Sitecore 8: Is This the CMS for You?
Firmly established as a “Leader” solution in Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, Sitecore XP 8 is well regarded thanks to a high level of client satisfaction and a solid .NET technology platform. With the release of version 8, Sitecore XP has continued to move away from pure content management system (CMS) towards becoming a complete CRM* and marketing toolkit backed by a number of enterprise-class features.
The Customer Comes First
The “Sitecore Experience Platform” (SEP) is now at the heart of operations, collecting, aggregating and analysing customer data automatically. More than simply a new take on web analytics however, the SEP also accepts data from offline sources, helping to build a true 360º view of each client that can be used to improve targeting.
Using the insights gained from the SEP, marketers can focus on building a superior customer experience that delivers on a personal level with a view to raising satisfaction levels (and profit margins).
Simplifying the Marketer’s Job
Aggregating customer data is nothing new however. Most CRM systems already support data aggregation, but the onus is on marketers and data analysts to build the necessary queries and reports to create genuinely actionable insights.
As a marketer-focused platform, Sitecore XP has been engineered to meet the specific needs of the marketing department. The system uses its own intelligent analysis to build rules that automatically segment customers based on interests and intent to create target groups.
Sitecore XP takes things further though, identifying the best content to supply to those targeted customers and defining the best path to conversion for each. Sitecore builds an intelligent sales funnel and helps steer prospects through it automatically. Drill-down tools allow marketers to check each rule and refine as necessary, so they can test and confirm that the Sitecore algorithms are as accurate and helpful as advertised.
And herein lies one of the greatest strengths of using Sitecore CMS – marketers will find that the time saved analysing and segmenting customers can be better spent creating collateral and resources to build a truly effective campaign. Over time Sitecore XP should result in a reduced demand for marketing resources and budget, lowering costs and improving the ROI of new campaigns.
It’s All About the Experience
Despite this focus on marketing, Sitecore XP is designed to improve the customer’s experience. Analytics and insight can drive campaigns and sales, but in an age where experience and service trumps price, marketers still need to use this data intelligently; 70% of consumers are willing to spend more money with a company that provides good customer service according to Echo Research.
Better still, the data stored in Sitecore can be shared with other business units, allowing them to create their own insights and tailor secondary services to the specific needs and preferences of the client. In doing so every department can play their part in keeping customers engaged.
Is It Right for You?
Busy marketers who want a rock solid web content management system with added marketer-focused benefits would do well to seriously consider Sitecore. Built on proven Microsoft technologies, Sitecore scales as businesses grow so that it continues to meet needs for longer and boosts ROI in the process.
Obviously there are some shortcomings, and many smaller businesses may find that the enterprise nature of Sitecore is much more than they actually need. But for medium and large businesses, Sitecore could be just the suite of tools that their marketers need to boost lead conversion and customer retention rates.
*CRM – Customer relationship management