By Arlene Wherrett, Bluewolf

Digital disruption — cloud, social, and mobile technologies — has reduced market barriers for new competitors, empowered customers with more choices and information than ever before, and has brought customer engagement to the top of nearly every executive’s priority list. But how are Australian companies responding to digital disruption?

Bluewolf’s first Australia-focused State of Salesforce annual review just launched (blog). Based on data collected in collaboration with the MIT Sloan School of Management, this review distills insights from nearly 100 Salesforce customers in Australia, and is supported by over 1,000 respondents from around the world.

We use this report to lead discussions with our customers on how the best companies use Salesforce. Below are five questions, based on data from this year’s report, that anyone can use to lead their own customer engagement strategy discussions:

 Q1. What is it like to be my company’s customer?

Sales, marketing, and service departments are teaming up to improve customer experience. Whether or not the initiative is lead by a Chief Customer Experience Officer, companies are analysing all aspects of their customer experience. From the first interaction after an enquiry, to the repurchasing process, no part of the experience is unexamined by the customer. The easier a company is to do business with, the easier it will be for that company to retain customers.



Q2. Is my company’s marketing helping to retain and grow current customer relationships?

In addition to acquisition, the majority of marketers are measured on their ability to impact customer engagement or retention. To measure the effectiveness of their efforts, marketers must collaborate with and access data from other departments. Expect to see marketers leading collaboration and integration initiatives in the coming year — and adopting technologies that support both.



Q3. What has my company learned from its mobile initiatives?

Mobile is fast becoming brands’ first interactive medium with customers. Companies that have already deployed the Salesforce1 Mobile App are twice as likely to build a custom mobile application on the Salesforce1 Platform. More than two years of experimentation and increasing user demand, coupled with access real-time data about their customers, has enabled many companies to build compelling business cases for new mobile initiatives. In fact, 45% plan to increase their mobile budgets this coming year.



Q4. How actionable is the data my company gives to every employee?

Data is at the very heart of digital transformation. With the explosion of channels and devices, more data is captured about customers than ever before. Despite the abundance of tools, oftentimes real insight is just beyond an employee’s grasp. Leading organisations are racing to transform data into actionable insights that deliver contextual information to employees, allowing them to make every customer interaction relevant, engaging, and personal.




Q5. How can my company enable ongoing innovation after the initial implementation?

No company can remain static without becoming obsolete. Even if a company tried to remain unchanged, its partners, customers, and business environment are constantly shifting. There is a business cost to not evolving, and companies need a method to execute ongoing innovation in order to stay competitive in today’s hyper-innovative marketplace. Leaders understand that rapid, high-quality innovation in the cloud is central to success, and thus are embracing both cloud governance and application lifecycle management tools.