At this year’s Invoca Summit, we heard a lot of concerns about the economy and how best to operate in uncertain conditions. With inflation at a 40-year high and the clouds of a potential recession looming, everyone is thinking about how macroeconomic conditions may impact their business in the coming year.
For many leaders, the first instinct is to pull back on investments and reduce budgets in order to make sure there’s enough cash in the bank to keep the lights on. While a certain amount of this course correction is required, slamming the brakes too hard can put your company in a ditch that will be harder to pull out of when the economy steadies in a year or two.
While everyone else is pulling the emergency brake, it’s time for you to shift gears and find the road where opportunities to pass and pull away from the crowd lie. Efficiency is key to not running out of fuel, and finding ways to differentiate your business on a quieter roadway is the route to emerging from these challenging times at the head of the pack.
Famed Formula 1 race car driver Ayrton Senna once said, “You cannot overtake 15 cars in sunny weather, but you can when it’s raining.” In Senna’s mind, the skills of the best race car driver would rise to the top in the worst of conditions. A few years ago, it was “sunny” — and driving growth in the midst of a booming economy was straightforward. Now that it’s starting to rain, there is an opportunity to to stand out — both for your company and for you as an individual — by being smarter in how you deploy marketing investments.
For marketers, we’re seeing a greater focus on how you can spend smarter. In a time where every CMO is asking “how can we reduce cost per acquisition?” and budgets are under pressure, it’s imperative to focus on efficiency and minimizing ad waste. That means you need to measure what’s really working in your customer acquisition efforts — and take that measurement approach much deeper into your revenue funnel.
Ultimately, you don’t just want to generate more calls for your business — or even more sales-focused calls. The ideal state is to drive the most calls that actually convert, generate revenue, and result in the highest long-term customer value. With our industry-leading technology and best practices, Invoca can help you progress your measurement approach deeper down the funnel, closer and closer to revenue, so that you have confidence that every marketing dollar spent is optimized to maximize total sales.
We’ve seen this approach reduce cost per lead and increase conversions significantly, with customers like Rogers Communications, which reduced its Google Ads CPA by 80% and University Hospitals, which increased its conversion rate by 300% with Invoca. These are the types of results that will bring a smile to the face of both your CMO and CFO.
One of the most effective ways to differentiate your business during tough economic times is through customer experience. Acquiring and retaining customers is even more important now than when times are flush, and a report we just released showed that 63% of consumers will pay more for superior service, even in an environment of higher prices due to inflation.
As others pull back spending on CX, you have an opportunity to drive the omnichannel customer experience to the next level – but it doesn’t have to put a strain on your budget. There is tremendous opportunity to make better use of the data you already have to make the customer journey smoother and more intuitive. At Invoca Summit, Mark Loovis, Director of Marketing Technology at DIRECTV said, “Being able to get an omnichannel view of the customer experience is invaluable. With Invoca, we can quickly identify issues in the buyer journey and correct them. It’s had a huge impact on our conversion rate.”
And the better the experience you provide, the higher your conversion rates will be — making your marketing investments even more effective. By using AI to automate quality assurance and call scoring, you can free up contact center managers to focus on coaching agents instead of listening to calls. In turn, this improves agent morale and reduces turnover, which is one of the biggest costs that contact centers face today. With the right tools in place, you can “spend smarter” and improve revenue performance at the same time.
On the surface it may seem that marketing and the contact center have disparate goals. Marketing drums up awareness and drives leads, and the contact center turns those leads into customers and keeps them happy throughout their relationship with your company. The more discrete goals — CPL vs AHT, CTR vs CSAT and so on — are indeed different. But the end goal of both parts of the organization should be the same — acquiring and retaining as many customers as possible, as efficiently as possible.
Marketing and the contact center often find themselves heavily siloed from each other, so it’s important to create a shared set of data and metrics to improve alignment. Lorenzo Clark, National VP of Digital Sales for Kinetic at Windstream Communications, pulled together marketing and contact center sales teams to exceed their sales goals by 150%. I think he put it well when he said “Sales and marketing need one another to be successful. Working together, they create more value and have more impact — like Batman and Robin, or peanut butter and jelly.” They went from “greeting one another in passing to becoming joined at the hip” and saw significant revenue growth as a result. Especially when facing market challenges like we are today, you can’t afford to let an artificial divide between marketing and the contact center to stop you from working together and doing more with what you already have.
In the coming year, you’ll have to squeeze every incremental dollar possible out of your marketing budgets, your contact center teams, and your technology investments. At the same time, I encourage you to seek out every opportunity to pull ahead of the competition and emerge as a stronger, healthier company that better serves its customers.