Handing off customers, from marketing to sales to customer service, seems a bit jolting in today’s digital world. These days, customers own the online social relationship, and they don’t want to be passed around like a hot potato. They demand one group to guide them through the customer journey.
More often than not, this group is the digital marketing team.
Death of a salesman
Already there are signs that marketers are pushing out salespeople. Forrester predicts one million B2B sales jobs will disappear in the coming years, as customers research and purchase goods online. At DEMO Traction in San Francisco last week, many startup tech companies said they don’t even employ salespeople.
On the post-sale side, a fight has broken out on social media between marketers and customer service pros over control of the customer relationship. Customers don’t want to pick up a phone and call customer support anymore. They want answers online, where marketers hold sway yet aren’t good at providing customer service.
“Initially seen as an outbound channel for marketing, social media soon also saw consumers seeking customer service, something marketing teams were ill-prepared to handle,” writes Forrester analyst Ian Jacobs in a brief entitled Take Social Customer Service Beyond Your Own Walled Garden.
See this infographic on the marketing cycle…
The Economic Times
BENGALURU: Investment firms Helion Venture Partners and IDG Ventures India have sold stakes in Flipkart in deals that value India’s largest online retailer at $12.5 billion (Rs 77,000 crore), according to two people involved in the deals.
Helion, which got a stake in the Bengaluru-based company by virtue of its investment in online electronics retailer LetsBuy that was acquired by Flipkart in 2012, has sold its entire stake of 0.2 per cent, estimated to be worth Rs 156 crore. IDG Ventures, which entered Flipkart through fashion portal Myntra that was bought last year, has shed a portion of its holding of 1 per cent by selling stake worth nearly Rs 940 crore last month. IDG still holds about 0.9 per cent stake in Flipkart.
ET could not independently ascertain the buyers in both these transactions. Last month, ET was the first to report that Flipkart was seeking a valuation of $15 billion as it prepares the ground for a fresh round of fund-raising led by its largest investor Tiger Global.
Helion declined comment on the developments while IDG Ventures and Flipkart did not respond to email queries.
Industry experts are of the view that the stake sales are happening at a time funding cycles are expected to taper off in India’s redhot ecommerce sector, where the top three firms mopped up nearly Rs 31,000 crore ($5 billion) of funding in 2014.
Flipkart, founded by former Amazon employees Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, saw its valuation leapfrog from Rs 16,120 crore ($2.6 billion) in May 2014 to about Rs 68,000 crore ($11 billion) by December when it raised $700 million led by Steadview Capital. It is now aiming to raise Rs 10,500 crore ($1.7 billion) through this year, with Tiger Global expected to lead the investment.
The company is aiming to sell goods worth $8 billion in 2014-15 and competes against Amazon and Snapdeal.
“Valuations aren’t going in those crazy multiples anymore,” said one person directly involved in the stake sale.