A 360-degree view of the customer lifecycle is both more possible today than it ever has been and more critical. Businesses have long grasped the need to identify their ideal customers—demographics, pain points, motivations—but modern digital disruption and “big data” have completely changed the meaning and methods of the process.
Prospective clients and customers in the digital age do their own research, primarily online, and seek you out themselves rather than getting reeled in by interruptive sales messages. All of that online behavior can also be tracked, quantified, and analyzed for patterns or useful indicators. This is what a customer 360 is all about: seeing the past, understanding the present, and predicting the future of a prospective client’s relationship with your company.
You will be able to divine these details from data and metrics logged into your CRM, such as:
- Marketing campaign touches
- Product or service activity
- Cross-channel customer interaction history
- Recent product or company web page views
- Net promoter score
- And much more.
Building a customer 360 from this data is a critical component of a digital transformation strategy. With careful review of such analytics, you can identify pain points or motivators and use them to adjust future interactions in ways that will best suit the customer. Data should provide meaningful insights into past interactions, but also keep a pulse on where the customer is at right now (or what stage of the sales funnel they’re in) for your next touchpoint.
“A customer 360 is all about seeing the past, understanding the present, and predicting the future or their relationship with your company.”
The benefits of this 360-degree view of the customer are many. With unified data from all touchpoints—from emails and webchats to social posts and service calls—you can create:
- Lasting Relationships: Since every department should be able to record and access data on the customer account (or correct it if it’s outdated or inaccurate), you’ll be better aligned internally and “in tune” with your customer whenever you connect. When 89% of businesses compete mainly on customer experience, personalization is what keeps you competitive.
- A Clear Picture of the Future: Your comprehensive history can reveal patterns about the customer’s likelihood to make a purchase, churn, or need assistance.
- More Efficient Marketing Campaigns: Rather than bold guesses and retroactive adjustments, analytics-driven marketing segments your leads with custom-optimized messages and targets the highest-value groups—based on real data.
What Do I Need to Build a 360-Degree View of the Customer?
Automation tools and analytics-rich software are a must. Consider:
- A sales funnel with defined stages in your buyer’s journey
- A robust CRM to store all contact information, interaction history, and customer lifecycle notes
- A CMS that makes content accessible and web-friendly
- Google Analytics, and other web-traffic-tracking tools
- Marketing Automation such as HubSpot or Salesforce, which gather behavioral metrics but also draw meaning from them with intelligent functions
Tools like these allow you to take disjointed, disparate sources of information about the various activities around your customer (who they are, how many employees, the shape of their sales cycle, their support systems, etc.) and stitch them into an easily digestible format—a functional map.
This way, when sales needs to upsell to your top 10 customers or determine who can test out your latest solution, the data lays the groundwork for an informed decision on who to upsell or connect with for testing. However, automated applications can only do so much on their own.
The Captain Steers the Ship
Efforts to build a 360-degree view of the customer fall short if you ask the technology lead the way. Tools are just tools; the hand that guides them matters most. Your leadership team or a strategy consultant will need to dive into the data and extrapolate strategy and meaning from its depths.
Pulling together mountains of data into a comprehensive, user-friendly, actionable format takes careful consideration. If you’re not quite sure where to start—or want a second set of eyes—consider reaching out to an experienced enterprise strategy consultant with a well-established background in leveraging analytics for sustainable success.