Sales Essentials Blog

The role of marketing in developing trust

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Sales trend 12 from the Barrett 12 Sales Trends report 2019 looks at the key things that marketing teams in B2B environments need to do to help their businesses win back the trust of their customers. 

The endeavour of building and maintaining a trusted B2B brand is far more complex than it used to be since the advent of omni-channel marketing both locally and around the world.

While some CMOs (chief marketing officers) have been successful in this new omni-channel world, many have failed – failed to take action, failed to adapt, and failure to engage their sales teams and customers.

But now we have reached a tipping point in B2B marketing. There is an urgency to regain and retain trust with customers and build a range of meaningful customer engagement experiences that deliver value in concert with their sales teams. 

This means that all CMOs and B2B marketing departments will have to shift.

Let’s look at the 3 key areas marketing teams in B2B environments need to have in place to lead the way:

CX comes as a consequence of HX

For some years now marketing has been absorbed in creating and ‘delivering’ customer experience (CX) collateral including company slogans, advertising campaigns, digital initiatives, brochures, stickers,  everything and anything that alluded to or was part of the ‘creating a customer experience’. However, in most cases, their attempts were window dressing at best and never more than platitudes where people internally only paid CX lip service. There are many and varied reasons why this situation occurs, however there’s one thing for sure, business cannot deliver the genuine customer experience if they do not operate a human-centred business that is about valuing the human experience (HX) of everyone.

This human-centeredness cannot function without the meaningful engagement of employees, suppliers and communities. Marketing departments have been going on over drive to deliver the ‘customer experience – CX’ and have usually forgotten to engage with their internal customers and other stakeholders who make up the customer experience for their clients. So when clients were lured to a business with the promise of the great customer experience, the reality is completely different. The stories go from being ignored when prospects send an online enquiry to the worst customer service experiences imagined, from ‘responding’ to clients expectations by changing packaging of their product and evading tax at the same time. All of that forms part of what a customer experiences when they deal with a business.

Building truly human-centred HX businesses is not the responsibility of marketing alone. It’s a top down and bottom up across disciplines approach. Here is where marketing can play a fundamental role in uniting the internal with the external to genuinely deliver on a genuine brand of customer experience and building an authentic and trusted brand. We all need to make that sure that CX is integrated with HX. Therefore marketing needs to help senior leadership and all staff continually engage with each other to help the people and the culture become human-centred. It can be done because we know it has been done with creating Safety Cultures. In safety oriented companies there are posters about safety everywhere and everything is branded with the safety message, values and action points; safety ‘tool box’ meetings are held monthly; weekly company-wide communications always feature safety as its core theme; regular safety training is delivered in person and online; and safety is made a mandatory KPI & KRA. And so it should be with being HX. Then excellent CX will follow.

Brand

With so much focus on CX, digital trends, and so on, marketing got distracted and forgot that its priority is being the keeper of the brand. The mandate of marketing is to tell the companies stories, and nothing can do that in a continuous and consistent manner like a brand can. Brands can tell stories, communicate experiences, show solidarity, take stands, and connect with their audience. Businesses that are taking the lead here are putting brand back at the centre of their marketing mandate. This, of course will not be a surprise to those who had never lost sight of the True North of Brand, but it will be an abrupt change for many.   

Purpose

Purpose used to be the domain of only a few very particular businesses and a nice-to-have add on for others. This is no longer an option. Businesses need to have a real purpose, a the plumb line, which guides decision making and assist in guiding the businesses through the volatile and tumultuous social times we live in. Customers in B2B environments still behave like consumers and want more out of the businesses they deal with. Marketing can lead the way internally by helping a business discover what its true purpose is. It will then be marketing’s responsibility to communicate this purpose externally and work together with other parts of the business to ensure that the business as a whole is behind it and the sales team are the willing frontline ambassadors of the brand.

Conclusion

Marketing has a key role to play in creating truly human-centred businesses with purpose at their core and brands as the vehicles to communicate and connect with customers. Smart marketing departments and CMOs know that it is in their hands to influence this and embrace brand, purpose and CX to build the stable bridges of trust that connect with clients.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.salesessentials.com 

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