Raj Badarinath, the VP of Marketing and Growth Services at Avangate, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode, we discuss marketing automation, CRM as well as the interesting concept of commerce automation, and what really matters when you’re looking to improve customer experience in today’s digitized world.
Below are Raj Badarinath’s biggest insights from the conversation.
- Marketing automation and CRM adoption has reached a point of no return.
If anything I expect these to evolve. Somebody once said, “It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.” Basically what this mean is we have to get to a point where both sales automation and marketing automation to start to embrace commerce in different aspects. Tweet Because that’s the expectation of the world — there is a convergence happening here. And part of the view we have seen right now is deeper integration with these systems, so what wins at the end of the day is really the customer experience.
- The focus should always be on optimizing the customer experience.
We want to introduce something new as a consequence of commerce automation, which we call the commerce life cycle. It’s not just about the one-time acquisition; it’s the whole process of getting somebody from simple acquisition to actually activating them, and making that experience seamless and valuable.
How do I take the acquired customers that I have and get more than 2-3 percent to activate and become a paying customer? Then the next questions becomes, how do I get more of a wallet share? How do I increasingly give you value so you will up-sell, cross-sell?
Only you as a business can help them make the decision, but it really is about looking at the commerce lifecycle and saying, “I need to treat this as another point of acquisition, not as a point of ‘it’s a done deal; it’s in the bag.'” Those things don’t exist anymore.
- Commerce automation and account-based marketing (ABM) have more similarities than you might think.
You must realize that with account based marketing or classical marketing automation software, all of these guys have a revenue-oriented approach. The whole purpose is to make revenue from any of these strategies, and what’s common to both of them is really the commerce lifecycle. Acquisition strategies may change for ABM because you may have a different way you want to go after a larger target. You could use a different sales strategy — you may actually use a different sales methodology.
- ABM will fail if frictionless selling is not a core part of it.
Ultimately, it comes down to how you reduce the cost of sales for all interactions. And you cannot reduce cost of sales if it’s a very manual process.
We talked about one-to-one selling in the early 90s. Automation is a key scaling factor. And you cannot automate it if all of your strategies consistently come back to a classical selling approach. A better approach for me is just is to say, “How do we introduce a level of seeding within a large account?” This is the concept of a product that automatically guides you towards higher value points in terms of up-sells and cross-sells.
You want to do your research, you want to do your investigation, you want to be armed with information so you can make decisions. What if we can arm you with information so the decision that you end up making is to be stickier by taking a higher value package, a higher value product brought to you by us? And it becomes a slightly different way of selling. That’s why the commerce lifecycle view is so critical in all of these emerging technologies.
- Challenges of commerce automation
There are several big challenges for commerce automation. The first one is to recognize that your current systems are not keeping up. A few years ago, people thought that all they needed for frictionless selling were a shopping cart, a payments processor and they can get some downloads going. Today, digital commerce has evolved so much that every business has to recognize where they want to spend their time, money, energy and resources. Tweet Is it on building things that are common, that everybody needs, or is it on building unique differentiators that actually give you a view on the market? So if you’re not ready with the current systems right now, you need to think about three things:
- You need a very robust digital ecommerce platform, that brings together everything you need for frictionless acquisition;
- You need to have a very robust subscription billing tool that integrates very well with your ecommerce to actually give you different recurring revenue plans, different rate plans;
- You need to have an integrated structure for global payments, you should be able to accept payments in hundreds of countries worldwide without having to lift a finger.
Think about a single integrated platform that basically takes away all of your context, focuses you on the core, so all you can do is to come up with a better knowledge of the customer, building a better experience for them and really thinking about how can I add more value.
Leads nurturing is sort of an interesting view as well. There’s clearly marketing automation and systems that actually do that. We have found that, anecdotally, is about 40% of leads that are being nurtured, never make it outside of the lead cycle; we call that the lead purgatory. The only way to get out is to ask yourself, what are we really missing here? And the answer is commerce automation.
Avangate powers modern Digital Commerce, solving the complexity of online commerce, subscription billing, and global payments for Software, SaaS and Online Services companies. Backed by a proven cloud platform, unmatched expertise and a depth of digital commerce services, Avangate helps digital business leaders drive the fastest path to revenue, maximize the value of every customer, and expand global reach. Contact usfor more information about how our digital commerce services can help you grow your business.