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Why Tech Start-Ups Should Start Their Customer Journeys Early
start-ups-customer-journeys

There are more and more start-ups in the tech industry every year. They have become an integral part of our business landscape, driving innovation and entrepreneurship.

All of these start-ups begin with a vision and a few individuals who want to bring it to life. Over time, they will find investors to back them up and the people to transform it into a product. Everyone works hard for the success of the newly founded company. But building this success is difficult, and developing a product to a point where it is marketable requires a lot of hard work and fortitude.

At the beginning, the product is the one and only focus. It’s about developing a platform for the business idea to come alive and building the artifact (product, app, etc.) that customers will want to use or buy because without the product, there is no business.

Later, once the product has matured and larger audiences start using it, the business aspects need to be embedded into the process. Customers need to be managed, sales handled, licensing applied, and even more importantly, the moment the first customers are on board (while the product is still in an infant stage), customer service is crucial to keep the users engaged.

Today, success is not only defined by a vision or product itself, but also by timing and the execution of the company’s ability to attract users. This becomes even more crucial once others start to copy your business model.

However, customer service does not just stand for troubleshooting anymore. These days, customer engagement represents a journey, which starts with:

1. Attracting a consumer to your product (marketing)

2. Followed by collecting information about the product usage (analytics)

3. Then supporting the consumer through common early stage issues (support)

4. To finally – building a brand allegiance that leads to future purchases (overall business)

It is no secret that great products fail due to poor execution of those steps.

But how can start-ups succeed in those areas without devoting too many resources? Last thing anyone wants is to jeopardize the execution of the product itself.

Well, I believe that it is important to pay attention to those business aspects right from the beginning. The product vision needs to be combined with the customer engagement vision.

The Power of CRM in Building Customer Journeys

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a key aspect of the customer journey and should be done using the right tools instead of improvisation. At some point, the Excel worksheets and emails won’t cut it anymore and then it will be even more difficult to migrate the loosely collected data to a proper CRM solution.

Since we are dealing with a start-ups, cost is obviously an important factor. Today’s CRM cloud solutions with their different tiers and subscription models help mitigate large financial commitments.

Investing into a CRM tool as soon as the product gets released is a logical choice. However, there are advantages to signing up at an even earlier time. If the product supports connectivity features that allow for an Internet of Things (IoT) business use case, there is an option to collect valuable information about the device and its usage.

The collected data can be very valuable when making product roadmap decisions or for marketing purposes. In the situation of a support service request, having access to the device information can be crucial in locating a root cause and solving the problem.

Of course, there are many ways to implement such a solution. Plus, there are many platforms that offer great services. Salesforce is one of the top cloud CRM companies, and it is named a leader for the ninth consecutive year in the Gartner Magic Quadrant in the CRM space. This platform should definitely be on the list of vendors to evaluate.

Besides being a very feature-rich CRM, what is often overlooked is the development platform Salesforce is built on, including its large set of APIs and tools to integrate with (Standard SOAP/REST APIs, custom SOAP/REST APIs using Apex, Javascript toolkits, Heroku, etc.). A great number of options are offered for integrating your product or other systems with your customer data.

On the business side, everything is there and ready when you need it. Whether it is marketing, sales, customer service, billing… As long as you maintain your customer data on the platform, you can plug in those functions and use them whenever you are ready. And with the per-user payment model, the cost will only grow when your company does.

Using a CRM application early allows you to start building customer journeys right when your product hits the market. Using a CRM may not guarantee the success of your innovation, but it significantly decreases your chances of failure. Plus, it can set you up for a much quicker transition from a start-up to an established, successful company.

If you require assistance in optimizing Salesforce, enabling omnichannel, or integrating it to various business systems – see us at Dreamforce 2017 or contact us here.

 

Johannes Fischer
About Johannes Fischer

Johannes is a software engineer with over 10 years of experience working on web-based contact center products and cloud applications. At Aria Solutions, he is currently the Technical Lead for the Salesforce.com practice. With a primary focus on integration, Johannes connects applications to handle real-time, high volume events, such as phone interactions and user contributions. He enjoys empowering companies to get more out of their IT environment, by linking their ERP systems to operate more efficiently and create better customer experience.

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