What MYOB did to address its data management problem

Australian accounting software vendor talks through its data management overhaul to drive personalisation and marketing

It seems even technology companies can run into customer management data issues.

For Australian business software maker, MYOB, growth over nearly 30 years sees it now servicing the needs of more than a million businesses. Through that time, it has also acquired and developed a broad portfolio of products with more than a dozen distinct offerings servicing different verticals, and sometimes more than one product within each vertical.

According to MYOB head of product and platform Jay Nawaz, that diversity had led to customer information residing in different places, which was causing problems for the company’s product development and marketing ambitions.

Those problems came to a head about four years ago when Nawaz and his team wanted to test a simple hypothesis that if they could personalise the messages that customers were receiving, they would have a better chance of selling them things.

“We have a belief that being able to stitch together a customer journey and understand what a customer is doing as they interact with us is really important for us to be able to personalise a journey,” Nawaz told CMO. “Trying to stitch together a customer journey throughout all of our products was quite complex.”

At that time, any form of personalisation in marketing automation had required an ETL (extract, transform, load) procedure. However, around the same time MYOB had also embarked on its own cloud transformation program, which began to open up ideas on how this problem might be tackled.

“Any time we wanted to make a change to one of those ETLs it would take weeks if not months,” Nawaz said. “[But] a heap of people with digital backgrounds had started coming into the company, and we all realised there was a better way to do this.”

That led MYOB to customer data platform company, Segment. The first implementation saw Segment used to stitch together knowledge of how different customers they used specific features, to better inform product development.

“After that, we realised we could leverage that insight not only for a product development point of view but also from a commercial and a go-to-market point of view.,” Nawaz explained. “We linked up Segment to our Salesforce Marketing Cloud and established a team to implement and deploy that end-to-end solution.”

One of the key focus areas for this work was to uplift the rate trial customers becoming paid customers. Nawaz said before Segment, every customer received the same communications journey and sales contact plan and in-product prompting.

With implementation of Segment, the use of even simple data points such as a users’ location, and using this to better inform the timing of communications, had a significant uplift in conversion. Over time, more data was used to further personalise communications, including the user’s number of employees and industry segment.

“Since we started this program our trial conversion rate is up 54 per cent,” Nawaz said.

Personalisation sophistication

That success has seen MYOB apply personalisation across a broader component of its sales funnel, including its post-subscription sales activity, where MYOB offers a broad range of business management products and services, to boost average revenue per customer.

Nawaz said MYOB is also now looking to further consolidate its communications strategy, around two key pillars.

“The first one is getting shared capability around how we are going to communicate to our customers and building frameworks so that we are able to ensure the most effective communication with customers,” he said.  

That will lead to the creation of a robust decisioning engine which can determine which customers go into which audience segments.

“Segment is going to play a large part in that journey,” Nawaz said. “We are going to use that quite heavily to build out audiences for us to be able to make real time decisions around what communications strategies they should get.”

Read more about how other Australian brands are tackling personalisation:

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