When it comes to your customer engagement strategy, digital experience (DX) and customer relationship management (CRM) teams are often viewed as different breeds with different priorities. DX initiatives have an outside-in view in supporting a customer’s digital journey. DX technologies include marketing, commerce, and content management technologies that are purchased by the CMO, CDO, or the e-commerce leader. And DX teams speak about customer targeting, personalization, and content. But delivering great customer experience also means being great at human-assisted interactions.

That’s where CRM comes in. CRM teams have an inside-out perspective in supporting front-office workers — sales reps, account managers, and customer service agents interacting with customers. They focus on processes and tooling to market to, sell to, serve, and support customers. CRM is a CIO or an IT initiative, and CRM metrics measure seller and agent productivity using measures such as increased sales velocity and decreased resolution times.

But you can’t think of CRM in DX terms — not if you want to be successful. You must craft experiences to best support the customer. Why? It’s because every journey is a mix of digital and human engagement. Here is some data: 30% of B2B technology buyers make their initial purchase through a digital channel, and 58% of callers start their customer service journey online.

What this means is:

  • Customer dynamics dictate how digital a customer journey is. For example, self-service is ideal for low-risk purchases like spare parts. Human-assisted interactions are often needed to navigate complexities within a customer inquiry or an account — such as, for example, the risk considerations of outsourcing payroll.
  • CRM and DXP technology labels will become increasingly irrelevant. As these technology ecosystems collide, their definitions will evolve. Digital experience platforms (DXPs) will become increasingly relevant for both digital pre-purchase and post-purchase B2B and B2C customer engagement. CRM, which supports human-assisted interactions, will remain relevant for B2B interactions and less so for B2C engagement as these journeys become increasingly digitized and automated.

What you should do is:

  1. Uncover customer journeys and align stakeholders along journeys. No single organization is responsible for the customer and the success of their end-to-end journey. Often, one organization is responsible for public-facing experiences while another owns the authenticated customer experience. Identify key stakeholders that support both digital and human-assisted touches along the journey. Challenge teams to jointly think about the assets and delivery techniques/technologies needed to deliver relevant “moments” that can advance the relationship at each stage of the journey.
  2. Rationalize technologies. Audit your CRM and DXP technology ecosystem to see whether you can standardize on a smaller set of vendor product suites or retire point solutions to corral tech sprawl. Adopt a platform-first approach and a microservices architecture to build a composable set of applications that allows for business agility.
  3. Engage with Forrester. Read our report and engage with us to better understand how to realign organizations for shared success.