Two out of three executive leaders believe their current CRM system is not enough for their future customer engagement needs, according to a survey conducted by SAP Hybris.

In a Facebook Live session from the SAP Hybris Americas Summit, Volker Hildebrand, global vice president of Strategy, SAP Hybris, shared his perspectives on why companies have to look beyond traditional CRM in order to adequately meet the needs for their customers in today’s digital economy.

Businesses need to think beyond traditional CRM

With the evolution of technology, consumers are more connected to information than ever before. And because of this, businesses need to understand and innovate based on what their customers want, and in real time.

“There’s a paradigm shift from customer relationship management,” said Hildebrand. “It’s shifting away from managing those relationships towards a customer engagement, where you can really engage with your customers in the moment when it matters to them, as opposed to following your internal processes. You’ve got to think beyond the silos of commerce, marketing or service.”

If service isn’t convenient, you could be losing revenue

Because of hyperconnectivity, consumers today don’t have time to waste – and neither does the company that is trying to serve their needs. According to Hildebrand, convenience is a “huge competitive differentiator” when it comes to powerful and effective customer engagement. “Consumers are saying ‘if you make my life easy for me, then I’d rather do business with you than anybody else,’” Hildebrand explained.

There’s a business imperative, then, that companies must understand and leverage the access points where customers are making inquiries on their products. Gone are the days when sending an email to an identified group was enough to secure a sale. “Traditional methods of mass-marketing doesn’t resonate anymore, and they’re being ignored by the audience,” Hildebrand explained.

So how do companies get the attention of the consumers they are trying to reach? They must “blur” the lines of reaching the customer. For Hildebrand, it’s about connecting “unassisted and assisted service” to the customer so they feel more confident with the purchase they are about to make. Customer service, for example, has traditionally been a touchpoint post-sale; now these reps are central to helping customers have the information they need to confidently make purchases.

“Data is the fuel for customer engagement and being able to pull together all the relevant information about in real-time,” Hildebrand said.

Blog originally published on the Digitalist Magazine.