Attend virtually any sales or marketing conference today and you’ll see numerous graphs depicting marketing and sales funnels that take leads from awareness through interest, discovery, decision making and ultimately the purchase itself. At each stage, a percentage of leads makes it through to the next stage.
The fundamental problem with this traditional approach to sales and marketing is it presupposes a solution for customers without ever understanding their problem. Some leads mysteriously make it through and become customers while others do not.
Too often, brands have little engagement with potential customers between the awareness and decision-making stages. Potential customers are left to their own devices, with little or no input or guidance from brands over what they encounter in the process.
Smart businesses compensate by A/B split testing content and messaging to gauge what positively impacts prospects’ decisions, but even these methods don’t properly engage prospects or show what new information or interaction means for their decision-making process.
How CXM Fails when Brands aren’t Social
Let’s say John from Texas is interested in buying a new computer. The one he has now may be running into performance problems, or he may simply need something more powerful to keep up with his current demands. John has limited experience with different brands and the newest models available, and he doesn’t personally know anyone who recently purchased a new one.
The first thing John might do is ask his followers on Twitter or Google+ for their suggestions. He’ll almost certainly hear a mixture of feedback about the various brands or models, both positive and negative. His more influential friends may even sway him to seek out a particular brand or two in his research.
From there, he’ll likely check out user reviews on online retail sites or visit one or more manufacturers’ sites, where he’ll find plenty of high-level content and technical details that provide no clear indication of which product is best suited to meet his particular needs. John may even visit his local retail store to see the product for himself.
Up to this point, an anti-social brand or seller has very little influence over John’s discovery process or buying decision. They have no opportunity to counter negative reviews or address his concerns. In fact, in most cases, their opportunity to acquire John as a customer has already slipped away.
If brands stopped to think about John’s experience, they’d be justifiably upset. Yet this scenario plays out every day across numerous products and services, both in the B2C and B2B spaces. So what’s the solution to this largely ineffective, formulaic approach?