The report, titled 'Customer Experience Dynamics: Defining the Requirements for a Strong CX Ecosystem', reveals that 61% of sales executives and 57% of marketing leaders have aligned around the definition of 'customer experience'.

The report reveals that both sales executives and marketing leaders believe that the term embraces a comprehensive strategy for assessing how the enterprise engages, reacts, and proactively relates with customers in their moment of need and in the channels that they expect. Seven percent of sales leaders say that 'customer experience' is just jargon.

Both leaders believe that their individual mandate centres around growth, with sales being directed to capture and acquire new customers and marketing having the mandate to accelerate revenue growth.

However, 14% of sales and 12% of marketing professionals believe their organisation’s ability to deliver connected, personalised, and contextual experiences are exceptional – regardless of channel, and across the entire organisation.

"Yes, sales and marketing are finally singing from the same customer experience song sheet, fully aligned on definitions and overarching mandates for revenue growth," says Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council.

"But, a single song sheet is not enough to actually develop and execute a company-wide customer-focussed strategy that reaches beyond the execution of a couple connected campaigns. What is needed is strong leadership and vision, bolstered with the insight and intelligence that can power each function’s goals for growth and customer value creation," adds Miller.

According to 35% of sales executives and 38% of marketing leaders, the report shows that data and customer intelligence are limited to insights pulled from within sales or marketing silos. Fewer than one in four sales executives and 39% of marketers believe they have total access to a comprehensive view of the customer.

"For too long, sales and marketing have quarreled over definitions, fighting for control of political leverage within the confines of the organisation," says Gerhard Gschwandtner, founder and CEO of SellingPower magazine.

"This friction has only had one casualty – the customer. The question will no longer be why sales and marketing can’t work together, but what the cost of the conflict will be as the dynamic chips away at the ability to deliver experiences and meet mandates for revenue acceleration and growth," adds Gschwandtner.

The report features an outline of a customer experience ecosystem, as defined by the 198 sales and 169 marketing executives taking part in the survey. The model places the customer at the centre of business decisions and interaction, with the enterprise ecosystem defining where and how cross-functional teams lead, influence, or contribute to the delivery of customer experience:

  • The Leaders – The chief marketing officer, chief sales/revenue officer, and chief executive officer are owners and core developers of the customer experience strategy; 
  • The Influencers – The COO, e-commerce, and marketing teams are tapped as key influencers to customer experience delivery;
  • The Intelligence Contributors – Finance and HR are seen as key contributors to the overall view of the customer;
  • The Front Line – In-store operations, supply chain, and procurement stand alongside the sales teams and retail partners as the front line to customer experience delivery; and
  • Key functions – This includes field sales, customer service, support, and supplier and vendor networks assume dual roles as key execution partners and key contributors to customer intelligence.

“To really capitalise on our customer’s desire and expectation for experiences, we must start with a corporate ecosystem that is purpose-built to deliver customer experiences. This isn’t a problem that a technology only approach can somehow solve," says Marcus Reubsam, senior vice president for SAP Hybris.

Hybris adds, "This is about accepting that the customer is a living being, complete with thoughts that can change behaviors in a moment. This live customer must be engaged through a live business – one that can shift and adapt in context of each customer, be strengthened by real-time insights, and have an empathetic understanding of each customer."

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