In the face of growing customer demands, it’s not easy to keep your clients happy. Sugar’s new research 2022 CRM Impact Report surveyed sales and marketing decision-makers to explore customer satisfaction and retention issues.
We wanted to understand how technology is transforming the expectations of sales and marketing leaders and their customers, which roadblocks and blind spots are causing sales friction and contributing to churn, the impact of misalignment between sales and marketing, and the impact this has on organizations.
The Great Customer Resignation Is Top Priority for B2B Marketers
The high cost of customer churn is intensifying and exponential. Retaining customers is especially vital in today’s era of recurring and subscription businesses, for instance. The research shows that customers are leaving in droves—at nearly 1 in 2 new customers added in the US and 1 in 3 worldwide. It is integral that companies stay on top of resolving the Great Customer Resignation—and quickly.
This starts with delivering a consistent, personalized customer experience (CX), but a lousy experience diminishes the brand value and hurts retention and revenue. Sales and marketing leaders are failing to realize the benefits of what an AI-driven and purpose-built CRM platform can offer.
Delivering Great CX Is Getting Easier with AI
A unified view of sales, marketing, and customer service is critical to delivering an optimal CX, but the lack of such a data infrastructure fuels a customer relationship crisis.
AI can help drive more profitable marketing outcomes such as intelligent lead scoring, predictive forecasting, personalized recommendations, next-best actions, relevant cross-sell opportunities, and, importantly, churn prediction and prevention.
The first step for organizations is to identify when customers are at risk of churn—followed by knowing the corrective steps to prevent churn. In our study, 57% of global respondents admit their organization struggles to quantify and track churn rate effectively. The path to overcoming customer flight starts with removing the blind spots limiting your view of what your customers want so that you can predict what they need next.
An AI-infused CRM platform can help companies reach new levels of performance and predictability and improve customer lifetime value, allowing companies to focus on customer retention and experience. It can produce unparalleled levels of prediction accuracy. At the same time, innovations such as no-code/low-code user interfaces are poised to reduce the time, cost, and technical expertise typically required to get AI up and running. Its data-driven ability can help predict future customer churn and trigger proactive actions to retain customers. Not to mention that automation reduces the need for sales and marketing to work manually, creating better, faster, more effective, and more informed decisions.
Things to Look Out For
Maintaining customer retention is more sensitive (and challenging) than ever. Customers now want to be supported at every touchpoint. To do this, frontline support agents need to be armed with the right technology, resources and shared knowledge to diagnose and solve problems quickly. Companies should focus on a few things:
- Personalized experiences. Customers are increasingly looking for personalized experiences. With many interactions now taking place online due to the pandemic, customers want to receive the same or even better experiences they once received in person.
- Enhancing digital experiences. Besides the benefits of AI, there’s an added emotional layer to consider. Customer service teams can then respond in real-time with the next-best-action, allowing for a focus on prioritizing human emotions. Ensuring that empathy is at the forefront of marketing strategy leads to an increase in new customer generation and increased trust amongst existing customers.
- Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs. In recent years, we have seen more of a focus on the accountability of organizations and brands to have an ESG program in place and be consistent and transparent with their ESG reporting. It’s becoming a key element in customer consideration and brand strategy. Organizations who wish to thrive will undoubtedly have to consider how green their strategy is.
Keep Both Your Customers and Employees Happy
Our research clearly shows that sales and marketing teams are burned out. Technology is supposed to make work more efficient and is especially vital now, as we rely even more on technology for collaboration in a distributed or remote workplace. CRM must be accessible and AI-driven to help make the hard things easier for sales, marketing, and service teams.
CX is everything these days, and it defines the relationship between a business, its employees, and its customers. With every customer interaction being a decisive moment, it’s critically important to bridge the gap between customer expectations and actual experience.
Today, data plays a massive role in fueling the CX. And yet, a primary struggle for many organizations is that they have an incomplete view of customer activity. According to our research, one in four sales respondents worldwide believes they could miss a quota because of incomplete data across the customer lifecycle.
A shared CRM data platform that connects every stakeholder with a complete real-time customer view is the foundation for creating a solid CX (and pipeline!). Data provides the actionable insights that sales, marketing, and service teams need to act decisively at every critical touchpoint throughout the customer journey. A connected CRM system ensures an airtight brand-customer relationship that enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.
We can put an end to the Great Customer Resignation. The 2022 CRM Impact Report clearly shows that sales and marketing teams can stem the tide of customer churn and produce relevant CX if they apply the right resources—and develop a highly customer-centric mindset.
It starts with a CRM platform that connects every stakeholder with the same data. It is easily accessible and loaded with insights that help sellers and marketers give customers exactly what they want.
This article is based on an interview initially published on B2B Marketing.