So much data, so many data siloes. It’s astounding how many businesses come to us with this problem. Even as new innovative solutions are brought in to help businesses capture data and streamline processes, it was inevitable that bringing in new disparate systems would lead to a much larger problem.
One of the biggest challenges is delivering consistent customer experiences that matter, because fragmented information makes it impossible to align your sales and marketing efforts. Which means fragmented experiences and conversations, inconsistent brand messaging, and a sales process that’s erratic at best across the growing number of customer touch points. This is why so many businesses are implementing modern CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions to centralize this vital data.
When your sales and marketing teams are aligned in their information and intentions, your customers will always feel you understand them, you care about them and you have the solutions to their problems. This is at the heart of a customer-first culture. Building a customer-first culture is easier than you think thanks to today’s amazing mobile tools and collaborative business solutions, some of which you may already have in place, like Office 365 and SharePoint for example, or Microsoft 365 for Sales. There are many exceptional products in the market, especially now with the adoption of cloud solutions.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Let’s start with the bright side: Data is pure gold. And if you’re capturing information about leads, prospects and customers, you’re already ahead of the game. If you have a CRM in place, even better.
More good news; if you have a team of dedicated employees that understands and believes in the value of data, you can get everyone focused on the golden ticket – ensuring customers are thrilled with your products and services every step along their journey.
When you combine the power of both, the data and your people, and bring in the right technology to bring it all together, you’ll be amazed at the increased levels of efficiency, productivity and happiness.
On the flip side, there’s the bad news. For many companies the harsh reality is that all this data collection is happening in multiple places. Some of the problems we often see is inconsistency, redundancy, dirty data, incomplete data, inaccurate data. Are you currently capturing information in email communications? Perhaps in Word documents, or convoluted Excel spreadsheets. Departmental collaboration tools? Does your sales team have to dig through long paper trails and handwritten notes? Are any of these connected?
This is where it can get really ugly, when that scattered information is used in an attempt to build trusting relationships with prospects and customers. At a certain point, even if you have the best offering, what you present to the world is what you’ll be judged on. Because all that is irrelevant of you can’t have a well-informed, consistent and well-aligned discussion with any prospect or customer.
Sales and marketing alignment. It’s crucial to success.
How to Build a Customer-First Culture
Not only is “the customer always right”, now “the customer is always better informed”. Which means you need to put every customer’s needs at the center of every interaction, and be ready to respond to those needs at any moment.
What’s worse than having two sales people reaching out to the same prospect with different messages and offers? Or reaching out to an existing client to upsell with another product in your offering, only to find out that customer already been contacted?
Putting customers at the center of everything means collecting and centralizing customer data. Imagine how powerful it can be to have a unified, real-time, 360-view of every interaction. And how to use that invaluable data to inform all your communications, internally and externally. This will naturally lead to two things that are key differentiators:
- Perfectly aligned sales and marketing efforts
- A customer-first culture
Take the Next Best Step
When business is tough and the competition continues to heat up, differentiation is a critical element of success. It’s now a world where customers value experience as much as, if not more than, product and price, because they know they can likely find what they want elsewhere. But how easily they find it is a whole other story. Experience is the new currency that your business will be measured on.
That means building a customer-first culture to get everyone in your company on the same page with the same focus – ensuring every customer interaction, every experience, is exceptional. And as your brand ambassadors and the ones who have contact with the outside world, a great place to start building a well-aligned team is with CRM.
Discover the many ways you can get started in this free eBook “Getting it Right the Second Time Around: How to Modernize for a Rapidly Changing World”.