Enabling Your Teams to Help Customers Succeed
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Choosing to purchase a product or service can be a surprisingly personal decision. What customers decide to buy goes beyond just what may be the best price or leading product on the market. When a purchase is made, an emotional decision often follows. A recent study conducted by Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman found that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious and rooted in emotion.
“Our salespeople really need to differentiate themselves,” said Amy Weil, senior director of GTM enablement design and delivery at Zendesk. “Most of us are selling in a market that’s flooded. You really have to understand what your customers are actually trying to do, their personal pain points, and their aspirations as individuals in their companies to be successful.”
How sales organizations make their customers feel end-to-end is crucial for reducing churn, driving more growth, and deepening relationships between the entire revenue organization and customers.
Below, explore three best practices to keep in mind when creating enablement programs and strategies rooted in serving the customer first while making a more significant impact in driving future growth for the entire revenue-facing organization.
Putting Customers at the Heart of the Customer Journey
Customers have endless choices and opportunities now more than ever, and the way customer-facing teams communicate with customers has shifted. Touchpoints are no longer majority face-to-face, and sellers are now tasked with being even more mindful of their communication style as approaches like remote selling or social selling become more prevalent.
“What we need to make sure we’re doing is that everyone on the go-to-market team understands the changes, puts the customer first, and what I’m most passionate about is that it has to be across the entire revenue organization,” said Nieka Mamczak, senior manager of customer success enablement at Stack Overflow. “It can’t just be that the onus is on the salesperson.”
As enablement teams think of scaling and building out their initiatives, it can be beneficial to first start with understanding how the organization views and understands its customer’s journey from the top of the funnel as a lead all the way down to the post-sales experience. Anticipating the questions or challenges that a customer may have about the product or service an organization is positioning is critical to understanding the root of what they care about and how to best solve it.
“We [recently] redid our entire customer journey,” said Roopal Shah, head of global enablement at Benchling. “We were really making sure that at every step, you’re thinking of what your customer actually needs. Once you have that foundation, it’s easier to scale it.”
Understanding the decisions customers may face at every stage of the journey can help sales and enablement teams better tailor messaging or positioning that propels the customer forward with clarity and confidence.
“Over the years, the top qualities that I’ve seen in top performers would be business acumen, so the ability to understand how a business works, the goals, challenges, and the decision-making process,” said Annelie Girard, sales enablement manager at PlayPlay. “It’s crucial and necessary so sales reps can align the strategies with the customers’ pain points.”
Implementing the Three P’s of an Enablement Program: People, Product, and Process
As companies grow and innovate, the challenge of new processes or tools constantly being introduced can risk causing confusion, misalignment, or loss of productivity. Enablement practitioners are often the connective tissues teams seek out to help reduce friction within the sales process.
Establishing cohesion among a sales organization’s people, products, and processes can help create a more seamless buying experience for a customer and make it easier for enablement teams to rigorously prioritize the programs and initiatives that will move the needle.
For example, Mamczak shared the framework of people, products, and processes to implement any new enablement program she’s building that affects both internal audiences and customers alike.
- People: Who are the people benefitting from the content, both internally and externally?
- Product: How is the product being positioned both internally and externally? Is the messaging speaking the same language for teams across the sales organization and to customers?
- Process: What do you want the customer to know and be able to do all the way through the process?
“Think about [the process], talk about it, and socialize it internally,” said Mamczak. “Your customer is going to get that guidance, and the buying process will be more convenient for them because you are giving them that guided selling process as the customer, and not just focused on the seller’s guided process.”
Viewing every new piece of content or training course through the lens of a customer can help make the buying experience more helpful and arm the customer with the knowledge they need to make the right decision based on the problems they are trying to solve.
Unlocking Critical Buy-in from Key Stakeholders to Align
A successful enablement strategy that puts the customer first also opens itself up to the entire organization for essential feedback, buy-in, and ways to improve the customer experience end to end.
Making sure that key stakeholders across the revenue organization, like customer success teams, have the opportunity to hear from the subject matter experts and thought leaders within the organization is critical to enhancing internal alignment across the board.
“We’re always talking to our teams about how you are working with your stakeholders to really distill the business need and drive a point of view,” said Weil. “Our stakeholders want to hear a point of view.”
One way to achieve this is to start a dialogue between revenue-facing groups on what they can expect from marketing and enablement around content, training, and more. Scheduling regular meetings or sending out memos for teams to respond to and ask questions about can be crucial to understand the why behind certain messaging or strategies and how it directly relate back to the customer.
“It’s important for us as enablement professionals to be empathetic to our selling teams and what they’re up against,” said Weil. “And then to teach our selling teams to be empathetic to the customer and help them to do the research they need to do to understand the business challenges our customers are up against and also be able to help them connect the dots on how they can help their customers reach the outcomes they are trying to achieve.”
Ensuring the success of customers is a continual process that requires commitment from every team within a revenue-facing organization. For every go-to-market team, understanding the customer is paramount to deepening their trust and relationship with the organization and its products or services. Approaching the customer journey with empathy and understanding can ensure that customers succeed long after the ink has dried and the deal is finalized.
“[A customer-centric enablement strategy] is not ‘set it and forget it’ or ‘one and done,’” said Mamczak. “It has to be cyclical, and it has to be all moments in time. You always have to remember the customer in every enablement program you build out. The continuity is the key.”