A lot of agencies can build websites. A lot of agencies can implement and re-engineer Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) and related business systems. A lot of agencies can give strategic advice to companies on what is necessary to grow – be it the top line, bottom line, top of the funnel, or bottom of funnel. What differentiates SilverTech in the marketplace, is that we can deploy all these capabilities in support of the cause of helping our clients get growth right.
What makes delivering this integrated offering hard is that informational and operational silos existed at SilverTech and continues to exist within our clients. Marketing and sales often use different tools, speak slightly different languages, and have different reporting and incentive structures. Since we acquired Poised Solutions in 2014, we’ve been busy building a company with a unified operational strategy that can deliver value across these spectrums. We’ve also been busy helping clients bridge the gaps that are getting in the way of them achieving growth.
Over the course of this time, we’ve experienced three operational evolutions that have helped us, and our clients, succeed.
Yin-Yang Functional Specifications
The functional specification is the essential document of any technology project. If developers don’t know what we are doing, why we are doing it, who we are doing it for, and when we need it to perform, the effort has little chance of success. Frequently, functional specifications align around systems and treat those system boundaries as their own. The specifications start with what comes into the Content Management Systems (CMS), Marketing Automation (MA) software or CRM software, and end with what goes out. A Lead to Loyal functional specification must do more than this because it takes a broader view. Like the Yin-Yang, in which the black element includes some white, and white element includes black, the Lead to Loyal CMS functional specification considers and engages with MA and CRM functional requirements. The Lead to Loyal CRM functional specification does the same in reverse. A full Lead to Loyal functional specification weaves them together to link a full Yin-Yang. Modern APIs enable integrated systems, modern KPIs demand them, but only Yin-Yang functional specifications provide the foundation necessary for a project to enable these systems and deliver on their full potential.
Adjacent Competency Awareness
Adam Smith’s famous call for division of labor in the Wealth of Nations was the dominant philosophy of economic productivity for the Industrial Age. Much of this philosophy remains relevant for today’s firm, however the industrial age has given way to the Information Age. As this has happened, the activities that humans perform in the firm have become increasingly dynamic and interdependent. The systems and tools that sellers and marketers use have only accelerated these trends for today’s professionals. As a result, our strategists, project managers, and developers have had to increase adjacent competency awareness. It is no longer sufficient for any of our crew to operate within their specialty in the context of a single competency. Awareness of how customers move from a lead to a loyalist and how they and the data they generate syncs and/or corresponds with the CMS, MA, and CRM platforms is essential. Through training, organizational structure, and physical co-location we have focused on developing this awareness within our teams.
Customer Data Journeys
The rise of digital marketing has brought with it the prominence of the “customer journey” as a core business concept [HBR][McKinsey]. Companies like Marketo, Pardot, and HubSpot have built powerful new tools to assist marketers and help bring customers in through their websites and process them through their conversion engines (be it a shopping cart or a B2B sale). However, while the customer journey is a well-understood concept, the customer data journey is much less well-understood in theory and in practice. In the Lead to Loyal context, the data journey emerges as a core organizing principle beneath the customer journey. As people interact with systems and generate data points about where they are in the customer journey, these data points trigger actions and generate metadata in a mutually reinforcing cycle. Unless this data journey is well understood across the entire Lead to Loyal spectrum, silos, opacity, and inefficiency retain their grip. For this reason, our teams visualize and build benchmark programs and system diagrams for use as a premise to a customer data journey that doesn’t stop at lead, or start at loyal.
By using Yin-Yang functional specifications as part of our project process, building a team that has adjacent competency awareness and understanding not just our client’s customer journeys, by their customer data journeys as well, SilverTech is getting closer to our vision of delivering transformational growth through creativity, technology, and innovation.