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The convergence of cloud computing, mobility, big data analytics and social networking is now a reality. The line between the digital and physical worlds is blurred. Customers are more educated; the age of enthusiastic brand ambassadors is over. Now, customers have the power to change brand preference at any time, based on their subjective perceptions and experiences. In addition, disruption is part of the daily business; we can even say this is the normal way of doing business today — and lead management is a piece of this puzzle.
Shared economy competes with best-in-class products and services. Customers know — often better than you — what you’re capable of versus what your competitors deliver. Whatever you say, they’ll check on it and compare it. They’ll check with their peers and social networks, they’ll validate your claims with your competitors, and they might even contact your customers directly or read online feedback.
To be successful in selling, you need to sell more than a product or service. You need to sell your digital brand experience — the belief that your buyers will enjoy doing business with you. You need to be part of their emotional buying journey at all stages and offer your product or service — at the right place, at the right time and to the right audience.
If you place a perfect offer in front of the right audience but get the timing wrong, you’ll fail. This is as big a mistake as offering the wrong product or accessing the wrong audience.
Sequential sales engines would manage customer journeys by starting on digital channels and then continuing through physical contacts. But those tactics are no longer effective. The buyers’ journey is now a parallel that moves across the digital and physical world; if you aren’t present in the digital world, you either don’t exist or you’re completely invisible to most buyers.
You may have a great product, deliver excellent service and have many satisfied customers, but you’re still struggling to sell on the digital marketplace.
You Are Not Alone
Customer buying behavior has changed significantly in the past years, and proven sales techniques that were effective in the past are inefficient or ineffective. Lead management has changed.
Digital and physical business are two different worlds, and buyer behavior within those two words also is very different. There are several misconceptions around lead management; many of the old tactics that worked well before fail today. One major difference is the importance of timing.
To understand why it’s critical to match a product, audience, and timing in digital business to improve lead management, think about your past personal experiences. Think about whether you bought anything from a seller who chased you with a cold call for something you don’t need or whether you bought something you needed at the wrong time.
These types of negative customer attempts are more detrimental than not reaching out to prospects at all. And they can even destroy your brand image.
But companies still use the old techniques to chase digital buyers because they don’t have the right tools to adapt their sales processes to this new dichotomy of lead management. The following table shows the fundamental difference between the digital and physical markets.
Digital business is an always-on, highly competitive and transparent global marketplace that’s open 24/7 and provides easy access for all customers to compare goods and services with low effort.
In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll delve into the challenges of getting — and keeping — digital buyers as well as some solutions. And learn how to use blended AI to improve sales engagement and lead management in your contact center.
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