In geometry, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line — but that isn’t always the case with the customer journey. Modern clients are much more connected and informed than they have ever been; personalized customer experiences are replacing conventional marketing campaigns. This means that while some customers still follow traditional journeys — responding to outbound marketing techniques that businesses use to find customers and set them on the path — most of today’s buyers start their journey on their own.

Now customers take a more proactive approach to their own journeys, and businesses must adapt to provide a more engaging, seamless experience from day one. Understanding this 1-to-1 journey, where businesses work directly with their customers on a personal level, is becoming absolutely vital to business success.

According to the Salesforce 2016 “State of Marketing” report, 65% of high-performing marketing teams have a customer-centric strategy, and 88% of those teams describe that approach as critical to their success. Salesforce is certainly no stranger to the complexity of the customer journey or the strategies that businesses use to support it. Salesforce Journey Builder is a tool that helps create and define personalized customer journeys across every channel, while also delivering a seamless experience across marketing, sales, and service departments.

However, to create an effective customer journey strategy, businesses need reliable customer-experience data.

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As the name suggests, customer-experience data is information that relates to the customer’s buying experiences. As buyers make their way through the customer journey, they interact with various touchpoints. These interactions produce data, which smart businesses can then capture.

Customer-experience data analytics takes that information and uses it to produce actionable results. Businesses that focus on implementing informed, data-driven customer-experience solutions give organizations the power to provide their customers with better experiences overall. According to a study by Forbes Insights, over half of executives surveyed report that “a well-developed and designed enterprise data-analytics effort enables us to deliver a superior customer experience.”

Using big data to improve client satisfaction is nothing new. In fact, it’s the entire concept behind customer relationship management (CRM). Extending your business’s CRM capabilities beyond standard communication data to directly improve the customer journey can lead to major gains.

As leads progress through the customer journey, it can be difficult to keep track of where they are. Clients need different support at different stages, and some clients may require different support at the same stages. To provide the right support at the right time to the right leads, you need to be able to monitor where all individual customers are on their journeys.

Customer-experience solutions can help organizations track their clients as they move through the sales pipeline. You can see where the lead came from, review relevant client and communications data, and get informed suggestions on how to give them the right kind of customer experience. Data-driven lead tracking can also help you know which representatives should be paired with which customers.

Improved behavior data is another advantage of properly implemented customer-experience solutions. As leads move across various channels — such as email, social media, or your business website — effective customer-experience data software will automatically log relevant information. Your organization can then use this captured data to create in-depth customer profiles.

Customer profiles play a key role in client personalization. No client wants to be thought of as a number. According to the Salesforce 2016 “State of the Connected Customer” report, 66% of customers said that they are likely to switch brands if they are ever treated like a number instead of an individual. The more you know about your customers as individuals, the easier it will be for you to give them an exceptional, personalized customer experience. It all depends on the data you collect.

Individual data points are certainly valuable on their own, but when you are able to connect them, they become significantly more so. Connected data, fueled by the right customer-experience data solution, can bring all of your different data sources together on a single data-management platform. You’ll be able to easily access, review, and analyze information from a variety of sources, and use that information to better serve your customers.

Why is customer-experience data important? The answer is simple: because it allows your business to improve the customer experience. As a result, customer-experience improvement data naturally leads to increased sales, giving you the ability to manage more leads and allowing fewer leads to fall through the cracks. Understanding customer concerns and being able to resolve them more quickly will help you retain your clients and turn what might have been one-time sales into ongoing, profitable client relationships.

Modern customers expect not only to develop an actual relationship with their chosen brands, but also that the relationship will be intelligent. Marketers can deliver these relationships with Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

For businesses that want a data-driven solution that will help them consistently provide superior customer service, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is the intelligent answer.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud uses Einstein, an advanced predictive artificial intelligence (AI) tool that uses customer-experience data to anticipate opportunities, resolve problems before they happen, and create predictive, personalized customer journeys. Einstein turns your customer-experience data into strategy, and when backed by the other features of Marketing Cloud, it becomes part of a comprehensive data solution designed to help you connect with your clients.

Marketing Cloud is built on the award-winning Salesforce CRM platform. It is completely cloud-based and fully functional across all operating systems and devices — desktop, laptop, or mobile. Marketing Cloud also features the same top-level security features as conventional Salesforce CRM, so you won’t have to worry about unauthorized users accessing sensitive data — yours or your clients’. Salesforce is the most trusted name in CRM, and Marketing Cloud is part of that reliable platform.

Marketing Cloud makes it possible to create personalized email, SMS, MMS, push notifications, and group messaging campaigns. You’ll be able to reach your clients wherever they are — and at any time — with messaging that they’ll appreciate. You can also use Marketing Cloud to connect with clients over social media and leverage data from social sources into your customer-experience solution.

With so much data available, it only makes sense to put it to good use for your clients. Salesforce Marketing Cloud incorporates the Salesforce data management platform. Salesforce Marketing Cloud DMP extends Salesforce’s segmentation and targeting capabilities, and makes it possible for Marketing Cloud to analyze data from over a billion sources, so you’ll have the information you need to make the right customer-facing decisions.

Essentially, Salesforce Marketing Cloud brings the power of cloud-based, automated CRM to your customer journey so that you can create the kind of 1-to-1 relationships that drive positive client experiences.

Learn how customer experience is reshaping marketers’ mindsets in our latest survey of 3,500 marketing leaders worldwide.

Geometry might not play a big role in your marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean that you should overlook the shortest distance between your customers and success. Your customers are connected. They are informed, and they expect you to be as well.

Customer-experience data solutions via Salesforce Marketing Cloud can give you the edge you need to give your clients the superior experience they want. After all, your customers are your business, and when it comes to providing them with an exceptional customer journey, you need your tools to be on point.

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