Last week, the Salesfusion team attended Microsoft’s annual conference, Convergence. We packed our bags, boxed up our booth, and trekked everything to our far away destination… 20 minutes down the road. The event was held at the Georgia World Congress Center with some breakout meetings held in the Omni hotel and key note in Phillips Arena.

I spent my days attending sessions, taking copious notes, tweeting like crazy, and meeting Microsoft Dynamics customers and partners from around the world. Here are 10 things I learned from Convergence 2014:

  1. Know your average customer: Industry, title, what they’re looking for, and how you can reach beyond that. Providing choices and personalized experiences for customers is critical – we’re no longer selling to customers, we’re assisting their buying process.
    • Example: Ashley Furniture’s average customer is 47.5 year old female (up .5 from last year) so they’re working to become more online/mobile friendly for younger crowds.
  2. Invest in segmentation: Include channel preference in campaign segmentation. Certain people want to receive certain communications through certain channels. Pay attention to the channel customers’ choose when they reach out to you, as this is their preferred form of communication.
  3. Create a client services social media presence: On social sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, client service reps can provide social customer care, knowledge management, and measure customer satisfaction.
  4. Spend more time preparing marketing campaigns: Move beyond just caring about first name and email address. Select more data points on your consumer since you already have the data stored in your CRM. The more you know about your customer the more your message will resonate with them.
    • The most common denominator of execution is data, even bad results teach you where you can go tweak next time.
  5. In 2014, millennials will make up 36 percent of the US workforce: Young professionals are concerned with how their work is going to impact society. They’ve experienced a disconnect between availability and accessibility, so millennials have had to adapt and create jobs for themselves – hence the climb of social media marketing.
  6. Include ‘so you’ statements in emails: Avoid ‘I-statements’ at all costs. It sounds abrasive and makes the recipient feel like you’re the only one that will benefit from the completed action. Instead, introduce the action you want them to take and then add, “so you…”
    • Example: We’re working to improve Salesfusion, so you can have the best customer experience possible. Please click here to complete a quick survey.”
  7. People will wait in line for anything: Okay, so this isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but nevertheless amazes me. On Wednesday, I walked out of a session to see a line at least 40 people deep in one of the main hallways. This must be important, I thought. Free Surfaces? Bill Gates? At least a t-shirt, right? No, it was the line for Sun Chips.
  8. Take time to understand data vs. output: Pay attention to your customer’s CRM data. What’s the last product he/she/they bought? What’s the logical next step based on that purchase? Remember, digital channels are only one aspect of your data, so monitor predictive and descriptive statistics.
  9. Begin emails in a friendly way: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. This softens the recipient’s reaction, especially if bringing up an uncomfortable subject such as compensation or previously unanswered requests. Add a human touch by including their name, so it don’t feel like you’re extracting data from them.
  10. Social listening is big for 2014: Like our recent announcement, this is listening connected to social sites. Add your company name to the listening tool and the system downloads every piece of information that mentions your name, helping you identify quality leads.
    • What type of customer do you want as opposed to what type of customer are you going after? Target an audience that you know can spend money on your product.

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