It’s no secret that making yourself stand out is harder today. Customers have more options online than they’ve ever before, and many businesses selling directly to customers are scrambling for ways to get people’s attention.
When focusing on a D2C market, we must think of how to structure our efforts to approach sales from every angle. For example, if your current efforts aren’t convincing enough prospective buyers to buy your brand, then maybe it’s time to develop a streamlined sales ecosystem.
A sales ecosystem is an invaluable asset to attract prospective customers in a saturated market. Let’s go over the major components of an impactful sales ecosystem, from the customer journey to the development of marketing content and what it takes to develop one.
Direct-to-consumer marketing rose by 19.2% in 2021, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
So, if you want to join the rising trend of direct-to-consumer marketing, it may be time to create a sales ecosystem that’s focused on providing the best customer experience possible.
What Does a Sales Ecosystem Include?
A sales ecosystem, in a nutshell, encompasses all the teams, individuals, and workflows in a company that focuses on generating additional sales and revenue. They are involved during product launches and respond to customer complaints and questions while supporting each other along the way towards a common goal: business growth.
We call it an “ecosystem” because no single individual or team can do it alone. By definition, it requires collaboration amongst many different groups serving different purposes throughout the organization:
- Marketing gets your company name out there and guides customers through the sales process.
- Customer service steps in after the transaction to provide post-sales efforts and maintain customer trust and loyalty. Customer service is known as a “big untapped opportunity” in marketing, and a sales ecosystem ultimately bridges the gap between pre-sales and post-sales efforts.
- Communication teams handle internal and external messaging and take various roles in the sales ecosystem ranging from public relations to social media marketing. Either way, the result is more meaningful engagements.
- Human resources is responsible for bringing in talented professionals to aid in sales efforts and empowering them with the support and resources they need to get the job done.
There are far more examples too, and you’ll find that your ecosystem will include contributions from all sorts of teams in your company.
The Components of a Healthy Sales Ecosystem
A healthy sales ecosystem must involve several contributions from across the business to succeed. That means connecting sales, marketing, customer support, and product teams to deliver a consistent and seamless experience.
A Proper Focus
“Keep your eye on the ball” is always good advice. That’s why online storefronts need to pin down a target demographic to tailor their business goals and marketing strategies around it.
Questions to ask about your target audience include:
- Who is most likely to be interested in your products and services?
- What are their ages, genders, geographic locations, and other demographic traits?
- What are their pain points, and what can you do to address them?
Customer segmentation, a large part of the sales ecosystem, focuses on identifying groups of customers and appealing to each of their interests.
The Customer Journey
Imagine the entire “timeline” of what customers experience when interacting with your brand. This complete story is what we call the customer journey. We can break down its stages into:
- Discovery: Potential customers recognize that they have a problem and begin researching how to solve it. They might not have any specific solutions or brands in mind yet.
- Consideration: Committed to finding a fix, customers scour the market for potential solutions. At this point, you, the seller, have a clear customer persona to pursue and know what the problems are to solve.
- Follow through: The clients have looked through documentation, endorsements, and other materials and have contacted potential companies to start the sales process.
The transaction happens at this point, but the sales ecosystem doesn’t stop here. We also need to cover the post-sales strategy for boosting customer loyalty.
A Sales Strategy
You know a lot about your potential buyers now. You understand their motivations, why they’re searching for solutions to their problems, and the challenges they go through. It’s time to develop a tailored sales approach to capture those leads and convert them into paying clients.
A sales strategy runs through several stages:
- Finding prospective buyers.
- Meeting with them to discuss your offerings.
- Qualifying those opportunities and focusing on the ones most likely to convert.
- Closing the deal.
- Providing post-transaction support to encourage repeat business.
Keeping current customers loyal to your brand is just as important as finding new customers. An effective sales strategy thus runs in a circle, unlike the customer journey that most businesses treat like a linear process. The sales cycle is often pushed as an upgrade to the traditional “sales funnel” for this reason.
You’ve likely noticed that clients do a lot of market research and read up on industry news and findings before coming into contact with your brand for the first time, so why not meet them by producing your own content?
Marketing content is paramount in helping clients along the customer journey, pushing them into your open arms at the end. Marketing content can generate different intended effects:
- Boosting awareness: From blog posts to infographics, marketing content grabs someone’s attention. Anybody searching for a solution to a specific problem will likely click on one of your links to learn more.
- Social selling: Everyone uses social media to search for new products and services. Social selling is so powerful that almost 8 out of 10 salespeople generated better results thanks to social selling efforts.
- Providing genuinely helpful information: A sales ecosystem is more than just marketing; it also aims to educate customers to help them choose more easily. Create educational content, such as a checklist or a top 10 list.
- Helping them choose: Demos, customer testimonials, and product comparisons are all useful near the end of the process for someone who’s still going through your offerings.
It’s also worth bringing up omnichannel marketing. Clients will scour all sorts of channels like email, social media, websites, and even physical media to find their answers, so there’s no reason not to produce content for all of them at once.
A Powerful Technology Stack
eCommerce is the backbone of the sales ecosystem today. Statistics show that the direct-to-consumer eCommerce market in the U.S. alone reached $111.5 billion in 2020 and will continue to rise in the next few years.
A sales ecosystem contains eCommerce-specific tools and solutions:
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO): A website’s design can contain obstacles and frustrations that discourage users from purchasing products. CRO covers heuristic analysis and user testing to knock down those barriers and boost sales through your eCommerce site. Anything from website speed improvements to UI/UX best practices is involved here.
- Growth marketing: Marketing campaigns through digital or online means include email marketing, SMS marketing, and search engine optimization.
- Technological planning: An online store has access to many technologies and services to boost revenue, as well as a plan for implementing those services. For example, many third-party solutions for business analytics and customer segmentation are available to eCommerce storefronts.
A sales ecosystem doesn’t just pop up overnight. It takes consistent effort, the right approach, and may require backup from a proven D2C marketing agency.
Create and Support Your Sales Ecosystem with Parkfield
A sales ecosystem is a multifaceted approach to boosting publicity and sales for an eCommerce storefront. It involves identifying your target audience, mapping out your customer journey and a sales strategy that supports it, creating relevant marketing content, and fine-tuning your landing pages for top performance.
Ready to jump into social commerce, optimizing conversion rates, or any other aspect of the diverse and all-encompassing sales ecosystem? Schedule your 30-minute discovery session with Parkfield Commerce today. We’re your one-stop shop for everything from marketing services to D2C Shopify store design.