Advancing the Customer Experience
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Advancing the Customer Experience

Lindsay Whitworth, Vice President, Global Consumer Direct at Sonos, Inc.
Lindsay Whitworth, Vice President, Global Consumer Direct at Sonos, Inc.

Lindsay Whitworth, Vice President, Global Consumer Direct at Sonos, Inc.

As the Vice President of Global Consumer Direct at Sonos, what are your roles and responsibilities on a typical day?

Direct-to-consumer organizations are structured in a number of different ways across enterprises. At Sonos, our global direct-to-consumer organization encompasses the e-commerce business, comprising all of our global sonos.com properties, CRM, which oversees our communication strategy through owned channels, such as email and in-app messaging, and our global sales team responsible for our pre-sales customer service and support. So, on a typical day, I strategize about the global execution of tasks across all of these teams.

How do you see the new trends in the CRM industry having an impact on the overall industry?

We cannot deny the massive acceleration in digital since the pandemic. At Sonos, we had already begun to invest heavily in our digital and direct capabilities, and the changes in consumer behavior post-pandemic just further validated those investments. Today, like many companies, we are doubling down on this aspect of our business as a means to make it easier for more customers to enjoy our products and services.

Trends-wise, we see big data as a consistent theme. You can see with the proliferation of technologies aimed at customer data enablement, like CDP and MDM platforms, these solutions revolve around the universal pursuit of this high definition view of customers. We have also seen a rise in technology solutions focused on AI and machine learning, enabling businesses to better understand and anticipate customer needs and service them at scale. Because Sonos is a global organization, we are searching for technological solutions that will allow us to offer those superior customer experiences at scale, and automation is central to that outcome.

As a result of wide sweeping customer behavioral transformation and technology advancements, we have also started to see shifts in organizational approach, where companies are modifying organizational structures to accommodate this new age of sales and marketing. The technology and the sales and marketing experiences have become so intrinsically connected that go-to-market organizations need people that have a fundamental understanding of the underlying technology and how it relates to the business strategy, bridging the gap between traditional marketing and IT silos.

Is there an example of a project at Sonos that you would want to share? How did the overall process go under your leadership, and what type of outcomes did it yield?

We’re in the midst of several big projects. We have an enterprise-wide data enablement project currently in the evaluative stages. With IoT devices, there’s a very rich amount of user data that can yield incredible improvements and enhancements for our users when interpreted and activated correctly. This year, one of our primary goals is to figure out how to harness that data and make it work for our customers and the user experience. We are also in the middle of a complete Salesforce marketing cloud replatform. We expect it will unlock new capabilities for us in automation and predictive intelligence that simply weren’t available to us on our legacy platform.

How do you see the future of CRM?

There has been a lot of activity in the data privacy and regulation space, and we are certain that it will be a big part of the future. The impact on businesses and the way we interpret data will force companies to adapt, as we are already seeing today.

The rise of mobile and particularly app engagement is also an interesting trend to watch when we think about the CRM landscape in the coming years. For brands to win their customers’ attention in this space, they need to lean into content engagement strategies in-app.

Do you have any advice you want to give to your colleagues and peers?

My advice would be to focus on adapting to the consolidation of sales and marketing strategy and the underlying technology that supports the outcome goals of the business. This is a significant departure from where businesses were two or three years ago. The strategy and technology go hand in hand. It’s incredibly important that organizations are set up to support the business and that those teams are working in lockstep towards a common goal. I believe we will continue to see some really interesting things happen there and would encourage folks who are starting in the CRM space to consider the technology more deeply and familiarize themselves with how that makes the strategy come to life.

Another piece of advice I would give is to know your customer. I’ve had an unconventional career path here at Sonos. I’m the vice president, but I started at the company 17 years ago as a telesales representative. I talked to thousands of prospective customers and current owners about their challenges. I still credit the success I’ve had in my long tenure here at Sonos to my customer experience roots.

 

 

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