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Guest Post: 3 Ways CRM Predictive Analytics Can Give You a Competitive Edge

Customer relationship management software has emerged as one of the most crucial tools for doing business successfully today, and the power of big data predictive analytics is making CRM more powerful than ever. The CRM predictive analytics market, valued at $4.18 billion in 2014, is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 12.83 percent, on track to be worth $7.65 billion by 2019, Markets and Markets projects. CRM analytics tools are in demand because they help companies predict market behavior, understand their buyers and make more sales.

Companies that know how to use CRM predictive analytics effectively have a major marketing and sales advantage over rivals who aren’t taking advantage of this revolutionary technology. Here’s a look at three ways CRM predictive analytics can help you gain an edge over your competition and take the lead in your market.

Predicting Customer Demand Surges

CRM lets you make predictions about future marketing and sales trends based on historic data. One important application of this is predicting what your customers will want and when they will want it. This can help you ensure that the products and services you’re selling are what your customer base wants and that you’ll have your inventory and staff prepared to meet peak demand times.

One of the most valuable uses of this approach is predicting holiday sales trends. For instance, most retailers center their annual sales around certain key sales days such as Black Friday, but a review of the actual data shows that seasonal sales peaks over the Christmas shopping season can last anywhere from 38 to 88 days depending on the market sector, explains Marketing Week writer Mindi Chahal. Knowing when your holiday sales peak begins and when it ends can make you better prepared to have sufficient staff on hand and sufficient items in stock to meet the surge in demand.

Understanding Your Target Market

Another valuable application of predictive CRM analytics is helping you narrow your target market. Traditional market research methods are effective as far as they go, but the amount of data they can manage is limited. Big data analytics can provide a more complete analysis of your market by integrating data from many sources, including customer purchase history, social media profiles and emails. This enables you to spot characteristics of your target market that you might otherwise overlook.

A good illustration of how this can be applied effectively is the type of recommendation engine used by companies such as Amazon and Netflix. By analyzing buyer behavior and demographic characteristics, these companies generate repeat business by making recommendations designed to appeal to customers’ buyer profiles.

Helping Your Staff to Make Data-based Sales Decisions

Just as recommendation engines can help your website optimize automated sales efforts to online buyers, CRM predictive analytics can also help your sales team make data-driven sales decisions when interacting with prospective buyers. Your sales managers can see who your hottest prospects are, as well as which of your top sales representatives are available for deployment. Your sales representatives can see data about customers’ purchase history, demographic characteristics and buying preferences, enabling them to make more effective sales presentations.

In order to use CRM tools effectively for these types of applications, your staff will need specialized training. Customer FX provides Infor CRM training to help companies make the most of CRM tools. Scheduling this type of training can empower your marketing and sales teams to put CRM predictive analytics tools to optimal use in order to boost your sales performance, grow your profits and gain an edge on your competition.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

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Guest Post: Marketing To Individuals Online

For many companies who function predominantly online, face to face interactions with customers and clients seldom happen. Personal relationships are difficult to build when the individuals that your company targets are a demographic statistic rather a specific person with a smile and ambitions. So how can your company connect with individuals and form relationships that last when your business only has one brick and mortar store? Here’s a look at how your business can market to individuals and build the personal connections customers and clients crave.

iBeacons

iBeacons are a new technology that utilize a variant of Bluetooth technology called Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE. BLE lets your smartphone or other mobile device, like your Apple Watch Sport, communicate with other enabled devices over a short distance. It consumes considerably less battery than traditional Bluetooth, as its name implies. BLE uses are typically geared toward personalized advertisements. These are one-way transmissions from a beacon, like a computer that sends a message to a smartphone or other smart device.

What does this look like for a business? Let’s say a shopper strolls down the street, bag in hand. Suddenly their Apple Watch gives them a notification. The message you’ve set your iBeacon to communicate with mobile devices has appeared. For instance, if you have a vintage clothing boutique, you might program your message as, “Holiday sale, this weekend only, 20 percent off all items.” A moment later the potential customer walks into your shop and they already know why they want to enter your store.

Since most of your business is online, an iBeacon is a great way to make the physical interactions you have with customers count.

Online Communities

No matter what kind of business you have, your online presence is an essential part of your success. Build a community around your product or service with an online forum. A forum provides a communication hub for customers and clients. Many online forums serve community members in their search for knowledge when they trouble shoot a problem. Let the community you’ve created do part of the work for you in terms of customer support — and it’s a free work force. Of course, the most difficult part is getting this community started. Post exclusive information and materials on your forum, as this will make it an invaluable source of knowledge for your customers.

Personal Contact

This isn’t necessarily face to face, but you can certainly reach your target demographic in other ways. Increase your visibility with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Ask your customer or client base how you can serve them better. Listen. When those you serve see positive change come about from the input they’ve given, they will spread the word of your service. Never underestimate the impact of word of mouth, even if it’s online.

When you take customer input into account and make changes in how your business functions, let people know. A newsletter is worth the effort and reaches an audience that is less connected via social media. Include deals, information, customer success stories and updates to your business model. If these updates were brought about by a certain customer, give them credit or even feature them in the newsletter. This shows the recipients of the email how much you value input from those you serve.

 

About the Author

Alex Clark-McGlenn is a graduate of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts Writer’s Workshop. His fiction has been published in the Best New Writing 2016 anthology, The Cost of Paper, Smokebox.net, and others. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, soccer, and reading. He lives the Pacific Northwest.

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Guest Post: The Relationship Between Cloud ERP and Big Data

There have been quite a few articles written on adopting cloud-based ERP, and whether the technology will be along the lines of its counterparts. Businesses are becoming more aware of the computer industry and the software is improving with each release. Cloud technology is becoming crucial in developing new capabilities to attract customers.

 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) within the cloud is the engine utilizing data produced on the plant floor to power manufacturers. Cloud ERP gives manufacturers more precise and real-time data. Also, it is delivering programmable logic controllers, barcode readers, visual management systems, and wearable technology that can assimilate with the ERP system.

 

Big data is popular amongst business intelligence and analytics applications. Big data technology is evolving and it is changing application systems that have long supported them; it has given challenges and great opportunities. Acquiring business value is not only a challenge but it puts the business’ goals into context. 18-20% of the world’s GDP is contributed by manufacturing. Data is well on its way to becoming the new way to be efficient, since manufacturers worldwide are using it gain an edge on the competition. They are looking for products to better themselves and their consumers while discovering services that can be innovative and add to their image. 50% of reduction from manufacturing in product development holds real value. The largest source, arguably, of data in manufacturing is from ERP. Cloud adaptation is being forced at this point, which is the location where data is evaluated and processed using state of the art analytical engines that can slice and splice data into conventional and unconventional sources. ERP is now the connection of the cloud and Big Data.

 

Cloud ERP showcases enhanced flexibility, customization, lowered cost of ownership, and better integration with emerging technologies. You may also see a lowered number of times you call your IT department. The developments indicate that ERP on the cloud is not a situation of when manufacturing will become part of the trend, but what it will choose to deliver via the cloud before ERP immerses itself in the cloud completely.

 

In this moment, ERP in the cloud has proven itself to be a key player in manufacturing. Many companies will do their best to obtain flexibility, enhance customization, lower their costs and drive the integration of emerging technologies. The cloud will be a central figure in its success. As manufacturers gain confidence and experience the benefits, modules that go far above the functions of basic ERP will submerge in the cloud. Mobility and data growth are adding to the need, which would take ERP into the cloud, to create an improvement in efficiency and intelligence leveraged regardless of time and locality. This change coming will be historic. The ERP landscape is being reshaped as this is being written.

erp

 

(Image Source: FanRP)

 

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Saurab Prabhakar is a SEO & Outreach Intern at The Marketing Zen Group. He writes creative content on behalf of the ERP systems specialists at TGO Consulting, and enjoys his work. You’ll find him instructing Group Fitness classes and enjoying great food. You can connect with Saurab on LinkedIn.

 

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NICE Systems Announces the Launch of Total Voice of the Customer (TVOC)

What is NICE Systems Voice of The Customer Announcement Mean to Your Company? The announcement the launch of Total Voice of the Customer (TVOC) is the latest addition to the NICE VOC suite of solutionsTVOC leverages NICE’s Voice of the Customer solution, alongside NICE’s unique Interaction Analytics capabilities and vast experience in recording calls and making sense of that information through analytics. The solution enables enterprises to listen to and register what their customers are saying — directly and indirectly — in calls, chats, emails, on the web and in any other channel and analyzing the interactions to extract implicit feedback data. With the acquisition of  Nexidia Interactive Analytics, NICE’s VOC capabilities will be even further strengthened, creating a true Customer Analytics Powerhouse. 

What is Included in NICE TVOC? NICE TVOC adds voice recordings, social engagement, chat logs and other digital channels to multi-channel surveys, in order to deliver a complete picture of customer disposition. It also leverages the power of the reams of data captured during millions of conversations to yield valuable, actionable insights into customers’ thoughts, including those not obtained in surveys.

What Should Your Brand Be Striving For Around Single View of the Customer? Achieving a single view of the customer across multiple channels is among today’s top challenges for customer experience management. NICE TVOC helps solve this pain point with its unique ability to deeply analyze the unstructured content of the customer communication across all channels. The insight derived can be used in conjunction with other data to map emotional expression to observed behaviors in order to understand customer desires, motivations and actions.

How Does Nice’s Integration of VOC Affect Quality & Performance Management? NICE’s portfolio integration allows the organization to drive VOC into areas such as Quality Management, enabling it to make the maximum impact on its customer experiences, and with Performance Management, so that companies can reward their employees for creating the desired customer experience and coach those who are falling short.

Miki Migdal, President, NICE Enterprise Product Group:
There are many ways to survey, but in a multi-channel world you need more than just survey questions. Instead you need to listen at key inflection points in the customer lifecycle so that you can understand problems that result in a lower customer satisfaction score and may ultimately lead to customer churn. With NICE Total VOC not only can you understand customer emotion, you can see which actions you need to take to build customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

My POV: There’s nothing more important than the voice of the customer. This integration makes it easier to really understand customers and be able to deliver awesome customer experiences. What are branding competing on? Customer Experience. Period. Seriously. You are a customer, you tell me. When you have a good experience do you buy from that company again? And when you have a bad experience, do you hesitate to buy from them again? I made my point.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing Applications That Drive Better Business Results
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Should the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

Customers, Value Chain and The Customer Experience Imperative Should the CMO oversee the whole customer experience? Today, the value chain in business has gone from products that became commodities to services that fuel anticipation of superb customer experiences that go beyond anything customers have expected previously. These new customer expectations have put pressure on companies to deliver on these experiences, which affect the revenue, margin and profits of a company. Brands are under a new type of pressure to keep the right customers and ensure that each of those customer’s experiences live up to their customer’s expectations. In order to make that happen, especially in large organizations, someone has to have customer experience as their primary responsibility and also have the clout to improve it. This is not your grandpa’s CRM. It’s starts with strategy and difficult leadership questions.

The big question? Who should lead the entire customer experience? With the shift to digital marketing, electronic commerce, social media and mobile interactions, brings a massive transformation to how brands and organizations engage prospects and customers. Customer Experience Management is a major pillar in many B2C and B2B organizations’ efforts to engage and retain customers. As it gets more complicated to engage and retain customers, organizations are realizing there is more to the job of customer experience than many first realized. This is in part because providing superb customer experiences often means getting many different departments or functional areas to collaborate, especially when they had not been in the habit of doing so before. Many times the reason for the lack of collaboration and why it has not happened before is because it’s not easy. Again, it’s not your grandpa’s CRM – it’s not about technology really. It’s really starts with a cultural mindset.

Falling Through The Cracks? There are many points along the customer experience journey where an organization can miss the mark and not even come close to meeting customer expectations. However, market leaders realize the future requires proactive, digital online engagement, integrated with in-person and/or in-store experiences to support the strategy. In this research we spoke to many leaders to find out how they are tackling the issues around customer experience and leadership and how best to lead this key strategic initiative in their organization.

The Research Found: The Role of Chief Marketing Officer Is Undergoing Fundamental Transformation, Yet Few Are Ready  As we explored the readiness, rewards, risks and gottcha’s for a CMO to step into an all-encompassing role to deliver the end-to-end customer experience, Constellation identified what CMOs are going through as they are being asked to add more to their “already” full plate. As they lead their organizations to become more customer-centric by creating and maintaining top-notch customer experiences, they helped us identify issues that can inhibit a CMO’s success –if how the business is run and the role of the CMO itself –doesn’t change. Here is a condensed version of the challenges we learned CMOs are facing:

10 challenges of the CMO in leading the customer experience natalie petouhoff constellation research

1. Confusion abounds on who should lead (own) the customer experience.

2. Agile, design-thinking is required to lead changes needed for successful customer experience.

3. Marketing is often focused on communications rather than innovation, product development and business innovation.

4. Marketing only recently became more accustomed to being highly measured, so building the business case for the additional responsibilities of the “new” CMO role may be difficult.

5. The Consumerization of IT has created often unfulfilled customer experiences.

6. The abundance of data requires immediate analysis and action to provide meaningful mass personalization at scale.

7. The plethora of data requires a data management and utilization strategy

8. Marketing can be isolated from other departments that affect customer experience and that isolation hurts the ability to lead change.

9. Marketing can be isolated from other departments that affect customer experience and that isolation hurts the ability to lead change.

10. Customer experience requires a highly collaborative individual to lead cross- functional collaboration.

The truth is there is not any “right” way to lead and deliver customer experience. Every single company has to think about their brand, the type of customer experience they want to deliver and their ability to do that consistently. As products and services have become commoditized, the last frontier to compete on is differentiation of the customer experience, so it is something that is more important than ever. What’s your take on who should lead the customer experience in your organization and why? Click here for more of what we found and read my latest research report, Should the CMO Lead the Customer Experience?  Download the table of contents and an excerpt of the report here: http://info.constellationr.com/report-download-cmo-oversee-customer-experience

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering IOT of Customer Facing Initiatives in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service that Create Great Customer Experiences

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Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

In the next part of my series, I’d like to feature Bluenose. Bluenose Analytics offers a customer success platform that allows SaaS businesses to manage customers with complete visibility, a robust early warning system, and built-in playbooks.

Bluenose’s co-founders were both born in Halifax, Canada. They named the company for something they had in common. The Bluenose is a well-known racing sailboat from Halifax, a schooner with three masts that competed around 1900. The Bluenose was virtually undefeated in competition.

Before the opt-in economy, many businesses focused on the initial sale. Organizations spent a significant amount of money on advertising and marketing to potential prospects. The goal – enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale. Despite decades of research showing that after-sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company, organizations paid little attention the after-sale experience and financial longevity of the client. Consequently, organizations never should have spent millions, or in some cases, billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to a competitor when the after-sales service experience was horrible. Yet, poor after-sales service occurs every single day in many, many companies.

Customer Success Management (CSM) is based on the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience process – before, during, and in particular, after the sale – which results in maximized customer lifetime value and enhanced revenue that leads to increased margins and profits. A shift to CSM happened because we live in a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of customers is determined by how long they stay customers and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. Because of our opt-in economy, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences.

This seismic shift to a post-sale, on demand, attention economy transforms the value exchange among customers, partners, suppliers, and brands. And as organizations move to digital business models, CSM plays a critical role in enabling brands and organizations to keep and deliver their brand promise as well as enhance their bottom line.

When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices.

Data to Decisions Drives the Democratization of Insight

The CSM field has been spurred on by the need to provide after-sales service intelligence that can be turned into actionable insights and decisions. Holistic, data-driven decisions require a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates performance monitoring with traditional business intelligence technologies.

A multitude of data sources can be transformed into information streams guided by business process. As context is applied to information streams, patterns emerge that provide nuggets of insight. That insight then drives the ability to take action and make better decisions. This shift to using insight not only can serve high-margin, “luxury” brands, but also should be considered for all businesses through an investment in CSM. By transforming business models to include processes that immediately turn data into decisions, brands and organizations gain the ability to provide great, loyalty inspiring experiences that reduce churn and increase revenue.

Customer Success Management Field Sees Tremendous Growth

Through conversations with clients, prospective buyers, system integrators, partners, and vendors, Constellation sees five big themes in customer success management (see Figure 1)[1]:5 Areas for Customer Success Management

  1. Delivering a brand promise instead of a product or service requires new approaches. The onus of delivering on the brand promise – providing great experiences with a company no matter when the customer interacts with it – is putting new pressures on brands and software vendors. This means the business model of both must shift. A company’s business model must move post-sales care to a more mature level. This evolution requires a different mindset and approach to customer lifetime value.

Figure 1. Five Areas Needed to Master Customer Success Management

  1. Companies who believe in customer experience build CSM organizations. Not all CSM organizations are created equally. In an opt-in economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time, instead of in the upfront sale. This means that organizations that want to become CSM-oriented are looking at three main areas:
  • Hiring, training and rewards for employees
  • Becoming a center of excellence for CSM
  • Strategy combined with data
  1. CSM cultivates more customers, lowers churn, and improves margins. The reason many companies have adopted the opt-in business model is that they realize, when they consistently deliver great experiences, they have loyal customers who advocate for the brand and often will make referrals. Advocating for the brand can be in the form of a post in a social network or offline in telling friends or family of their experiences.
  2. Predictive analytics identify known attributes and reveal previously unknown attributes that drive customer success. The only way to preserve a company’s revenue stream is to keep customers opting in. To become a CSM organization, a company has to actively manage customer relationships to ensure the customer is getting value. This critical step requires data in the form of real-time and predictive analytics.
  3. Integration of the Internet of Things and predictive analytics improves precision of decisions. The amount of data and analytics that CSM platforms provide is important, especially when data from sensors and other sources (that make up the Internet of Things) is integrated into the solution to provide a company with predictive analytics and actionable insights that drive better and more precise decision making throughout an organization.

[1] See “The State of Customer Success Management 2015” by Natalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research, December 22, 2014.

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ServiceSource®: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 2)

 

Welcome back to Part 2 of my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. If you’d like the full report, just scroll to the bottom of this post!

Customer Success Management Field Sees Tremendous Growth

Through conversations with clients, prospective buyers, system integrators, partners, and vendors, Constellation sees five big themes in customer success management (see Figure 1)[1]:

  1. Delivering a brand promise instead of a product or service requires new approaches. The onus of delivering on the brand promise – providing great experiences with a company no matter when the customer interacts with it – is putting new pressures on brands and software vendors. This means the business model of both must shift. A company’s business model must move post-sales care to a more mature level. This evolution requires a different mindset and approach to customer lifetime value.

Figure 1. Four Areas Needed to Master Customer Success Management

4trends

 

 

 

 

 

[1] See “The State of Customer Success Management 2015” by Natalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research, December 22, 2014.

  1. Companies who believe in customer experience build CSM organizations. Not all CSM organizations are created equally. In an opt-in economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time, instead of in the upfront sale. This means that organizations that want to become CSM-oriented are looking at three main areas:
  • Hiring, training and rewards for employees
  • Becoming a center of excellence for CSM
  • Strategy combined with data
  1. CSM cultivates more customers, lowers churn, and improves margins. The reason many companies have adopted the opt-in business model is that they realize, when they consistently deliver great experiences, they have loyal customers who advocate for the brand and often will make referrals. Advocating for the brand can be in the form of a post in a social network or offline in telling friends or family of their experiences.
  2. Predictive analytics identify known attributes and reveal previously unknown attributes that drive customer success. The only way to preserve a company’s revenue stream is to keep customers opting in. To become a CSM organization, a company has to actively manage customer relationships to ensure the customer is getting value. This critical step requires data in the form of real-time and predictive analytics.
  3. Integration of the Internet of Things and predictive analytics improves precision of decisions. The amount of data and analytics that CSM platforms provide is important, especially when data from sensors and other sources (that make up the Internet of Things) is integrated into the solution to provide a company with predictive analytics and actionable insights that drive better and more precise decision making throughout an organization.

Be sure to check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.

DOWNLOAD EXCERPT 

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing

    

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Articulate Your Business Case or Lose Customers To Competitors

We Are Out of The Hype Cycle: Digital and Social Applications Must Solve Business Issues: I know when I first started to learn about social media and digital applications, I could see how they could change business. It made sense to me. I think because I am an early adopter. I’m referring to Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption curve. There’s the innovators, who create all this cool new software. And then there’s early adopters like me, that look at those innovator’s inventions and realize the impact they can make.

Having been in this business for a long time, one of the things that I realized was that not everyone can see the value of social and digital. It’s not an intuitive thing for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It just is what it is. And that’s why businesses (vendors) who are in the business of selling products and services really need to take a look at their product management and product sales teams. Are they organized to sell to those that “already” get the value? That’s like selling ice to eskimos. The people who get it, already bought your product.

MY POV: Where the rubber is now meeting the road is learning how to articulate the business value that digital and social applications, products and services provide. I am lucky to hear a lot of briefings on new things. However, what I am finding is that some companies need to really look at where the marketplace is in adoption of the new technology and perhaps shift some of their marketing messaging, but even more important to look at who are the persona(s) that they are developing products and services for? Are they for the early adopters? It’s a small part of the marketplace. Or is is for the early / late majority? That’s a much larger part of the marketplace.

Early Majority Want Your Help to Say Yes: And that part of that part of the marketplace (early majority) requires something different to convince them that they need this “new” product. They want to know what business challenges does it solve? They want to be shown how someone else had a “burning issue” and this product or service solved it and what the outcomes were.

If your sales pitch is not lined up that way, you maybe missing the market on the largest part of the marketplace. Don’t take it from me; reread  Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm— it’s all about changing how you market and sell as the marketplace matures. Those who do, will find prosperity and those that don’t, won’t.

Digital Disruption Transformation ChasmWhat Do You Need To Do Now? The key is to be able to articulate the business value. What is the business issue that your product or service solves? To know that, a business has to be really clear on who they are selling to. That means they need to define various personas and know what those personas face as daily challenges. They need to map out the-day-in-the-life of that professional. And they need to do this by going and talking to 10 or 20 or 100 of them. Don’t assume anything. Then align the challenges those professionals face with the solution you offer and can show an early majority person how your new “product or service” can solve their issue better than anyone else.

References, References, References: And having customer references is key, especially early majority customer references. Why? Because early majority folks convince other early majority people to take a chance at these new technology, processes and services. They believe each other more than they believe the vendor or even sometimes an analyst.

Watch Your Language: There’s lot’s of languaging issues in the current marketing of software and products / services. Almost everyone can claim to be influencing some aspect of customer experience. And by not articulating the business case of how that product or service clearly affects the bottomline, the buyer is confused and that slows the sales cycle down.

Understand Buying Signals: Your potential customers probably won’t say anything; they might say things like, “Hmmm looks interesting. Call me in a few months.” or “Send me a brochure.” NOTE TO SELF: Those are NOT buying signals. They are polite ways of saying, “I don’t have time for this; I don’t see how this applies to why my hair is on fire; I am not sure how I would apply this to what is happening in my department or company and I certainly have no idea how I am going to explain this in a business case to get my boss to say yes.

Do The Work: Don’t make your customer do the hard work. Create those business use cases. Create scenarios that the early majority can see themselves in. Articulate, even if it’s a back of the envelope calculation, the return on their investment. If you do this, it will make all the difference in your sales cycles, in your revenue and profits and your market position. If you don’t, someone else will.

Time to relook at where the marketplace is in the maturity of the digital disruption and stop all the fanatical “speak” and get down to business. At least that’s my take. What’s yours?

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

 

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Customer Experience: How Marketing, Sales and Customer Service Drive Customer Loyalty

Customer Service is Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Henry Ford, an innovator in personal transportation said, “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” Nearly a century later, the number one reason a customer recommends a business to another customer is still outstanding service. Some things never change and they never will. But it’s up to brands and the senior leadership team to truly embrace this and support it with resources: people, process, strategy and technology. The right technology with the wrong strategy, only means you will be doing the wrong things, faster.

While delivering superior customer service has continued to be a key differentiator for companies, some things have changed forever. Today there are more channels, devices, and technologies. Customers’ behaviors have changed and so have their expectations. To win business and your customers’ loyalty, you have to deliver a modern service experience.

Marketing Maybe Bring You Customers, But Sales and Customer Service Keep Them

If no one knows about your product or service, no one is going to buy it. Marketing is very important to get the word out and make sure your customer acquisition is high. The content for marketing is one of the most important aspects on marketing, especially in the digital era. People do a ton of research on products and services online before they buy – either online or in a store. So making sure you are reaching your key target audience is key — but so is making sure your content is relevant, humanized (doesn’t sound like boring, corporate speak), authentic and genuine is key to getting or keeping the attention of our attention deficient audiences that are so prevalent today.

Is your marketing modern? Have you changed your marketing practices? Are you listening to what customers are saying? Often times creatives struggle with how to come up with new “catch phrases” or how to describe a new product or service. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Often listening to online conversations (just like many companies held in-person focus groups) you will understand more about the customers you are targeting and be able to kraft messages that are truly meaningful. And you’ll want to use analytics in your marketing to make sure you are targeting the best audience with the right messages at the right time. And then there’s channels and distribution of content on those channels. Marketers have more to do today than ever.

Sales Is Dependent on Both Marketing and Customer Service

Often customers read what’s posted in social networks about a product (think product review sites) or posts about how they have been treated as well as garner insights and research from respected analysts, journalists and bloggers.

Most information that decision makers collect and act on comes from their network. People—not databases or reports—form the primary source of information they use to formulate and validate decisions. And today’s personal network extends far beyond just the people they talk to in person. It reaches out to hundreds and even thousands of people, in nanoseconds, via social networks. And that’s in part, why it’s important to make sure your Marketing Content and Customer Service are aligned with your Sales initiatives.

My POV:

It’s all about being in-tune with the customer and seeing the entire experience from sales, marketing, and service as a complete customer experience journey. Here’s a short video and my point of view on this topic of how intertwined marketing, sales and customer service really are. It’s time CEO’s put their foot down and demand that these three functional areas stop thinking of themselves as independent departments, but rather focus on how they can work together to make the best possible customer experiences:

What’s your take on intertwined marketing, sales and customer service?

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Great Customer Experiences

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