September 18 by Zack Alspaugh
In his keynote, Marc Benioff discussed the power of customer engagement, as we move towards a new and evolving world he called the Internet of Customers. You have to deliver the customer experience that you promise. And customer expectations are increasingly high. If you aren’t putting your customer first, they can find someone who will.
I’ve seen firsthand what happens when a company does not put their customers first. You lose your customers. It’s a simple as that.
Omni-channel sales and marketing is about delivering Tier 1 experiences everywhere your customer is interacting with you. That means having a customer-centric strategy at all times. Your customers interact with you through lots of different portals: web, mobile, social and with your reps in real life. But they are looking for different things out of each experience.
Here is a look at some numbers driving this trend.
The average American spends an estimated 194 minutes on their mobile devices each day. That’s more than three hours, and for a lot of us, that number probably seems low! The bottom line is, your customers are highly engaged on mobile devices, and your brand needs to offer an experience where they are spending their time.
93% of B2B buyers say that they prefer to buy online when they’ve decided what to buy and just need to make the purchase. We can thank Amazon for that. When we know what we want, we want to buy it quickly and easily. This is why every B2B business needs a branded self-service portal, just like B2C companies provide. Bring your products to your customers where they are shopping and reduce barriers to purchase.
By a factor of 3 to 1, B2B buyers want to self-educate versus talk to sales representatives to learn about products and services. That doesn’t necessarily mean that customers do not want to talk to sales reps. It does mean however, that when your leads and customers, talk to reps, they are further along in the sales cycle then they have been in the past. And it does mean that when they have a conversation with a sales rep, it needs to me much more targeted and much more personalized.
When a customer talks to a sales rep, it needs to be a high-touch interaction that delivers value beyond product information. It needs to be an experience that demonstrates that your business offers so much more than the products you make. That’s where the sale is made. For a sales rep that’s good news because it makes their job even more valuable.
Gartner estimates that by 2019, 41% of all revenue, across all industries, will come from digital channels, as a result of automating and removing barriers to lower-value, lower-touch transactions. That’s double what it is right now.
Despite all of this, just 25% of B2B companies today actively sell online, which means B2B companies are drastically behind the curve and losing opportunities to delight their customers. So, what can you do to get ahead?
The goal of your omni-channel strategy is for your customers to feel the strength of your brand at every channel, so the experience for them is like one smooth pathway, no matter where they started. The challenge we face is how to make all these different points of interaction a high-quality, unified experience where the brand, products and pricing are consistent. And the most important tool for a successful omni-channel strategy is a robust e-commerce platform.
E-commerce integrated with Salesforce provides unparalleled visibility into your customer relationship. That’s the key to unlocking customer satisfaction, 360 degree visibility, and new revenue. It allows you to focus your resources and increase the value of more complex, high-touch transactions.
With Apttus E-Commerce, we connect customer contract data, product catalogues, and purchase history from all channels inside Salesforce. Customer data is fully integrated to provide end-to-end transparency across channels, product lines, and customer segments, enabling analysis of behavior patterns, trend detection,
and removal of barriers to sale.