Want to Succeed in Modern Commerce? Set the Bar Higher

May 11, 2017 Craig Zawada

How would your customers describe working with you? Are you the progressive disruptor – the “Uber” — in your market, providing a highly personalized experience and meeting them when, where and how they need you? Or – like many – are you stuck in the status quo, delivering a predictable experience that requires them to conform to the restrictions of legacy technology platforms and old ways of thinking? It doesn’t matter whether it’s B2B or B2C, customers today have high expectations, fueled by technology, and if you can’t deliver, they’ll easily move on to someone who can. Customer experience is the new competitive edge and it can make or break your business. Are you ready?

Probably not, if you’re hyper-focused on transactions, spreadsheets, messaging and marketing – old school ways of doing business. Today’s winners are focusing on delivering powerful and positive customer experiences, setting the bar high for all the other businesses that customer works with, both in their personal and professional lives. Today’s Outperform keynote speaker Brian Solis calls this Digital Darwinism and the stakes are high: sales, customer satisfaction, customer acquisition and retention, and market share, not to mention your company’s ability to survive, and thrive, over the long term.

But delivering a powerful customer experience may feel like a daunting proposition because customers are judging you on every facet of your business: How convenient it is to work with you? How fast? How personalized is the experience? Does your pricing align with your customers’ perceived value? How does it stack up to the competition? How transparent are you and what is the overall user experience like? All these things come together to shape your customer’s experience and your relationships with them.

You not only need to shift your strategy to one that works in the modern commerce era, a whole new way of thinking is required. It’s no longer possible to make customers come around to your way of doing business –working within the constraints of your legacy perspectives, assumptions and processes. You need to evolve, just like they have evolved. But it’s hard going it alone. That’s why it’s helpful to gather and learn from the experiences of others who are on the journey to – getting practical advice from peers who face your same challenges. Take Hologic, for instance, who has used automation, analytics and data-science driven guidance to beat fiscal goals for the last two years, set pricing that’s defensible in a tough negotiating market, and increase market share while maintaining pricing. Or Iron Mountain, sharing how they are using algorithmic machine learning to grow subscription revenue year after year. Or how Honeywell is using CPQ and price guidance technology to improve pricing, response time for quotes and the overall buying experience.

The good news is there is tremendous potential with today’s technology for those who are willing to innovate and learn from others who are forging the paths to success. And now is the time to get started, whether it’s improving your channel experience, creating a frictionless buying experience, or developing personalized offers that really target your customers’ needs and willingness to pay. Take the first step. If you missed Outperform, there are other opportunities to learn how to get started on a modern commerce journey. Check out our new commissioned study from Forrester, Accelerate Your Journey to Modern Commerce, that provides statistics, analysis and recommendations to kickstart your modern commerce initiative.

Is the journey worth it? When, according to CEI, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations, you bet it is. If you can deliver an exceptional experience, you’ll be the one setting the bar for everyone else. If you don’t someone else will.

The highlights of Outperform today?

  • The Role of CLM in Modern Commerce Andres Reiner, President and CEO, PROS and Samir Bodas, Co-founder and CEO, Icertis
  • The Future of Digital Personalization Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group
  • Plus, more than 20 track sessions featuring Fonterra, Land O’Lakes, Iron Mountain, Avalara, Hologic, L&W Supply, Dover, and more.

What’s on tap for tomorrow?

Outperform is officially over, but stay tuned to http://s23692.p717.sites.pressdns.com/outperform-2017 for event and presentation highlights, and for details on next year’s event.

About the Author

Craig Zawada

Craig Zawada joined PROS in 2010 and serves as its Chief Visionary Officer. He is responsible for creating and articulating the vision for how PROS uses the latest technology to help companies drive incremental sales growth and profit improvement. Prior to joining PROS, he was a partner and leader in the Marketing & Sales Practice at McKinsey & Company. Zawada is a widely published author, with articles that have appeared in many high-profile publications, including Harvard Business Review, Forbes.com, Mergers and Acquisitions, and the McKinsey Quarterly. Zawada co-authored both the first and second editions of “The Price Advantage,” which has been recognized as one of the most pragmatic books available on pricing strategy.

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