There has been seismic shift in the customer decision journey over the past 10 years. In a recent post looked at how inbound marketing has changed the lead generation during this period This post takes a look at the shift in the customer decision journey.
The past 10 years has seen traditional selling change substantially. This is reflected in how new business is now generated and how and when professional sales people engaged with buyers.
Marketing has always sought those moments, or touch points, when consumers are open to influence. For years, touch points have been understood through the metaphor of a “funnel”—consumers start with a number of potential brands in mind (the wide end of the funnel), marketing is then directed and professional sales people engage with them as they methodically reduce that number and move through the funnel. At the end they emerge with the one brand they chose to purchase (Exhibit 1). But today, the funnel concept fails to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer.
The Traditional Customer Decision Journey
The funnel metaphor does help a good deal. It provides a way to understand the strength of a brand compared with its competitors at different stages. It highlights the bottlenecks that stall adoption. It makes it possible to focus on different aspects of the marketing challenge.
Exhibit 2 represents a current view of the customer decision journey.
The New Customer Decision Journey
Contrary to the funnel metaphor, the number of brands under consideration during the active-evaluation phase may now actually expand rather than narrowed. Consumers seek more information. Brands may “interrupt” the decision-making process by entering into consideration and even force the exit of rivals.
Marketing used to be driven by companies; “pushed” on consumers through traditional advertising, direct marketing, sponsorships, and other channels.
In the customer decision journey today, consumer-driven marketing is increasingly important. Customers seize control of the process and actively “pull” information helpful to them. It has been found that two-thirds of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involve consumer driven marketing activities. These activities include Internet reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, as well as in-store interactions and recollections of past experiences.
How a CRM can help
A CRM system benefits an organisation through the visibility of its sales activities. This visibility is fundamental to managing sales performance and control of the sales process. This visibility enables management to understand why, when, who and how opportunities are being won, stalled, or being lost. If it cannot be monitored, it cannot be managed. The visibility offered within the CRM system also allows management to make educated business decisions based on hard data. A CRM system will enable structured data to be used to access performance. This assessment should indicate which sales person is out performing others.
ProAptivity are an independent CRM solutions provider. We focus on the implementation, training, and support of highly customised CRM software solutions. Our CRM software supported by our sales training provide customers with the tools needed to deliver successful sales process management.
Fundamentally, we help organisations embed CRM best practice throughout their organisation. This helps organisations become more competitive, customer focused and ultimately more profitable.
If you need help in understanding why my business needs CRM, maybe some of our eBooks could help! Alternatively visit Maximizer CRM for more information. Contact us today on 028 9099 6388 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us today for a free CRM consultation that will assess if your business is CRM ready.