The Social Selling Index: What’s Your Score?

If you are in sales, which in some capacity we all are, you really must begin the road down social selling. As I have worked on research on this topic, I’ve gotten comments that range everything from “What’s social selling?” to “Social Selling is the best thing that has every happened to sales!” So if you don’t know what social selling is – here’s a paper that will help you understand some of what you need to know: How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization. When I was at the LinkedIn’s Social Selling Conference, I was given my Social Selling Index (SSI). What is that? The Social Selling Index is made up of 4 pillars:

4 Pilllars of the Social Selling IndexThe Social Selling Index is measured on a scale of 0-100. Each area has a total possible score of 25. What are the drivers of the Social Selling Index? And why should salespeople care about improving their SSI? Here’s some stats that may surprise you below. LinkedIn Research looked at the people who filled out their profile and it showed that SSI leaders have 45% more opportunities per quarter and are 51% more likely to hit quotas than SSI laggards.* (*Source: LinkedIn Global Survey of 5,000 Sales Professionals, October 2013)

Stats on Social Selling Index natalie petouhoff LinkedIn

Those with a high SSI score were promoted 17 months faster than those with low SSI. Those with a higher SSI could reach VP level 41 months faster than those with a low SSI.

Promotions to Club natalie petouhoff LinkedIn

If you are not sure if social selling is for you, you might want to shift that thinking. Otherwise you might be left behind. Wondering who has already adopted Social Selling Index? Here’s some stats:

Who is using the social selling index natalie petouhoff LinkedIn

Create a Strong Personal Brand

Improving your SSI means that you have to understand each section of the SSI. The first part is about creating a personal brand. I was fortunate that when I began my career I did a lot of writing and established myself as someone who often wrote about the leading edge of what was going on in tech and software. That helped. What also helped was that I had bosses who realized the importance of a strong personal brand. At the time I was a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The partner I worked for explained to me that the reason businesses buy from PWC was, and it was in this order: 1. Who I was (my personal brand, the work I’d be doing and the expertise I’d bring to the table 2. The actual work we would do 3. the fact that we were from the firm PWC. At the time PWC was a 150 year old brand. To me, having a well established brand recognize the importance of personal branding was pretty unusual and astounding. But I went with it and it has served me well. Flash forward 15-20 years and now personal branding is — well let’s just say — “in fashion!”

How do you create a personal brand. Part of that can be done on LinkedIn. Research shows that 81% of people are more likely to engage with someone with a strong, professional brand. When I was at the LinkedIn Social Selling Conference, they gave each attendee their social selling index. Mine is below. What you can see is that I score very high (21) in creating a professional brand. However, I score lower in the next two sections of the social selling index. That makes sense because I am an analyst, not a sales person. I score better on building strong relationships, because that is something that is important as an analyst. So if you have not tried social selling, I highly recommend it. It’s truly where the future of selling is going. And note that it may require that you and / or your team get training. It’s important to understand some of the best practices so you can maximize your social selling success!

 

LinkedIn Profile Dr Natalie Social Selling Index3

And here’s a link to a paper on some best practices on social selling that I put together: How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization.

@Drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Better Customer Experiences.

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Microsoft Convergence Conference Day 1

What I found most interesting is the emphasis on people. And the acknowledgement that technology is there to empower people. There’s been, as many of you know, this rub between the “business” and “IT” and their differing agendas. A couple of examples of customer’s at the Microsoft Convergence Conference showed today clearly that there are companies that have overcome the rub between these two differing parts of a business.

When we were in the analyst and press meeting I asked, “Do you see the rub between IT and the business still in the clients you work with?” They answered very honestly. They told us in clients that “get it” that IT and the business do partner. And often the CIO is the Chief Digital Officer or is truly tapped into the business. And what I loved  the results that you see when that happens.

An example of that was how AccuWeather used the business intelligence to know where trains could avoided tornadoes & Eddie Vedder avoided a lightning strike based on AccuWeather intelligence. This example showed how it’s possible to really make the leap of the digital disruption. Another example was Wash Laundry with 900 employees & 70,000 locations. They are improving their ability to collaborate. Both used Microsoft products.

They also said that they still see some companies not “getting it.” And these companies I worry about. The digital disruption isn’t that you have a Facebook page or a mobile app. It’s that you have truly changed the way you see your business, how you have constructed your business model and found budget to transform the customer and employee experience to be the best they can be. This take organizational change and strong leadership.

Which camp does your company fall into?

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research Covering Marketing, Sales and Service to Create great Customer Experiences

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#AdobeSummit WOWs With a Ton of Announcements

The #AdobeSummit has begun and the news below, for the 6,000 digital marketers and senior leaders from the world’s top brands is being digested, while sharing best practices and networking. As a marketer, there never seems to be enough time to learn everything, but soak it up. It’s all here! And if you are here in person or not… here’s a round-up of what’s happening here:

  • Adobe Pushed Boundaries of Marketing at Summit 2015 – At Summit 2015, Adobe is showcasing a range of innovation across its Adobe Marketing Cloud, including the unveiling of two new Adobe Marketing Cloud Solutions – Primetime and Audience Manager. Press Release
  • Adobe Brings Digital Marketing to Internet of Things (IoT) – Adobe Marketing Cloud extends personalized experiences to physical spaces and machines; New IoT SDK enables brands to measure and analyze engagement across IoT devices. Press Release
  • Adobe Streamlines Mobile Marketing and App Development. – Adobe is unveiling significant enhancements to Adobe Mobile Services, a Core Service across Adobe Marketing Cloud, that include a fully integrated mobile app framework. The new mobile app framework delivers the complete, integrated solution in the industry for developing and managing apps, and is the first to eliminate marketers’ dependence on an array of disjointed point solutions. Press Release
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud Unites Data-driving Marketing and Ad Tech – Adobe is unveiling a new algorithmic engine and advances in Audience Core Services that enables brands to connect massive audience and behavioral data from a broad range of sources, while a new set of algorithms allow them to reach those audiences through Adobe Media Optimizer. Press Release

Joint Partner Announcements:

  • Adobe and IBM Interactive Experience Announce Global Partnership – IBM Interactive Experience will build specialized enterprise consulting capabilities for Adobe Marketing Cloud. Combining the capabilities of Adobe Marketing Cloud with the design, digital and technology expertise of IBM Interactive Experience, enterprises can comprehensively integrate all the touch points of a consumer’s journey. Press Release.
  • Accenture and Adobe Create Innovative, Pay-Per-Use Digital Marketing Service to Drive Greater Marketing ROI – Today Accenture and Adobe expand their alliance with the launch of Accenture Customer Engagement, a cloud-based managed service that simplifies the development, execution and measurement of digital marketing. Accenture Customer Engagement features digital marketing services from Accenture Interactive wrapped seamlessly around Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions. Press Release.

Partner-Issued Adobe Marketing Cloud Announcements:

Adobe Blogs Provide Additional Information on the Latest News from Summit:

If you want all Adobe Summit announcement highlights, videos, images and more, you can go here: http://www.adobe.com/news-room/summit2015.htm

And you can follow the Twitter feed using the hashtag: #AdobeSummit

As you can see Adobe is addressing many of the issues that plague marketers, working to simplify, while giving marketers more control and options. As marketers are called to do more than just “push” messages and rather engage customers, more and more capabilities are required. The future is here, now. Digital Marketing education is not only necessary, it should be a requirement in every university!

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales, Digital, Social and Customer Service to Create Amazing Customer Experiences

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The Year of the Customer: Research Points to the New Focus Must Be The Customer

Over the years I’ve covered Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and Support, Customer Success Management – all of which end up providing the brand or company the ability to deliver on a promise and make good on that promise or somewhere along that customer journey or do something that creates an unpleasant experience and drives the customer away from the company and to a competitor. We’ve known for over 25 years, its less expensive to keep current customers happy and continuously buying from a brand, yet companies are still not getting the value in perpetual customer experience. What I mean by that is that – it’s not just one experience that matters. Its every single interaction – and from the customer’s point of view. But it’s not that simple. It’s every single interaction from every single customer – perpetually.

Often people have argued with me whether social / digital makes a difference in customer service and customer loyalty. If you consider the 1-9-90 rule — which means that 1% of the population posts, 9% respond and 90% just lurk or read what the 10% posted — there are literally millions, if not billions of people who have read posts by that 10%. And even though that 10% is the tip of the iceberg of the total customer population, they are very influential. Consider that a good percentage of that 90% reads what the 10% writes. They could read about how horrible a brand’s products and services are, and without even engaging with them, a brand could make the decision to never buy from them. And consider if this is the case, there will be companies that look up one day and their customer base is gone and they will wonder where it went. It went to your competitors.

I thought I would provide a list of the research I’ve been working on – just to give you an idea of the various things I think about and where I see the world going. One of the best things about being an analyst is that you get to see the world from a collected set of experiences – from vendor briefings, conferences, speaking engagements and advisory – and you start to see patterns and that helps to shape your point of view on the world. Truthfully, while there’s some things changing, it’s still should be a customer-focused world. No Customers, no business. It’s that simple.

Here’s some of my thoughts on these topics below. @drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service and Customer Success Management to Create Great Customer Experiences

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What Are the 4 Pillars Of Social Selling? What Creates Social Selling Success?

My latest report is a best practices guide for sales leaders and teams looking to use social to transform their average-performing sales teams into top performers (1-2). Did you know that seventy-eight percent of salespeople who use social media outsell their peers? (3) Nearly sixty percent of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—happen before the potential buyer even has a conversation with a supplier. (4) Research into actual use of social selling has revealed that sales professionals who use social selling are fifty-one percent more likely to exceed quota, three times more likely to go to a special sales event for top sellers and get promoted to vice president seventeen months faster. (5)
Your social media presence will allow you to demonstrate your expertise and helpfulness to your potential customers. The result? They’re a warm prospect before your first personal interaction! The idea of using social to boost sales may seem like a no-brainer to you, but the reality is that many sales organizations feel they:
  • Could use social better
  • Experience difficulty with adoption, or
  • Unsure of how to start their social selling initiative.

This report addresses the concerns of the weary social selling novice to the experienced sales leader seeking to improve the efficiency of their social sales team. Here’s an excerpt from the report:

Four Steps to Creating a Social Selling OrganizationWith billions of pieces of information being shared each week in social channels, you will want to organize and operationalize your approach to social selling. Use Constellation’s Social Selling Assessment to focus on four key steps:

1. Create a personal brand – Each sales team member should build a complete profile on key social networks.

2. Find the right people – Once you set up your professional brand, start using it with a network

3. Engage your prospects with insights – Read, participate and contribute in social networks
4. Build strong relationships – Cultivate prospects and people within your company.
Read more about my report How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling OrganizationA snapshot of the report and the table of contents is available here: http://info.constellationr.com/report-download-social-selling-best-practices
@drnatalie
VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great Customer Experiences
References:

(1) The Sales Management Association survey, http://www.slideshare.net/TheSalesMgtAssoc/social-media-and-the-sales- organization

(2) Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman and CEO, OgilvyOne Worldwide,”The Future of Selling”, http://www.slideshare.net/OgilvyWW/the-future-of-sell

(3) Mike Volpe, “Your Sales Strategy Shouldn’t Rely on a Cold Call”, Mashable, October 8, 2014, http://mashable.com/2014/10/08/better-sales-marketing-strategy/

(4) Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Nicholas Toman, “The End of Solution Sales”, Harvard Business Review, July 2012, https://hbr .org/2012/07/the-end-of-solution-sales

(5) LinkedIn research surveys and analysis of using social selling tools, with LinkedIn data from 2014 and 2015

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Is Social Selling Going to Make a Difference in Your Sales Organization?

In speaking to many sales leaders and sales reps (especially outside of Silicon Valley) they were wondering, “Would social selling make a difference to my sales organization and our sales results?” Having been in the “social media / digital world” for a while I found that an interesting question. But often if you are in the mix of something you can’t see what others can’t see. So I did some research on social selling to back up what my gut what was telling me, i.e., “Yes, social selling makes a tremendous difference to a sales organization’s bottomline.”

You might be wondering, what types of statistics are out there around social selling and it’s effectiveness. Here’s a few:

  • Sixty-five percent of the most successful sales people who use social media as part of the selling process believe social media is critical to their success
  • Studies show 78% of salespeople who use social media outsell their peers
  • Research into actual use of social selling has revealed that sales professionals who use social selling are 51% more likely to exceed quota, three times more likely to go to a special sales event for top sellers and get promoted faster*

Why might this be the case? Nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—before even having a conversation with a supplier. Sadly, however, 2/3 of firms do not have a social media strategy for their sales organization, even though 80% of the sales people surveyed believe the sales force would be more productive with a greater social media presence.

So I began looking at the critical components of social selling and found that sales managers, despite the few that are very successful, many are unsure how to use social selling. Sixty-eight to 84% of salespeople surveyed feel the sales process is changing faster than sales organization are responding. However, according to the report Powering Profitable Sales Growth: Five Imperatives from the 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study, Accenture and CSO Insights, digital transformation, digital selling, applying digital tools, online and social media to enable digital relationships and drive sales across multiple channels is fast emerging as a primary driver of market differentiation, business growth and profitability.

Here’s some of the reasons sales team leaders and members are not leaving social media and social selling:

1. Sales leaders are not moving their teams to social selling.

2. Sales individuals and teams don’t have online professional brands.

3. Sales and marketing teams are not working together as a united front.

4. Salespeople don’t have the digital proficiency to develop an effective online brand to drive more sales.

Sales leaders must understand how to leverage social selling to advance the relationship between their prospects, potential customers and current customers. In addition, businesses need to learn how to make the most of each individual salesperson’s online brand while keeping the company’s social persona intact. And I will explore more about social selling and solving these issues in the next blog post.

Here’s a link to the snapshot of the report on Social Selling.

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Service To Create Amazing Customer Experiences

Catch Constellation’s Connected Enterprise – The innovation summit for the enterprise November 4 – 6, 2015. The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California.

*LinkedIn Research Surveys and Analysis of Using Social Selling Tools Data 2014- 2015

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How Many Security Breach Notices Have You Gotten? Time Cloud Providers Step Up

I don’t know about you, but I do worry about cybercrime. I just got another notice in the mail from a company saying that they “may have had a security breach.”  The security of CRM or customer data is clearly something that customers care about. It’s become so common that it’s almost not a shocker when I get letters like this. CRM vendors, especially those that put customer records, data and customer analytics in the cloud must step up their security. I was relieved to hear about the independent auditors that verified that Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Intune align to ISO/IEC 27018, which provides a uniform, international approach to protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in the cloud.

The company hit other privacy milestones last year, including confirmation from European data protection authorities (Europe tends to have stricter regulations than the US)  that its enterprise cloud contracts are in line with “model clauses” under EU privacy law, and was among the first companies to sign the Student Privacy Pledge. In a blog post by Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft, he said the privacy standard, known as ISO/IEC 27018, was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to establish a uniform, international approach to protecting privacy for personal data stored in the cloud.

What does this mean for companies and their customers? Adherence to ISO 27018 assures enterprise customers that customer privacy will be protected in several ways.

  • Companies are in control of their data. If they use the Microsoft products that adhere to ISO 27018, that adherence to the standard ensures that Microsoft only processes personally identifiable information according to the instructions that a company provides to Microsoft. So if you are a Microsoft customer, time to make sure the CRM folks and the IT/ Security folks are having lunch and meetings to discuss, plan and execute on their privacy strategies.
  • Companies know what’s happening with their data. Adherence to the standard ensures transparency about Microsoft’s policies regarding the return, transfer, and deletion of personal information the company stores in the data centers. Microsoft will not only let the company know where their customer’s data is, but if Microsoft works with other companies who need to access your data, Microsoft will let the company know who Microsoft is working with. In addition, if there is unauthorized access to personally identifiable information or processing equipment or facilities resulting in the loss, disclosure or alteration of this information, Microsoft will inform the company of this.
  • Microsoft provides strong security protection for a company’s customer data. Adherence to ISO 27018 provides a number of important security safeguards. It ensures that there are defined restrictions on how Microsoft handle personally identifiable information, including restrictions on its transmission over public networks, storage on transportable media, and proper processes for data recovery and restoration efforts. In addition, the standard ensures that all of the people, including Microsoft’s own employees, who process personally identifiable information must be subject to a confidentiality obligation.
  • Your customer’s data won’t be used for advertising. Enterprise customers have been expressing their concerns about cloud service providers using their data for advertising purposes, especially without consent. The adoption of this standard reaffirms Microsoft’s longstanding commitment not to use enterprise customer data for advertising purposes.
  • Microsoft will inform companies about government access to data. The standard requires that law enforcement requests for disclosure of personally identifiable data must be disclosed to a company as an enterprise customer, unless this disclosure is prohibited by law. Microsoft already adheres to this approach, and the adoption of the standard reinforces this commitment.

So as a consumer, do you feel safer or not? That’s the important thing. It’s a very good step in the right direction for Microsoft and it’s products. Now what to do about those cybercriminals?

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Experiences that Engage, Empower and Ensure High Customer Lifetime Value

 

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Business Users Vs. Data Scientist: Will Business Ever Prosper From Big Data?

While Data Scientist and Business Analyst are uncovering incredible insights, the big question is how useful is that information to the business and business user? Data Scientists understand the analytics and the data, often using data science language. This can create a barrier to business users. They don’t want to say they don’t understand it or that they don’t have the aptitude or desire to become a Data Scientist. The fact is if you are not a data scientist you probably don’t want to become one. If  you wanted to be one, you would become one. .

So how can business users make sense of all the data that is being collected? Business users speak in business terms – lead conversion rates, reducing churn, increasing customer lifetime value. And that is NOT SQL language. However, to make better decisions about their campaigns and their overall business, they do need to use big data insights. I emphasize insights, but data itself is not helpful unless it provides actionable insights. To use the data, business users are craving an easy to use interface and interactions through visualizations. And they need it to be convenient to use, so they can get the answers they need whenever they need it.

Teradata, for instance, has taken a step forward to solve this dilemma with a new solution by expanding its technology solutions to include applications that make the analytics accessible and consumable for the typical business user. It’s very important to assure business users that the data is in scalable and reusable apps that so that it makes sense to business users.

Teradata calls this capability Big Data Apps. They are purpose-built apps designed to answer specific business questions. They were created by the data science experts who were focused on solving a business issue, like understanding the path of a customer who is about to churn and customer sentiment. In other words, they see these big data apps as a self-service big data discovery designed for non-data scientists to be use specifically by business users to delivers powerful, interactive visualizations to enable quick, impactful decisions and provide the fastest time to value.

Often extracting value from big data requires specialized skills & resources. The big data apps expand big data access to a broader set of users. The industry specific big data apps provide a number of vertical industries support to make better business decisions. Those include: retail, telco and cable, healthcare, travel and hospitality, entertainment and gaming as well as consumer financial institutions.

As an example, for retail, the business issues the big data apps are designed to solve are:

  • Paths to Purchase
  • Attribution (multi-channel)
  • Shopping Cart Abandonment
  • Checkout Flow Analysis
  • Website Flow Analysis
  • Customer Product Analysis and
  • Market Basket & Prod Recommendations.

In the retail sector, for instance, the retail app could be applied to shopping carts and product recommendations. For example, determining the affinity between specific products plays an important role in understanding what products should be recommended to consumers based on past and current purchases and where products should be placed on store shelves. In this scenario, the way the big data app would work is that it would use the Aster Collaborative Filter and Recommender functions to output recommendation data and a visualization of the data.

how to use teradata output

In the healthcare industry, the big data apps provide information on:

  • Paths to Surgery
  • Admission Diagnosis Procedure Paths
  • Patient Affinity of Symptoms and Medicines and Cures
  • Patient Compare of Illnesses and Symptoms
  • Impact Analysis of Patient Care and
  • Drug Prescription Affinity Analysis among similar and dissimilar patients.

And in Travel & Hospitality, the big data apps provide:

  • Customer Review Text Analysis
  • Website Conversion Paths
  • Diminishing Loyalty and
  • Customer Review Sentiment Analysis.

So the question is – is this enough? Will this help business people find big data useful. Everyone was in the race to get big data. Now the race seems to be for the ability to make big data useable. Looking forward to talking to some of Teradata’s customer who are using the big data apps to hear what they think.

@drnatalie

Constellation Research

Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Great Customer Experiences Enhanced by Data Analytics for Business Users

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Will the Internet of Things Change When the FTC Changes the Internet Into A Public Utility? AT&T and Verizon May File Lawsuits

We in the tech world have been focused on the Internet of Things and how everything is connected or will be. What will be interesting to see is how the Internet of Things may change if the FTC changes the Internet to a Public Utility. The story in Venture Beat talks about the how the FTC,  Federal Communications Commissionchairman Tom Wheeler is going to release a new regulatory approach affecting the Internet. The change is set to be effective Feb 26. The source from Venture Beat suggests that after the Title II reclassification becomes official, AT&T and Verizon will file lawsuits almost immediately.

The reclassification of the Internet as a public utility-like telecommunications service as defined by Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The Title II reclassification will apply to both wired and wireless broadband.

The bill is sponsored by a several Republicans — Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and has almost no support from congressional Democrats. The Republicans will need a certain critical mass of Democratic support to make the bill progress and to apply pressure on the president to sign it. And from what we’ve seen in Washington D. C. the ability for the two parties to collaborate on anything is pretty iffy.

The reason the FCC was forced to create a new “Open Internet” regulatory plan was because Verizon sued the commission over its legal standing to regulate network neutrality — and won. In the Venture Beat article it said that Hank Hultquist, AT&T’s VP of federal regulatory set the tone for his brand’s positioning on the change in a blog post. He says that AT&T’s position that the broadband service it sells is actually an “information service” and not a telecommunication service as described in Title II. It also says that the FCC simply has no authority to reclassify broadband without first completing a complete study of the existing marketplace. When the FCC has to defend reclassification before an appellate court, it will have to grapple with these and other arguments,” Hultquist wrote.

The reclassification to Title II will give the commission the legal framework and the authority to enforce network neutrality rules on Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. The commission will be able to make sure no carrier gives priority to one Internet content provider’s data packets over those from another.

Those that are for the change for a Title II reclassification believe the move is necessary to permit the FCC to collect universal service fees on data service and to implement privacy regulations. The threat of the lawsuits, and prospect of months or years of legal wrangling, is making many people nervous. It will be interesting to see what happens. The Internet of Things has suddenly become the Internet of Controversy. Hopefully it won’t spoil the plans of all the people and tech companies that have built their dreams on the idea of the Internet of Things.

@drnatalie
VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

 

 

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What You Don’t Know About APIs Could Hurt Your Ability to Deliver Great Customer Experiences

What is the API Economy? Why not knowing about your APIs, could hurt your business? One of the issues is that the APIs you currently have may not be making that seamless, contextual transition in the ubiquitous channel / device world most customers live in daily. (Ubiquitous channel / device meaning customers don’t think about the channel or device they are going to use to interact with you- they just do.) This API issue can apply to many functional department’s software: Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Customer Service, Customer Success Management and can lead to the success or to the failure to meet customer expectations — i.e., to meet the brand’s promise, deliver products and services, as promised as, well as meet the business’s expectation on getting the interaction and engagement data so critical to knowing their customer’s behavioral patterns and creating mass systems of personalization, which has been promised by many a vendor.

With the enhanced capabilities of software and the automation of processes, transactions, and distribution across every industry and companies within those industries, the gap of effective APIs is widening.  APIs not only leverage software but also expose software interfaces to others. This includes, but is not limited to internal developers, partners, customers… and thus, APIs can help the brand get more information out of the interactions with their customers and also to work towards making interactions into engagements that are seamless.

The ability to making interactions into engagements that are seamless is really important  in the multi-channel, multi-device, omni-channel world – which doesn’t — in reality — always exist like the marketing by some vendors says it does. And with mobile driving ubiquitous channel and device engagement necessities, as customers don’t premeditate when and what channel or device they will reach out to you on or which device or channel they will continue that interaction on, businesses must move from the idea of multi-channel, multi-device, omni-channel world into the world of ubiquitous customer engagement and make sure their APIs are delivering all they possibly can.

As I was doing a briefing call with 3scale, as they put it, we are in The API Economy. It’s a new economy, that is beginning to boom as brands realize what that the software they bought doesn’t exactly work they way they thought it did / could / would.  And there are many things that companies need to learn in order to succeed.  To help ease the API process, 3scale, the San Francisco and Barcelona-based API Management solutions provider, released a comprehensive eBook about APIs entitled “Winning in the API Economy. The book is available for download free.

The ebook features commentary and insights from 3scale’s management team and a roadmap for using APIs to advance a business.  The book is designed for any business leader who is in charge of software strategy, or is contributing to it, and is looking to bring their organization gains through efficiency and new market opportunities. Many of today’s internal and external IT challenges have common roots in the need for a sound API strategy for supporting software systems. This can range from the evolution of platform strategies to accommodating mobile distribution channels.

This book will appeal to leaders across multiple industries as software is becoming an indispensable part of almost every process, and software’s interfaces have the potential to drive a great deal of positive change,” said Steve Willmott, CEO of 3scale and author of “Winning in the API Economy.  With the API industry expanding so quickly, it is important for organizations to understand the impact that APIs can have on their business and learn about how they can use APIs to grow their bottom line. ‘Winning in the API Economy helps make the world of APIs accessible through easy-to-understand examples and strategies.

The eBook combines real-world case studies with clear explanations to give the reader an ‘API roadmap’ to guide them into this rapidly changing world. It is especially important to understand what you should be expecting from APIs and the differences between what you are getting and what you should be getting from them.

It is possible that software can drive new business opportunities presented by APIs and lead to success and innovation. But this again, may require that IT and the functional business units collaborate so that the external customer experiences turn into systems of engagement and mass personalization at scale.

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research Covering Customer Facing Applications To Create Great Customer Experiences

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