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Why it's vital and how to start building customer-led sales and marketing

2 mins read

This photo is by John Ball and shows a New York members-only social club in 1998. What's going on in there is suspected to be 'connected' and rumours range from underground gambling to extortion and murder.
Or it could simply be a place for old guys to hang out and chat in peace.

Who knows?

Well, the people who own the club and its members will know. Everyone else is just guessing.
Kind of like me when I'm looking at the leads that come through and are attributed to the shady world of 'Direct Traffic.'
I suspect those sign-ups for a webinar from Company B clicked on a link shared by my guest at Company B. I know we only promoted that CTA on Reddit Ads in the HubSpot Subreddit during that period so, I presume, those conversions on that Landing Page got the link there... Unless someone sent it them?
So, attribution is hard enough but that's only part of the problem.

Less attribution, fewer clicks and a lack of trust leave one solution: Customer-led marketing and sales

Are you purposefully leveraging customer-led sales and marketing? Many people talk about this but actually getting it done is hard.

All the while, this is getting more and more important by the week:
  • Organic SEO clicks are falling
    The vast majority of Google searches end with no click-through past the SERP - check the great research from the SparkToro team.
  • Social media is saturated with marketing and sales fluff
    Yes, yes, stuff like my LinkedIn post version of this blog.
  • And social media users prefer private channels
    For example, sharing things they like and talking with each other on WhatsApp about... who knows what. Like those friends of ours in the Glory Social Club.
  • Any content from a company is instantly filed as 'trying to sell to me' and people listen to people
    That's why we are pushing client teams to produce more Employee Generated Content and official channels are ticking along in first gear.
  • AI Assistants can't be counted on to properly credit or link to you
    They (at least for now) want to just provide trustworthy results in a natural conversation style rather than provide a list of citations like it's an academic paper. Don't underestimate what an interesting point we're at in the content marketing landscape right now - the goalposts have moved in the past 12 months.

And this list goes on.

This is why word-of-mouth and customer-led marketing and sales matter so much. We can figure out the attribution fully in time but, for now, we need to concentrate on building up our customer networks and community of known contacts.


But how do we start building customer-led sales and marketing?

It's not easy and it can't be done overnight. But you likely have the right foundations in place already to get started.

Here's how we see it:

  1. Delight customers and engage heavily with them, producing case studies, yes, but also push for unprompted shoutouts and thank yous (reviews, social posts, blog mentions)
  2. Ensure you've got reviews coming in on wherever your prospects are comparing you against your competition (Google Reviews, Trustpilot, G2... wherever is relevant for you)
  3. Social proof your website (Results and quotes show your authority a lot more than features and first-person self-love)
  4. Build a 'following' who consumes your content on a platform you actually own and control as much as possible (an email newsletter, for example)
  5. Build a community where you're the facilitator of helpful and entertaining conversations (look around you online, you will be part of some already, whether it's neighbourhood WhatsApp or Facebook groups, or self-development mastermind collectives)

I'd love to hear how people are seeing this challenge play out and how they're getting on tackling it. What tactics are you using and what's working? Let me know on this LinkedIn post and join the conversation.

I've been speaking to various marketing leaders and things are pretty unpredictable from quarter to quarter in terms of tactics that succeed or fail.

But once you have your own members-only hangout, you can facilitate conversations that lead to sales opportunities and sticky clients... All vouched for by a trusted 'friend of ours' who can recommend you as the trustworthy community leader in their time of need.

Yes, I enjoy mafia movies.


Learn how to activate your customer-led growth

10 expert speakers are appearing at Avidly Activates UK 2024 on 14th November.

A full day of learning and advice, with plenty of space and time for 1-1 deep dives away from the stage, all designed to activate your customer-led growth.

It's free. It's in person. And it's only available to those who sign up.