- Understanding the buyer’s journey and the customer lifecycle is critical for developing 360-degree engagement
- Ensure that the architecture, integration and hygiene of the company’s customer and contact data are strong
- Implement operating agreements around process, service-level agreements, incentives and effective partnerships with sales (including channel partners)
Modern b-to-b marketing and selling are all about effective buyer/customer engagement and dialogue. Marketing and sales automation, Web and social technologies all offer the promise of a new way to engage them. Yet the technologies alone are insufficient to effective engagement.
Why? In my view, if you don’t know who you’re working with and why they might want to buy and, more importantly, why they should buy now, you’re missing out on a big upside opportunity.
So how do you get that elusive 360-degree view that’s critical to effective engagement to accelerate the buying process? Having lived through a major customer-contact data integration project to enable the 360-degree view, I can tell you that these are key questions to ask that will get you on the right path:
Customer perspective. Take the outside-in view. How do your prospects buy? How do existing customers stay engaged to buy again? This is all part of understanding buyer journey and customer lifecycle in a way that puts content and value propositions that advance the buying cycle into the conversation at the right time in place.
Data strategy. What data do you have or need in order to effectively engage a buyer? How is that data maintained and applied to advancing the buyer journey? What’s your strategy for integrating customer records, including purchases and support cases (i.e. the customer master file and accounts hierarchy), with the individual contacts in these accounts (from your marketing automation and social interactions data sets) so you can contextualize them with other buying centers?
Operating agreements. What agreements do you have with sales, the partner organization and IT for bringing datasets together and using them effectively? How does this map to your sales and account strategies? What rules must be created so the data all nests together neatly to give role-based views to your marketing and sales teams? Are people paid to work together in an aligned fashion through joint incentives and key performance measures?
If you can get sales, marketing, the partner org and IT all to the table and have them start with these questions, you’ll be well down the path to effective and modern 360-degree engagement that will greatly benefit both you and your customers. The 360-degree view is a competitive advantage, and for clients it’s a much-improved experience that ideally speeds their purchases and drives increased retention and loyalty.