Time To Assess Your Omnichannel Maturity

Brendan Witcher

It's a fact: Every time customers are exposed to improved shopping experiences, their expectations are immediately reset to a new higher level. Today’s empowered customers expect seamless brand interactions across every touch point, forcing organizations to replace outdated thought-processes and legacy systems with new ways of doing business. That said, many digital strategy and commerce leaders are either not sure where to start, or simply failing to deliver excellence within customer journeys through existing omnichannel capabilities. Forrester’s Omnichannel Maturity Assessment tool, created by Claudia Tajima and myself, helps organizations discover their current maturity level, and understand what steps they need to take to reach omnichannel mastery. 

The assessment challenges organizations to evaluate their retail business across three dimensions:

  • Digital customer experience
  • Digital operational excellence
  • Omnichannel customer engagement

Organizations must score themselves across seven modern omnichannel capabilities that leading retailers are executing today:

  • Enterprise inventory visibility
  • BOPIS
  • Ship-from-store
  • Ship-to-store
  • Endless aisle
  • Omnichannel value adding services
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Open Banking Is Open For Business

Jacob Morgan

Open banking is rapidly heading to the top of the agenda for retail banks across the globe. BBVA today announced the launch of its open banking business, joining the likes of Nordea, which launched its open banking site in March. In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority obliged the top nine banks to create an open banking standard; the first stage was reference data (e.g., branch opening hours and loan data), which was delivered in March. However, open banking isn’t limited to Europe. In Australia, the House of Representatives recommended the development of a binding frameworkto underpin data sharing for open banking; in April, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced plans to make its own data available via an open application programming interface (API) and made no secret of its enthusiasm for open data. We’ve seen no formal moves in the US so far, but The US Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection put out a Request for Information Regarding Consumer Access to Financial Records in late 2016.

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A Healthy Future Welcomes Consultative B2B Sellers

Caroline Robertson

 

Mark Twain unknowingly echoed the state of today’s B2B sellers when he said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” As Mary Shea writes in her newest report, “B2B Consultant Sellers Reign In The 21st Century,” it’s a selective sickness that ails today’s sales professionals. Those at greatest risk of the displacement as we described in another recent Forrester report, “Death Of A (B2B) Salesman: Two Years Later,” are those high-volume, low-value transactional sellers who suffer listless interest from self-educated buyers who are purchasing online at an increasing pace. But for customers who are uncertain about solutions that best suit their needs or ones with complex challenges, there remains healthy growth for sellers who possess the right attributes and who adopt the rigor of a new regimen.

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The Financial Services Focus On Sales Enablement

Steven Wright

In the past few months, we’ve seen a big uptick in inquiries from financial services firms, including life insurance. They are becoming much more focused on sales enablement automation and sales enablement in general. At the same time, sales enablement automation vendors are highlighting their successes with financial services companies. Based on discussions with practitioners, financial services firms should keep in mind a few key challenges as they tackle better enabling their sellers:

  • Agents and advisors are both sellers. Many financial services organizations seem reluctant to use the terms “sales” or “sellers” when talking about those who sell to customers. This often slows awareness and understanding of how sales enablement automation can help them leverage content, better engage with customers, and ensure that sellers play by the rules in a highly regulated industry. The same applies to independent advisors. They are business partners — another part of the channel — and need the same kind of sales enablement, especially because they may also sell competitive offerings.
  • Managing seller-focused content in a highly regulated environment is complicated. Financial firms have dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of content creators. Those creators cover a wide range of content including promotional, marketing, and reporting. Some content, such as investment updates, require tightly controlled processes for creating and updating frequently. All of that content creation takes place in an environment where a strong need for tightly controlled processes exists to create, produce, and manage how sellers can and should use content.
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Collaborate With Finance To Prove Marketing's Business Value

The Data Digest: The Information Power Play

Anjali Lai

Recent incidents remind us that knowledge is power. Earlier this week, US President Trump shared classified information with foreign delegates — and by doing so, he potentially declassified it. When The Washington Post exposed the headline first, the article became the most viewed digital news story in the publication’s history. This comes only a few days after a sweep of global cyberattacks locked major corporations and governments out of their data and threatened to release stolen content (like a soon-to-be-released Disney film) in increments. These stories remind us that those who own and control information wield power — but also that the boundary between public and private information is becoming easier to transgress.  

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Congrats On Your New Car! But Before You Go . . .

Danielle Travaglini
If you’ve ever bought a car from an auto dealership, this story might ring true for you.
 
After weeks of test driving, researching, and debating prices, I finally settled on the exact car to buy. I felt relieved to make this decision and couldn’t wait to drive my new ride home.
 
But there was just one thing left to do: meet with the dealership’s “finance guy” to finalize everything. What should have been a quick and painless interaction with a dealership employee turned out to be uncomfortable and maddening. The employee was extremely pushy, attempting to use scare tactics to sell me additional warranties and insurance. I politely declined these numerous times, only to have my repeated “no, thanks” ignored and refuted with condescending comments. After begging over and over to simply sign my paperwork so I could leave, I managed to extract myself from this employee’s grip, feeling exhausted, annoyed, and disrespected to the point where I wondered why I was buying a car from these people in the first place. I was no longer excited and just wanted to leave and never come back. Not exactly a fairy tale ending to my car-buying experience. 
 
I’m not alone in feeling this way; one customer in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) Consumer Perspective Online Community says of her car-buying experience:
 
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B2B Marketers Need To Apply The Lessons Of Customer Obsession To Seller Development

Steven Wright

“We need to train the sales force!” comes the cry. Whether marketing or product management, sales ops or finance, IT or legal, everyone wants to train the sales force. The reasons are always good: efficiency, effectiveness, and excellence. But frequent and tactical training can distract sellers from and delay them in performing their most important task: selling.

My newest report, "Build A Seller Development Framework," updates Forrester’s Seller Development Framework (formerly Forrester’s Sales Training Solution Framework) to take a fresh look at how to plan for and evaluate the training needs of sellers to move beyond defining needs based on "Who's asking?" to "What’s the right approach?"

Sales enablement vendors have also taken note of the need to embed seller development within sales enablement automation. Brainshark has announced partnerships with Highspot and Seismic to leverage Brainshark’s solutions for sales mastery and continuous training as part of overall sales enablement automation. Allego, a mobile video sales learning platform, just announced a partnership with Wilson Learning to provide more continuous sales development. These announcements are in line with our predictions of increased partnering in the sales enablement and development market.

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Landscapes, Portfolios, And Point Solutions (Oh, My!)

Rusty Warner

If you’re a marketer struggling to decipher the complicated marketing technology landscape of more than 5,000 vendors – and show me a marketer who isn’t – then I have some good news for you. It won’t be as easy as following the yellow brick road, but you can begin to make sense of today’s seemingly infinite array of enterprise marketing technology (EMT) offerings.

Two of my research areas at Forrester are Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) and Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM). I field myriad inquiries on both, as they are critical, confusing, and conflated in terms of technology and vendor overlap. While CCCM primarily focuses on automating marketing-driven campaign strategies for outbound channels, and RTIM primarily focuses on next-best-action strategies for customer-initiated interactions via inbound channels, both rely heavily on systems of insight (customer data and analytics) and systems of engagement (automated content and interactions). And both cover multiple inbound, outbound, digital, and offline channels.

CCCM is evolving as marketers strive to align highly personalized marketing campaigns with customer-initiated interactions to drive deeper levels of engagement throughout the customer life cycle. I addressed this evolution in The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q2 2016, which featured 15 leading vendors. Since the CCCM space is much broader, earlier this year I also published the Vendor Landscape: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, and it adds a further 32 vendors to the mix, categorizing them as enterprise, small, or regional players, and reviewing capabilities such as vertical expertise or content management.

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The Missing Step To Maximizing Your B2B Content Marketing Investments

Daniel Klein

You hear this advice everywhere: B2B marketers need to do more with less. Nowhere is that more true than with your cornerstone content. Unfortunately, B2B marketers underutilize their cornerstone content studies such as whitepapers backed by data and ROI/business case analyses. 43% of marketers in North America and a staggering 69% of marketers in Europe who attended recent Forrester webinars said they create four or fewer content  assets from a single cornerstone study. This is a travesty. It is a lost opportunity to maximize the value you get from an existing content investment. Creating too few assets limits the reach of this important content, and your prospect base won’t find the content unless some of the key information is in a format they prefer to use.

Activating your cornerstone content using a range of formats that align with how your prospects want to consume it and how your organization can deliver it greatly extends its value and longevity. For example, let’s say you posted a report for download on your website based on a survey of 200 IT/LOB professionals about their digital transformation adoption priorities, challenges, and desired outcomes. Typically, we see marketers building some of the same data into a landing page, an infographic, and a webinar. But that only adds up to four content assets. The best practice among top marketers we work with is to repurpose cornerstone content into at least 10 or more different formats. Here’s a list of additional assets you can use to activate cornerstone content, with limited additional effort or expense:

  • Data points in executive keynote presentations.
  • Sales presentations.
  • Investor pitches.
  • Click fodder for online ads or social media.
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