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Technological developments, buyer expectations, the masses of data now available, the increasing number of channels and the shape of the sales funnel all have a part to play. Indeed, a survey of marketing professionals found that only 37% of marketing generalists feel highly proficient in their role, evidence of the pressures created by an ever evolving work environment. Here we take a look at just some of the challenges faced.
Modern-day marketers are tasked with integrating messaging and coordinating activity across an endless choice of increasingly complex channels. The list encompasses PR, advertising, events, social media, telemarketing, email, mobile and SMS, to name just a few, each with its own requirement for specialist skills. To be successful, marketers need to understand the value of each individual channel and how best to incorporate them into the overall mix, playing to the strengths of each part to maximise the whole, at the same time balancing costs against available marketing budget.
Having incorporated a variety of channels, marketers are then under pressure to provide a seamless, customer experience from initial enquiry right through to the point of purchase. Delivering a successful customer experience means relevant messaging and content – marketers must understand what each audience segment wants and needs from any given brand, product or service. It’s not just about getting your brand out there using the skills needed to communicate the right message, imagery and content for each channel, marketers need to use prospect data and insight to create a personalised and consistent experience across all channels.
Whether you’re looking to acquire new customers or hold on to old ones, strong relationships are fundamental to driving customer success. Since it is approximately six times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, forming lasting connections is vital, no matter how long a customer has been involved with your brand. Marketers need skills to hone their engagement strategies and make every interaction across every platform count. From expertise in social media and social listening, incorporating telephone and face to face interactions into the mix, or designing strategies to capture customer feedback and insight – a diverse set of skills are required.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Closing the gap between marketing and sales is essential in order to create a smooth customer experience and to provide a feedback loop that captures valuable insight to inform strategy. As there is no longer a clear hand-off between sales and marketing teams, marketers need to be engaged throughout the whole purchase journey – start, middle and end – to ensure there are no customers falling out of the funnel. Crucially, the marketing and sales teams should be in constant communication so that their approach is integrated around a shared set of goals and strategies. Marketers can no longer sit back once leads are handed over, they need to have a deep understanding of sales processes and requirements, meeting regularly with sales to share customer insights and review progress. What is more, they need to be competent in using the technologies that support the process including analytics, sales enablement and CRM systems.
With evolving technologies comes even more data to be used and analysed by marketers. Marketing excellence can only really be achieved with insight into past activity and customer behaviour and feedback. Smart marketers need to know how to collect data and how to interpret it in order to develop informed future strategies, whilst also remaining in a creative headspace to truly understand how this data can be incorporated into campaigns. However, in a recent survey that generated 3,500 responses from full-time marketing leaders, only 23% felt ‘extremely satisfied’ with their ability to leverage customer data. Getting to grips with all the digital analytics tools, dashboards, business and customer data sources available, is far from trivial.
Project and People Management
Last, but by no means least, the complexity of today’s landscape means that marketers need to have strong project management skills to ensure campaigns run smoothly from start to finish and that the many and varied activities are implemented in a coordinated way. Marketers need to build strong relationships and collaborate with stakeholders in differing functions both within and outside their organisation, especially when involved in large, strategic projects. Senior marketers, in particular, are managing teams with diverse skills and characteristics; getting the best out of those teams can be the difference between marketing success and failure.
With so much change in the marketing landscape, marketers can no longer be all things to all men. Technology can ease the load – automating more routine tasks, for example – and training can also help keep pace with developments. If you lack the skills you need, outsourcing work to freelance experts, or agencies with specialist skills, is now a very straightforward option.
At The Telemarketing Company, we have a wealth of experience supporting our clients, often integrating our service with their other marketing programmes or providing standalone support. Whether creating a solid foundation for activity through a cleansed, profiled database, providing high quality leads to feed the funnel, or a flexible telesales/inside sales team to extend in-house resource resource, our expert team can help integrate valuable human interaction into your sales and marketing strategy.
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