Two data experts share their journeys toward better customer engagement, fueled by faster access to more data.
A big win in marketing analytics is the ability to build out a 360-degree customer view that can be used to manage relationships, better understand and anticipate customer needs, and keep revenue flowing. At the recent Modern Data Stack Conference EMEA, two analytics experts discussed their journeys toward better customer engagement. The panelists were:
Bahadir Sahin, Director of Data & Analytics at Onfido, an ID verification platform for onboarding and authenticating customers
Igor Chtivelband, Co-founder and VP of Data & CRM at Billi, an invoice factoring startup that takes over the collection of unpaid bills
Both companies operate in niche B2B markets, where maximizing relationships with every prospect and customer is business-critical.
The main obstacle to a 360-degree customer view, Igor Chtivelband explained, is siloed data. Many businesses maintain multiple silos of disconnected data: Excel spreadsheets, CRM systems, old data warehouses, etc. It’s impossible to analyze all that data holistically to reveal hidden relationships.
“In order to answer a simple question or to test some hypothesis,” he said, “internal stakeholders have to go to various places and try to stitch all that data together. A 360-degree view is when you have all the data required to keep the business running in one place.”
According to Bahadir Sahin, the goal is to develop a consolidated view of touchpoints as customers engage with a business. Customer data should encompass everything from product support and financials to net promoter scores. “The 360-degree view is about the customer journey, from the start of engagement in the sales funnel until they are working with us and using the product,” he said.
For both companies, creating a comprehensive customer view is a work in progress. In the case of Billi, a more complete view was a priority, but less important at the outset than metrics around revenue and the number of active users. For Onfido, the immediate goal has been to learn more about existing customers. “We were missing a lot of what happens post-sale — the experience they're getting from our touchpoints, like product support or our customer success management,” said Bahadir Sahin.
The metrics that matter most to many businesses involve onboarding and customer retention. If you operate in a niche B2B market, the stakes are higher because the value of each customer is proportionally greater. Billi targets Germany’s small and medium-sized enterprises.
“We're not talking about a social network like Facebook, which has billions of users,” said Chtivelband. “We’re talking about 200,000 potential customers, which means that every customer lost during onboarding really decreases our chance to be successful as a company. That's why the happiness of every single customer is crucial for us.”
With faster access to more data, the company now investigates the 90 customers that fall out of the sales funnel rather than the 10 that go through. More advanced analytics identifies the most effective advertising campaigns and the weak points in the onboarding process. “We just try to close every leakage point,” he said, “and as a result our customer acquisition costs significantly reduced.”
Bahadir Sahin described how the modern data stack helped Onfido get a much better understanding of the sales process by analyzing two different data points together, one in Salesforce and another around the product. It unlocked insights that have changed the way Onfido goes to market.
“It's a universe of data you have to look at and interpret to be able to make decisions,” he observed. “It directly translates into revenue and higher net promoter scores if you get it right.”
In its pursuit of more insights into the customer experience, Onfido created a “health score methodology” using data touchpoints from product support and customer success. The ultimate goal is to keep customers satisfied and catch them before they leave.
“We want to operationalize it to a point that you can actually alert customer success proactively about the risk of churn,” said Sahin. “Eventually it's all about churn and retention.”
Igor Chtivelband pointed out that customers, not investors, are the reason a product exists, and that they will be your ultimate ambassadors if you give them a great experience. He wants Billi to get to a point where predictive analytics helps avert the risk of losing them.
“You want to treat customers as VIPs,” he noted. “You want to be able to identify any issues automatically or at an early stage and alert the account managers to call and talk to them. You have to do everything you can in order to gain as much retention as possible.”