Ahead of Dreamforce 2018, Accenture Interactive spoke with Anusha Ramachandran, Senior CRM Manager at Navistar, about the importance of sales and marketing collaboration to facilitate more meaningful relationships with customers.
Below is our interview with Anusha, which has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. Attending Dreamforce, catch our live discussion on Thursday, September 27 at 9:15am, with a second session starting at 4:15pm.
Tell us a bit about Navistar
Navistar, formerly International Harvester, is a company with a strong heritage spanning over 190 years — from its early days in the agricultural business with its brand promise of ‘feeding America’ to its more recent history in the commercial transportation industry. Today, we’re a leading manufacturer of commercial trucks, buses, defense vehicles and engines and the corporate entity of International® Trucks, a leading producer of medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks and severe-service trucks.
What was your customer challenge?
The reality of this digital age is that customer expectations have changed. Customers today expect easy access to online tools to educate themselves and manage their relationship with the brand in a seamless manner. We needed to know our customers better, deliver a seamless and transparent experience, and treat them better than anyone else in the industry.
To do this, we knew we had to have a single view of the customer. Take the example of our truck configurator. With this feature, users can configure a truck and directly get in touch with a local dealer. However, the customer’s selections never made their way to the dealer, prompting the user to input their information for a second time. This is a frustrating, negative customer experience, one we aimed to fix right away. Information has no value if it's not shared directly with those closest to our customers: our front-line sales teams. Joint ownership of the single view of the customer translates to higher visibility throughout the sales process, leading to improved customer service and increased customer loyalty by bringing together all the knowledge we have about our customer and sharing it across sales and marketing, we can engage them with a unified voice.
How are Accenture Interactive and Salesforce helping Navistar?
In collaboration with our senior leadership team and key cross-functional stakeholders, Accenture Interactive, drawing on past client work and their knowledge of the industry, has helped Navistar build a business case for Digital Customer Transformation and the strategic imperative for being easy to do business with.
Salesforce was identified as the technology enabler for this initiative. Building an executable plan based on common KPIs around revenue growth and customer experience has helped break down some of the traditional barriers between sales and marketing and lay the foundation to create lasting connections between both groups. Accenture Interactive also helped establish the key metrics and benchmarks tied to the tangible and intangible benefits of becoming a digitally-enabled and customer-centric organization.
When I joined Navistar, I realized an opportunity to capitalize on data around our customers and our performance in the market. Now, there are a lot of resources and momentum organizationally for leveraging platforms like Salesforce and connecting disparate systems. Salesforce is the central hub that enables all our experiences – we can all read from the same roadmap.
Accenture Interactive helped us connect the Sales, Service and Marketing Clouds and Pardot together, then integrated those services with the Navistar Marketing Database to ensure data across systems was connected and up-to-date for Lead Management in over 700 dealer network locations. This allowed our account managers to have fuller picture of an account and where to focus their energies one issues or growth areas.
What does collaboration between marketing and sales look like—and how will it expand?
In marketing, I have full visibility into the customer’s data points and can build out a certain view of the customer – however, this view isn’t the complete picture. To create a holistic profile, I would share my information with sales; they are closer to the customer and can provide additional information that data points cannot. Our sales team can provide meaningful insights to help us look at the data in whole new ways.
Collaboration between Sales and Marketing, connected through data and insights, is going to become the new reality in how we go to market and find new ways to delight our customers. Ten years ago, if you thought of the role of IT and the CIO, they owned the back end (where all the wonderful data would sit). Today, the CIO, CMO and Chief Customer Officer work hand-in-hand putting together many of these digital initiatives.
What are some of the biggest changes – and results – Navistar has experienced?
We are looking at bringing siloed pieces of customer knowledge together, which is incredibly valuable in positioning ourselves as customer-centric. Customer data gets very complex as customers vary based on whether they’re a business operator or truck expert and so forth. Even within a single segment, say leasing or rental, two very similar-looking customers can exhibit different behaviors (such as buying behavior and truck utilization behavior) when it comes to service and maintenance, KPIs, etc. It’s helpful to be able to see all the data and the opportunities they present.
What’s next for Navistar?
To become a customer experience leader in the industry we need to focus on enhancing the value proposition and further building out our underlying business capabilities. Connected systems and meaningful integrations will be foundational to enabling Salesforce to serve as a backbone for our business operations and our ability to deliver a seamless, transparent customer experience.
We also understand that technology alone cannot create deeper customer relationships. Building common goals and objectives across business functions and investing heavily in change management are critical to truly deliver on the promise of customer-centricity.