In 2017, the customer journey should be at the centre of a marketer’s world. When a company takes the time to listen to their customers and understand the journey they travel from prospect to customer, business prospers and loyalty increases. However, marketing automation technology put in place for “campaigns” is now antiquated and these “legacy” systems hold captive the data that is pertinent to understanding the customer journey. Rip and replace is out of the question with such core systems, so how can marketers truly hear the customer roar?
To really harness all that you’re doing from an organisational perspective and transform your business into a customer first culture, you have to be able to hear the customers roar. Silos need to be reconciled across existing services, but many companies go without these platforms and still have an impact. A marketer can have a slew of tools at their disposal, but the people who use them need to be aligned in order to see success. So what to do with a slim budget to deliver a 21st century customer journey? Here are three tips for you to act on right now to get closer to this objective and lay the foundation for adding orchestration tools later.
Set up a system to remove frustration and discord
Just about every company today is a ‘data driven’ organisation, where metrics are the guiding force behind employees and departments. Fine in theory, problematic in practice. Each department pushes to exceed their quotas (emails opened, white papers downloaded, calls made, etc.) with little incentive towards meeting the ultimate goal of a good customer experience and thus new business. For example, let’s look how a technology company deals with issues between its marketing and sales teams. Marketing is tasked with generating a specific number of qualified leads per month and the sales team is tasked with further vetting the leads and closing as many deals as possible. Without workflow alignment, these two departments can easily be at odds with each other. Marketing does everything they can to drive engagement and gain interest, regardless of being fully qualified, in order to make their numbers. The sales team, now flooded with lots of questionable leads, spends more time reducing these to the most relevant customers and possibly missing their numbers. Now the technology company has friction built into their business, reducing the effectiveness of marketing budgets and overtaxing the sales team.
This misalignment is more common than you might think. A good first step towards improving the customer journey is to understand where similar conflicts exist across the company. The fix could be as simple as management alignment or it could be more complicated, such as redoing whole department metrics.
Build an internal web
Silos across an organisation are never the objective of the management team, yet they almost always develop for one reason or another. This is a problem for a customer-centric company. Take a good look at how a customer interacts with your company to get a better sense of why this internal network is needed and breaking down the silos is important. For example, a customer filled out a form to download a white paper on a particular topic they are interested in learning more about. After some time, this information is routed to a sales representative, regardless of the fact that the person who downloaded the paper is already a customer, and calls to offer more materials to help said customer better understand how the company can help solve their problem. Now extrapolate this opaque view of the customer’s journey as it relates to the services, product, support, finance and marketing parts of your company. It’s easy to see how silos can leave a customer frustrated. Breaking these silos improves the customer journey.
Hear the customer’s roar
Providing products to buyers does not make a company customer-centric. Putting a customer first means examining all the touchpoints that they interact with and designing a flow that builds and engages a customer to be open and honest about their wants and needs. Personalised outreach supported by martech and adtech orchestration that makes the customer feel like they are having a single conversation with a company, rather than being marketed to is the goal.
The 21st century customer-centric business creates an end-to-end picture of how they are creating value through their services and makes the customer feel as though they can trust the brand. The tips above will convert your customer whimper into a roar that can be heard throughout the whole organisation leading to better conversion rates, relationships, and business opportunities.
By James Allum, European partner director at Kitewheel
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