Generating demand and turning it into sales is not a one-way street any more. Today customers may have multiple touchpoints across various channels like store, web, online shop, and social media before they actually buy a product. Customer experience management platforms offer a comprehensive approach to capture these touchpoints from all channels and build a holistic picture of customer behavior. This enables companies to promptly target contacts in a contextual way on the right channel.
The contextual approach significantly increases marketing effectiveness and consequently boosts sales. However because of the multitude of functions the selection of such platform is not easy as it needs to integrate in many parts of the enterprise like the web, logistics and external platforms. Also the adoption of the platform by the marketing and sales staff is crucial for its success. So how can companies find the perfect digital customer experience platform to leverage these benefits?
When buying a car we compare the specifications of several models.
The final decision however is made after the test drive.
Selecting a new customer experience management platform is a similar situation.
Certainly companies are first compiling an overview on the leading vendors with their products. But who are they in today’s fast changing software market?
Next companies might look at the hard facts and available features like master data management and the fit into their current IT landscape. As an example it is tricky to assess technical integration capabilities just by one line in a marketing presentation.
In the meanwhile future end users want to see how it is like to work in the new platform. For example they want to see how contact or campaign data is presented. This is where the software test drive starts. For this companies have two options:
Company staff can sign up for free test accounts with the software vendors themselves. However the scope of the trials can differ significantly. In one trial users can create contact master data while the other trial is read-only and centered on analytical capabilities for customer behavior.
Companies can invite software vendors on their own to present their product. One vendor might show the execution of a multi wave email campaign while the other one will focus on the demonstration of the social listening features. This process needs to be done separately with each vendor. An objective comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of all capabilities will not be easy to achieve.
Finally, the findings of the evaluation will need to be captured and summarized in an objective way. Only then they can serve as an input for a sound decision with which products the company should proceed.
Accenture offers its clients a fast and cost effective way to get a comprehensive overview on digital customer experience management and speed up decisions.
In one workshop clients can get hands on experience in digital marketing solutions of leading vendors like Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Adobe or Marketo. To enable this Accenture has demo environments permanently available. The key factor is that the same consistent standard scenarios (e.g. campaign execution) and test data are set up in each environment. This makes it easy for clients to see the actual look-and-feel of each tool but more importantly to compare the same features using the same data across different vendors. The test drive is typically divided into the following stages:
In the workshop preparation the specific client challenge in digital customer engagement and the relevant processes are discussed in a short meeting. Accenture may suggest additional tools or processes for comparison based on industry experience. Also workshop participants are identified. Decision makers as well as future users of the platform should be present at the test drive workshop.
In the test drive workshop the business background, the test data and the processes that will be executed in the test scenario are introduced and discussed together with the client.
Then the test accounts for the respective tools are distributed to the workshop participants. The client staff will perform the relevant processes
(e.g. executing a multi-wave email campaign) sequentially in each tool that is in scope for the test drive. Accenture consultants who are experienced in the tools guide the customer staff if necessary and can effectively support the tool test drives. This means there will be no dead ends in a certain tool because of training or setup issues. Also general architectural questions can be discussed with these experts.
Customer’s findings are collected during the workshops by Accenture and synthesized into a final results document which is handed over to the client after the workshop. This can serve either as strong decision input for the client or as the practical part of a formal vendor selection.
The Accenture test drive workshop for digital customer experience management is more efficient than doing the tool evaluation alone.
No setup of test data is necessary and the workshop is getting to compare the core functionalities of each platform without vendor marketing.
Doing the test drives together with an independent party is much more unbiased than to do it with the vendor of the solution. Accenture can provide objective information on the specific strengths and weaknesses of each platform from its history of delivered projects. By comparing the same scenario across systems it is much easier to identify the key differentiators upfront and not during the implementation.
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As business users are part of the hands on evaluation this will allow for a better involvement and adoption later on. The future tool is not unilaterally introduced by IT instead has been commonly selected by business and IT together.