Last updated: Manufacturers and distributors: Meet the customer engagement era

Manufacturers and distributors: Meet the customer engagement era

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Now more than ever, manufacturers and distributors realize that their customers are in the driver’s seat. Customers define which channels (direct, in-direct, call centers, will-calls, in-store, wholesaling, e-commerce, and others) they want to use and what experiences are most valued as part of their own customer journey – from initial engagement to ongoing service and support.

Gone are the days of lengthy cycles of building customer loyalty. Advocacy is being built and traded in a matter of seconds. The “Internet of me” trend isn’t slowing down and will likely extend to the “omni-channel experience of me” as customers continue to expect – and demand – highly relevant, personalized and interactive engagements when and where they want them.

Recently SAP partnered with Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a well-established thought leader, to gauge how both B2B and B2C organizations were mastering their customer experience and engagement journey. The survey findings, from 319 senior marketing executives in North America, reveal the importance of delivering the best possible customer experience, but also that they face a number of challenges or gaps in doing so.

The top 5 challenges (across all three i.e. people, processes, and platforms) are:

  1. Establishing a customer-centric culture
  2. Aligning cross-functional teams to work together
  3. Establishing business processes to track customer experience
  4. Prioritizing customer experience strategy
  5. Hiring the right talent to execute

The survey also points to 3 key shifts that organizations need to make to master the customer engagement opportunity:

  1. Get a single source of customer truth – 45% say there is no unified view of the customer across the organization
  2. Know your customer’s whole experience – 56% say customer touchpoints are not integrated around a core experience strategy
  3. Be ready to shift with the customer – only 6% say their organizations are agile and ready to adapt to customer needs

Capitalize on the customer engagement opportunity

More than half of respondents have either not calculated or just don’t know how customer experience has impacted their company’s revenue.

However, of the 22 percent who have made the calculation, 60 per cent say they have increased revenue. Of this group, 25 percent say revenue has increased in excess of 5 percent.

Marketing leaders at manufacturing and distribution companies, have an incredible opportunity to help their organizations adapt to this new wave of customer engagement. While customer centricity is established at the very top of the organization, it is the CMO who is at the helm of translating that definition into a holistic strategy that the entire organization (e.g. customer service, sales and IT) can rally around. By implementing the core foundational principles of customer experience success, organizations can more rapidly advance strategies to stay ahead of customer needs and growing expectations.

B2B buyers want a B2C CX –
that’s why top sellers are using a hybrid commerce game plan.
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