How to understand and develop the maturity of your customer engagement

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Richard barnet

Semiconductors and other electronic components are essential to the functioning of businesses and people. These commodities are essential to enable progress in a range of industries.

Our research indicates that 66% of sales and marketing leaders in the industry plan to maintain or increase their digital advertising budgets.

Digital disruption and digital transformation could not – and cannot – happen without them.

The great irony is that companies in this electronics industry themselves often lag behind digital.

Banking, consumer goods and financial services are all much further along in thinking about orchestrating the buyer’s journey through different engagement channels; drive digital engagement to an e-commerce transaction; provide self-service options that meet customer needs; and using different forms of intelligence to optimize this process.

There is a general consensus in our space that the semiconductor and electronic components industry lags behind other sectors. But we wanted to better understand this vital question.

Average maturity score suggests significant opportunity for improvement

To better understand and assess this phenomenon, we interviewed the marketing and sales managers of 180 distributors and suppliers of electronic products around the world. (The total annual revenue of all the companies in the survey is around $ 860 billion, a healthy representation of the global electronics value chain.) We looked at models of academic research and B2B maturity in digital marketing, e-commerce and sales. And we’ve merged some of the best executives and thinking in these three areas into a digital customer engagement maturity model.

The maturity of digital customer engagement isn’t just about technology. So, in our efforts to approach this topic holistically and holistically, we have balanced our maturity model between the classic dimensions of people, processes, technology, and systems, and, to some extent, policies.

In this way, organizations in the semiconductor and electronic components industry can use the model to align considerations on talent, organizational design, investment in technology, and new forms of intelligence, and then create more different digital engagement touchpoints.

On a five-point scale, the average Customer Engagement Maturity Score was 2.4. This suggests that the semiconductor and electronic components industry has lagged behind in digital customer engagement, has stalled on this front for two decades, and has ample room to mature. .

The jury is still out on whether and how much the pandemic has moved the needle

Industry analyst and media reports over the past 18 months noted that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation initiatives among many global manufacturers. But our April 2021 survey suggests the pandemic was a blocking factor for component suppliers and distributors, 39% of them said the environment caused by COVID-19 has delayed their customer experience and digital transformations in e-commerce.

Perhaps by next year the industry will have a better handle on the overall impact of the pandemic on this front. But what is clear is that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies in our industry felt the need to do more digital engagement, as their traditional sales and engineering teams on the land could not visit customer sites. This now results in a change to create virtual sales teams.

COVID-19 Induced Changes May Help Break Persistent Latecomer Mentality

But while everyone has scrambled to adapt to the new reality, we estimate that online transactions only account for 6% of the industry’s total annual sales.

There is also a persistent lagging marketing mindset. Many companies in this industry still think of marketing investment purely in relation to brand awareness. They also tend to overlook digital engagement, the impact of marketing on their go-to-market strategy, and how technical content influences design cycles. It’s really a big disconnect.

Part of the reason is that companies in this industry are very engineering and sales oriented. Marketing has traditionally been an afterthought. But COVID-19 has been so disruptive that it really forced sales to rethink what they were doing. I’m hopeful that we’ll see a group of companies in the industry, maybe the top quartile that have the right leadership and the right mindset, move from level two to level three or even four in the maturity model of here a few years. .

Organizational integration, talent and greater marketing investment will be key

Companies with tightly integrated sales and marketing efforts are best placed to make this change. The integration of sales and marketing helps businesses determine how to tailor the right content for particular prospects and align with design cycles across different markets and customers. Companies that can synchronize and scale these efforts can go from two to four on the digital engagement maturity model scale almost overnight.

But the challenges to achieving this include hiring the right talent and increasing investment in marketing. There is massive underinvestment in marketing as a percentage of global electronics industry revenue. However, our research indicates that 66% of sales and marketing leaders in the industry plan to maintain or increase their digital advertising budgets.

It is a step in the right direction. But progressing to a higher level of digital commerce maturity and digital customer engagement isn’t just about buying a different business system, hiring a new person, or other small changes. progressive organizational.

New forms of intelligence are essential to drive customer engagement at scale

Sales and Marketing Managers, and sometimes even CEOs, need to assess where they stand in terms of digital customer engagement and e-commerce maturity, review and possibly reset their assumptions about what is critical to their success, and lay out their vision for the future.

COVID-19 has changed the way the world works. Businesses are facing a global component shortage. And the need for digital engagement has never been higher.

Now is the time to position yourself to be the supplier of choice. In today’s world, that means more than just having the best technology or the best components. It takes the best level of engagement, trust, and intelligence to respond to customers every step of the way at scale. Companies that do this better than their peers will gain more business, enjoy greater profitability, and grow.

Richard barnet is Marketing Director of Supplyframe, a provider of technologies and services designed to help companies in the global electronics industry design, source, market and sell products. Siemens AG, a global electronics maker, has agreed to acquire Supplyframe and expects to close the deal in the fourth quarter.

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