I was struggling in naming this piece a few things. SALES SOAP BOX RAMBLINGS, WHY MARKETING MATTERS or THE ROI BEHIND MARKETING in 2016.

Hoping this brings together various points to consider when developing your product for your customers in 2016 and beyond if you are in a service oriented industry.

Have been quietly and closely watching a slow wave building up for the past few years across the world of business. It’s inescapable now!

A brief history of my world in comparison to the excitement in other sectors – transportation and logistics is a pretty boring, quite & uneventful sector when it comes down to making noise and marketing. Things typically get delivered every day to millions of people around the world. People remember 1 out of 10000 poor services with vivid detail but never seem to remember 99.9 of 100 great services provided the rest of the time. To be confirmed & validated by twitter and other social media daily! That’s the joy of logistics! Not really as boring as I indicated is it!? 100% error free/no excuses for 100% of the time. That’s what most customers expect now.

Have also been keeping up with recent developments in marketing, content sharing and personal branding which are HOT TOPICS in today’s world of business across all sectors and in particular in the sales environment. This tiny little wave has become a virtual tsunami of experts capitalizing on making noise for anyone that needs it.

Key points, developments and observations in the collision of sales, marketing and ROI plus things we need to watch out for and consider…

From a management view on the measurement of sales & ROI…

Required processes within the “sales reporting” realm such as Customer Relationship Management tools (CRM) have solidified a place in my industry. Used by most sales teams (poorly for some I might add) but rarely accessed by operational teams. Is there a disconnect between sales-operations-management teams if they all don’t have access to important info? Are they used loosely to appease management or used religiously and properly by all to track and grow opportunities? These CRM type tools form the basis of building some Key performance indicators (KPI) for many reps and Return of Investment (ROI) forecasts for many a company. We in management & sales now must be administrators as well as people who drive business into our company and support our customers. We all must function and be measured by our own ROI – with ROIs being different now for many if not all functions. Different how so?

Never has the sale been more complex and grossly misunderstood

What drives your own corporate ROI? Profit in the form of SKU volume, top line, bottom line, brand building? Is ROI measured strictly based on profit and/or opportunities? Where ROI for a company get’s tricky to measure and becomes a “fuzzy grey unfocusable zone” now is when one includes marketing, branding and positioning for more types of very complex sales and repeat business.

How does the rep sell and market into this complex selling space? How does your company attract business opportunities? Is the sale still “located” where it was 3 or 5 years ago? Where is it now and how do we get there? Who makes these calls within your org and are they really in tune with the market; where it is and where it will be in the future?

Knowing what is in the customer’s pipeline and when the business will come? What are the chances? How much business? All or a specific portion of your customer’s business? All things which need to be measured and reported now for planning and budgetary purposes and rightfully so. DOES THE CUSTOMER even know what business they will win? Does accuracy in your “pipeline development” even exist? So when and where is the ROI? Are you accurately forecasting it – is this even a possibility? Can you accurately predict your sales cycle and what stage all your customers are in or are you guessing in most cases? All very important questions to ask yourself.

This challenge holds especially true for the complex sector sales with timelines seemingly being extended for costly purchasing and procurement into the foreseeable future. Factors dictated by resource pricing and market volatility rule this world. This holds especially true for capital projects and multi-million dollar spends. Delays and postponements are the norm now. Have you developed an extended sales and operational retainment strategy to ride out the low end of the cycle?

From a sales perspective on where marketing can make an impact…

Let’s face it, sales has evolved into a very refined and highly delicate process. The days of pick up the phone book and dial 50 are over for many. The soft positioning of brand and value has changed. Social media has never been a more effective way to deliver corporate brand appeal. Social media is now being used to deliver corporate & personal branding by sales people to position and extend their message and ideas to the forefront of customer memory and that’s important.

As these ideas are bubbling up now through “branding strategists”, this was certainly my sentiment years ago when I identified my own personal branding ability and plan. A plan which focused strongly on sharing relevant industry content/experiences and ideas with my customers and sector colleagues.

I live the reality of extending a service into a full marketplace but also understand the need for a “customer facing source” of relevant valuable info to be shared openly.

To bring a true experience & honest value to the customer…

A funny picture, a relevant normally hidden value added post – all attempting to place a warm memory into the customer’s mind. Linking the personal experience to the purchase. Sharing customer relevant important content to ensure the first email or phone call goes out to the company who has remained in the customer’s mind over time and sometimes even over the years.

I’ve been fortunate enough to gain friendship and opportunities across the globe otherwise unattainable via social media, personal branding and by sharing strong value-added content. Content available no where else and provided by no one else.

Personal marketing now supports the memorability of the purchase experience.

Without personal marketing under the umbrella and support of the corporation, individual sales is left without a voice and a story. STORIES are important as we all now know. Customer’s now are no longer located were they once were – anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. Anxiously waiting for you! Customers are intelligent. Of course creative marketing can only bring this purchasing process so far for a company as now an additional 5–7+ people or more are easily involved in most complex purchasing decisions or so the expert’s stats would have you believe.

The final steps for a purchase must now be taken in partnership with your service provider

From a holistic “all-in” business approach,

People need to cultivate, share, educate and mentor customers in their purchasing journey now. Everyone in the organization needs to do this. Let’s look to remove the word “sale” from the business environment and replace it with the concept of a “customer driven experience.” Words that come to mind in the new world of complex selling?

Patience, partnership, listening, sharing, transparency, open minded, customer driven solutions.

Hoping the new world of providing a personalized “customer driven experience” treats you well as a customer and as a service provider.

I look forward to hearing from you if you believe what I believe… I’ll be sharing this individually to all my marketing and B2B friends in case you missed it on my feed or were too shy to comment! Feel free to take a moment to add your own personal insight into the role of personal marketing & branding in the new world of business.

Taken from original post shared on LINKEDIN entitled Sales : The ROI behind marketing in 2016

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Weiner is a 30+ year career logistics professional focusing on collaborative solutions for regional and global stakeholders, EPCs and equipment manufacturers at JAS Projects – Oil and Gas

He is adding personal, fresh and innovative project management perspectives to a complex market through customer focused discussion and review.

Offering ANOTHER CHOICE for capital project logistics management, transportation/customs brokerage & supply chain services globally,

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