Retailers rely on technical innovation to compete for consumers in a turbulent post-pandemic market. As inflation rises and supply chains remain unreliable, retailers are looking for ways to widen margins while offering timely delivery and keeping shelves stocked. They’re also struggling to maintain a labor force and increase efficiencies or automation so they can operate with a leaner team.
Retailers generally welcome technology to help them conquer challenges. When it comes to automation, for example, more than half of leading retail executives expect many stores to be run entirely without staff in the next five years. When considering large technology purchases, retailers expect a customized buying experience with marketing and outreach targeted to their needs. Arm your field marketing organization in the retail vertical with the intelligence to capture retailers’ attention and position your team as a trusted partner.
Integrate Your Sales and Field Marketing Organization in the Retail Vertical
Retail businesses win and keep customers by providing the optimal customer experience. They invest time, money, and effort into understanding what shoppers want, and they expect the same from their vendors. Also, as a result of COVID-19 and having to conduct business remotely in many ways, retailers have updated and standardized their purchasing processes.
To help meet retail buyers’ expectations and align with their customer journey, field marketers need to understand each account’s process as well as the sales team. Sales and marketing should strategize together to create plans and actions that reinforce each other and avoid conflicting messages that will confuse and frustrate retail buyers.
With good intelligence about the account’s buying process, tightly coupled sales and marketing efforts will mirror the purchasing journey and create a seamless experience for buyers. For example, if a sales rep has made contact during an event and started engaging, adjust automated marketing outreach so the account isn’t bombarded with content that’s no longer relevant to their place in the sales process.
Your account research should also include priorities and motivations for each buyer as well as the underlying power structure and the key influencers for technical initiatives. Use that knowledge to inform marketing tools, planning tools, and strategies, and share those across sales and marketing to keep everyone in sync.
If you have trouble getting reliable details on the account purchasing process, expectations and values, lean on industry experts to train the sales and field marketing team on background and crucial retail account insights before diving in.
Customize Field Marketing Campaign Actions for the Account
Retailers understand the power of personalized marketing, and they’ll expect vendors to customize actions and messages for their needs. They won’t appreciate stock presentations and content. The field sales team should use account intelligence to modify standard buyer personas to reflect the account’s unique culture and rely on those for planning.
For example, since many in-person events have shifted to online venues, determine what digital communities your accounts typically visit and plan field marketing events in those contexts. Because retailers are focused on reaching their target markets, feature speakers who understand those markets and frame the value of your solution in terms of helping the account reach those shoppers.
It’s also important to acknowledge that customer preferences are constantly shifting; their purchasing channels and product selections have become less and less predictable. Develop field marketing in the retail vertical that emphasizes your ability to adapt, analyze data for key trends, stay current and updated, integrate with other systems, follow industry standards, and offer cloud and on-prem as needed.
Of course, you need to inform messaging with research about the company’s tech stack and high-priority goals. But don’t fall into the trap of assuming that each retailer wants the same benefits from technology. For example, if your solution supports a frictionless buying experience, some retailers may be more interested in attracting customers with contact-free payments while others are more focused on lowering the costs of omnichannel fulfillment. Use that intelligence to refine messaging for the best impact.
Use Data and Demos to Back Up Marketing Claims
With cost pressures and stiff competition, retailers need results from technology fast. In fact, most retailers are looking for an ROI in less than a year. Use fact-based ROI analyses and data-driven case studies to prove your solution will follow through on its promise. Base marketing efforts around the details and concrete examples the account needs to see to make a decision.
Share intelligence with the sales team as well for demo planning. Customize presentations to focus on the account’s priorities and showcase your team’s understanding of the account’s customer base. Successful demos also highlight the benefits of your solution in accordance with business priorities, such as improving inventory management or helping convert more online shoppers.
It can be difficult to know which supporting materials will make the biggest impact in your account, so if needed, rely on someone with detailed knowledge of the buyers and their preferences. You’ll have the right direction and avoid costly mistakes.
Keep Field Marketing in the Retail Vertical in Step With the Right Account Intelligence
Aligning your field marketing organization and sales team will help your team succeed in the retail vertical, but you can’t gather intelligence about buyer preferences and purchasing processes from typical research sources. That’s where Emissary Advisors help.
Advisors have recently served in technology buying roles in your target accounts. They’ve seen the buying process and organizational dynamics from the inside and use that experience to coach your field marketing and sales team across the entire process.
With their insight, you’ll understand account priorities, how they make decisions, and buyer’s personal objectives. Advisors help your field marketing team refine buyer personas with the key details not found on LinkedIn. They review messaging for clarity and fit. They help identify opportunities within accounts for initial tactical sales, land and expand opportunities, and long-term partnerships. They also speak at conferences or other field marketing programs where their experience and retail industry knowledge attract attendees and add credibility to your event.