by Ron Stein
Updated 4 yearss ago
Not long ago it was easy to watch television and listen to the radio. You knew which of the dozens available channels worked best for you and could tune them in quickly. Wow, what a difference a handful of years can make!
Now, it takes a little work to find what you like as a consumer. There are thousands of channels and what seems like an infinite amount of content to discover. But, once you zero in on which streams of video, music, and news you like most, these are bookmarked as favorites and you’re good to go.
Well, until the content become stale and is no longer relevant for you. The content provider has lost your attention. You move on.
It’s the same for your sales strategy and actions. You use different channels to reach your target market. But which ones – there are so many!
Let’s break this down. Companies tend to think in terms of direct marketing and selling versus indirect. Yet, it’s not unusual for an organization to do both.
I prefer to think of it as touch points and communications during the prospect’s (and customer’s) buying journey. After all, it’s their journey and not yours. From lead generation to relationship nurturing and closing the deal, to onboarding, retention and upselling. It’s all about the buyer’s perspectives and interests.
Choosing the proper channels is critical. It’s important to address the entire customer lifecycle. Once you figure where your particular idea customers “hang out” and how they like to buy and be serviced, the channels strategy will become clear.
Omnichannel marketing and selling. There is a difference between marketing channels and selling channels. But in all cases, they work together and are woven tightly into the same strategy fabric – or should be. A unified and aligned experience for your buyer and your sales people, direct and indirect, is what you want to achieve. There are two schools of thoughts on how to go about doing this effectively; omnichannel and multichannel approaches. Both focus on multiple ways to reach prospects and existing customers. However, a multichannel approach tries to simply maximize the number of ways buyers are touched digitally online and offline and the options to purchase. An omnichannel strategy takes this a step further with a seamless experience across channels no matter which channel is in play at a given time – tightly controlling the relationship-building process at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Marketing campaigns are personalized, leads are scored properly and handed off to the right selling channel.
So many channels, so little time. Like Goldilocks, a channel strategy and action plan shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. First, deploy only the channels that will maximize your reach and offer an integrated and a seamless experience across them. But not so complex that your marketing and sales team, as well as your partners, don’t have the ability to implement your approach. As an example, your great marketing campaign has a theme that is introduced across your three primary social media platforms, with a call to action that drives traffic to a specific landing page on your website to download a piece of valuable content, your lead magnet – then the contact information the visitor gives you is automatically populated into a platform that sends the lead to the appropriate salesperson or partner for follow-up and tracking. Channels come in all types of flavors. Marketing channels include your website and its content, trade shows, social media, email newsletters, pay per click advertising, podcasts, and so many more. Sales channels include direct, co-marketing partners, resellers and system integrators, distributors, white labeling and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationships, joint ventures and other strategic alliances. Choose wisely grasshopper!
Maybe a better term for a marketing or sales channel is a communication channel. The ultimate goal is to communicate with your buyer in the way they want that opens them up to building a relationship leading to a sale.
All stakeholders need to be in on the “customer engagement” plan – inside your company (product, marketing, sales, customer support, customer success) and of course your strategic partners too. A cross-channel strategy is smart business and will boost your revenue wonderfully.
Ron is the founder of FastPath Marketing and More Customers Academy. He works with tech-enabled companies, helping them find the fastest path to revenue with executive advising, business development coaching and consulting, as well as marketing and selling training. As an accomplished tech industry business leader and entrepreneur, Ron has served in top-level sales, marketing and business development roles ranging from emerging companies to global tech giants, including as the CEO of a venture-backed wireless startup. Ron is on the advisory board of the University of Florida’s two internationally recognized tech business incubators and writes a popular column on how to grow revenue in the award-winning Florida Trend business magazine. Learn more at www.FastPathMarketing.com. Ron can be reached at 727-642-4246 or by email.