How C-Suite Alignment Drives Business Growth and Superior Customer Experience
Deanna Ransom is the head of global marketing and marketing services for Televerde, the preferred global revenue creation partner supporting marketing, sales and customer success for B2B businesses around the world.
The reality of today’s digitally focused; customer-centric world is continuously evolving in favor of the customer’s preference. CMOs now balance customer engagement with data, technology and analytics to deliver increasingly personalized and relevant experiences focused on powering revenue growth. CIOs have become collaborative business partners with customer-facing priorities. CROs are most often tasked with overseeing revenue operations, including customer success. Together, these roles must work closely to successfully empower the ever-changing customer experience to ensure the health and growth of the business.
With 67% of the buyer’s journey now done digitally according to SiriusDecisions, customers own their journey as a buyer, getting on, off, and back on as needs, time and priorities shift. Businesses need to recognize the customer’s ownership of their journey and the need to now ride along with them. The right technology can enable organizations to have the proper insight and relevancy enabling the ability to take the right actions to meet the customer’s desire at just the right time. This is the intersection of bliss for the customer and revenue for your business.
The questions now become: How can CIOs and CROs work more cohesively with CMOs to make the best marketing and sales technology investments with less friction and greater collaboration? How can they empower the business to attain strategic growth by partnering their expertise and sharing their insights? How can CMOs ensure they’re a revenue driver and strategic business partner utilizing data and technology as a competitive advantage enabling the right experience for customers and prospects aligned with accelerated business growth?
CMOs must value the relationship with IT and sales and know that together, they can create big things
There are seemingly endless ways that marketing can work together with IT and sales to reimagine business and customer outcomes, but the right support is needed to make this happen. Here are five ways CMOs, CIOs and CROs can work together:
1. Speed Matters
The world has sped up in a short amount of time. The average American spends 24 hours online every single week. Reaching customers across the right platforms is key. To be competitive, you must move quickly. You must be able to move at the speed of the digital consumer and agility to respond to digital change.
Marketing organizations must have the freedom to deploy new solutions and test new approaches to limitlessly innovate and improve. Continuous change is at the heart of marketing. CMOs must be in control of the pace and nature of this change, while CIOs must support them with the right flexibly while maintaining the proper security for the business. Speed is powered by trust and partnership; Marketing must work with and communicate with IT and IT must ensure security quickly and support faster marketing enablement.
2. Align on Overall Priorities
According to Gartner, more than three-quarters of organizations found the technology buying process complex or difficult. It can be a challenge to implement the right technology solution for the needs of a business and it’s often complicated by the different priorities across marketing, IT and sales. While the CMO’s priority may often be to adopt the latest innovations as soon as possible in order to stay current, this need must fit the CIO’s focus on total cost of ownership. All need to be good partners of the business for the long-term working with the CRO’s bottom line.
Finding alignment here is essential. This can be attained a few different ways, but a good option is for communication and cross team KPI setting for measuring the technology’s contribution to the business. At the end of the day, the emphasis here is be agile, align on priorities and agrees on how to measure success.
3. Pull Teams Together with Purpose
Business interlock across functions drives superior digital experiences, optimal performance and revenue growth. By bringing marketing, IT, sales and customer success together to realize your customer and company vision, you will help each team focus and prioritize together. A clear sense of purpose, one that complements your strategic areas of focus, will help to design an effective and exciting digital ecosystem.
By bringing together disparate teams to enable everyone an opportunity to lend their voice fosters community, reduces silos, builds trust and powers harmonized performance. This will create a balance between customer needs, brand experience, technology and revenue drivers.
4. Understand the Importance of the Customer Experience
According to CEB, 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier. To put it simply, experience matters now more than ever because your prospects are having an experience with your brand or company which you need to create with great intention. This is where the rubber meets the road; the technology (CIO) enables the how of the experience. The proper utilization, insights derived and ability to serve the right engagement at the right time for the right outcome (CMO) is the what, when and to what benefit both customer and business. This drives significant revenue contribution in multiple ways which leads to the beneficial business outcome (CRO) of shareholder value and revenue creation.
Focusing less on why certain actions are being taken and more on how those actions will affect the end customer and the business. In advice to CIOs, Forrester suggests: “To succeed, you must put in place a business technology agenda focused on delivering superior customer experience to drive growth, build competencies around customer needs, and champion holistic business outcomes over individual process efficiency.”
5. Invest in the Right Infrastructure and Tools
Marketing teams run fast and need to be as productive as possible. They must be able to seamlessly communicate and collaborate, both internally and externally. They need insight into customer data across multiple teams, processes and customer touch points to provide pipeline and revenue contribution in real-time to the CRO. Marketing’s level of efficiency is dependent on whether theyhave the right infrastructure and tools, supported by the CIO.
While bandwidth issues cannot be eliminated entirely, they can be minimized. Given marketing’s critical role as the brand guardian and storyteller, demand and revenue contributor and business innovator, the CMO appreciates as much as anyone how important it is to work with the CIO to eliminate security threats that could harm the company’s reputation. By working in concert, the right tools can be put in place quickly to ensure optimal speed and security.
Partnership is key. Everyone’s role is evolving, and quickly. Efficiency, customer experience and growth are at the top of every leader’s mind, along with brand perception. Above all, CMOs must value the relationship with IT and sales and know that together, they can create big things.
As with all things, though, there is room to do better, there are opportunities to deepen collaboration between these three essential players and across all of marketing, IT and sales. The five areas above are a good first step toward reaching optimal alignment.