Many B2B companies strive to improve customer service and sales efficiency. How do you do that in the best way? Of course the answer is not simple and general to give since each company has its unique situation.
Here we will try to detail how you can apply an OMNIchannel strategy to your internal organisation and your interactions with customers and colleagues to achieve great results in these two areas (customer service and sales efficiency).
OMNIchannel, what does that mean ?
First things first. Before we go any further, let’s conclude what OMNIchannel means.
OMNIchannel is a cross-channel business model that companies use to improve their customer experience and sales efficiency. It means making it possible to interact with customers on different channels, preferably in real time.
It can include websites, web and mobile applications, phone calls, emails, social media and search. In some cases it can also include physical meetings and print.
Companies that use OMNIchannel contend that a customer values the ability to be in constant contact with a company through multiple avenues at the same time.
OMNIchannel strategies has mostly been used by marketing departments in the way they interact with customers but it can also be applied to a sales departments internal work with customers and leads.
What can you achieve in terms of customer service and sales efficiency with an internal OMNIchannel strategy
So in our case what is an OMNIchannel strategy applied internally ?
If an OMNIchannel strategy is originally taking a standpoint in the case of a customer that customer should be able to interact with you on different channels.
We can flip this around and make your internal organisation the customer in this case, i.e. the sales rep, marketing person, sales director, CEO should be able to interact with customers and collaborate with colleagues on many different channels, in parallel.
Improve your level of service by knowing your clients
One of the first areas where applying an OMNIchannel internal strategy can be interesting for you is the customer service.
In general we can agree upon the fact that we as customers always feel more comfortable and pleased when our provider first of all responds fast but also when they have good knowledge about our unique situation as customer when reaching out.
If you as a customer service organization always have access to real time information about when your customer reads your emails, visits your website, opens your campaigns etc. or what your colleagues are doing together with your customer, then you constantly know and can also reach out when it’s relevant for your customer.
If you can access customer records from anywhere you are and be updated in real time when your customer wants to know more then you become much more agile and can respond quickly.
Be more efficient when selling :
The magic is that you can also improve your sales efficiency with an OMNIchannel strategy.
In fact when you contact a customer, you are well prepared since you can know what emails they have read, who spoke to them the last time, what notes are taken by colleagues, what parts of your website they were interested in or what title they have, how are you potentially connected or what activities on social media they have done.
Beside if you can do this from anywhere (office, car, subway etc.) then you can really respond quickly and present the appropriate speech.
Of course this does require you to think about a multi channel strategy because you need to fix how you interact with your tools in different contexts.
It is known that Sales Teams that can respond quickly are in general perceived as giving better service.
It is also crucial to be agile and updated in real time if you want to be able to make quick decisions, which in many cases are vital to be one step ahead of the competition.
How can you implement an OMNIchannel strategy to your internal organisation ?
A key factor of the success of this enterprise is the ability to align the good internal organisation, its processes with agile and integrated softwares.
Let’s talk first about your internal organisation. Of course there is not one perfect structure that everyone should follow.
However we can list a few characteristics of sales or marketing departments that are aligned with an OMNIchannel strategy.
How to align your sales department with an OMNIchannel strategy ?
If you want your sales department to be able to align with an OMNIchannel strategy then your sales department should be organised so it covers the entire journey of your customers , from…
- visiting your website the first time,
- receiving campaigns from you,
- receiving calls,
- receiving personal emails,
- being qualified as a lead,
- closing the first order,
- paying the first invoice,
- to the complete life cycle management that hopefully is a long lasting relationship over many years.
Moreover you should install a sharing culture through your sales department.
That means that a colleague should be able to interact with the customer to help another colleague.
That means you should make sure that your sales reps have the habit to collaborate during the entire customer journey not only on their computers but also through mobile devices, emails, social media, campaigns and phone calls.
Collaboration between colleagues can mean sharing leads, tasks or working together in sales processes, keeping each other up to date with meeting notes or any other relevant update in real time.
The fact that you install a sharing culture among your colleagues before implementing an OMNIchannel software is a key factor in the success of your strategy.
How to align your Marketing department with an OMNIchannel strategy
In the same way as you need to teach your sales rep to collaborate, you need to teach your marketers to share information with your sales reps.
The marketing department is important for your communication with leads and customers.
They are responsible for providing your sales department with leads to qualify.
A proper internal organisation helps the marketing department to understand how many leads are produced and go beyond the traditional open, click analytic.
With an integrated internal OMNI channel solution where the email automation tool, social media, website, Information Hub and ERP are all interconnected, it’s easy to see what campaigns produce the best results in terms of generated leads, opportunities, closed orders and at the end, sales…
If the marketing department are used to follow up and see this on other tools than computers it’s also easier to implement a multi-channel strategy and make any necessary changes in real time.
Pick a software adapted to an OMNIchannel internal organisation
A properly implemented OMNIchannel solution includes integrated software to support sales, marketing, delivery and finance departments in one digital and highly automated flow, accessible from different devices.
If you truly want to convert your sales and marketing organisation to an OMNIchannel organisation that interacts with customers from wherever they are and collaborating with colleagues and customers in real time you need to require the following from your Information Hub provider:
- The Information Hub should be able to produce automatic leads identified and added to your Information Hub from : your different websites and your email automation tool.
- The Information Hub should be able to give information about how many leads, opportunities, orders and sales each campaign produce.
- The Information Hub should be able to export leads and customers to your email automation tool’s lists
- The Information Hub should be able to import leads and customers from LinkedIn to your Information Hub
- The Information Hub should make it possible to work with customers directly from your email client
- The Information Hub should make it possible to share leads, tasks and collaborate on opportunities, accounts and contacts
- The Information Hub should be integrated with the ERP to be able to give information about payment history
- The Information Hub should make it possible to fully do all things from any device (computers, laptops, mobile devices) at any time
- The Information Hub should send real time notifications being pushed when relevant changes occur
It can be difficult to find one such a tool, our advice is to pick a software that can serve as customer relationship platform that will occupy a central, integrated, position in your internal organization. This software must absolutely be supported by multichannel devices.
Then you can link different tools to this software as an ERP or a mailing tool.
If you manage to align your internal organization with an multi-channel software then your OMNIchannel strategy should be successful.