There is no doubt we’re in an interesting time in history, and it can sometimes feel surreal. It's almost like we’re all in one big movie. There is no doubt that going back to “normal” is not what comes next. Instead, we have to be ready for a “new normal.” This doesn’t just pertain to our home life and families, but also the organizations we work for, lead, or operate.
As we look forward, past the days of saying “social distancing” and “shelter in place,” can you say that your business, department, or business unit is ready for what happens next? Obviously, nobody knows what the social and economic landscape will look like after this current situation, but we can all agree it will be different. So ensuring that your systems and tools are set up to adhere to this change has to be a priority from here on out. Take a look below to see if you are set up effectively.
Whether it is B2B, B2C, or B2B2C, the need to have a marketing automation tool that can handle multiple marketing functions—such as email, social, advertising and mobile—is an absolute necessity. From saving time and increasing productivity to providing higher level management of multi-channel campaigns, a solid approach to marketing automation allows a marketing team to maximize ROI while minimizing the amount of time they have to spend coming up with their next big idea.
With marketing automation, however, comes a mountain of customer data. Data comes in from multiple channels with various data points, some of which need to be held secure based on the situation, which can make it challenging to get a complete picture of the customer. Now more than ever, it is important for marketing departments to take stock of their customer data to ensure they’re engaging with their customers in the best possible way. From creating temperature models for customers to evaluating preference centers to tackling your data cleanliness, a focus on customer data now will pay dividends later when it comes to protecting a customer’s brand loyalty.
For many companies, the CRM is the pulse of their business. It can both manage current work while also showing work that will potentially be done. All this while tracking and engaging customers effectively throughout the customer lifecycle. The way we approach CRM will have to change drastically in the coming months. Users should be able to access it wherever they are, and no matter what type of device they are using. Ensuring that the system is set up with an app, and is also responsive across multiple devices, will help drive engagement.
One of the biggest aspects will be the social component. We are all necessarily distancing ourselves from one another, but for those in sales roles, it can feel like the walls are closing in. Having collaborative social tools in place will be key. Functions like Chatter and integrations like Slack can boost the user experience and also increase employee engagement for the organization.
The importance of quality customer service and support has only grown in recent years, and that will only continue in this climate. Organizations need to meet customers where they are, which is increasingly online, and be able to react faster than ever.
Service and support delivered digitally needs to be a priority in the coming months and beyond, and simplifying processes for service representatives to handle more cases while not overwhelming them will be key. Having relevant content and scripts tee’d up based on recent news and current trends will also keep customer satisfaction high while continuing to build and keep customers loyal post-purchase.
With brick-and-mortar retail being temporarily shut down or scaled back, the need to drive online sales will be at the top of the list rather than being a task for another fiscal year. If ecommerce is already in place, improving the customer experience has to be a priority.
Understanding each customer persona and how to engage with them digitally based on where they are in their respective journey with your brand needs to be documented and strategy developed around each. For brands focused on ecommerce, having a complete picture of what a customer’s experience with their products and services at each phase of their lifecycle provides an opportunity to improve, expand, or add to those touchpoints in order to make the selling cycle more successful.
Partner and Employee Portals
The way we engage with resellers, partners, and distributors will evolve greatly. Previously, channel reps could go in person to discuss pricing, deal structures, and inventory. But in order to stay top of mind after this situation, there needs to be a place for those partners and vendors to go and see all the information they need. One aspect that will be helpful is the inclusion of incentives to help prompt purchases and reward advocacy.
Much like partner portals, employees will also need a place to stay up-to-date and engage with one another. With employee experience (EX) being a top priority for most HR professionals, having a place where employees can engage and recognize each other is needed. Much like the incentive solutions for partners, integrating the employee recognition component will boost overall employee engagement with rewards, service anniversary, and other milestones and content.
We don’t know what the future will bring, but we do know that to be successful we must adapt and change to meet the needs of our customers. By leveraging the technology and systems in place we can evolve with the time and be successful in our businesses.