Integrating and digitising marketing, sales and service

by Abhik Sengupta

Today’s customers want simplicity, value for money and a seamless, responsive experience. However, misaligned legacy processes, data sources and technology platforms restrict the ability of businesses to cohesively support dynamic customer journeys. To overcome these challenges, organisations usually rely on manual processes, workarounds and intensive cross-functional rhythms, but these short-term solutions are rarely scalable or empowering for frontline staff. Today’s blog discusses how to deliver a differentiated and improved customer experience, at a lower cost, by integrating and digitising marketing, sales and service.

At our recent Enterprise Growth Transformation summit, we explored five key shifts that enterprises typically navigate as they transform. The first of these is reorganising the business around the changing customer - resetting organisational strategy and the go-to-market model. The second shift involves redefining processes - integrating and digitising functions to deliver a differentiated customer experience, while reducing cost.



Many businesses face the strategic challenge of being organised around the classic functional silos of product, marketing, sales and service. These silos demarcate customer ownership and make it difficult to give the customer a seamless end-to-end experience. Each function typically has its own processes that do not integrate with the rest of the organisation. Finally, there is a whole range of systems and data sources that make it difficult to get a simple or holistic view of the customer.
 
Often, manual work-arounds and processes have been implemented to bridge process gaps that exist within the organisation. In the last ten years, we have seen enterprises invest quite heavily uplifting operating rhythm to increase customer performance visibility and accountability, often adding an extra burden on already overstretched frontline employees.
 
Finally, legacy incentive schemes support our quest for shareholder value, but have different objectives across the functions that are trying to come together around an improved customer experience.

Integrating & digitising marketing, sales and service

The solution to these process challenges is to leverage the power of integration, digitisation and automation to seamlessly progress customer journeys, while reducing cost.
 
Here are our top tips for integrating and digitising to deliver an improved customer experience:

 
  1. Map the customer journey, pain points & opportunities to lay a critical foundation
Analyse and document the customer journey for your priority segments so your product, sales, marketing and service have a shared language and understanding of how your customers are moving through your organisation.
 
  1. Design an integrated end-to-end funnel, then automate it
Once you are clear on the customer journey, the organisation can line up behind it to ensure you have one integrated funnel across all functions. This funnel can then be automated in core systems.
 
  1. Capture & integrate data sources to enrich your view of customer
Having an integrated, automated end-to-end funnel inside your core systems is a step towards building a single view of your customer data across private and public sources. This may start off at a basic level but can be enriched over time.
 
  1. Equip the frontline to facilitate journey progression
Once your frontline has a clear view of what your customer is doing at any point in time, their role fundamentally changes. They can sit above this automated end-to-end process, acting on alerts to progress the customer through their journey.
 
  1. Align the frontline around shared KPIs & incentives on customer outcomes
Your frontline will now be coming together to solve customer problems of a higher order. Therefore, they need to be incentivised with shared KPIs around customer outcomes.
 
  1. Reset rhythm to support cross-functional collaboration

Finally, we need to reset cross-funcaional forums to deal with exceptions, customer pain points and continuous improvement.

The role of integrating & digitising marketing, sales & service in enterprise transformation

Integrating and digitising marketing, sales and service is particularly relevant to organisations that identify with Pathway 1 or 2 in the Blackdot Operational Maturity/Business Imperative (OMBI) framework.

BLACKDOT'S OPERATIONAL MATURITY/BUSINESS IMPERATIVE FRAMEWORK

Pathways Diagram

Pathway 1 – Disciplined Start

A common practice for many organisations in Pathway 1 is to embark a series of agile “fail-fast” pilots designed to build new operational muscle and prove to the business that there is tangible value in this different way of working. However, for many organisations, the reality of legacy systems, complicated matrix-style organisational structures, mature customer books and significant compliance regimes can make it difficult to deliver material commercial return or benefit.

We believe there is a faster way to success. Start by resetting your Customer Strategy. On the back of this organisational reset, run a series of “win-fast” pilots that aim for a material business outcome.   These pilots ideally focus on one high value segment at a time, reorienting process and systems around the customer journey and aligning cross-functional teams towards a shared outcome.

Pathway 2 - Rapid Operational Reinvention

Most businesses in Pathway 2 will execute a large top-down transformation program, with a strong vision on new platforms to advance maturity, i.e. the ‘silver-bullet’ solution. Leaders will want to set off on a big-bang, multi-year, complex transformation project.

We feel that rather than top-down transformation with leader-driven program management, it is better to harness bottom-up drive from the frontline to execute incrementally against a well-defined organisational blueprint. Instead of embarking on a three year “Death March”, gradually release ‘packages’ of Process, People and Technology change one segment and journey at a time.

What’s next?

Digital transformation is often unchartered territory for leaders, managers and the frontline, which poses a significant risk to organisations as they fail to meet the elevated expectations of informed customers. In our next blog, we explore shift three - building the frontline mindset, behaviours and core capabilities required to thrive in an increasingly complex customer and buyer environment.

Watch video footage from our Enterprise Growth Transformation Summit, where Marty Nicholas and Abhik Sengupta explain how to leverage the power of integration, digitisation and automation to seamlessly progress customer journeys, while reducing cost.

This blog was co-authored by Marty Nicholas (Managing Director)