Why collaboration is the key to true business intelligenceMat Singer, head of sales enablement at Upland Software, discusses the role collaboration plays in gaining true business intelligence
Effective collaboration between departments can be the differentiator between success and failure, and is key to true business intelligence. The crucial role of collaboration has been proven again and again; the best companies have seamless and transparent working practices across departments, while the worst are siloed, uncommunicative and unaware of what peers in other departments are doing.
Sadly, until now, many organisations have suffered from a lack of connection between those departments that directly or indirectly touch with the customer.
Seamless data collaboration between departments that covers the entire customer journey, such as sales, marketing, renewals, and customer success, plays a crucial role as it offers the organisation a reliable picture of how its customer base behaves. In this way, businesses can find out what outcomes customers and prospects are looking for, what adoption rates look like for each of its products, and how unsatisfied customers might be helped. Then, the organisation can continuously improve customer experience and ensure customers are happy with their product and getting their ROI.
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What is needed is a firm alliance between all teams that interact with the customer. Sales and marketing are the two most important, yet they have historically had challenges in staying aligned around the needs of their customers. Research found that 68% of marketers believe their sales colleagues do not use their content correctly. Meanwhile, 74% of sales reps think marketers don’t even know what content is useful to them. Now it’s time to bridge that gap — the future of business is to align these two functions in order to generate more revenue and support and engage the customer at every point of the journey.
Decision-makers should refocus the organisational strategy into securing this constant information flow as a critical part of the business strategy. The intelligence that stems from collaboration and information sharing across the entire revenue team helps the company better understand the customer, providing the insights they need across the entire buyer journey. The total of this information enables the company to make better decisions, form a sustainable strategy for each account, and apply a revenue optimisation approach.
Technology that collaborates
Using shared insights achieved through collaboration to continuously improve the customer journey is not always a simple process. Information all too often fails to be transposed from one department to another, remaining in departmental silos and ultimately wasted. This is largely due to the tools utilised by each department not really being connected. A variety of tools and platforms that don’t integrate or interact makes it all the harder for teams to share the insights they receive from their interactions with customers.
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With businesses needing to retain customers and attract prospects more urgently than ever, crucial business intelligence comes from a coherent suite of collaboration tools able to combine the information received from all in order to extract actionable next steps. In this way, companies will have the ability to see and target areas for improvement, and continue adapting their offering to the desired business outcomes of their customers. At a time when flexibility is a critical attribute for organisations across the world, this visibility will prove an invaluable asset.
It’s not just technology: the ‘Extended Revenue Team’
As crucial as it is to have a harmonised suite of tools for the departments to work with, the change needs to be cultural as well. Within businesses looking to recover from the economic downturn, there can be no more perception of each department working in isolation from the others. With customers’ businesses straining, depleted budgets, and longer buying cycles, all departments need to come together into one extended revenue team.
The future of collaboration
When companies are able to view and harmonise the insights each product, team or programme offers about its interactions with customers, they are able to view the areas that need improvement, and to help the extended revenue team work together to address those. All across the business, especially sales and marketing, collaboration must be at the core of every customer and prospect interaction, from the initial touchpoint through to customer success, content operations and referencing.
The SaaS space is so advanced and fast-moving that if one business does not deliver what its customers need, someone else will. The most efficient way to avoid this is to prioritise collaboration and data sharing across the organisation in order to ensure the delivery of true insights into customer and prospect behaviour. Those organisations that can remove data silos and create actionable data for their teams to secure customer-impacting outcomes will win in the race to becoming a truly trusted partner for its customers. In an era in which customer retention is business’s lifeblood, this can only be achieved when collaboration and data sharing are an integral part of the extended revenue team’s operations. When you couple this with a well-integrated set of tools, you’re bound to find greater success as a business.