Find out the correct order of obtaining Salesforce certification for you to become an advanced Salesforce admin, a consultant, a developer, an architect, etcRead more
Get a 360° view of your customers: connect your website and CRM
Kimmo Salmela · May 03, 2022 · 8 mins
How can companies get a complete 360° view of their customers, across all customer touchpoints? They can connect their CRM to these touchpoints – especially their website – to achieve this. Read on about three such real-life case examples we witnessed and participated in ourselves.
Good business relationships are about knowing one’s customers well enough – and using this information to the best effect. This is in keeping with what we have known for long: to remain competitive, enterprises need to be able to provide their customers with products and services that match their needs exactly. Knowing what customers need, of course, boils down to having a good relationship with them.
But having that knowledge is not enough alone. It needs to be also easily accessible so it can be put to good use to reap the full benefits.
“There’s no doubt that the organizations that have established this full 360 view of the customer are benefiting greatly from the work it took to get there. They’re able to send better tailored, more timely campaigns across various channels, consistently delivering a more satisfying customer experience and increasing brand engagement.” – Gartner, 2022
For years, companies have already fed the customer data they have directly to their customer touchpoints – especially in their services on their websites. It has revolutionized the way customers can do business with these companies from the comfort of their easy chair, be it with online bank services, internet shops or travel and real estate portals.
Companies like professional services firms, B2B service providers and manufacturers have also tried their hand at similar services on the web and not without success. For example, manufacturers’ online portals with comprehensive product catalogs and spare part services have made life considerably easier for their customers.
The problem: how to pull customers’ usage data for comprehensive reports?
But these solutions have had their limitations. They have required specialized software and systems that work as point solutions. True, they can be parts of a seamless, well-designed customer journey on the website (and that certainly is the main thing to ensure).
However, it is difficult to mix data pulled down from them with customer data from other systems so it all would form a complete picture. Enabling this by connecting the various point solutions is often simply too laborious an effort.
Thus, a holistic view of customer behavior cannot be achieved. This makes it more difficult for the customer-facing personnel to address the needs of their leads, prospects and customers. It also hinders the company’s capability to develop further its offerings.
Indeed, Gartner found in a 2022 study that a full 96% of companies said they have either established a 360° view or aspire to so. However, just 14% of organizations said they have achieved it, while 82% have not. As yet, they either lack the know-how or resources to get it done.
While the benefits would be tangible, the difficulties are real. In 2021, a former Gartner analyst Lizzy Foo Kune, together with her Gartner colleague Benjamin Bloom, published ‘Maverick’ research, in which they even advised companies to abandon the pursuit of the 360° view, just because they thought that the cost is disproportionate to the value. However, some companies have overcome the limitations in pulling together data from their services on their website. How?
Pulling the trick using the CRM
The companies that have succeeded at a reasonable cost have first established a data hub at the backend. Then, the hub has been connected to their website in a two-way connection. Thus, customer data can be fed to the services on the company’s website. Then data on user behavior will be fed back to a centralized point for analysis and user experience optimization.
Usually, the company’s CRM works as the hub, as it connects quite easily with the most common other backend systems and can pull data from them as needed. Crucially, the CRM houses the lead, prospect and customer details, but also a lot of other vital data: on products and services, pricing, sales and delivery conditions and so forth.
On top of all, the CRM offers strong capabilities to implement automated workflows that enhance online services. The workflows allow automation of, say, data collection and sending of documents like offers and contracts to users. Depending on the requirements, these workflows can be aided by the people working with your CRM.
When properly implemented, a solution based on a CRM can give a complete picture of the behavior of the people using a website and the online services on it – to help take customer experience to the next level.
Read on to learn how three of our customers have done this – using Salesforce as their CRM.
M|ployee: helping staffing agencies connect their customers with job applicants
M|ployee produces an all-in-one solution for businesses operating in the document-centric world of staffing. M|Ployee supplies staffing agencies with a Salesforce-CRM-based cloud solution that enables them to bring together companies and applicants to their open positions.
The story of M|ployee began when its founder Roel Waals was frustrated at the disconnected IT landscape for clients, candidates and the consultants working in the field.
He developed a vision “to build staffing software in the cloud that connects every stakeholder in the most agile and accelerated way.” To fulfill his vision, he founded M|ployee in 2009.
“[We] offer the full end-to-end process. I think that is the main difference between us and our competitors, that they only do a small piece.” – Diana van der Boon, COO, M|ployee
M|Ployee’s solution connects enterprises seeking new talent to professionals looking for jobs. This happens via a service on the customers’ website. It also allows the job seekers to search for jobs based on simply the job title and region at easiest.
When they have found a suitable job, they fill in a form with their title, name and contact details. After uploading their CV, they can submit their application. Additional services are provided when they sign in for an account, for example, notifications on open positions that match their wishes.
Figure. M|Ployee customer and candidate process for staffing agencies.
Companies looking to subscribe to the services of a staffing agency can just fill in a simple form on the website to submit a contact request.
Behind the scenes of the web service, the M|ployee solution runs automated workflows and adds from the CRM whatever data is needed in them. It also gives customers’ staffing consultants everything they need to fulfill their customers’ wishes, whenever human support is needed.
Useful features can be added from partner apps like Jitterbit, DocuSign, Textkernel or over 200 other options. These include also Documill, for automating the generation of the vast number of documents needed in the staffing process and the related workflows.
Figure. The job search service on the Randstad website, powered by M|Ployee.
The M|Ployee solution allows easy tailoring to individual companies’ business processes. Said Chief Operating Officer, Diana van der Boon, that M|ployee “offers the full end-to-end process. I think that is the main difference between us and our competitors, that they only do a small piece. You’ll always have to connect [that small piece] to other solutions, so we help with that by having the information in one single source, which then also helps clients to learn to do their job.”
M|ployee’s approach has brought the company considerable success. In 2020, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 listing ranked M|ployee for the second time running among the top 50 fastest-growing tech companies in Benelux. In 2021, it ranked at 28 in Deloitte’s Fast 50 for the Netherlands.
CapGemini: enriching customer relationship with after-sales touchpoints
CapGemini has pointed out that “OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] and retailers need one comprehensive platform to manage relationships with their clients and prospects. Only through a full integration of marketing, sales and after-sales processes can OEMs and retailers obtain a 360° view of the customer”.
In CapGemini’s vision, the 360° view includes not only marketing, sales and supplies, but all customer touchpoints including after-sales services, for example. Drawing on their vision, CapGemini helped a large German manufacturer implement a wholesale CRM solution. Enabling a 360° customer view was also one of the key pillars of the customer’s requirements.
“OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] and retailers need one comprehensive platform to manage relationships with their clients and prospects. Only through a full integration of marketing, sales and after-sales processes can OEMs and retailers obtain a 360° view of the customer” – CapGemini
This would cover everything from marketing campaigns to lead management. Salesforce’s Marketing, Sales and Community Cloud Solutions were set up to establish customer relationship management.
But not only that. The customer also replaced an existing service center solution based on outdated technology. This happened by implementing the Salesforce Service Cloud – complete with the Documill app – to provide an innovative solution for the customer service and partner center, including document management.
In CapGemini’s vision, the 360° view is paramount to ensure the best customer experience and interaction with customers in the most effective way. It includes also artificial intelligence, to ensure the right timing for content delivered to customers. Meanwhile, intelligent analytics further provides OEMs and retailers with the most relevant reports for decision-making.
Figure. 360° view of customer is an integral part of CapGemini’s overall “Customer Engine” that “creates state-of-the-art customer experiences based on relevant use cases, optimized touchpoint management and innovative UX design on all customer-facing and internal channels.”
Keerpunt: providing direct access to health and safety services
Keerpunt (now part of HCS) is a specialist in the field of occupational health and safety services. The company wanted to allow their customers to directly request services without having to schedule time-consuming appointments with sales. Streamlining and future-proofing their sales process was also high on their agenda.
Keerpunt chose Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM with Pardot marketing automation as their main platform for the purpose. For the implementation partner, they selected Talent Peaks, a Dutch niche Salesforce partner for the fields of staffing, recruitment & consultancy.
The companies chose to integrate the Keerpunt’s website, their Salesforce clouds and a Company.info database app out of Salesforce’s AppExchange app store. The Documilll app for Salesforce was also added for quotation generation, as well as SignRequest for document signing.
Now customers can fill out a form on the Keerpunt portal with the minimum required data. This results in a lead in Salesforce, which will be processed by a Sales representative within 48 hours.
The Sales rep can then enrich the lead information using the Company.info integration. It captures the relevant data, after which a quote document is generated with just a click of a button. This launches Documill to generate the quotation, populated with all the appropriate data from the Salesforce record.
“We made integrations with the website, the Company.info database, we used Documilll for quotation generation and SignRequest for document signing. Also, we created an interactive partner portal to work together on leads and contracts.” – Talent Peaks
Then, only one click is left for the sales rep: triggering the workflow to send the Quote PDF to the customer for convenient approval and e-signing. The complete process from a lead to quote to contract is covered in just a few clicks.
Crucially, a sales rep needs just one interface to work through the entire contract process – and the customers have it equally easy.
As we have seen above, your CRM holds a lot of power to build online communications and services that nicely feed back lead, prospect and customer data to you. It can then give your customer-facing professionals actionable alerts to address the individual needs of your leads, prospects and customers.
The data it provides also gives you a sound basis to continuously improve the knowledge you have of your customers – and the services you offer to them.
What is our role in all this at Documill? Well, we can provide your Salesforce CRM with robust solutions for your document creation, generation, workflow and management needs within your Salesforce – ones that can remarkably enrich your CRM-enabled services on your website.
Why not just contact us for a quick demo based on your desired use case?
Kimmo Salmela is a communications manager at Documill. Earlier on, he worked in several industry and solution marketing and communication positions at Nokia. Now Kimmo focuses on online collaboration technologies and their future prospects for businesses.
How to make the most of your Salesforce investment? We collected wisdom from eight leading experts and pulled together their best, most popular tips.Read more