In this article, I won’t tell you about the latest tools that will help you reach your ideal customer. I will not speak either only of the last bot of Messenger which will completely automate the customer relationship so that all the Marketers of the world can sip a pina colada on the beach…
I offer you much better.
I suggest you take a step back on these trades and see the new galaxy that is being built.
We are all managing our daily lives, it is hard to imagine the future. Previously considered as creatives stored in a corner of the open space, marketing positions in SMEs have turned into the keystone of customer relations.
- How do the sales professions require Marketing skills?
- Why has technological evolution changed customer relationship models?
- What is the impact in the distribution of value?
This is what we will see below.
This has been made possible in particular by CRM or ERP.
Then, we will be able to better study the technological innovations that will change our businesses in the coming months and imagine how we can bring more value to our partners (client and / or superiors).
Why is it useless to protect the economic environment we know?
The first reaction of an airplane pilot in an emergency situation is to force the airplane to go up.
It’s also the best way to get him off the hook.
We change paradigm without noticing it.
When in a company, we imagine the market adaptations for its teams, it is not easy to get these changes accepted.
And that’s normal.
This reality concerns both international business and freelance.
The end of the protected markets requires a very special adaptation in our development strategy.
As soon as a protected market is challenged by a startup, we immediately notice a drop in costs.
We saw it with the arrival of a new telephone operator like Free ten years ago, and this is what “Space X” brings by launching satellites ten times cheaper than current players.
This was true with the arrival of UBER for taxis, but you also know how much other markets are impacted in the same direction. Telecommunications, transportation, banking, food are falling segments. The only segment that is resisting today is real estate, as it is still highly regulated.
Whatever the economic activity, we are moving towards a more competitive and therefore more demanding environment with a lower cost.
- It is technological innovations that have enabled this drop in costs;
- This is good news, because we are moving towards better quality of services;
- It is also difficult news for some players who will be forced to bring more values for the same price and will not want to innovate;
- This therefore imposes a much richer creativity in formulating new offers, in order to reach customers differently.
The globalization of services will make you lose this battle if you neglect this
Another global effect of our economic environment is the globalization of services.
Being able to perform with people all over the world transcends any border.
Removing customs barriers between Lille and Menen (Belgium) makes no sense as people are keen to change the sidewalk as easily as possible.
(In this allusion, the border at this place of England and Belgium changes according to the sidewalk on which we are located. We can very well change country than cafe terrace as we can see on the panels of this photo ).
The services are competing all over the world. These services do not relocate, are not visible as for an industry which is moving to Romania.
That’s why we need to add more value and how much lower costs are impacting us.
What is even stronger?
The weather is dynamic.
This change has accelerated in the past three years and is likely to go faster.
To adapt, adopt a more qualitative approach to distributed value and accelerate innovation. Think without borders.
How to innovate your customer relationship in a more intense competitive environment
Let’s start with the general evolution of customers. This is a phenomenon that we all know about, but which is accelerating.
- Less loyal customers looking for the most efficient solution at the lowest price;
- Cost reductions in business services which require bringing ever greater value at the same price;
- An antagonistic customer relationship: The customer is even more wary of so-called “aggressive” commercial forms and requests a more intense and personal relationship when he is ready to change creamery more easily.
We have to imagine faster and stronger than our competitors to differentiate ourselves.
This requires continuous innovation to bring more specific value.
How to differentiate yourself from your competitors and become the white wolf of your theme?
“We will all have our quarter hour of glory”: said Andy Warhol.
Our quarter hour of glory is getting shorter and forcing all players to become faster and more offensive.
This is also true in content creation. Never before have we produced so much data in the history of mankind.
That’s why we have to get even more different to get noticed.
Technological innovation forces SMEs to rethink their customer service
SMEs with less than 60 employees do not really have a marketing department. Take the case of the executive assistant.
Formerly confined to answering the phone and performing cold-phoning, management assistants must improve their skills, particularly in the field of digital marketing, in order to best qualify and process the company’s data.
SMEs must modify their structures to become more efficient. External contributors can assist with this change through training.
The end of the BtoB commercial perhaps?
The BtoB salesperson who was on tour can no longer consume fuel without having a precise return on investment. Much more is needed. Current targeting technological tools call into question a whole section of its activity. Just physical presence is no longer enough either. The client needs to be supported over time and whatever the product concerned.
This is also true throughout the entire sales process, until the product dies. This is why pre-sales assistance targeting the ideal customer becomes a key position. Why should the seller apply marketing methodologies? The BtoB salesperson cannot remain alone either. This will also be true in most activities. He must be in constant interaction with all of the company’s teams.
This interaction must of course be constructive with the teams so as not to fall into the vice of hyper-coping feared by each of the employees. Believe me, I saw these changes at the start of the decade when I was selling food.
How can SMEs adopt a more refined customer acquisition strategy
Mailing, social selling, content creation, sales pages or quote acquisition should be the norm in all businesses.
We saw it above.
(Indeed, it is paradoxical, but the cost of acquisition is higher with tensions on marketing costs, because technologies participate in this deflation).
Using these tools brings more flexibility, lightens teams and allows data to be processed in better conditions.
Analyzing his client down to the last detail with cross-referencing of data helps us create the irresistible offer.
Why does data enhancement create more value than creating archives?
In companies, this production of data risks creating archive factories.
This is what I regularly encounter in SMEs that have gold mines of information, but who have no one trained to transform this mine into orders (and hard and hard currencies).
The business owner does not know how it works and has no time to take care of it.
The secretary is there to answer the phone or do cold prospecting while gold is sleeping on the company’s hard drive.
- Why not revive old customers with a new offer by gradually warming up their contacts?
- Why not take a survey to better understand your target?
- Why not create a process to improve the quality of customer relations?
Here are some simple and quick actions to implement that in a few weeks bring results.
Mailing also remains the most effective means.
SMEs must now have as much strike force as a CAC 40 company
What large companies have achieved in the past five years, SMEs must do in half the time.
- Reflection of the customer journey;
- Definition of strategic objectives;
- Improving customer relations;
- Acquisition of new customers.
Social platforms (and let’s stop saying that Facebook is made only for BtoC), all of the tools of “marketing automation”, have lowered costs to the point that any company is able to reach a prospect that ‘he was not even hoping for five earlier (again an antagonism).
We all know the example is Facebook.
Facebook’s power editor is more precise than a dedicated (very expensive) marketing tool used by large companies five years ago.
Most readers use it (the majority even) and for many you even work alone like me.
In addition, a freelancer on the web has more tools, the most powerful of each other, than any business five years ago.
You are able to reach, on your own, an ideal client in better conditions than a large company ten years ago.
How is the new generation of Parisian plumbers tackling the craft trades?
A profession as beloved as the Parisian taxi is indeed the plumber.
- He overcharges;
- He is not trained to maintain his client relationship;
- The response to a quote lasts as long as a turtle advancing on a beach;
- The quality of its services often leaves something to be desired compared to the price charged.
What happened ?
With YouTube, an intermediate generation started to do it themselves.
Then, a new, more professional generation arrived hyper connected, and provided better ERP.
- They are less numerous;
- They grab all the markets;
- They put in difficulty the old generations still as confident.
These plumbers are marketing without knowing it, but they manage to respond faster, provide a more precise solution and at the same time become more visible.
Have they read Dan Kennedy who recalls the example of the plumber who began to make his service available 24/24 to create millions of dollars? Nobody knows.
To find out more about this, click here: http://www.europe1.fr/emissions/made-in-france/paris-deux-etudiants-veux-redorer-limage-des-plombiers-2720608
Why does the industrialization of its prospecting force us to use more automation tools?
We have understood that we must put more effort into reaching our ideal client and use the tools to increase the number of points of contact.
- Hunter for Mailing scraping;
- Zapier for application automation or IFTTT.
I come back with Dan Kennedy who talks about limiting areas of friction.
The more contacts you make, the more likely you are to reach your ideal customer.
Mailing scraping and cold mailing (recovery and prospecting via e-mail) can be means to reach large numbers of target people. We must be careful to determine a specific message for each person so as not to become a spammer.
You have to be sure of your product and the value it brings.
How to think about task automation without pretending to be a robot?
This is where the challenge lies. If we delegate our entire relationship to our robot friends, we risk being discovered. The big trend is to switch everything to automatic (it’s human and more economical).
Before switching tasks to automatic, we need to think about the value it provides. The prerequisite for automation is to respond to a better customer experience (faster, more economical and easier).
Remember Bouygues Télécoms, which claimed that their telephone support was based in England to justify a higher quality of customer relationship. The lower and more recursive the value, the more interesting it will be to automate it. We know it, but sometimes it’s forgotten. And yet, humans have never needed a face like themselves in a transaction.
A / B tests prove it on websites. An example like automatic tolls which have drastically reduced the collection staff.
If tomorrow you encounter a problem that does not enter their process, you risk quickly creating a traffic jam at the toll station. This is a typical case of automation thought about financially. On the other hand, as a user (or customer), you pay the same price and you do not get more ease of service.
Should technology simply replace humans in customer relationships?
What benefit in the customer experience does automation provide?
I come back to the same fact. Provided you answer subjects of low value and recursive.
Another form of automation that Simone Walper (the factory of the poor) has rented: The end of manual dockers.
Imagine that today’s boats still need to be emptied by hand. Never would we have so many goods today without the container. Here, the customer finds his account.
The list of frequently asked questions on a site is a simple form of automation.
In summary, we can see two forms of automation:
- The short term to quickly reduce costs;
- The long term with a reflection on the customer advantage as a priority (more complex to implement).
What is the risk of delegating certain technologies?
Another condition of your automation in customer relations: to be the owner. If tomorrow you do not control your customer relationship properly, you risk the worst situation. The hotel industry is well aware of this problem.
Note that the ACCOR group has developed its own platform and abandoned part of its real estate assets (which was its historic business) to focus on the customer relationship activity to keep its autonomy.
Why are they doing this?
Today, customer relations activity prevails over the management of real estate assets. It creates more value. This is why if you do not take stock of this issue, you will no longer be at home. And therefore your creation of value will be called into question.
How to take this evolution as a business issue?
It is also an opportunity and a reflection to help companies keep control of their customer relationships for support professionals.
For these same companies, it is often a forced march for them. They also know the risk of a change in their customer relationship.
It’s also an opportunity to innovate by touching your client differently
Communities and social media make it easier for businesses to create ambassadors who will chat directly with potential customers.
Implementing this type of strategy requires regular support to energize this relationship. This is why professionals can offer services that sponsor marketing actions.
The expert then becomes a strategy professional. He brings in an outside view as the ambassador performs the old tasks of the marketing manager.
We see it in companies like Bouygues Télécoms or PMU.
Overall, all of these innovations force us to think about creating even more value than yesterday. You can’t just count on these twenty years of experience.
Why is the permanent rise in skills compulsory? We have seen how technologies open up new perspectives. These new perspectives open any frontier and directly impact competition and costs.
This forces us to constantly improve.
Companies will always seek to improve their customer acquisition at lower costs and to optimize their customer experience in the lowest possible costs.
Technologies Help Us Meet These Needs
The platforms created in the past five years have done their job. This shows that the positions of marketing manager will no longer be content to fill in boxes as we are taught in school, but to imagine ever more surprising strategies.
They will have to use their creativity to respond to new needs, to associate more algorithmic and human actions.
We think that the job of marketing manager will disappear. I believe that it will evolve like all current professions.
Watch the 3d video how it will revolutionize the way we advertise or browse the web. It will always take human sensitivity to reach its audience and the intensive reading of OGILVY, Claude Hopkins, and many others.
Because persuasion will always remain the same.
So what we can mostly remember is that the fundamentals will always stay the same, but the tools change.
By focusing on the basics and taking your client’s pulse regularly, you will gain a better understanding of the environment in which you live.
If you want to go further and apply the advice to adapt and support professionals in their commercial approaches:
- Diagnose your sales and marketing performance;
- Optimize your teams and support the development of skills;
- Find the checklists to take action.