lifecycle marketing needs make the consumer experience a positive and emotionally intelligent one.
Additional Resources on this Topic:
Multi-touch Marketing and How Social Media Impacts the Customer Journey
How Can Customer Service and Sales Departments Work Together to Build Trust?
How Efficient and Effective Sales Organizations Increase Productivity
This post was first published on Forbes on 11/17/2015