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  • Blaž Mertelj

How the "Last Mile" of Sales & Marketing Determines their Success

Knowing the real value of a company and whether it will go up or down has long been a difficult (if not an impossible) task. There are countless tools, methodologies, and expert opinions for determining or evaluating a company's true value, but sometimes it just seems that the markets are too random.

But, what we do know is that, ultimately, good and growing Sales figures make shareholders confident and the management happy. The revolution here is that, increasingly, it is the "last mile" of the customer's buying journey that determines sales growth through small, repeatable, income and margin improvements.

Here, we will describe what the "Last Mile" is and how it defines sales & marketing success, as well as how to recognize last mile opportunities.

We live in the wonderful digital age and there are numerous tools available to marketers to get new leads and opportunities. This fills their pipelines with high numbers of leads, but the opportunities do not yield a lot of revenue. We are overpaying and a lot of work is wasted on these leads unless we can achieve great conversion rates. The quickest way to increase revenue growth and improve your margins is using modern mobile technologies to go for the low-hanging-fruits of the Sales & Marketing's last mile:

  • Improving customer retention: Typical retention rates of existing customers are around 50% YoY. Thanks to modern technology and especially the "mobile revolution", this can easily be raised to 70% or 80%.

  • Cross-selling to existing buyers: Selling new products to existing buyers has never been easier. With very low investment, companies can use mobile apps to constantly stay in touch and sell more.

  • Finding new buyers in existing accounts: Many senior execs are shocked to see how many potential buyers there are in larger, multi-national companies with multiple divisions. What's easier than a prospect who knows you've already solved his problem for another person in the same company?

  • Cutting unprofitable customers: We already know not all customers are worth our time. Now, modern applications and data collection allow us, at the earliest stage, to recognize which customers groups are most profitable, and where we should place our sales and promotional attention.

  • Making it digital and simple: Often, many customers do not want, or even need a salesman to help them in their buying process. Companies can find out where they can leave out the sales rep and make it digital. This improves the customer experience and increases growth.

  • Incentivizing sales channels: The customer's Last Mile of buying is often dependent on the sales channel. Some of them we cannot control directly but we can offer incentives to customers and/or sales channels for behaving according to our objectives.

  • Penetration Pricing and Increasing: Pricing new products or services is much easier and cheaper today with data collected from digital services. Companies use mobile app data to price new products for penetration and determining when a product is mature enough for an increase.

This is just a list of some common opportunities by using digital technology to focus on the "last mile". The real challenge is in how to attack these opportunities.

For example, we may recognize that exploiting a certain "last mile" opportunity requires social media campaigns, web content, sales resources, data collection & analytics, CRM integration, and more. Each one of these functions requires a specialized team with specific skills, often called a Center of Excellence (COE). To attack the opportunity, the first instinct would be to create a list of tasks and delegate them to the COEs. However, it has proven more effective to create cross-functional "special forces" teams focused on exploiting these opportunities one at a time. Still, creating "special forces" teams from within the company may not lead to innovative approaches needed to attack the last mile opportunities. Often, the innovation driving force are external expert partners hired to take over a non-core capability, such as data collection or mobile app development.

To conclude, exploiting last mile revenue opportunities requires three key things: speed, innovativeness & focus. For Sales & Marketing executives, this means deploying "special forces" teams focused on a specific revenue increase opportunity. Then moving on to the next one.

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