OMNICHANNEL VS. MULTICHANNEL.
Omnichannel Marketing has been a mainstream approach in B2C sales for a long time; now more and more B2B companies are discovering the advantages of an Omnichannel Marketing strategy.
The B2B buying scenario has changed dramatically in the last few years: according to McKinsey & Company, today’s B2B buyers are actively informing themselves -both online and offline- and use different channels over the course of their decision-making journey. This new situation demands fresh solutions and Omnichannel marketing is fast emerging as the most successful innovative B2B marketing strategy (Omnichannel means “all routes”, so the phrase “Omnichannel Marketing” refers to all the routes you can use to get sales people to sit front of buyers as these collect information to make a decision).
Before we illustrate the benefits of an Omnichannel strategy, we should clarify the differences between “Omnichannel” and “Multichannel”, as both terms appear more and more frequently in searches.
A Multichannel marketing strategy is one which uses more than one channel (multi) to interact with prospects. A channel might be a leaflet, a social media platform, a promotional event. With this approach, there is no need for your channels to work together or tailor messages to the prospect’s buying stage, because Multichannel is more about the message than it is about the prospect’s journey.
Omnichannel on the other hand requires integration among all channels to offer the buyer a consistent experience at all touch-points. With an Omnichannel marketing strategy, the buyers’ needs and preferences are always at the centre of all communications. You can have great digital marketing, mobile, social media and a well-designed website, but if they don’t work together, it’s not Omnichannel.
WHY IS AN OMNICHANNEL STRATEGY PREFERABLE TO A MULTICHANNEL ONE, IN A B2B SALES SCENARIO?
The prospect at the centre
We have already identified the main difference between Omnichannel and Multichannel. Omnichannel ensures all buyers have a seamless interaction with the brand across all relevant channels. Multichannel is about casting a wide net to reach the most prospects and give them a variety of options (many of which they might not want).
Omnichannel’s focus on the buying journey reveals the second key difference: thought leadership. Receiving the same experience and messages that work together through each and every channel reinforces the sense of familiarity and relationship with the brand and boosts the image of the company as a thought leader.
An Omnichannel system works with buyers’ behavioural insights to remove effort and redundancy in the interaction; by communicating with buyers through their favourite channels with useful messages we can eliminate effort from their buying experience.
Alignment and integration
All we have been discussing involves one pivotal idea of 21st century B2B sales and marketing: alignment. When we talk about channels, we are not simply referring to digital channels; offline channels, like a well conducted sales call or an event, are all part of the same Omnichannel strategy and must be aligned with common targets and a clear definition of a good lead. If there is no alignment between your marketing and sales teams, your channels will not work together.
BUILDING THE STRATEGY
1) IDENTIFY YOUR PROSPECTS.
While they are on their buying journey, your prospects are providing you with rich insights about their intent and preferences both online and offline. As an Omnichannel Marketer, you have to interconnect the right mix of channels and data to identify, target, and engage with your customers where and when they expect you.
You will need to put together a great deal of seemingly disconnected data in a way which works. For example, a buyer at a company could start as a visitor on your website, captured by your web analytics tool; later they may become known to you because they subscribed to your newsletter. At the same time, an associate from the same company could visit your booth at an industry event; someone else from the same company will comment on your social media posts. All these will end up in your CRM system.
As this data is collected, it’s imperative you identify your prospects’ favourite online and offline channels.
If you are able to stitch together all this information in a way which makes sense, you will build a complete prospect profile in one place .
2) TARGET THE BEST SEGMENTS.
It’s now time to perform segmentation and focus on the right companies and contacts.
Make sure your sales and marketing teams are clear on the shared goals. Combine company characteristics (size, industry and geography) and prospect characteristics (job role, seniority, position in buying journey) with predictive indicators like pipeline stage and lifetime value. Choose the messages which will resonate with your prospects considering their profile; pick the right channels for those messages to reach those prospects creating a personalised journey; optimise your messages across all platforms and make sure you have an efficient, fast, reliable marketing automation system.
3) MEASURE ENGAGEMENT, SHARE INSIGHTS AND HONE STRATEGIES.
You have prepared your prospect profile, unified data, chosen messages and channels and activated your online and offline campaigns. You have created a personalised experience for your prospects with consistent, relevant messages. Now you are ready to monitor campaigns intelligence, measure the data and turn it into insights.
Your marketing teams will then provide your sales teams with insights they can actually use. Your sales team will incorporate this information in their conversations with prospects, discovering more intelligence which they will share back with your marketing team for use in future campaigns. A spiral where each turn adds more insights.
This way you will be able to hone and fully exploit the potential of your Omnichannel marketing campaigns.
If you would like to know how Broadley Speaking’s Total Prospect Management approach can help you build and execute your prospect campaigns, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 1822 618537