CIOs and sales teams that work together to further a customer-centric agenda can achieve business growth and long-term customer loyalty. This blog will explore the challenges IT and sales leaders face together and offer best practices and trusted advice for solving those challenges.
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Long considered strategic partners, CEOs are increasingly looking to CIOs to play a critical role in driving revenue and growth for the business. We spoke with Keith Onchuck, chief information officer for Ozinga, to learn his thoughts on how innovative technologies, customer experience, and empowered employees can lead to revenue-generating initiatives.
Q: How can greater alignment between IT and the business ensure that the right technologies are being used to drive revenue?
The purpose of IT is to serve value to the business. As a result, our job is to be as pervasive in the business as we possibly can be, listening to what the business needs, and responding to it accordingly. For example, when we embarked on a journey to deploy a new and improved quoting tool for our sales team, we wanted to move away from tactical quotes to strategic selling. We sat down with the sales team and asked, ‘What do you need? What’s missing in your day-to-day routine that could make you more successful?’ They told us their struggles, difficulties, and where they wanted to see improvements. Because of this collaborative approach, we were able to co-author an RFP that ultimately replaced our quoting tool with a true customer relationship management system. Now we can look at all opportunities across the business for greater revenue generation.
Q: Learning about customer needs is a primary business objective for CIOs today. How can creating customer experiences around these needs improve a company’s strategic growth?
When customers trust you, they’ll share that sentiment with others and that’s what helps build revenue. One way to engender trust is by consistently delivering great service. For instance, if we bill a customer incorrectly, that’s not a sales or billing problem – that’s an Ozinga problem. Fortunately, by accessing information stored in Salesforce, our billing team can work with sales to make sure that our products and services are set up correctly, and that everything on the invoice looks right. As a result, when that invoice lands in the customer’s lap, it’s exactly what they expect it to be. Not only does that show that we have our act together, but that we’re focused on our customers and actually care about them. The same rule applies to service. When a sales rep drives up to a construction site, he can open his tablet, log in to Salesforce, click on a project and immediately discover who the customer is and any past interactions we’ve had with them. That’s the ultimate goal: informed sales teams and customer-centric processes.
Q: History teaches us that the more productive an employee, the greater a company’s overall financial performance. What steps are you taking to better engage and empower your employees, many of whom now work remotely?
Regardless of sales tool, our approach is always mobile-first. The last thing we want is for a salesperson to be in an office and tied to a keyboard because that’s simply not successful. Rather, salespeople need to be out, meeting with customers, meeting with prospects, talking about the opportunities that are out there. But they also need a mechanism so that when they get back to their car or a coffee shop, they can quickly enter notes about what just transpired.
To support our mobile workers, we’ve equipped them with Microsoft Surface tablets with improved functionality, as well as Microsoft Teams for remote meetings and calls. Fortunately, we have the unique benefit of a tech-savvy workforce. Once COVID-19 hit, we already had the right foundation in place to get everyone up and running on their mobile phones and tablets. We rely on an internal cloud infrastructure and wereable to double our server capacity in just a few days. We were thankfully able to transition to a remote work environment with no interruption to service.
Q: What role do you believe a CIO should play in driving growth and strategic development?
I see myself as an evangelist for a very well versed talented team that delivers on the IT side. Ozinga also has talented business team so it’s my job to make sure that we’re always communicating and building a future together. I like to push people to discover that they can accomplish what they thought they could never do before. It’s all about constantly evolving, learning, strategizing and deploying new revenue-generating ideas.