Over the last decade, the distinction between digital and non-digital has become more and more artificial. On- and offline are converging and customer journeys are expected to happen seamlessly.
Customer journeys consist of touchpoints, interactions between a customer and your business. Your website is such a touchpoint, and so are sales conversations with customers.
A main principle behind customer journey design is touchpoint coherence: touchpoints need to work together across the customer journey. But to deliver coherence, you need data. Data is gathered by tools, and we have been partnering with companies such as Showpad to deliver on our promise of leveraging digital to improve our customers’ businesses.
Touchpoint design is a matter of coherence
Because the boundaries between on- and offline have blurred, The Reference has been applying principles of digital touchpoint design to offline touchpoints. Designing touchpoints effectively means designing touchpoints coherently.
Touchpoints need to work together in a coherent way to deliver an optimal experience to the customer. Each touchpoint has its own characteristics however: a website inherently does some things better than a sales person can, and vice versa.
Therefore, it is wasteful to try and force each touchpoint in a one-size-fits-all-mould. Touchpoints must be designed using their inner strengths and capabilities and be choreographed together with the other touchpoints. The whole then becomes larger than the sum of its parts, thereby delivering an improved customer experience.
Coherence across the journey
Coherence implies for example that what a sales person has told a customer during a fair and what that customer later finds on the company website should not be the same. Instead, the information or services that customer finds online should be relevant to his previous conversation, using the strengths of the medium and fitting the context.
A concrete example: suppose I have been talking to a sales rep at a fair. We have been discussing problems I encounter using a competitor product. When I visit the website later on, I do not want to find the same brochure as the one that was handed to me at the fair.
Instead, the sales rep could have sent me information that contained relevant information, tailored to my specific problem. If the page he sent me also contained an offer to discuss the issue with the engineer best suited to help me further evaluate the product that can help solve my problem, I'd be very inclined to talk more and perhaps even switch suppliers.
Coherence needs data
To build the kind of coherence as in the example above, we need data. And that's where digital comes in. Thanks to data captured in one touchpoint (the sales conversation at the fair) we can make the other touchpoints in the customer journey (e.g. the pages I visit afterwards) much more relevant and thereby more effective.
Judicious and intelligent use of data and the selection of the right tools are key in developing effective touchpoints that lead to more wins, higher profitability and delighted customers.
Data needs tools
Since 2014, we have partnered with Showpad, the sales tool par excellence that at its recent #Showtime15 event dubbed itself the "operating system of B2B sales". For us, Showpad is the perfect companion for bridging the technological gap between on- and offline in the B2B sales process.
Data that has been generated by previous touchpoints make the sales conversation massively more effective (gone are the unwitting sales pitches!) and the data generated during the sales conversation (customer interests, analytics on document usage, ..) are of tremendous value to all other touchpoints (not to mention the sales follow-up itself).
Moreover, the very fact that thanks to tools such as Showpad data is being generated during offline interactions such as the sales conversation, we are now able to optimize the sales conversation. Just like with any other digital touchpoint, data helps us understand why things work (or don't work), improve upon them and thus enter a cycle of continuous optimization of the sales process, including offline interactions.
It's more than digital, it's your business
Our goal has always been to leverage digital to improve our customers' businesses. Platforms such as Showpad have helped our customers to align the sales process to their customer's journey through the on- and offline boundaries. Above all, it helps our customers evaluate and optimize the sales process and deliver customer experiences that demonstrably drive profitability.
Do you have any questions about the implementation of all touchpoints across the customer journey? Come and have a cup of coffee or invite us over: we will gladly provide you with more explanation, free of obligation.
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