Last week my husband got a letter in the mail, from one of the charities that we have supported financially for many years. It was a notice for a support group meetup, for a medical condition that I have (and he doesn’t). I was miffed. Not only have we donated substantially for many years to this charity, but I’ve personally donated many hours of work. As a data person I could understand how it might have happened – but emotionally, I didn’t care. Getting a letter addressed to only my husband’s name felt like a violation of a relationship that was important to me.
So begin the radically changed expectations in the Engagement Revolution.
In world chock-full of so much information that we feel fatigued at the end of each day, we hold the interactions we do initiate with greater weight. In the age of the Right to be Forgotten, we desire one thing most of all – to be Known.
What does this mean for us as organizations, and business leaders?
3 Behaviors to Understand and Harness in the Engagement Revolution
Recognize the Desire to be Known
As organizations and businesses, there’s a new customer paradox – which also contains an opportunity. Whether I am dealing with a 10-person charity, or the huge international enterprise of Salesforce, as a customer/supporter/engager – I not only want anyone I’m dealing with to be aware of my engagement with the organization, I expect it.
I laughed as I was writing this post because I even posted an idea about this on the Salesforce Idea Exchange. I took the time to post an idea and solicit a few votes, because I wanted Salesforce support agents to know who I was, anytime I called. (Not as easy as a feat as you’d think since I log cases from multiple organizations).
CRM systems like Salesforce are the foundational step to create a place of knowing. Then there’s integrations (I’m really excited to learn more about Salesforce’s acquisition of Mulesoft and the launch of Integration Cloud). And finally, the potential to use Artificial Intelligence – not in a creepy sort of way – but in the helpful way of surfacing information about me, and for me, to the representatives in the organizations with whom I choose to engage.
Here is the opportunity – when we create an environment where we show customers and constituents that they are known and appreciated – we deepen loyalty. A recent article in MyCustomer highlighted a research paper by Forrester “Understand Emotion to Drive Technology Engagement.”
Consumers are more likely to open their wallets and spend more with a brand that makes them feel appreciated.” – Chris Ward, MyCustomer
Don’t Underestimate the Right to Be Forgotten
Last year I had a conversation about changes in email marketing behavior with a top marketing executive. I’d seen potential customers extremely disgruntled with the sheer volume of emails they were getting from this company – wondering – why are they so persistent? Am I getting the raw end of this deal? (I had the same feeling about working with a bank on a potential refinance – the salesperson seemed too eager). This marketing executive insisted that research still showed that more emails = more conversions.
GDPR and the Right to Be Forgotten underscores this is changing.
Particularly for business buyers, unsolicited contact and unnecessary volume erodes trust. Businesses will see decreasing returns from strategies around unsolicited or undersolicited contact (or in the example above, businesses that reach out with products or to contacts that aren’t relevant). When you do get someone’s engagement – treat it carefully, highlighting how they are uniquely known to your organization.
Businesses and organizations will focus more on Buying Teams and Opportunity Contact Roles, even for smaller transactions – and will need increased tools and knowledge to avoid sending emails and initiating contact with those who would rather forget them.
Cultivate the Ecosystem of Supporters (beyond Customers)
In the world of the Engagement Revolution, there is new language erupting to represent all the constituents of an organization – “influencer” “supporter” “constituent”.
How people feel about your product depends in great deal about the shared truth that emerges among the constituents, users and supporters of your product – even if they’ve never purchased it directly. This can be a positive force – look at Salesforce’s Trailblazer Campaign – or a negative force – like the community outcry about the overnight 100%+ price increases from Validity/Demandtools.
Businesses that are harnessing the engagement revolution are devoting energy, technology and people to interact with constituents that exist in overlapping circles around the actual product being sold, beyond the actual buyers purchasing it.
This engagement beyond the product buyers has been highlighted in back to back Dreamforce keynotes – in 2017, with 21st Century Fox case study, and in 2018 with Torani who sells directly to distributors, but who recognized both the need and the opportunity to engage its product users directly.
What do you think? What other behavior shifts are you witnessing?