There has been so much change to the way we work in recent months that some of us might not immediately realize the kinds of innovations that were already gaining steam before the global pandemic struck. As marketers, workplace technology continues to bring us closer as a team so we can serve our customers in these stressful times, even while we navigate challenges in our own lives.
It’s important to be honest with customers, as well as team members, about the situation. We’re not just working from home right now, we’re working from home during a pandemic. It’s been a shock to the system. Using technology to strengthen our connections with customers and employees has been a key element in our response to these truly unprecedented times.
Respond to Change by Putting People First
How should marketers respond? At Informatica, we process more than 10 trillion cloud transactions per month. It’s clear now that people are consuming content in off-hours and that the whole nature of how work is getting done is changing.
In the traditional B2B space, we have to reset and take a fresh look at how we communicate, recognizing that customers have families and other pressing needs. The concept of 9 to 5 is becoming increasingly outdated, and that means we don’t get to pick when we’re listening to customers. We have to be on call outside the conventional time windows.
To best serve our customers, it’s important to remember to put employees first, making sure they have the resources they need to be successful. That’s especially important now that we’re all working from home dealing with very different personal circumstances and working conditions.
As a business, we need to set clear goals that center around customers and increasing customer engagement while keeping the well-being of our employees top of mind through supportive leadership.
Meet Customer Needs Through Curiosity, Agility, and Sensitivity
The pandemic calls for increased agility to meet new customer needs in the crisis. We’re responding with more sensitivity so we can understand how each customer is affected. We’re in a unique spot in the sense that people want to talk to us. Companies are going through furloughs and downsizing, and also reevaluating their legacy applications. Our CEO has spent time personally with customers, and we are scaling to meet their needs.
We’ve found that some companies are hit harder than others in the crisis. So instead of adopting a blanket approach to marketing, we need to be more curious and more precise than ever in our messaging. It’s essential that we use all the new information we have coming in to identify opportunities, and deliver richer, more targeted pursuit experiences. We need to get this rich data into the hands of our salespeople so they can respond in the best way to customers. We’re prioritizing intent information, which comes to us through DemandBase, so we can build rich dashboards and empower teams to respond to customers in a meaningful way.
It’s critical to consider how you can help customers navigate this crisis given the tough changes they’re facing. Informatica provided a subset of customers with more access to products at this time, so that they had more horsepower and fewer barriers to their creativity.
People are emotionally taxed right now. By being sensitive to the time we’re living in, we can usher in a new era of curiosity and creativity, showing customers that we’re agile and adaptable while also delighting them.
Harness Technology to Boost Productivity
With new challenges on everybody’s plate, it’s important to strike the right balance between being innovative and helping your people to stay focused on the right work. That’s especially important now that we are all physically isolated and working in different environments. As a marketing team, focusing on the right work maximizes our productivity, it gives us the best return on investment, and helps us get in front of the right customers.
This is where we have found work management technology comes into its own. We implemented Workfront throughout our marketing department and consolidated all our workflows into the system. This single platform enables everyone in disparate teams and locations to share information, view progress against tasks, create content collaboratively, share ideas, and manage complex processes.
It helps our people to see how their work aligns with that of other teams – and with our overall business objectives. It ensures that innovation aligns with our strategy and priorities. It puts the work of each individual into context, because they can see what other teams are doing, and how their work fits into each project.
For us, having a single work management platform that connects all our work results in better transparency, better visibility, better decisions, and better business outcomes. This technology is enabling us to work more effectively and efficiently – ensuring that everyone can focus on being productive, rather than just being busy.
Implications for the Future of Work
If the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to prioritize the needs of people above all else. I think that is going to be key to the future of work. I believe that was the case before the pandemic hit, but the changes imposed on our lives have focused everyone’s minds more acutely on the needs of individuals.
For me, successful workplaces in the future will enable and empower people to work in their own way. My advice to business leaders is to find out what enables people to do their best work, and what gets in their way. Then use the right technology to enable people to flex their creativity and deploy their talents to best effect, without IT-related distractions or impediments. If people can bring the best of themselves to work every day, productivity, innovation and – ultimately – customer advocacy, will soar.
The experience of working during a pandemic has introduced an age of heightened sensitivity when dealing with colleagues. Well-being bubbles up as a topic at the start of every conversation. This change in mindset can be used as a catalyst for change in the future of work.
Companies will now need to invest in meaningful health and wellness programs to attract and retain the best people. And to help their people maintain a healthy work-life balance. Technology will have a pivotal role to play. Collaborative work management platforms will be vital in keeping people connected, facilitating innovation, and maintaining the focus on delighting customers among people who no longer share the same office or work schedules.
Crucially, by choosing technology that supports collaboration and by understanding the needs of our people, we can ensure that the kindness and consideration we have shown during this unprecedented crisis are not forgotten. The winners will be not just our employees, but also our businesses and the customers we serve.