Marketers, sales teams, and IT professionals often talk about the importance of having a unified 360-degree customer view. This is important because it provides your entire company with full customer profiles all in one place — imagine being able to log in and see a Facebook-like timeline of how individuals interact with and buy from your company.

From a customer data perspective, you can only make accurate decisions about customer offers, market segmentation, and other campaigns when you have access to such a view. These views are often the responsibility of IT teams, as they centralize data to make such a view possible. However, they are ultimately used by sales and marketing teams without much technical knowledge. With that in mind, a 360 customer view needs to be tailored to the needs of your sales team – in other words, the view needs to be visual, easy to use, and focused on actually generating sales or improving customer service.

At Canopy Labs, we have seen numerous implementations of 360-degree customer views. From simple web interfaces to complex software sitting behind a firewall, there are a number of best practices companies employ to ensure that this view is useful to sales teams, customer service representatives, as well as researchers and IT professionals. Here we present some of the best practices, along with an illustration of how our own platform implements these ideas.

Before we dive into the details, always remember to make the view visual. Ensure the interface is simple and shows customer information quickly, without needing to have a technical understanding of data or databases. Once this is set up, focus on the following features.

Advice and recommendations

It is important to provide the sales team with high-level recommendations and feedback about the customer’s previous engagements and habits. Show how much customers spend, which products they are likely to buy next, relevant customer segments, and other results from internal analysis. Put this near the top so your sales team can easily see it and use it in their conversations or offers.

Insights around engagement

Interpret model results for the sales team, and provide tactical advice written in plain English. This is particularly helpful for new members of the team, who are still learning how to interpret more quantitative advice and understand customers. Keep it simple – one or two sentences – so that team members can quickly read the text when starting a phone call or conversation.

Overview of customer activity

Show just how engaged and loyal the customer is. How many purchases have they made, and do they leave comments? Do they read e-mails? All of this will affect the conversation and will give you insight into what sort of customer this is. Provide high-level metrics so that your team can get a grasp of their activity in under one or two seconds.

A timeline view to dive into specific events and details

Of course, high-level views are not always enough. Being able to dive into the details is crucial, and showing all aspects of each customer’s activity is how the “360-degree view” differs from a simple fact sheet or segmentation. Enable your team to see line items of orders and actual comments the customer has left. Provide the team with the ability to leave notes about the customer for future reference.

Building such a view is not easy, and ensuring that it serves your organization’s sales team is crucial. The screenshot below illustrates how Canopy Labs approaches this sort of unified view, with numbers representing the features mentioned above. Our goal with this dashboard is ease of use and accessibility for any business user.

If you’re interested in learning more or have any feedback, request a free tour of our platform. We are happy to show you around.