By Cynthia Clark
The sales and marketing funnel has morphed considerably from a decade ago. In adapting to the new buying journey, marketers must deliver the right touches, in the right places, at the right time to move prospects to action.
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The buying journey has changed. Control has shifted from organizations to customers, which means today's customers are taking it upon themselves to learn as much as they can about a brand and its competitors before making a purchase.
According to Forrester Research, today's buyers would have gone through up to 90 percent of their buying journey before they make the first contact with a vendor. In some product categories, buyers will only contact a sales person when they're ready for a price quote. "The sales funnel is no longer linear and the customer is completely in control of the path to purchase," explains Mark Osborn, SAP's global lead for consumer products industry marketing.
With this trend prevalent in both B2B and B2C interactions, sales and marketing teams need to adapt to this reality and make changes to their funnel in order to remain competitive. As Claire Rodes, revenue marketing coach at the Pedowitz Group, notes, while in the past, sales teams were involved in the majority of the purchasing journey and marketing had a small part, their roles have now been reversed. Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer at Corporate Visions, believes that organizations need to undergo a "fundamental mind shift" that revolves around having conversations with customers rather than deploying campaigns.