Henry Ford once said that most people get ahead during the time that others waste. This got me thinking about all of the wasted insights and opportunities many companies have around them that they just don’t realise. The vast majority of enterprises have a HUGE wealth of information about their customers. They just don’t know where it is, how to access it, or in some cases, whether it exists in the first place. But I bet many of their competitors are “getting ahead” as Ford would say, by figuring it out. It’s really not that difficult.
We’ve all heard a lot of noise about creating the complete customer view, yet too few companies are actually doing this well. No more excuses. By leveraging a new approach to customer engagement and commerce, you can expose all sorts of customer insights in the context of each of your individual customers. This means your sales rep can turn this information into meaningful action and engagement.
Creating a complete customer view requires a rationalisation of your existing transactional data with the rapidly expanding world of social and online data. In other words, making it sales-ready with insights that are relevant to each customer. For example, your customer engagement and commerce system should be able to sift through the huge volumes of real-time news, updates, social data and other online information, and identify the buying triggers that are relevant to each customer. It should also be flagging any key obstacles or problems that your organisation can solve for them. There are digital clues and footprints all around us ready for you to harness.
Sadly, this is not the case for most companies. Their customer engagement and commerce system is too often just a repository of data, rather than acting as a critical part of a larger, more intelligent sales process. We live in the world of insight, mobility and social business where B2B buying and selling has forever changed. Customers have the power, the insight and they control the timing. Sales teams need analytic capabilities about the buying and selling processes that highlight key information at each selling stages in the customer journey.
Modern social and mobile-oriented customer engagement and commerce applications encourage better, more effective customer interactions. They not only enable real-time communication and customer relevant information sharing, but also combine the collective intelligence of an organisation’s staff via social sharing with contextually relevant customer insights. This enables you to make your interactions with customers more significant and impactful.
Adding social capabilities to the discipline of customer engagement is now in the “must do” category, rather than the “wait and see” one. As Ford said, other people are getting ahead during the time that others waste. If the world of customer engagement has changed, shouldn’t your systems be updated to match them?
Let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below. You can also download a complimentary report from the Aberdeen Group on smarter sales here.