6 steps to save marketing costs by automating customer journeys

by Jan Hendrik Fleury, on Jun 16, 2020 12:27:08 PM

The recent decrease in sales revenue for most companies is putting CMO’s under pressure to reduce costs. An interesting opportunity is to reduce manual labour by automating hundreds of customer journeys. In this article, we present a step-by-step approach to automate, at scale.

6 steps to save marketing costs by automating customer journeys

Now is the time to level up and automate at scale – improving not only ROI on sales and marketing resources and technologies, but also improving customer satisfaction, by organising a more automated customer sales and service experience. In addition, automating reduces the risks of faults by manual labour significantly. 

Step 1: Create a list of customer journeys

Identify a long list of moments in different customer journeys. Depending on the industry, you should have approximately 100 to 500 customer journeys. These journeys are found typically across 3-7 channels and 3-5 processes including sales, onboarding, growth, customer care, life events such as clients who are moving, service communications, returns/complaints, social media monitoring. 

Step 2: Assess journeys on 3-5 criteria

For each journey identified, tag your list with the channel, data requirements, the effort required to automate, the current manual work needed and the upside potential in terms of improving customer experience or sales. This is apart from the cost efficiency and risk mitigation from reduced manual work.

Step 3: Prioritise the list and assess efforts

Based on where most manual work can be saved and where the most value can be created for the customer experience and sales results, create a prioritised task list, as well as an effort estimate as a basis for agile work, for instance in effort points. 

Step 4: Set up a  task force for automating ‘the shortlist of 100’ and leverage the DevOps methodology

Work in agile sprints. Only stop when the cost of the taskforce (typically 4-6 FTE) exceeds the discounted value of the automated process. Organise for hundreds, not dozens of processes being automated, and for putting automated processes into test and production within a four-week timeframe. During the transition period, the team that has automated the tasks should own not only the development, and operations but also the business results. 

Step 5: Avoid the pitfalls – by measuring results

Why haven’t more organisations progressed further with automation? 

  1. Siloed sales and marketing organisations generate siloed data that is difficult to utilise 
  2. Lack of customer journey full ownership 
  3. Conflicting KPIs

Silos are difficult to change over a short period. Still, you can make sure to overcome difficulties by measuring actual results as a priority. If you are in a position where you want to improve results dramatically, set up metrics for following up on progress from the beginning. Appoint a steering group with members from the financial department and report on both development progress and efficiency results on a bi-weekly basis (typical sprint period). 

Step 6: Smart use of your tools

Make automation of customer processes easier by using automation capabilities such as Machine Learning frameworks, proper documentation practices and data models that support activation into different owned and paid channels. Without having the basics right, you will not be able to succeed. Switching out your existing martech tools might improve the situation only partially. From our experience in most cost cases, the integration and measurement will bring you the short term reduction of the cost you need.

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ABOUT CRYSTALLOIDS

Crystalloids helps companies improve their customer experiences and build marketing technology. Founded in 2006 in the Netherlands, Crystalloids builds crystal-clear solutions that turn customer data into information and knowledge into wisdom. As a leading Google Cloud Partner, Crystalloids combines experience in software development, data science, and marketing, making them one of a kind IT company. Using the Agile approach Crystalloids ensures that use cases show immediate value to their clients and frees their time to focus on decision making and less on programming.

Topics:Marketing Analytics

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