Westcoast Cloud
January 15, 2019

Customer buying behaviour has evolved – have you?

We’re currently looking at Microsoft’s latest series of eBooks on Digital Transformation, featuring research by the International Data Corporation (IDC), and we’d like to share the insight on how successful partners are optimising the customer engagement lifecycle by using online and social media technologies to reach, inform and engage with customers in new and effective ways.

Introducing the new customer experience lifecycle

Today’s customers are taking the exploration stage of their purchasing journey online – researching, self-educating and assessing options before, during and after the sale. Decisions are often made before they engage with sales people, and this engagement extends beyond the sale into a continuous relationship where loyalty and nurturing are critical to maintaining and renewing those relationships.

IDC research shows that customers go through a process of engagement that encompass six key stages. Here’s how you can use them to your advantage:

  1. Explore: Prospects are looking for solutions to business problems, so convey your relevance and highlight your capabilities with clear messaging.
  2. Evaluate: Prospects are validating their short lists of sellers, so establish prominence as a thought leader with white papers, videos, and best practice testimonials.
  3. Purchase: Prospects have made the purchase decision and are now a customer, so facilitate the deployment of your solution with relevant resources.
  4. Expansion: The customer is using your solution and beginning the loyalty loop. Ensure customer success by continuing to drive engagement, consumption and growth.
  5. Renewal: Your relationship with the customer continues to grow, increasing your opportunity to deliver recurring services on a subscription basis.
  6. Advocacy: Your best customers become your best promoters, so recruit them to be your spokespeople with mutually-beneficial testimonials and social media amplification.

“This is a journey with no end”

Alex Brown, CEO of 10th Magnitude – a successful digital transformation services firm – features in Microsoft’s eGuides, stating: “This is a journey with no end. Anyone who thinks there is a defined box that you play in is not the right person to be in this business.” He’s right. It’s vital to develop a range of strategies to move your prospects and customers through their transformation journey – and use a variety of core digital elements.

Leverage data, analytics and insight to better understand customer; evolve your communication style to reach customers across the entire lifecycle; build profitability and maintain sustainable differentiation by increasing your domain expertise and creating solutions optimised for vertical industries.

Above all, remain open to change – and open to using new technologies to your advantage. Identify key personas in your organisation and immerse your business in the process of social selling and marketing. Make the right investments – especially in digital marketing staff and capabilities.

Sounds like a plan?

Well, kind of. The truth is, digital transformation is different for every partner – and every customer. That’s why, at Westcoast, we work with businesses to provide guidance throughout the transformation journey – no matter where it goes, or how long it takes.

In the meantime, you can find out more about engaging customers by downloading all of the eGuides in Microsoft’s digital transformation series from our Resource Centre.