The business landscape is evolving rapidly, and a brand's interactions with its customers is no longer just a transaction—it's an experience. And to offer your customer the experience they expect and deserve, your marketing and sales teams need to be working closely together. Whether they understand it or not, these two teams are already indirectly working together on customer-centric activities—such as retention and nurturing—but this relationship can be improved through thoughtful and conscious collaboration.
The decision to make a purchase today is a lot more complicated than it used to be. It's influenced by a customer's circle of family, friends, and colleagues, who act as offline influencers. Online influencers, social media, internet reviews, and more can all contribute to their decision-making process. They might have also conducted research and interacted with your brand via websites, experience stores, social media, or other platforms. This will naturally result in expectations that are different from if they had just visited a retail store.
Your customers also continue to experience your brand after purchase, through delivery and installation, support, and more. So, as the buyer's journey is no longer linear, can the existing sales funnel justify current marketing and sales activities?
In any industry, a customer values their decision-making and buying experience — 86% of customers are willing to pay a premium for a great customer experience. The market landscape has become buyer-centric and customers have become demanding, which is why businesses need to embrace these changes and look beyond the sales funnel.
The traditional sales funnel starts with awareness and ends with a purchase, but a customer today interacts with your brand even after their purchase. This interaction presents your brand with an opportunity to turn customers into fans and evangelists. These interactions also lead to recurring purchases, with opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell.
As a brand, to make the most of these opportunities, you must look away from the linear model. In a linear model, interaction with your brand ends after the transaction is complete—the sales funnel was never designed to handle the expectations and experiences of a modern buyer. The linear nature of the model makes it inadequate to map and address how your customer engages with your brand pre- and post-purchase.
To effectively map a customer's interaction with your brand, you need to look at a circular model. The very nature of a circular model will help you map a customer's journey and offer a unique experience by fortifying your marketing and sales teams.
To understand a customer's decision-making process, we need a new model that gives us deeper insights into their journey with us. A customer's decision-making process can be effectively mapped with the help of a customer decision journey model. The circular nature of this model helps your marketing and sales teams map a customer's journey and plan their activities. This model also enables your teams to engage and onboard customers much more effectively.