Today, most business-to-business (B2B) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies rely on three main channels for communicating with their customers and potential customers:
For years, marketers and salespeople have been using these three channels to blast out their sales pitches, promotions, and other marketing messages. From cold calls to spam emails to never-ending streams of social media posts, the conversations on these channels have largely been one-sided. (In other words, they haven’t really been conversations at all.)
As marketers and salespeople, it was easy for us to convince ourselves that those were the channels our customers were using, so those were the channels we needed to engage them on. And because the traditional marketing and sales playbook favors the obsessive measuring and monitoring of metrics like clicks and dials and email opens over providing an enjoyable buying experience, we justified all those interruptive phone calls we made and annoying “nurturing” emails we sent by saying that we had to hit our numbers. Back then, we valued being data-driven over being customer-driven. (Not that learning from the data you collect isn’t important, it’s just that what you learn directly from your customers, through talking to them one-on-one, is more important.)
After years of abusing these three channels—phone, email, and social media—and tapping them for all they ...