The seven touch points of marketing and sales. It’s an old theme that Antti Pietilä unpacked the other day with an interesting new spin on it.
While seven may not be a very scientific number and the origin is hard to determine, the principle is clear and valid: potential customers need a multitude of experiences with a brand, product or service, – to learn to know it, trust it, and determine if they need it -, before they will consider buying it.
Indeed, of course, not all touch points are equal. Having a conversation with a football mum while watching your kid’s training differs from running into the same person on the tram on your way to work. A roadside billboard of a new car is a different touch point than renting that car from the airport on your weekend trip abroad.
In other words, the required number of touch points is a function of their quality. And the salesperson can only influence their own part of the interaction. After all, prospects differ, too; some need more touch points than others. In any case, the more touch points are required, the more muscle ache for the salesperson.
Seven touch points… times four
Antti puts forward that the (let’s stay with) seven touch points are necessary for each of four kinds of encounters: the salesperson and possibly their colleagues, the subject matter, the company, and the product or service.
The sales person’s repeated effort to build parlay with prospects around each of these four elements easily becomes a costly operation. In comparison, the touch points that can be achieved with online marketing are considerably more affordable.
A prospect who has had a meaningful exchange with real people inside the company, who has appreciated the tutorial they were able to download, who has gained a positive impression of what the company commits itself to, and has been able to try a sample of their product or service, is much more likely to close when the salesperson reaches out to them.
The blurring lines
Not only are prospects more likely to close because they have already had those meaningful, trust building touch points, but also, because the salesperson comes equipped with a good understanding of the prospect’s needs and preferences, due to the information captured from their online interactions with the company.
In this set-up, the separation lines between marketing and sales start blurring. On one hand, the online interactivity with a deliberate conversion path becomes part of the overall sales process. On the other, when salespeople start feeding back the intelligence they gather while talking with prospects and customers so that the marketing team can create more valuable content and more meaningful online interactions, those salespeople become important contributors to the marketing effort.
(Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash)