The rise of automated technology has transformed the relationship between sales and marketing. Content management systems; customer relationship management platforms; and automated sales, marketing, or customer service platforms offer the promise of improved customer engagement and fewer manual tasks.
Unfortunately, organizations often assume that new technology alone will be enough to improve efficiency or drive revenue. In reality, the opposite is true. According to a recent study, the more tools marketers used, the more manual work they ended up doing.
This finding might seem counterintuitive, but technology only adds value if it’s put to the right use. If a sales or marketing tool isn’t aligned with a company’s strategic goals or properly integrated with the rest of its operations, then it’s probably not going to help drive the organization’s growth agenda.
People, Process, and Technology: The Importance of Connected Experiences
While aligning technology and business strategy might sound obvious, many companies don’t consider customer needs or corporate imperatives when investing in technology. For instance, a large manufacturing company recently came to Coffee + Dunn with big business goals, a small marketing budget, and an expectation that technology would fill the gap. The company assumed that with the right technology, it wouldn’t need to change the department or its supporting processes.
The fact is that technology needs to be combined with the right organizational alignment, functional collaboration, data structure, and processes in order to improve a company’s performance. In today’s competitive marketplace, organizations must adopt an agile way of working, which means making iterative decisions despite the inclination to keep the status quo.
Organizations must also foster data-driven cultures. They should aptly shift, expand, or reconsider business strategy and associated technology investments based on closed-loop insights and data coordination in order to achieve shared business goals. The companies that do this will be rewarded with integrated streams of data, connected and coordinated customer experiences, and a nimble business model that empowers business decisions and brings strategy to reality.
Helping Companies Step Into the Future of Customer Engagement and Experience
Coffee + Dunn’s plan-build-run methodology is designed to help organizations develop the necessary strategies, skills, and technological solutions that support technology-strategy alignment. The goal? To help companies prepare for the future of customer engagement and experience.
Here’s what this methodology looks like in practice:
• Planning begins with an audit that assesses a company’s existing strategies, goals, processes, and abilities. Out of this audit, a new strategic plan is developed.
• Once a plan is determined, Coffee + Dunn works with Microsoft to build a technological solution that can most effectively execute it.
• Finally, Coffee + Dunn works with sales teams to develop and run campaigns that can harness this solution in the most effective way possible, using key performance indicators to measure success.
The goal of this methodology is to build a new, cohesive approach that ensures effective collaboration between technology and business strategy. This should be the goal of all sales and marketing teams so that they can get the most out of their tech stacks.
3 Steps for Aligning Technology and Strategy
Customer engagement is more than sales automation. To make technology work, companies must integrate technology and strategy, aligning customer needs and corporate objectives with marketing and sales tools. Here are three steps to get started:
1. Integrate at every level. Examine every business goal and determine the functional requirements necessary to meet each one. Then, figure out the associated technical requirements to fulfill those functions. This will ensure that each technological solution is designed to work for the company rather than the other way around.
2. Factor in people and processes. Trying to implement technology without taking into account the people and processes that support it is a recipe for failure. That’s because technology is only as good as the ecosystem around it. Organization, collaboration, processes, analytics, and platforms — all of these elements must work together.
3. Have a clear feedback loop with leadership. To ensure technology and strategy remain aligned, it’s necessary to make regular adjustments to a company’s processes. Leadership will play an important role in determining what those adjustments should be. A feedback loop, then, is important to ensure that there is appropriate C-suite engagement and cross-functional coordination.
Technology can be a major asset to sales and marketing teams. It can also be a major hindrance. To make sure technology is working for them and not against them, organizations need to keep their business goals in mind during implementation. Otherwise, they’ll end up with a lot of technology that’s doing very little for their bottom line.
Coffee + Dunn is an industry leading connected experience partner uniquely focused on building effective customer engagements through the strong alignment of technology, operations, and strategy. Our award-winning services enable customers to drive growth and optimize value across various industries, including financial services, professional + collegiate sports, manufacturing, healthcare and education.