Every week, we recount some of the best buzz around CRM and data integration. We’ll review our favorite articles and share the most pressing findings or key takeaways from each.
5 Things You Should Know Before Talking to Sales about the Buyer’s Journey
By: Scott Gillum (@sgillum)
This article for marketers covers the “new” buyer’s journey, along with five key factors to consider before informing sales that buyers are now in control. First, the new buyer’s journey isn’t exactly new, as educated buyers have been engaging with sales late in the process for years. Second, suggesting that sales doesn’t meet the needs of their prospects can be seen as threatening. Third, the buyer’s journey is no longer linear, and understanding channel preference is crucial for marketers. Fourth, the good sales reps already understand that buyers’ needs have shifted, and are interested in how marketing can help them sell more effectively. Lastly, marketing needs a plan to address this new dynamic rather than simply telling sales they’re no longer in the driver’s seat. In addressing the buyer’s journey, marketing and sales must partner to understand and communicate personal value to the educated buyer. Scott closes with the following advice to marketers: “sales might be losing control over the buying process, but they know how to connect with individuals making the purchase decision on a personal level. Use that insight to your advantage.”
2013: Where Are We At With CRM, Customer Experience and Customer-Centricity?
By: Maz Iqbal (@thecustomerblog)
Maz takes readers through the Havas Media findings regarding the need for creating meaningful brands, and the failure of brands to meet customer needs thus far. CRM should play an important role in enhancing the customer experience of meaningful brands, but many companies that invest heavily in CRM have yet to reap the full benefits of a single customer view. While failure to integrate data systems is one barrier, Maz brings up the fact that companies have implemented CRM to automate the existing way of doing things as another barrier to improving the end results. Rather than bridging gaps to deliver a unified customer experience, company departments continue operating in siloes. To fix this, companies must implement CRM from a different point of “being” rather than the point of “doing” they’ve been focused on. In essence, “excellence in CRM and Customer Experience requires a transformation in the character (being) of organisations (and the people in the organisations especially the Tops) not just a change of clothes to project a more ‘customer friendly’ personality.” Until then, regardless of technology advances, companies will never be able to deliver a meaningful brand through exception customer experiences.
The Role of CRM in Delighting & Surprising Customers
By: Ramon Ray (@ramonray)
Surprising and delighting customers is an important part of building loyalty, increasing evangelism and reducing your ultimate sales costs. Ramon begins with two personal stories regarding a personalized customer experience: immediately receiving a customized charge card upon hotel check-in when attending the Dell World conference, and a customized welcome letter from hotel management when making repeated trips to a Hampton Inn. These types of relationship0building interactions are made possible by effective use of CRM. Frequent flyer programs are the epitome of using CRM to elicit loyalty, and Ramon believes that all companies should create their own “frequent flyer” equivalents for all their customers rather than a select few.
CRM Crystal Ball: 6 Predictions for 2014
By: Adam Honig (@adamhonig)
CRM luminary Adam Honig gives us his six CRM predictions for 2014, including the need for linking configuration, pricing and quoting, the growth in adoption of self-service portals, and field force managers adopting CRM-driven field force tools to improve scheduling efficiency, increase automated inventory review and management, simplify problem escalation and emergency scheduling, and tap the field force to help marketing teams generate more leads. Additionally, Adam predicts that Siebel will continue losing relevance and that mobility will become a must have where “the best results will come not just from routing data to mobile devices, but also from actually designing custom applications that deliver essential features in a user interface and are tailored to employees’ precise needs.” Lastly, Adam believes that in 2014 reaching customers across the internet of things will become more important. Ultimately, the importance of CRM will continue to grow as the nature of CRM and customer needs continues to evolve.
News Byte: UserVoice is 2013’s CRM Idol
By: Al Urbanski (@AlUrbanski)
The third yearly CRM idol competition drew to a close last Friday, and customer engagement solution provider UserVoice was selected as the winner. UserVoice’s solution provides clients with customer feedback, knowledge management and satisfaction ratings through embeddable apps. The other finalists included BlueCamroo, Cirruspath, Mindtouch and Next Principles. According to competition founder Paul Greenberg, “based on their offerings, leadership, and value in the marketplace, (the finalists) are all worthy of being on any shortlist for technology choice.”
We hope you had a great week! We’ll see you again soon with a roundup of all the movers and shakers in CRM and data integration news.