4 things B2B marketers are doing to help drive customer centricity

Marketers from Juniper, Dell, Blackrock and Wells Fargo share the steps that they're helping their organisations take to align to the customer


Creating new roles and cross-functional teams, developing customer narratives, ramping up investments into data science teams and martech – these are just a few of the big steps marketers from Juniper Networks, Dell, Wells Faro and Blackrock say their organisations have taken to become more customer experience oriented.

Speaking on a panel during the recent Oracle Modern Customer Experience Summit, the four marketers were united in the significant extent to which transformation in the face of digital change and connected customers has impacted their businesses, even as the methods they’re using to cope differ.

Here, we highlight a number of the key things these B2B marketers are helping with in order to put the customer first from a technological, people and process perspective.

1. Harness data to understand what the customer is all about

At Juniper Networks, getting to understand the customer and relaying that through people, process and technology came with the realisation that the winners in this CX game are the ones harnessing data to better understand customers, senior marketing director, Nancy Weintraub, said.

Over the past year, Juniper has invested in a marketing analytics and data science team, doubling down its capabilities around data, and has also brought on additional tools to help marketing take a more data-centric approach. Part of this tech overhaul has been adopting the Oracle Marketing Cloud as a foundation tool to drive a more integrated and personalised experience, she said.

But data and tools are nothing without an engagement strategy, Weintraub said. One focus for Juniper has been bringing sales and marketing teams in closer alignment by ramping up its account-based marketing approach.

“We’ve had a high-touch sales strategy for some time, which has been to better understand customers… but we’ve been scaling that approach with joint account planning to more customers and using marketing’s tools to drive a more personalised digital experience to our broader ABM customers,” Weintraub told attendees.

But even this wasn’t enough, she said. Juniper Networks also needed to revamp processes and address change management so that its employees could better act on the insights and engagement strategies being developed. So Weintraub said it ran digital transformation workshops in partnership with Oracle that look at how to optimise and put the customer first, followed up by customer journey mapping sessions.

“We knew that to deliver exceptional experience, we had to look at the people, process as well as the tools,” Weintraub said. “We actually renamed one campaign the outside-in campaign’ to remind ourselves that we have to put the customer first.”

Customer journey then institutionalised this within the organisation by taking a persona-based customer-first approach to look at customer experience, she added.

2. Put the customer at the centre of business thinking

Wells Fargo VP of strategic and B2B capabilities leader, Glenn DeGeorge, had been asking for customer personas and journeys to be developed for years. It wasn’t until the CEO and CMO put in a directive to put the customer at the centre of the organisation’s thinking that things started to change, he said.

The problem had been campaigns were often associated with specific product lines, and didn’t look from the perspective of what the customer needed.

“These customer journey exercises started to inspire different ways of thinking, then we’re making important decisions based on statistics, insights and analytics,” he said. “As we’ve started to develop customer personas and journeys, we’re using those findings to evaluate our programs, and places we’re investing in platforms and products. If it doesn’t satisfy the customer journey mapping, it won’t be a priority for investment.”

One specific example of customer thinking coming to life was in redesigning Wells Fargo’s lead and contact forms a customer point of view.

“We had a subscription form corporate comms had developed asking for all manner of detail… whatever you can think of, it asked for,” DeGeorge explained. “It had a 25 per cent completion rate, so we did some test-and-learn and removed everything except the email address. This saw completion rates go up to 86 per cent.

“We can always go back to a customer to get information, but getting that sign up is a big first step. You’ve got to look at the product as well as email engagement rate,” he said.

3.Put the right roles and functions in place to force change

With several lines of product, one of the big challenges Blackrock experienced was getting cross-function teams to coalesce around a client, its VP, Will Chamberlin, said. Becoming more customer experience oriented has required three big steps: Getting senior buy-in, revising people and roles to have the right functions in place, the running pilots forcing teams to create change.

“We pulled together a cross-functional team, analysed data, messages, sales touchpoints and so on, and agreed we were over-emailing people,” he said. “We created a traffic controller so all campaigns moved through them, making sure everything was aligned. We also empowered the campaign team to push back on content creators, and hired a data scientist to analyse what we were doing.

“Now we have alignment, the next phase is how to start doing. We have created a ‘vision’ project, with the end goal of getting one email per client, per week, personalised. This is about consolidating content and pushing through one email. We brought teams together, identified capabilities we didn’t have, and communicated across teams.”

4. Align around customer narratives

Like Wells Fargo, having a CMO come into Dell two years ago with the goal of transforming marketing into a change agent for the organisation was a catalyst for transformation, its global automation program manager, Joelene Melancon, said.

“We’re looking at how marketing not just delivers clicks, but value to the business,” she said. “One thing we did is drove alignment around three customer focused narratives to snap our customer centric view and efforts.”

The marketing team also sponsored digital transformation workshops across the organisations, inviting both sales and vendors to participate. In addition, a new role was created, CX strategist, to better align campaigns against customer objectives.

  • Nadia Cameron travelled to Oracle Modern Customer Experience Summit as a guest of Oracle.

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