5 Ways an Integrated Tech Stack of Apps You Already Have Can Accelerate Business Growth
By Jason VandeBoom, Founder and CEO, ActiveCampaign
These days, customer expectations are extremely high when it comes to delivering a personalized, relevant customer experience. Both business buyers and consumers expect every interaction to be customized specifically to their needs with an empathetic human touch—but also delivered lightning-fast over a digital channel. In fact, make that every digital channel, because they don’t distinguish one from another.
“When customers contact a company using different channels, they don’t think they are having a series of separate conversations,” says customer experience consultant and author of How to Wow, Adrian Swinscoe. “They think they are having one conversation focused on trying to solve the one problem that is in front of them.”
But meeting these demands for a seamless 1:1 omnichannel experience can be extremely difficult for any size business, even those with seemingly unlimited resources. With so many business applications on the market, figuring out which one to use for what purpose is just the first hurdle. Choose poorly and you might get locked into siloed solutions that won’t work together, making it nearly impossible to deliver the seamless, personalized experience customers expect at scale. No matter what size your business or budget, the complexities of disjointed applications create unnecessary bottlenecks that can choke off business growth.
Instead, building a fully integrated tech stack that leverages best-in-class tools atop one unified data model and automation platform provides a seamless, sophisticated—and most importantly, easy to manage—approach to delivering outstanding 1:1 customer experience (CX) at scale. Here are five ways building an integrated tech stack with apps you’re probably already using can help accelerate business growth.
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1. Put sales and marketing on the same page. Delivering a great end-to-end CX for both prospects and customers requires understanding their individual needs and delivering information that speaks directly to those needs over the most relevant touchpoints. But sometimes getting sales and marketing aligned on exactly what customers need—and delivering it seamlessly—can be difficult when you’re working with different systems.
Instead, integrating a sales and marketing tool like Calendly with your CRM ensures sales and marketing are all working on the same page. With seamless integration, you can easily send contacts and leads between the two systems for faster lead capture, qualification and scoring. Then, by tying that into a customer experience automation (CXA) engine, you can automate what happens next to nurture and move leads down the funnel.
2. Align business tasks with customer needs. Once you’ve identified what customers need, delivering it in a timely fashion is critical. It requires meticulous process, project and task management so that nothing falls through the cracks. Otherwise, you risk missing valuable opportunities.
By integrating task and project management tools like Asana, with CXA, CRM, sales and CSR tools, you can break projects down into smaller tasks, make assignments and trigger automatic task creation or completion for your entire team. This seamless integration makes sure every step gets done, and it frees up staff time to focus on more important, customer-focused work rather than slogging through a tedious workflow.
3. Create a 1:1 experience at every touchpoint. Whether you engage with customers through email, SMS, your website or social media, every interaction reveals valuable details about what customers want. By analyzing those behaviors and combining that insight with data already in your CRM, you can gain visibility across the entire customer experience with a unified data model. Based on that knowledge, you can then deliver the personalized service that meets their expectations via their preferred channels—or better yet, in a way that transcends those channels, so that it seems like one, cohesive conversation across every channel, as Swinscoe alluded to.
Because there are already plenty of options available—from social tools like Facebook for automated web push notifications to Discord and Discourse for chat and community discussion—it only makes sense to integrate best-in-class solutions into your CXA and CRM platforms, rather than dumping them all in favor of a clunky all-in-one platform that won’t grow with you.
4. Automate processes to accelerate efficiency. When pushing to scale up, efficiency is the name of the game for both customers and your team. Implementing automated, digital solutions is essential for handling the volume and velocity of processes and transactions as business takes off.
Aside from the obvious e-commerce and payments integration, depending on your business needs, you may also want to deploy lead generation tools, such as survey and form apps like Typeform or SurveyMonkey, and document and signature solutions like HelloSign and Google Suite. By tying all these solutions to a single, centralized CXA database, you can eliminate time wasted on data entry, errors and duplication for your team and reduce friction for your customer.
5. Streamline internal admin tasks to maximize productivity. Of course, accelerating your customer-facing processes should be a top priority, but your internal ones deserve some attention, too. When your team is bogged down with time-consuming administrative tasks, it saps their creativity and energy for mission critical CX work.
Implementing reporting and analytics tools like Google Analytics, Whatagraph and Databox allows teams the ability to track marketing campaign results more efficiently across channels, monitor progress and leverage data insights.
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Settling on the right apps to run your business is a daunting task, especially if you’re feeling forced by a vendor to go all-in on their platform, forsaking all others. The smarter strategy is to work with platform-agnostic vendors that allow you to build a customized technology stack that can adapt to your unique needs as they change. After all, why reinvent the wheel? Instead, simply integrate the proven tools you may already be using to drive greater efficiencies, outstanding customer experience and business growth.