What drives success for today’s top sales organizations? In their report, Digital Transformation in Sales: Evolving the Art of Customer Engagement, Microsoft makes the case for providing a stellar customer experience. At the heart of this endeavor, of course, is investing in technology solutions that support and enable personalized, engaging face-to-face and digital connections. Here, we’re going to take a closer look at what’s leading companies down a more customer-driven path of technology adoption.

Tactical Drivers Take a Backseat

According to Microsoft, the key to driving sales is customer engagement. In fact, sales leaders they surveyed said that customer engagement has more impact on sales success than either automation or productivity, tactical drivers that continue to yield results in their own right.

Companies undergoing a digital transformation—and let’s face it, what company isn’t somewhere in this journey?—strive to benefit from automation. The benefits of increased productivity and cost-savings, in particular, associated with automating traditionally manual processes are game-changing. We explore this in 3 Reasons To Put Your ERP System in the Cloud.

The customer experience, though, is an increasingly compelling reason to invest in today’s technology. Think ERP and CRM systems and BI dashboarding tools that integrate data from around the company and make it available to decision-makers and, importantly, sales and customer service teams.

Customer Data Informs Key Business Decisions

While customer data has always been central to sales and marketing analyses, customer service and customer brand perceptions are of increasing interest to leaders in other functional areas. Consumer preferences are rapidly changing—influenced in large part by the speed and ubiquity of user-friendly technology—and every organizational department has a role to play in ensuring their expectations are met, either behind-the-scenes or at customer touch-points.

Cloud-based business software connects decision-makers with the customer data they need to understand their customers, potential customers, and even the competitive marketplace. And since they can measure these customer insights relative to profitability, market share, and other pertinent metrics, users get an exceptionally well-rounded view of the business and their opportunities.

Aside from customer insight that leads to product and service enhancements, BI software can alert company leaders to operational areas that need improvement for the sake of the customer experience. For example, bottlenecks in the billing or payment process can signal customer service issues that threaten customer or vendor satisfaction. Likewise, product production or delivery delays can get in the way of providing an adequate level of service. Knowing what processes or workflows to address—brought to light by careful data analysis and reporting—can make a big difference to the people who matter most.

Arming The Front Lines with the Right Technology

Customer-facing processes themselves can be optimized with the right tools. Consider the call center: with access to the right real-time data, decision-makers and front-line representatives alike can ensure service issues are being addressed in a timely and accurate manner. On the flip side, if they’re leveraging digital communications such as email, chat, social media, or text messaging, the data they’re compiling can be made available to their integrated software system for crunching, reporting, and ongoing customer experience optimization.

The right tools can enable true mobility (and sales productivity) for field reps who want to connect with customers over different channels and at the most convenient places and times. The Microsoft report claims that sales leaders can “empower their teams by listening to what they need, and then investing in intelligent technologies that automate core productivity tasks and streamline collaboration, all in an effort to sell more.”

Are You Ready to Prioritize Your Customers’ Experience?

By upgrading legacy systems or coming out of the gates with scalable, flexible, and customizable cloud-based technology solutions, organizations are putting the pieces in place to serve their customers better; they’re changing the way they manage—and therefore, use—their data to better connect with customers across the sales cycle.

Contact us if you’re interested in engaging your employees—and customers—with today’s cloud-based technology.