MAP’ing Cloud Sales—It Doesn’t Stop at Sold

If your team is selling Cloud solutions, you need to be keenly aware that closing the deal is just the beginning of the sales process. Your focus needs to include activities that encourage adoption, consumption, and expansion of features to continue to increase presence within customer accounts. Velocity of the sales motion is critical and it needs to occur on a continual basis.

Marketing Automation is Critical to Successful Cloud Sales

According to SiriusDecisions, 16 percent of North American b-to-b companies use marketing automation technology. An effective marketing automation platform (MAP) coupled with a well-defined demand creation strategy, drives the right actions at the right time, automates marketing activities to gain efficiencies, tracks customer behaviors for refining targeting, and provides lead scoring for providing maximum value to the sales organization.

Align your MAP to Customer Lifetime Value

If you enjoy the benefits of a MAP to manage the pre-sales process, it’s time to consider how to extend it beyond the sale. MAP is an effective tool for managing and monitoring not only the buyer’s journey but also the ongoing customer journey. It supports all customer lifecycle marketing efforts including cross-selling, up-selling, customer retention, and measuring ROI for Cloud solutions.

Marketo explains that an effective MAP includes:

  • A central marketing database including detailed prospect and customer interactions and behaviors, so you can segment and target the right message to each customer.
  • An engagement marketing engine for the creation, management, and automation of marketing processes and conversations across online and offline channels.
  • An analytics engine providing a way to test, measure, and optimize marketing ROI and impact on revenue.

Look at the Post-Sale Customer Journey

The MAP helps you create individualized buyer journeys. Matt Senatore of SiriusDecisions says by building simple customer journey maps to design the engagement differentiation needed, you create more engaged, longer-term customers that deliver higher lifetime value. Here are his three ways to provide breakthrough post-sale customer experiences:

  1. Pinpoint customer personas. There are people who buy, and there are people who use. Focus on the few personas who are most relevant to the post-sale experience – their content/asset needs, interaction preferences, and where they go for information.
  2. Define the customer lifecycle and needs at each stage to determine engagement.
  3. Categorize opportunities to leverage, adapt, and build. The types of engagement should meet the needs of different customer roles at various stages of their post-sale journey. For example, the post-sale onboarding for a brand-new customer should be different than for a returning customer who has some experience with your organization.

Know the New Buyers

Do you see more line of business (LOB) decision makers? We do.

As your sales organization refocuses their efforts within a customer account, the decision makers become more heavily weighted in the LOB users, rather than just IT. These business buyers are not as dependent on IT to deploy applications since many solution providers manage the technical aspect in the “as a service” model.

IDC’s IT Buyer Experience Survey in 2013 indicated a trend towards more LOB involvement. It found there were 19% IT-only purchases compared to 17% LOB only—with the rest being a blend of the two. I am certain these numbers have continued to skew to the LOB side in 2015.

Know what Drives Buyers to Respond

Your marketing automation strategy should help manage and track all marketing activities that drive utilization and expansion within the account. To boost adoption and consumption, your purchase decision teams may respond positively to a strategic blend of targeted email communications, eBooks, internal publications, lunch and learn events, training webinars, and presentations. Your MAP helps you manage individualized buyer journeys, identify the different lead scoring, and manage integrated campaigns on the platform via email. The MAP’s analytics enables you to continually monitor progress and make ongoing adjustments. It also helps track satisfaction or user issues by monitoring attendance of training webinars and support questions. Additionally, when the MAP is closely integrated with your CRM, it gives your sales team ideal visibility into customer activity, as well as reporting and analytics.

Strong Sales Enablement Comes from a Team Effort

Sales enablement comes from providing the right content or tool to the right person at the right time.  When marketing and sales works closely together with integrated platforms, they can exchange insights and feedback. Having integrated, agile sales and marketing organizations ensures you make the right strategic moves throughout the customer journey—which helps to build stronger customer relationships—for a lifetime.


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About the Author

Marcel Florez

As N3 President, Marcel applies his deep experience in technology sales, marketing, and consulting, and extensive knowledge of the Cloud, to support demand and revenue generation for N3’s technology, software, and manufacturing customers. Connect on LinkedIn

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