Integrated customer data is the engine that powers direct sales. Creating stand-out customer-centric experiences not only requires companies to capture data about their customers but also to organize the data so that it’s accessible and usable for the company and its sellers.
While technology makes data ever easier to collect, many direct-selling companies struggle to put data points from multiple platforms together, which causes information gaps and missed sales opportunities. The good news is that technology can also help companies integrate their customer data from end to end and deliver three essential drivers of direct selling success.
Driver #1: Personalization pays off
Today’s customers expect experiences that are tailored to fit their needs and preferences. Integrated data makes personalization possible. When a company’s customer-facing selling platform is integrated with its back-end software, customer data can be seamlessly collected and consolidated to create customer profiles, purchase history, and product and service preferences. This allows independent sales representatives and affiliate marketers to have customer-specific details at their fingertips, so they’re able to personalize outreach, offers, and recommendations for each buyer.
At the company level, integrated front- and back-end data enables the development of segmentation strategies, targeted marketing communication and promotions, along with the ability to better focus future product development. Leveraging integrated customer data pays off. Companies that implement personalization programs achieve browser-to-buyer conversion rates 10-15 percent higher than companies that rely on one-size-fits-all strategies. Customized experiences also appeal to customers, generating customer satisfaction rates up to 20 percent higher.
Driver #2: Anywhere, anytime convenience
Modern direct sellers meet customers where they are, whether it’s one-to-one selling of on-hand inventory, Ecommerce shopping, or sales through social media. Independent sales representatives need tools that facilitate different customer experiences as customers expect a convenient, consistent experience no matter how they choose to engage.
For companies with representatives selling on-hand inventory, the challenge occurs when representatives use selling platforms that aren’t integrated with the company’s back-end software. When this happens, valuable customer data doesn’t get added to the bigger customer profile picture when reps sell on-hand inventory or complete sales transactions one-on-one. As a result, there are gaps in the customer’s profile and purchase history. On the other hand, when reps use a selling platform that’s integrated with the company’s back-end software, reps have access to complete customer profile information at the point of sale, enhancing their ability to personalize the experience. The integration of front- and back-end platforms streamlines payment processes, order fulfillment, and inventory management.
Driver #3: End-to-end visibility
One of the biggest advantages of integrated data is the 360-degree view of information and insights it provides for both the company and its selling representatives. The end-to-end data ensures that reporting is accurate, complete, and timely – without requiring manual work or separate spreadsheets to bring data together. Corporate leaders and representatives can easily run reports to track sales activity, analyze purchase patterns, and forecast inventory. To keep a finger on the pulse of the business, standard reports can be automated for easy access.
Having a 360 view is also crucial for regulatory compliance tracking when reps are selling on-hand inventory. When the selling platform is integrated with the company’s back-end software, the system captures “retail receipts” as sales to end customers are made. This provides the needed compliance details when reps are purchasing inventory at wholesale and then re-selling to their retail customers.
Accessible, comprehensive data benefits the bottom line. Companies that are able to effectively access and use their customer data achieve customer lifetime values that are 2.5 times higher. To continue to deliver the direct selling buying experiences customers expect, providing sales representatives with integrated tools that automatically share data with a company’s back-end software is critical.
Author: Daryl Wurzbacher – CEO, ByDesign Technologies a Retail Success Company
Originally Published In: The World of Direct Selling – worldofdirectselling.com
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