Rethinking Customer Engagement – Continued…

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Chris Rudnick

Marketing Manager

Earlier this year, my colleague Peter Ross posted a blog about how marketers must bring an increased focus on customer engagement based on the premise that customers are more empowered than ever to self-educate and make decisions well in advance of any interaction with a company’s front line marketing or sales efforts.  Today, because of this developing trend, it is imperative that sales and marketers read the digital body language of their customers to identify the best, and most appropriate, opportunities to engage them and continue a loyal partnership.

The B2B focus on deeper customer engagement was  even more evident at Bluewolf’s recent Engagement Squared Conference in New York, where I heard firsthand about the latest strategies and best practices for building and/or adjusting one’s customer engagement strategy. For the benefit of other B2B marketers, I wanted to share my three key takeaways from the event:

Getting closer to customer is the top strategy among today’s CEO

Bluewolf’s CEO Eric Berridge, kicked off the event with this statement, taken from IBM’s The Customer-activated Enterprise: Insights from the Global C-suite Study to force the audience to ask themselves just how close they are to understanding their customers priorities and needs. While it makes sense that getting closer to your customers is a top strategy, it also says that most CEOs believe they are currently not close enough to their customers and meeting their customer engagement requirements. This obviously sets the stage for determining how best to evolve your business in the emerging customer economy but also exposes the realization that a change in how we build and progress our relationships with our customers is on the horizon.

What does a great customer experience look like for your brand?

This question was the closing hypothesis for one of the sessions about determining the impact of service on the customer experience and it should be the main starting point for any organization looking to improve their customer engagement initiatives. While many organizations may first evaluate their current strategy and brainstorm thoughts about how to improve it; it seems the best place to start is by brainstorming the ideal customer experience for your brand. The starting point for building the ideal customer experience is to ask yourself, your team and some of your key customers questions that help uncover various scenarios, such as: What are the ideal steps a customer that has a bad experience with your organization go through to mend that relationship? What would you want a customer to do that just had a great experience with your brand? Are you providing the materials in order for customer to have those experiences? Take action by story boarding out those different scenarios and work backwards into developing the best customer engagement process.

Proactively putting out fires before they become forest fires

Many B2B marketers are looking into predictive analytics and data analysis to identify their hot prospects who are engaging with their content assets and visiting their web properties — but are organizations actually using it to enhance customer engagement?

proactive intelligence customer engagement
Proactive image via Shutterstock

A session at the event discussed how the average sales account manager at Iron Mountain  is responsible for covering between 40-50 accounts, of which each might purchase an average of 3 different products the company sells and each account likely has offices around the world. This means that each account manager has possibly more than 10,000 touch points to different customers, many that are at various level of maturity and growth. With all of those different contacts and touch points, how is the account manager expected to identify when one contact is not satisfied or is about to have an issue? It’s critically important that sales and marketing team up on customer engagement processes to identify customer issues before a dissatisfied customer turns into an attrition problem.  Predictive analytics can leverage all the data and business intelligence available to help  identify the patterns that indicate a potential problem or issue. Anticipate future customer engagement events and proactively contact your customers before it damages your relationship with the customer.

If you attended the recent Bluewolf Engagement Squared event or have some comments you’d like to share about how B2B marketers can help facilitate better customer engagement, please leave a comment below or reach me on Twitter.

customer commitment, Customer Engagement, customer intelligence, data analytics, engagement, Intelligence Driven Marketing, marketing strategy

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