Traditional CRM did not enable sales professionals to manage, nurture or improve customer relationships -- a key requirement in today’s sales world. Today, we have moved from traditional CRM to CXM (customer experience management).
Analysts have been quick to recognize this as yet another vendor category. And some companies have been quick to claim ownership of this domain -- very quickly changing their taglines and the banners on their home pages, calling themselves CXM companies.
To be successful, marketers need to help customers separate the substance from the hype and the marketing lingo from real benefits. We must look at customer experience as the holistic “experience” a customer has from the first time he or she sees your company or product via search engine marketing or on a social network to when he or she visits your Web site and engages with your company, interacts with a salesperson, buys your product, and then interacts with your support team. In this scenario, no single company provides software that covers every single aspect of this full cycle. It’s too big!
Technology today affords you the opportunity to have a two-way communication with your customers and the ability to be where the customer is. It has also greatly increased the interaction cycle. No longer does the buy cycle begin when the customer expresses interest in your product and becomes a lead -- it begins when the customer has the “thought” of the “possibility” of looking for a product in your domain (this is where a cohesive search engine marketing strategy becomes immensely important). No longer does customer support begin when a customer calls your call center -- it begins when he or she is using your product, is struggling with some aspect of it and decides to tweet about this frustration.
Today, you have to reach customers when they have a “thought” about your product -- not when they explicitly express interest.
Today, you need to support customers the moment they have a whiff of difficulty with your product, not when they make a conscious decision to call you.
What this means is that marketers have a clear opportunity to engage with a customer from “thought” to “satisfaction.” But it also means an extremely long customer buying or interaction cycle. This interaction cycle not only happens in numerous places -- on your Web site, Twitter, Facebook, your own social site, via your support system, etc. -- it also happens on numerous devices -- their PC, tablet, smartphone (Web), smartphone (voice) etc.
Think about what you need for full coverage:
1. Content management: A powerful, content-rich Web site.
2. Social / community management: A Web site that is also interaction-enabled.
3. Content marketing: Software that gives you the ability to see which content is being effective.
4. A marketing automation system that integrates well with both your content site and your social sites.
5. Facebook Fan pages that can help you with “reach,” and that are fully integrated with your site.
6. Extended social media capability: Software that helps with social media monitoring and responses.
7. Customer support software: A support system that helps with trouble-ticket management and customer engagement, and that also integrates well with your Web site.
8. Traditional CRM: A "traditional CRM" system that helps with leads, opportunities and pipeline management.
9. Search engine marketing: A focused and cohesive search engine marketing plan that helps drive more targeted traffic to your site to begin the engagement process.
All these efforts and systems must be well integrated at various touchpoints, and need to facilitate engagement with devices of all form-factors.
There is no single system that does all of the above. Yet today's CMO has a unique opportunity for the first time to engage with the market and customer from the initial thought to communication and interaction, and finally, to purchase.
Here are a few tips for how to strategically engage with your customers:
A. Have a comprehensive picture of the full buy cycle for your customer.
B. Define the places in the cycle where you can move the needle the most to achieve maximum ROI -- in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction.
C. Attack those places first with software that does what you need it to do, at a price and implementation time that gives you a good ROI, and that is comparatively easy to integrate with other aspects of the buy cycle.
D. Execute relentlessly even as you keep the overall corporate vision in mind, and pick new aspects of the buy cycle to improve.
Companies are now counting on their CMOs to take customer experience to that next level. Will you rise to the occasion?