According to McKinsey, companies that incorporate a human touch into their digital marketing and sales efforts achieve five times more revenue, eight times more operating profit and twice the return to shareholders over a four or five year period. Those are incredible numbers.
When it comes to building a digital-to-human mix, getting it right will inevitably vary depending on your markets, customers and business offerings. Here are six tips we provide to B2B email marketers to balance electronic and human touch points:
- Answer inquiries quickly: When your prospects are conducting research, they may at some point have a question or want more information. While this might be addressed online, such as via a FAQ page, companies should consider whether a 24X7 hotline or web chat feature makes sense for providing a more immediate response. Email responses or inquiries should be answered quickly as well, whether via human or digital means.
- Make the sales process easy: When customers decide to make a purchase, they want the process to be painless, so be proactive by enabling one-click purchases or shortcuts for repeat orders. At the same time, provide direct access to sales people, as well as regional resellers and partners linked from your website. Being able to speak to a human can be critical to some prospects.
- Be transparent about your prices: With most everyone now accustomed to seeing product models and prices online (e.g. in Amazon or eBay), being upfront and transparent about pricing can be key to landing the sale. In more complex sales, reps can present online pricing tools in collaboration with a prospect. For indirect sellers, make sure your resellers or partners are transparent as well.
- Leverage digital product configurators: Today’s B2B sales reps need to be trusted consultants, and digital tools can help them convey their expertise. Reps can show these to prospects in-person or online, and customize desired features and specifications in real time, including pricing tradeoffs. In this way, product configurators can help deliver the exact product that would work best for each customer.
- Ensure a consistent brand experience: Your prospects may come to your website from various marketing channels or via myriad mobile devices. Ensure that their experience is consistent with the same promotions, offers or pricing; and that your content is up-to-date, the links all work, and that all your sales people communicate the latest information. At OMI, we ask each new hire to thoroughly complete the entire customer journey. This ensures they are familiar with our marketing efforts and also serves as a double check on the user experience.
- Ask for the ideal engagement medium: If you’re uncertain how to blend human and electronic communications to your prospects and customers based on their unique preferences, the simplest solution may be just to ask them. While some may want a regularly scheduled in-person or phone meeting, others may simply want an email or text. Make those who are more self-guided aware of your digital tools with regular updates and assist those who request the human touch in their preferred way – it’s that simple. Either way, monitor their progress and success to ensure you are delivering the optimum experience.
These days, people want a great digital and great human experience. The challenge is to ensure seamless handoffs from the human to the digital – and vice versa – so prospects don’t have to repeat their steps or get frustrated by delays along their buying journeys.
How do you blend human and digital touches in your marketing and customer-facing initiatives?
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.