Digital leaders from around the world are aligning on some key areas of focus to drive digital strategy to transform the customer experience, harnessing the power of Salesforce Digital 360 to drive success from anywhere.

Recent global events have highlighted how important it is to put the customer at the heart of business processes and actions. Already 60% of customer interaction with brands are now digital globally, up from 42% pre-pandemic (State of Connected Customer, 2020). Does anyone think that acceleration is going to change?

Leaders of departments that touch customers via digital channels (such as marketing, commerce, sales, and service) know that delivering digital excellence is crucial today in 2021 and beyond. 90% of Marketing leaders globally say that the pandemic has changed their digital engagement strategy, with more than half of this group saying it has completely changed.

Such rapid business change, in a world that was already evolving rapidly, requires a clear and concise plan and framework to guide decision-making ahead. 

When you can combine relevant external data, really understand our customers’ needs, and present our products and services accordingly in a high performance, experiential website, that’s the ultimate prize, and we now have the technology and capability to do that”

Neil Holden, Cio, Halfords

But where to begin?

There are 3 key areas that any brand regardless of region, size, industry, or  type of customer need to focus on;

  1. Data

  2. Customer & Buying Experience

  3. Organisation & Collaboration


1. Being data-driven powers success

For today’s businesses to really know their customers, they need to gain a deeper understanding of who those customers are and how they interact with the company, wherever they connect. And to do that, a 360-degree view is needed. 

‘We started with the ideal end-to-end customer experience, then listed out all the capabilities we’d need in order to deliver that.’ Michael Perry, De Beers Director of Omnichannel shares his journey to delivering a truly personalised experience.

While the amount of data is growing rapidly, only 33% of marketing leaders are completely satisfied with their ability to use data to create more relevant customer experiences.

There are 6 key data attributes digital leaders and brands need to solve for to power their digital transformation to better understand their customers and personalise their experience.

  • Quality - how accurate is the data?

  • Completeness - does the data I have represent a complete or partial view?

  • Accessibility - can I access the data I need wherever it resides?

  • Timeliness - when I get the data, is it still relevant?

  • Integration - am I able to reliably connect my systems and infrastructure?

  • Identity - do I know that the person is the same across systems?


One of the technologies brands are increasingly turning to for helping to solve  these challenges, is the Customer Data Platform (CDP). Across the globe, 78% of high-performing marketing leaders are now using a CDP in some form. However not all technologies are created equal, and leaders at brands must assess their technologies of choice against this core criteria

Data also allows you to better measure the health and success of your efforts, to further optimise for the future. 78% of marketing leaders have changed or reprioritised the KPIs they use due to the pandemic. This means, not only do you need a robust data management strategy and technology, you need to ensure you are focusing on the right type of metrics for the era we are in.


2. Delivering Connected Customer & Buying Experiences

Delivering digital excellence in a landscape where your competitors are striving to do the same isn’t necessarily easy, and businesses are likely to face some challenges.

The often siloed systems and departments that make up customers’ digital journeys, and a fragmented customer experience is something businesses need to work hard to avoid. 

Even those digital channels which may have been classified as “emerging” in recent years are seeing mass adoption. For instance, chatbots — which can answer basic questions, collect information, and triage cases to the appropriate agent — have a growing footprint. Nearly four in five service professionals say they noticed an uptick in the use of self-service tools such as chatbots during the pandemic.

All of this is translating to rapid transformation as it relates to global business revenue.

  • 68% of consumers (buying from B2C brands) say they’ll continue to buy essential goods online after the pandemic.

  • 56% of organisations expect the majority of their revenue to come from digital channels within the next three years.


This ultimately means the time to act was yesterday, but at the very least today! More practically this means;

  1. Begin to expand your offerings where customers are able to transact digitally, regardless of your industry

  2. Ensure that both the buying and overall customer experience is seamless, not fragmented by department, and is mobile friendly

  3. When looking to build a strong brand, ensure you have the infrastructure, technology, workflows, and ideally use AI to better optimise the channel experience and backend efficiency


3. The New Digital HQ Demands Organisational Excellence 

Last year in the midst of the uncertainty of the pandemic 69% of all types of employees globally said the pandemic will permanently change the nature of work. Now a year later in 2021, global marketing leaders across 37 countries affirm that change with only 44% say they expect to go back to the office full-time, and 82% say their companies are adopting new policies around remote work.

Now what does all this mean for a successful digital transformation?

To even begin to deliver excellence in customer experience as we describe above, brands must look within first. Lack of relevant training, appropriate means to collaborate, employee attrition, and organisational silos and disconnects are parasitic in a brand’s ability to digitally transform. Sadly the current state of the workplace around the world, suggests we have a lot of improvement.

  • Only 56% of all employees say they trust their employer to maintain a healthy and safe workplace

  • 69% of marketers still say collaboration is tougher than before the pandemic

  • Only 44% of marketers rate the employee training they receive as excellent


Now the above trends may not make for happy reading, however they also point to the solution in the key areas of Trust, Collaboration, and Training/Re-skilling to be successful from anywhere.

  1. Trust: As Cognizant’s Strategy and Technology Executive Vice President, Anil Cheriyan says that “ .. employees should be ambassadors of digitisation ..” and “..happy employees, mean happy clients..” Cognizant provided a bonus to two-thirds of their employees in India in the midst of the pandemic to help them navigate the uncertainty, and to demonstrate care.

  2. Collaboration: 83% of high performing marketing leaders said they now use collaboration based technologies

  3. Training/Re-skilling: 94% of employees would stay at their company longer if they invested in learning


Salesforce Digital 360 can help leaders deliver the next generation of integrated customer experience and accelerated business growth. Having a complete 360-degree view of customers across all digital touchpoints is essential to deliver a personalised, connected customer experience.

See how other brands go about delivering digital excellence and transformation with D360.  Take your digital learning further with our on-demand learning platform Trailhead