On the SBOS team at Sitecore, some of the most common questions we hear have to do with setting up a team to support your Sitecore-enabled marketing strategy:

  • Who do I need on my team?
  • What skills are important, and at what stage?
  • How should we scale the team as we grow?
  • What are best practices in managing a customer experience team?

Building a winning customer experience starts with people—your own and your customers.

The Sitecore Customer Experience Maturity Model (CXMM) provides a roadmap to:

  • Align customer experience strategies and tactics with business goals
  • Collect and connect data to create a single view of the customer
  • Provide real-time customer experiences in context

This roadmap progresses through three phases of maturity, from “Attract” to “Convert” to “Advocate.”

To successfully begin and progress through customer experience maturity, you need the right people, in the right roles, organized in the most appropriate model, working in an effective manner.

With the following approach, any organization can lay the foundation for success with their customer experience program, from early stages of transformation to more mature stages of sophistication.

Align your marketing roles with customer experience maturity

Attract phase:

To begin a customer experience program, it’s good to start with a small, focused team, enabling you to achieve quick wins and deliver business impact. Staffing these roles can range from re-aligning existing resources, to hiring new talent, to virtually extending the team’s expertise with the support of a Certified Sitecore Partner.

Key roles to establish the initial stages of customer experience program development include:

  • Executive Sponsor: An overall advocate for resources, leadership commitment, and cross-organizational collaboration
  • Customer Experience Leader: Leads the overall management of the program
  • Digital Strategist: Translates the organization’s overall strategy into customer experience strategy and tactics
  • Content Marketer: Leads journey-aligned content creation, tactics, and experience flows across channels
  • Marketing Technologist: Executes and optimizes marketing tactics in the Sitecore Experience Platform (and integrated third-party systems)
  • UX Designer: Responsible for the overall user experience and information architecture
  • Digital Analyst: Provides insights into customer journeys; channel, campaign, and segment performance; and develops recommendations for optimizing business results

External Sitecore marketing agencies and solution partners can augment a core internal team with needed competencies and expertise. This approach can be invaluable in leveraging experience to get it right the first time.

Convert phase:

Progressing into the Convert phase of customer experience maturity, the following key roles will enable your organization to gain more insights from user data, manage the program as it scales, evolve the underlying system, and customize the solution to enable your specific strategy:

  • Experience Architect: Ensures comprehensive mapping of customer journeys for segments, constructs integrated experience plans, and establishes digital goals with optimized content and CTAs
  • Data Analyst: Uses the experience data to provide analysis, attribution, and predictive modeling to enable the team to maximize conversion paths, segment journeys, and transaction opportunities
  • Developer: Provides the heavy lifting on the IT side, is Sitecore Certified, and manages the technical aspects of program

Advocate phase:

Evolving into the more advanced stages of customer experience maturity, your overall business and customer experience strategies will require specialized roles to enrich the team’s capabilities and solution experience:

  • E-commerce and Merchandising Leader: In commerce-led business models, works as part of the customer experience team to identify customer surface information at purchase or abandonment to increase customer lifetime value
  • Channel Manager: Focuses on optimizing the customer experience across channels, understanding the best ways to engage specific segments at journey stages and design appropriate campaigns and tactics
  • Customer Service Manager: To nurture customers for life, integrates post-sales and customer-service interactions across the customer experience

Organizational models for your team

It takes a seamless organization to deliver a seamless customer experience. Your organization will need to shift from a structure of separate departments and silos, to a culture that enables integration across all touchpoints of the customer experience.

This progression is shown below in the three fundamental organization models for managing customer experience programs:

For larger organizations needing to accelerate transformation, we have seen great success with Centers of Excellence (CoE), where a central core team can assist brands or units with the high-impact skills, cross-pollination of innovation, and shared expertise found in roles such as: chief digital officer, digital strategists, experience architects, channel experts, as well as digital and data analysts. 

Running your customer experience organization at scale

Once your team is in place, as your overall business grows you’ll need to make sure your team and processes scale as well. To do so effectively, some of the elements you’ll want to have include:

Agile program management processes: One of the most important requirements for customer experience progression is about how the team works. Customer experience programs require continuous change, testing, and evaluation cycles that produce repeated, iterative improvements. The Agile methodology, or Scrum, provides the most effective organizational model to achieve this.

Key organizational development phases: It’s important to stay ahead of your execution timeline to allow for hiring cycles to secure the right skills, as shown below.

Program governance: Customer experience programs require an Agile delivery model. Scaling the program across geographies and business units requires intentional governance process such as:

  • A focus on specific business outcomes
  • Experience performance standards
  • Review with executive management
  • Backlog prioritization
  • Alignment of budget and resources to customer experience strategy
  • Ongoing evaluation of program to plan KPIs

Steering Committee: A cross-functional executive team that determines how best to evolve and invest the customer experience program based on strategic priorities.

Putting it into action: Key details to know

For more complete information and specific details on best organization and governance practices for customer experience programs, download the SBOS white paper, “Context marketing organization and governance.”

 

Elan Bair is Senior Business Optimization Consultant at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn.

Jim Claussen is a Senior Business Optimization Consultant at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter at @jimclaussen for daily insights on customer experience strategies.