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Customer Engagement Intelligence: Your Tour Guide to Interacting with Customers with Precision

by Chris Dircks and Hansen Lieu | SAPinsider, Volume 15, Issue 1

January 1, 2014

This article takes a close look at the SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence suite powered by SAP HANA, which brings together data and insights that marketing and sales teams need to forge compelling relationships with customers, who increasingly expect personalized attention, and an engaging customer experience that provides them with information specific to their wants and needs.

 

The rules of customer engagement have changed. Customers today are digitally connected, socially networked, and well informed about products. They live and work in the moment, collaborating with colleagues, interacting with friends, and sharing their likes, dislikes, and opinions in real time through the power of mobile devices. Consumers spend at least 50% of their shopping time researching products online — having largely formed an opinion about the desired products and services before even engaging with the brand or retailer through traditional channels.1

Marketers of all types of products need to arm themselves with relevant data to target customers in a compelling way to provide the experiences savvy customers seek. And they need to engage now, before customers move on to the next, more attractive offering.

The rules have also changed for sales teams, which are struggling to stay relevant. As people turn to online information — business and social networks and communities — to inform themselves, they are engaging salespeople much later in the buying cycle. In fact, on average customers are shutting out salespeople for more than half of the sales cycle.2

It’s no longer sufficient to know your products and services and how they differ from the competition. You now need to understand your customers’ unique challenges, interests, and preferences, but then also offer new approaches to achieve their objectives and make their lives better. Engaging with customers in this way enables you to be part of their buying journey. But you can’t get there without data.

A Unified Solution for Marketing and Sales to Engage Customers

Powered by SAP HANA, the SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence suite brings together the data and insights that marketing and sales teams need to forge compelling relationships in the moment with their customers and prospects. These solutions enable marketing and sales to:

  • Gain the right insight at the right time. High-speed in-memory power and predictive capabilities give sales and marketing executives a better understanding of their customers’ preferences and needs, in real time.
  • Deliver personalized engagement. Armed with customer insights, marketers and sales teams can then make offers that are relevant and compelling. They can better interact with existing customers and prospects by carrying on more meaningful conversations.
  • Execute on decisions. These solutions aren’t just about better understanding customers, but creating and executing marketing and sales initiatives, all with a consumer-grade user experience that puts business professionals in the driver’s seat.

SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence has three major capabilities that are essential to marketing and sales: customer analytics, contact intelligence, and customer segmentation and targeting. Let’s look at each of these capabilities.

Customer Analytics

The ability to leverage a vast amount of data in real time makes it easier to be a smarter seller and ensure you are investing in your most valuable customers. To make fact-based decisions, you need a solid customer analytics foundation that can help you gain a deep understanding of your customers and provide:

  1. Real-time and up-to-date customer information. Customer data has to be up to the minute, so you don’t miss out on any important signals that can allow for a better customer experience. The solution provides access to real-time customer behavior data for more relevant insights because it is powered by SAP HANA.
  2. An integrated customer view. Having real-time data is not enough. You also need to have a comprehensive view of your customer. SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence provides a single, consolidated view of data across different channels and data sources (such as SAP, non-SAP, social, web, and email systems) to give you a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of your customers. Figure 1 shows how you can leverage data to automatically categorize customers by current and potential value, helping you understand the dynamics of every relationship and how to get the best results from each customer.
  3. Advanced analytics. These analytics sit on top of your integrated customer view, so you can analyze large amounts of real-time data at different levels of granularity using business-value metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer loyalty, buying power, profitability, and sentiment.
  4. Predictive analytics. While analyzing historical customer information is critical in gaining insights, real competitive advantage comes from the ability to predict future behavior. SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence leverages SAP HANA to run advanced statistical algorithms that can detect correlations in customer behavior, and provide a likely projection of future outcomes. Buying propensity, churn risk, and specific product recommendations are just a few examples of the predictions that can help companies engage with the right customers in the right way for the maximum return, and stay one step ahead of competitors.  

 

Figure 1 — Automatically categorize your customers by current and potential value with SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence

Contact Intelligence

Contact intelligence helps you track and nurture leads across the entire contact life cycle, from prospects to reference contacts. Conversations about relevant topics on social media are assessed for sentiment. Interactions on the web, over email, by phone, or at events are scored. These up-to-the-minute insights give marketers and salespeople the tools to determine the next best action. Contact intelligence supports the contacts for direct customers, and also provides an omni-channel picture of end consumers.

Figure 2 shows an example of the view of the interests and hot topics for a contact across all the channels including sales, web traffic, phone, email, events, and social. You can easily filter on specific channels or switch the view to see a detailed timeline for drilling down. The contact shown is very interested in SAP HANA and customer analytics.

Figure 2 — A clear overview of the interests and hot topics for contacts, across all channels

Customer Segmentation and Targeting

Customer segmentation and targeting allow marketing and sales executives to easily identify and build customer segments from large customer populations. For example, if marketers notice social media buzz on a topic among certain age groups, they can quickly define new target groups from the database and then develop marketing programs to engage these groups. Or they can target those customers with a high buying propensity or a high likelihood to churn.

Marketers can easily create and manage target groups to run campaigns and initiatives to nurture leads. More importantly, they can define these target groups not only based on typical attributes such as age, location, and gender, but also using real-time social sentiment, conversation, past behavior, and even predicted behavior.

Figure 3 shows an example of statistical predictions of buying propensity to optimize the target group, perhaps investing in a higher value and cost channel for the customers that are more likely to buy. By simply dragging in attributes and scores, it’s easy for marketers to take advantage of the model, without needing to become statisticians.

Figure 3 — Build a new target list using behavior profiles and predicted buying propensity

Understanding Customers

By offering a multi-dimensional view of customer relationships, SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence powered by SAP HANA helps you understand not just revenue, but margin, lifetime value, churn, engagement, and satisfaction across front-office, back-office, legacy, third-party, and social sources — in real time, for high data volumes. Engaging your customer in a timely manner allows you to grow revenue and margin strategically, focusing the most relevant resources on your highest value customers for maximum growth. To learn more about how your sales and marketing teams can benefit, go to www.saphana.com/community/learn/solutions/enterprise-applications/customer-intelligence.

 

 

1 PowerReviews, “The 2011 Social Shopping Study” (June 2011; www.powerreviews.com/assets/download/Social_Shopping_2011_Brief1.pdf). [back]

2 CEB, “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing” (2012; www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/index.html). [back]

 

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Chris Dircks, SAP
Chris Dircks

Chris Dircks (chris.dircks@sap.com) is a Director of Customer Relationship Management Product Management at SAP. With 15 years of experience in customer analytics, Chris is currently responsible for the SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence portfolio of solutions for marketing, sales, and service.


Lieu Hansen
Hansen Lieu

Hansen Lieu (hansen.lieu@sap.com) is a Director of Customer Relationship Management Product Marketing at SAP. With over 21 years of experience in the software industry, Hansen is currently responsible for thought leadership, social media marketing, and go-to-market strategy on the topic of customer analytics.


 

Chris Dircks, SAP
Chris Dircks

Chris Dircks (chris.dircks@sap.com) is a Director of Customer Relationship Management Product Management at SAP. With 15 years of experience in customer analytics, Chris is currently responsible for the SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence portfolio of solutions for marketing, sales, and service.


Lieu Hansen
Hansen Lieu

Hansen Lieu (hansen.lieu@sap.com) is a Director of Customer Relationship Management Product Marketing at SAP. With over 21 years of experience in the software industry, Hansen is currently responsible for thought leadership, social media marketing, and go-to-market strategy on the topic of customer analytics.



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