The majority of digital transformations are due to customer expectations, pain points, businesses innovation needs, and growth imperatives related to customer experience, a recent Salesforce research shows. In other words, whenever a business sets out to digitally transform its operations, they’re almost certainly reacting to customer experience needs.
As the importance of end-to-end customer experiences dawn on businesses and organizations, they’re finding that it’s either you transform or be left behind.
But that’s not the only thing we learn from the Salesforce report. The report also touches on the need to implement the right digital solutions and collect the right data. Above all, it stresses the need for proper employee training if organizations are to achieve their transformational goals.
The following is a summary of the report’s key findings to help you make informed decisions as you embark on a digital transformation.
Marketing and sales priorities haven’t changed much in the past decade. Even during the pandemic, sales and marketing priorities remained the same. However, as customer expectations change, a few items have become even more important than before. One such need is collaboration.
Two main things happened in the world of sales and marketing during the coronavirus pandemic. First, the number of online sales skyrocketed. Even people who initially swore by in-person whopping were forced to order a few items online. Secondly, many workers went remote – voluntarily or forcibly out of the social distancing requirements. According to some reports, as much as 40% of the global workforce was working from home at some point during the pandemic. Researchers expect about 25% to stick to remote work forever.
These two factors put a lot of pressure on businesses. Brands needed to ramp up online sales while having to coordinate remote employees – a nightmare so to say.
Industry leaders see collaboration as the solution. Coordination across campaigns and activities can help marketers created more connected customer experiences. It also enabled organizations to find new, innovative marketing solutions.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, consumers have interacted with businesses digitally 60% of the time compared to about 42% of the time during the pre-pandemic period. For a big part, this hasn’t been a problem since many brands already had an online presence. Even those who didn’t were able to pick up fast.
However, the big problem is that online commerce as it was pre-pandemic wasn’t enough to meet the new customer needs. For one, the massive shift to online shopping sent many websites crashing because of limited storage space. Additionally, some businesses in selected industries found it harder than others to scale up fast enough without creating security and other issues.
So, what’s the solution? Learning on the job and being creative enough not to repeat past mistakes. According to Petco CMO, Tariq Hassan, his company has to “try new things, earn hard lessons, get back up, and keep going.”
“It’s amazing to imagine how far we’ve come with these types of customer experiences we’re able to deliver today,” says Hassan. “It’s thanks to the resilience and caring focus of our customers and partners who fuel everything we do.”
Whether it’s in collaboration or innovation, digital transformation involves a lot of data. You’ll be constantly gathering, storing, cleaning, and processing data to glean insight. This data also comes from all kinds of sources. Whereas the majority comes from the organization’s customers, some come from business partners, others from third parties, etc.
What we learn from the Salesforce State of Marketing Report is that organizations must focus on collecting higher quality data rather than collecting more data.
According to the report, marketers are planning to use 75% more data sources on average in 2022 than they used last year. Yet, only about 33% of them are completely satisfied with their ability to use data to create relevant customer experiences. Indeed, among underperforming organizations, only 8% are totally satisfied with their capacity to turn raw data into valuable insights.
Marketers must see the light and begin investing more in data literacy and processing to better understand customer expectations. For one, organizations must invest in employee training to help their staff make better use of data. In any case, of what help is the data if it never informs marketing decisions? Additionally, it’s time marketers spent more of their data budgets on analysis rather than collection.
Speaking of training, the evolution of customer expectations and needs hasn’t stopped, if anything, we’re just at the beginning. As we enter the era of super-fast internet speeds (thanks to the proliferation of 5G network) and more connected devices (thanks to IoT and Big Data), we’ll see an even more demanding consumer who may want everything delivered to their doorstep on-demand.
Businesses and brands must be prepared for this new era or risk lagging behind – and a large part of this preparation will come from training. It sounds simple. But it’s not. First off, only 44% of digital marketers receive training today. And, of those who receive training, less than half believe the training is valuable in real work.
An even bigger problem is that tackling the problems of the future may require more advanced training. For instance, as we’ve mentioned, to make better use of data, employees need to be data literate. They may need AI skills and data analysis capabilities. Only 39% of organizations offer analytics training.
So, it’s evident that there’s significant ground to cover to fully prepare for the ever-changing customer needs. Are you willing to make the tough choices and equip your staff as necessary? Are you willing to allocate more funds to training to ensure your employees can extract better insight from data rather than merely piling on more data?
It’s not an easy decision given the pressure businesses are already under following the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s the reality. Businesses must rethink their digital transformation plans too to meet changing customer expectations.