Sales Enablement Soiree – Keynote: Sales Enablement in the Age of the Customer

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Emcee: So, would you all please join me in giving a huge warm welcome to our last speaker of the day, Laura Ramos.

Laura Ramos: Thank you.

I’m here to maybe have a bit of a different conversation than you might have been having earlier. There is “how to” in here, absolutely. I’ve got lots of examples, but this is a little less “how to” and a little more expanding your thinking about the role of sales enablement, and what it means to be a successful company in the digital age.

Now, I know you all know the story, but just to put a finer point on it, there’s a lot that’s going on here in the digital age that you need to be aware of, because your customers are out of control. They are. This is the data that we do in conjunction with internet retailers, our survey. 71% of buyers say that they find it more convenient to purchase online. That’s B2B, that’s not B2C. what does that mean for your sales organization? They prefer to research online on their own. And that one’s up 15% from the last time that we did this survey. So, it’s heading in the direction of wanting less to interact. To be more anonymous. To be unknown. To engage with you on their terms, not on your terms.

And then finally, the other interesting one is that 62% say they can now do the whole thing, figure out exactly what they want, based solely on information that they’re getting online. So, if this isn’t a wakeup call to many of you, it should be, because these buyers have become very sophisticated and being able to connect with them has become more and more difficult. We call this the business-to-business “consumer”. This is the way that we think about buyers today, that there’s been a substantial shift in their behavior so that the traditional lines between B2B and B2C are now blurring, particularly when it comes to the idea of them wanting to be more anonymous.

And look at that other word that’s up there: emotional. Being able to tap into what they’re looking for, not what you’re trying to tell them. So much so that we believe at Forrester that the way to commercial success is through your customer experience. If you look at Michael Porter’s different ways of getting creative comp, competitive differentiation, all of those different barriers have been eroded by technology. So much so that the only real remaining one is how you create an experience for your customers. And Forrester refers to this as the “Age of the Customer”. We say we are now in the age of the customer. It’s highlighted by that kind of different behavior. And this means that you’re going to have to come up with different behaviors too to compensate for it.

The biggest one for sales enablement people is that you’re going to need to put the customer at the center of how you behave. Your people, your process, your technology, your talent, everything about what you do needs to be driven from the perspective of, what does it mean for our customers? I know a lot of people are telling you this. But we have found this really is the way to think through this whole issue of, how do you be more competitively successful? And it’s not just the traditional things. I mean, those things are the levers that we all have to move in business to be able to change business, to make our businesses better. But it’s the way that you do it, and in what order, that means the difference between your success at becoming what we call a “customer-obsessed” organization and not.

Again, the key things to look at here are, what does it mean to be customer-obsessed? In our definition, it’s being customer-led, not simply customer-aware. It is using the data and information that you have and putting it to work. It’s doing things quickly, learning from your mistakes, starting over and picking it up going forward. Not figuring you have to get everybody’s sign-off before you do something. And ultimately, it’s working in conjunction with marketing, sales, service, operations, with every part of the organization, to create those customer experiences that are so vitally important.

We’ve been talking about this since 2011, and a lot of our customers go, “Yeah, we get it. We want to be customer-obsessed, Forrester. Tell us how to do it.” And we were like, “Well, we’re not so sure, let’s see.” Well, how do we figure this out? Here’s how we did it. We went out and we designed a survey, a very big survey with a lot of questions about behavior inside of business. So, this isn’t just marketing and sales, this is how businesses operate. We fielded it and then we ran this huge regression on all of the answers to try to find the correlation between what it means to be customer-obsessed and many of the behaviors that companies exhibit.

We found that there’s actually an answer to the question, what does it take to be customer-obsessed? There’s actually different things you do in all of the six areas, with culture being the strongest indicator of whether or not your company is heading in the right direction. So, I know it’s a little bit of an I-chart, but we’ve got it. That’s it. That’s the answer. If you do all those things, you’re customer-obsessed. Well, it’s not quite that easy. Let’s dig into it a little bit further.

First of all, we wanted to know, how many companies are obsessed? How many aren’t? And I think the interesting thing about this is that for business-to-business, my hypothesis was, “B2B is going to be so far behind B2C.” And we’re not. There is a lot of good work that’s being done in terms of companies that really are leading edge in putting their customers first in their operations and everything that they do. So, it’s not that far behind when you look at 13% versus 12%. The bad news is, it’s 13% and 12%. The vast majority of the companies are in that first two quadrants. Roughly two-thirds are in the customer-naïve and customer-aware phases.

So, what does this mean? The other thing that we found in all of this, though, is that when you are more customer-obsessed according to those 21 things in the survey, there are some wonderful things that happen to you. And there is a real benefit to being customer-obsessed, as defined by those 6 different areas, the different behaviors in each one of them.

The first one is that you have happier employees. Now, the way to read this is that of the customer-obsessed ones at 12-13%, 93% said that their employees are happy to work at their organization. That’s a four-to-one difference over customer-naïve. Think about that. And those happier employees really believe in their products and services. And I think this is chicken and egg. I think good products and services make employees proud, they’re happy to stand behind the product, and that makes their jobs easier. But here again, you’re looking at almost a three-to-one difference in how they perceive the likelihood of their products and services being best-in-class and staying that way over the next five years. That’s a lot of confidence, because five years today is a long time. What they do is create stronger customer relationships. Good employees help make your customers happier because they’re obsessing over them. It’s a two-to-one ratio here. But here’s the thing, and this is the one that we were staggered by when we saw this last correlation, which is that obsessed companies are more likely to exceed their revenue goals than those that are naïve or only committed. So, it’s not causation, but there’s a very strong correlation between having those behaviors and being customer-obsessed and doing better as a business. Customer experience numerically matters.

How do you do it? More importantly, as somebody that is enabling the sales organization, which marketing and sales enablement do, what do you do differently? And what do you need to do differently than your peers? Here’s the table laid out. This is the definition of each of the four different areas, and I’m going to take you through each of these four. And I’m going to also talk about where they are and what they need to do differently to move to the next level. I think the one thing that we did too, is besides the big, major study, we did a smaller study just looking at marketing sales enablement people. And we asked them the same set of 21 questions about whether they were customer-obsessed, to figure out which ones were and which ones weren’t. And we ended up with a similarly bell-shaped curve. But the other thing is we found out what some of the things are that they do uniquely different. So, I’ll cover some of that as we go through.

Let’s start with naïve. Let’s start with the bottom. The big thing that we’ve found that has characterized them is that they are aware of their customers in pockets but they are not consistently practicing that kind of awareness or the understanding of their customers across the entire organization. So, our advice to them is you’ve got to do these three things. You need to clean up your data. I was listening to an earlier panel with Joe Andrews from InsideView, and it’s just so true that you’ve got to have great data, you’ve got to understand your customers and it needs to be your data, external data, whatever. Getting to that customer understanding is essential. And it’s not just about the “who” or “what are they doing?” You’ve got to get to the “how” and the “why”, not just that we have certain kinds of customers but how do they actually do what they are doing with you? Why are they doing it? What are the results that they are getting from this? And, you’ve got to then have the analytics capabilities to really understand ICP. And what is ICP? Who knows ICP?

Audience: Ideal customer for you.

LR: Exactly, good. Yeah, you’ve got to have the capabilities to target the ideal customer for you. So, what are some examples of this? Well, when it’s the cleaning up the data, Zenefits went through this big process, they hired an outside firm, and I think it was a Dun & Bradstreet-kind of company. They found that they just didn’t have enough data. And what would happen is that leads would come in, the leads would sit around, they wouldn’t know who it was supposed to go to, they didn’t know if it was connected to another account, all of this kind of stuff. In doing the data clean-up and figuring all of this out, their efficiency increased by five times. A very simple thing to do with huge impact when you’re at the naïve level. They also worked with Radius on this. So they had a big data provider, but then sort of the analytic part of this with Radius. MongoDB similarly worked with Lattus, one of the predictive marketing analytics companies. In their case, this was more of account-based marketing. But this is looking through, what are the things that were going on? How do we figure out not just the what, but the why and the how?

So, they identified all of their target accounts, and then used Lattus to help figure out the key insights that were going on in each one of these accounts, and also to detect behaviorally whether they were in a buying cycle or not. And then based on how they scored, they then prioritize those and the ones that were the higher priority they spent more money, time, and effort on. So much so that they were able to change their enrichment opportunity conversion. So, this is with existing customers. These are the accounts that they are nurturing and building as existing customers. They increase the conversion rate for enrichment, upsell, and cross-sell by 33%.

And then finally, InsideView. What I really like about this is that they are totally focused on this idea of ideal customer profile, and how do you find the total available market? This is their renewal story. They said, “Okay, where do we have customers, in what industries, where have we been successful?” So, you can see that they’ve mapped out the renewal rates against their upsell rates and then the size of the opportunities. And what they decided as a result of doing this is that there are a whole bunch of those folks we’re not going to market to. If we renew them, great. If we don’t, oh well, because what we want are better customers like these. This helped them to increase renewal rates by 10% overall, and of those customers that renewed, they would renew at a 20% on-average higher rate.

If you’re in this customer-naïve category, you’ve got to do two important things. Answer these questions: Who are our best customers? And how did they get that way? What should our data be telling us about what it takes to be a great customer? That is what’s going to help you really understand your ideal customer profile and then use that to understand the total available market. Does total available market mean every single account, or possible account, that’s in the market? No. This is where the fit part comes in. It’s whether or not they have already bought something from somebody else or not. Or are they even in the market for what you’re doing? And then look at how you build the programs to target those.

Second, you’ve got to prioritize the customer goals over operations. In this particular group, which is where the majority of most companies are, they’re really focused on, how do we get good? So, there is a lot of investment in technology, a lot of attention to process, and they’re very internally focused. We call them inside-out. Thinking a lot about what’s going on and not what’s happening with their customers. The three key things here are you’ve got to be able to get smarter about your analytics. We say you’ve got to use AI. It could be anything though, it doesn’t have to be AI, to spot-change and act fast. This is the ability to put some focus on what’s happening with your customers and be able to detect when something happens.

The other flip-side of that coin is that you’ve got to be seen. You’ve got to have thought leadership out there that brings the right people to you. Think about not only who do we want to go after, but how do we create an audience? How do we get people started when talking to us? And then finally, you can’t worry about just net-new acquisition. You’ve got to think about the entire customer life cycle. As sales enablers, what happens afterward? Well, you’ve really got to think about, how do we turn our customers not only into loyal ones, but I would argue into advocates, because everybody wins when your customers are out talking about you. Why is it important for customers to be talking about you?

Audience: Referrals are the easiest way to get money.

LR: Say that again. Referrals are an easy way to get money, absolutely. What else?

Audience: Their personal social networks are a big part of their research.

LR: Correct. There’s one more thing I’m looking for.

Audience: Credibility Factor.

LR: Buyers want to hear about it. That’s the number one thing prospects and buyers want to know in the early stage of the buying process: who else is doing this? They want to hear from peers, they want to hear from industry, they want case studies. There are three examples of this. LiveRamp, again, is using a scoring mechanism where they are looking at not only, what is the right fit for us, but then the AI tells them whether or not they are in the market. So, the AI helps them to build models that are more complex, more revealing of what the real qualities are that matter. As a sales enablement person, if you know more information about your customers, how does that help you help sales? Right? Think about that. And that’s just kind of the demonstration of what LiveRamp is going through. They’re saying that the people that score the highest, they also happen to be the ones that convert at a better rate. Let’s find those and focus on them.

Again, the flipside is thought leadership. I love this example. So, this is Paula Toliver, she is the CTO of Intel and she has this whole destination on Intel focused on what Intel technology and IT do. So, there are things on here like their data center strategy and what they’re doing with their data center. Who cares what Intel is doing with their data center? It’s thought leadership. They’re demonstrating that they have 160,000+ people working at Intel. They have solved some of the toughest data center problems there are. And that’s just the IT people, imagine how good the engineers are. That’s the kind of people that are building products for you. It really sets them apart from a thought leadership perspective. I mean, they buy chips. People buy chips from them. Who cares? This creates a different experience.

And then, advocacy. So Brightpearl is in the market, they sell software technology to retailers. And in this particular example, they went out and asked their community, “Okay it’s a holiday, what are your tips for a holiday?” And the 20 best tips they took and put into this lovely little infographic. This one’s about Valentine’s Day, it’s a drill and it says “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Who’s ever gotten like a toaster or a drill for Valentine’s? Yeah, exactly. But the lovely thing about it is that every person who contributed it, their name and their company, is recognized in each tip. That makes it not just a tip, it makes it customer-contributed. It’s that kind of thing that makes people feel, “Oh, this is interesting. This is special. This is from somebody like me.” They have very simple advocacy program for doing these kinds of things, but how do you get your customers into an advocacy program? How do you know which ones are the right ones? How do you recruit them? These are all things that you guys have the data and the information to be able to understand and help sales and marketing create those lifelong customer relationships.

So, if you’re in the customer-aware, here’s what you need to do. Keep focusing on increasing that customer understanding. Take that lens and stop shining it all the time on our operations and how much more money we need to squeak out of different processes and really start learning about your customers more. And then use that – turn it around. Communicate external viewpoints and build that following. Talk about what you do, talk about what your customers do. That’s the kind of thing that people are going to pay attention to. They don’t care about your products and services. I’m sorry, but they don’t. They want to know how you’re going to help them solve their business problems. That’s what they’re looking to hear about. Don’t let that myopic focus get the best of you.

This is three: committed. In committed, these are almost customer-obsessed. They just have a little bit more to go. They just haven’t quite gotten that repeatability down. And when it comes to marketing and selling, in particular, the real things that we’ve found here is that you need to be able to shift your focus from demand generation, we call it “lead to revenue management”, to creating lifelong customer engagement. So, engagement is key. You’ve got to be able to learn to use your data and insight to guide the next best actions, not only of your customers but of your sellers. You need to be able to blend account-based marketing, and account-based marketing is one of these words that can mean a lot of different things. But if you think about it as better segmentation, targeting, and positioning, you’ve got it down. So, whether you actually do real account-based marketing or just better segmentation, you’ve got to be able to blend that in with not just chasing after leads and MQLs. You’ve really got to think about who are our right markets for us to go after. The engagement side of things.

I wanted to use this particular example. So, this is from Pentaho, and it is an interactive little quiz that you take online. And it says, “which big data blueprint is right for you?” And as you answer the questions, this is not all of them but you can see how this works, you start asking different questions. In the background, it’s tallying up your answers, and in the end, you get a little score. That score then corresponds to one of the four different maturity levels that have already been identified. Then you get a little customized answer saying “here’s what you are.” You are a customer 360-degree view person. And I don’t know if you can read it, but it says “in the age of the customer”. This is something we did in conjunction with Pentaho. They did a study with us. We turned it into this kind of tool to help other people understand where they fit in the maturity model as well.

But this kind of interactivity is huge for two reasons. One, it actually lets you tell who is engaged. And the other part is, it lets you collect some amount of information from that engagement that gives your salespeople the ability to have a more in-depth conversation. My favorite example of this comes from Evergage. What Evergage is doing is real-time personalization in sort of a B2B setting. So, a lot of real-time personalization in B2C is, “Oh, if you like these pants, then this shirt should go along with it.” Here, it’s about giving you an online experience that starts to match the content to the interest that you display while looking at the site. For example, I went on the site, it didn’t know me from Adam, but all of a sudden it figured out I was from Forrester. And so it put up a Forrester wave. That content changes by the way, if you’re a different person. As do some of the other places here. And what I like is that Evergage is actually very transparent about it. When you click on these little links here, it tells you Evergage is in action. But what it is doing is telling you, “Well, if you liked that, your next best action should be this.” That takes both content and data to get right, and those are two areas that sales enablement can be very helpful in.

And then finally, account-based. How many of you are doing account-based marketing? Oh, okay that’s about equal to what I saw in an earlier presentation that I did. This is one of the things right now that sounds very buzzy. Everybody’s saying, “Oh, account-based marketing. We all need to do it.” There’s still a huge amount of confusion about how you do it right, and we’ve got lots of data and reports on this. The key thing for me with account-based marketing is not picking the right accounts, it’s not finding the right people to talk to. It’s what happens afterward. How do you get the marketing and the sales communication to act not like a handoff, like, “Okay, here’s your lead. Go get it,” but like a dance ensemble. How do you get marketing and sales to dance on the stage at the same time? Where some are in the lead at some point, some are in the lead at other points. But everybody knows what’s going on at the same time.

This is a kind of tool that can help you. This is from Market Bridge. And so this gives you detailed information on different people inside the account, and it talks about how 87 is kind of their engagement score. Are they doing things that matter to you, or are they passive? This is a very vital tool in helping sales know how to engage better with these people. So, if you’re customer-committed, this is your roadmap. You’re almost there. Don’t be complacent. You’re really got to kind of look at how do you, first of all, automate those kinds of tasks, particularly for sales, that are repetitive, that they don’t need to be doing.

We just finished a report and our data shows that something in the neighborhood of 70% of the companies that responded said their salespeople are spending anywhere between one and five hours per week modifying content. You need to get them out of that, right? You need automation things to help them not have to get stuck there. You’ve got to use the data to anticipate your buyer’s needs and actions. And give them the right thing, not what you want to give them. Then ultimately, you’ve got to invest in technology to really improve that customer experience. And my vote for this is the post-sale. Think about this, it’s not just when they sign the contract. Their lifetime with you starts at the point that they become a customer. Congratulations if you’re obsessed, you’re there. The thing you have to do, though, is make sure you don’t lose it. And the thing that’s going to cause you to lose it faster than anything else is letting your culture deteriorate. So, your culture is probably going to be the key thing that got you here. Think of all the ways to continue to reinforce it. Turn your customer-facing employees into heroes. Turn customer-obsession into another competitive advantage. And link your metrics.

Let’s look at what those look like. So, my example here is Rackspace. What does Rackspace do? Hosting. How differentiated is that? Not. But what they differentiate on is their service, their customer experience. And I show the people up here because they actually do these things, like the wall of fame, and they also do these spots rewards for things, and I think one of my favorite Rackspace programs is that they have people think about who gets this special reward. And if no one has done it, then fine, nobody gets it. But they get an experience. And they have very different options if you win the monthly or the employee award that are all experiential-oriented. One of them is that you get the option of driving the CEO’s fancy sports car for a week. That’s one of the rewards.

When you really get to the immersive customer experience, you do things like Caterpillar does. Everyone thinks of Caterpillar as selling earthmoving equipment or farming equipment. They have taken the idea of the internet of things and instrumented the equipment to such an extent and they monitor what’s going on. Not in a creepy way but in a helpful way, so that farmers and miners and construction people can anticipate, can know ahead of time whether or not something is going to break on the equipment so that they’re really never faced with downtime. And, in the automated fulfillment of all of the different pieces creates a customer experience where they’re actually selling uptime, not equipment. That’s what changes the way of the relationship between what you do and what your customers want.

And then finally, it’s about measuring it, making sure you stay on track. Beckon is a very small-ish startup company, but one of the things that they’ve really nailed, I think, is the idea that the dashboard that you use to understand what’s going on in your business between marketing and selling should be based on the customer’s lifecycle. I don’t know if you can see this, but across the top, it says, “awareness, engagement, purchase, adoption, and advocacy.” Their topline metrics are all looking at, how do we turn our customers into advocates? And these are the dashboards, that’s what they do, they build dashboards like this for all of you. And that, I think, is the way of looking at this. To be customer-obsessed, you’ve got to look across the entire life cycle and really think, how do we turn our customers into advocates? Work on your culture. Do the right thing by your customers. People who are customer-obsessed break rules, and it’s okay, because they’re always doing it for the customers. Innovation is key here, and then really measure and compensate against customer experience metrics, not just the business metrics.

Okay, so, that’s it, right? We’re all done. There’s the list, go follow the list, you’re going to be successful. No, it’s not that easy. I’ve got one more ringer for you. That is, you’re going to have to change the way you think, and this is what really creates the customer-obsession. It all starts with the mindset. We refer to it very simply as you need to be human, helpful, and handy. Handy is about being agile. Humanity comes in a lot of different ways. Sometimes, it’s understanding your customers so well that you can create humor and use humor as a way of connecting with them, which is exactly what Brocade did in this series of cartoons in this New Yorker-style. Now, this came from really great insight that their CMO was able to collect, but it ended up being one of their top-performing assets. They did a study with LinkedIn, for example, and LinkedIn ended up showing them that these assets performed three times better than other average assets because they used the humanity approach. The humor, the poking fun at the frustration that network engineers feel over the lack of choice that they felt was in their market.

This is helpful, particularly from a sales enablement perspective. How do you put the right information in front of the sellers when they need it? Here, you guys know, this is Salesforce, it’s Dreamforce week. Of course, we know what this is. But First Reign, which is now bought by Ignite Technologies, has all of this great information in here, like trending topics, management chains. You can see this either in Salesforce or in their own interface. But having all of this at your fingertips, as a seller, right before you go in to talk to someone or while you’re preparing the presentation, is enormously valuable for you understanding what’s going on with them and to have a helpful conversation, not just a selling conversation.

And then my favorite one, the agility, is how do you understand what’s going on with your customers? And Spiceworks, which has a destination where a lot of people share information and tips and tricks and things like this, ended up with a great following of customers. Their customers had gone to a number of user conferences and they said, “We love getting together for the user conference. Why can’t we get together more often?” And, so, out of the user conference stemmed a bunch of local meetings that now span 180 countries. These people get together and talk through the kinds of issues. And what Spiceworks has done is said, “Well, if you guys are getting together anyway, can we create some value for those vendors that you’re talking about?” So now, through these unplugged sessions, they bring customers of a particular company together, they have a little informal get-together, and they all talk about what they love, what they hate, whatever the case is, and it becomes an amazing source of information for the marketers and sellers at those companies.

How do sales enablers become customer-obsessed? The first two are that you’ve got to adopt the mindset and you’ve got to shift from having that offering-driven and the product-driven approach. There are certain things you can do yourselves to become more human, helpful, and handy, and there are other things that you can do to help move the company away from, “Okay, I need to create 30 data sheets for the sales organization” to “how about some case studies instead?” to really make that shift from what we do to what customers care about. The data part of this, I think, is essential as well, to really understand where the gaps are, fill those, and then put it to work. And you need to move from that always striving for operational perfection to really getting to, “Hey, let’s try some new things.”

It’s the 70-20-10 rule, right? 70% is keeping things going and making sure we’re doing all the right things and it’s operationally always working towards a higher ROI. But there’s the opposite side of that, which is that 10%, and we just go nuts with. We just try things out. Most of them are going to fail, but there will be a star in there once in a while, and that’s what we’ve got to look for. And, it’s getting those out of your box and into the other operations, asking how we can help, and breaking down the walls of the silos. It’s a lot, you know? I think people credit him with being the father of Taoism, Lao Tzu, who said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I kind of like Mark Twain’s a little better because I think it orients towards business. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” So, that’s my final word of advice to all of you. Just begin. Get started. You’re here now, this is part of the start. You’re learning, you’re taking in a whole lot of information. Go back and apply it. It’s a lot here. Let Forrester know how we can help. We can help you assess where you are in your journey to being customer-obsessed, but don’t stop. Customer-obsession is where you want to end up. And you’re intricate on that road. So, just begin. Thank you.

Emcee: Thank you very much. Thank you, Laura, that was great. We actually have about 5 minutes left for some audience questions. So, if any of you have questions, if you want to raise your hand and I will walk the microphone over to you.

Audience: Customer experience and obviously customer knowledge and intimacy is great, but the one thing that all customers have in common is that they’re all different. So, when it comes to investing in experience, you want to get the biggest bang for the buck. The analogy is, if you want to have a great experience, you have a great concert, right? The problem is, if you’ve got a thousand people to invite, one’s going to want to go to a country western, one’s heavy metal, hip-hop, jazz, etc. That’s the analogy. So, how do you focus on customer experience investments vs. large scale impact, knowing that they’re all different?

LR: I agree that they’re all different. I think there are things, though, that we collectively are not doing that can make the customer experience better and really reinforce to the customers that we’re not here just to sell them things, we’re here to help them with their success. The things that I would point out are onboarding. How many of you have an onboarding process for your customers that isn’t just driven by customer success management, but actually includes communication that talks about you as a company, that shares new information, that reinforces the brand promise that you made is something you’re going to try to make happen throughout their onboarding experience? Who does that? InsideView, of course you do!

I’ve talked to your customer success management people, they’re good, and they’re tied hip-to-hip to marketing. But it’s not just onboarding. How do you then ensure that they get to their first best practice? To their second best practice? That they understand where they fit in the whole community of other customers like them? These are all things that customer success management and sales don’t think about, but marketing does, and marketing should. If you’re going to get from a happy customer to a loyal customer to an advocate, that’s the customer experience path that you’ve got to take. You’ve got to figure out what that path is and take them down that. And I argue that it starts at the point that they sign the contract, not when you pass the lead over to sales.

Audience: So, kind of following that, we’ve been doing a lot of these things that you were talking about, trying to move up to that customer-obsession, and I’m on the product marketing side. So, what I want to know is if you have any examples or stories around how someone successfully was able, from the marketing side, to encourage and influence the sales and customer success in joining into that obsession and really taking the time and effort to learn about the individual verticals and the ICP and so-forth, so that they can really understand how they could implement that beyond the marketing efforts that you showed?

LR: I think that it starts in pockets. You’ve got to find the one part of the sales organization that’s hungry for that kind of help, that wants to know more about their customers, and then marketing can demonstrate to them. It’s like an A/B test. Here we’re going to do this kind of concentration on these accounts and we’re going to see what happens. Sometimes it’s just as simple as kind of saying, “Let us help you get the foot in the door.” And when they see that success, then you turn around and market the heck out of their success to the rest of the organization. Before you know it, everybody else is like, “Hey, can I have some of that?”

And industry focus. You have to show them that it works. I was at Xerox and I ran industry marketing for North America, and one of the things that we ended up doing is we wanted to break into a new industry. And, I know this is wacky, it’s going to sound so stupid. But it was 2011, and we did an ABM campaign. And I had no idea what it was but that’s what we did. We picked 200 accounts, business development white space, we never had anything with these accounts. We had a business development team that was going, “We don’t know what to do”, and we actually put together a campaign that had a cadence, that was that dance steps. We started that, because we were Xerox, with a printed letter that went out in a FedEx envelope. And then we had a series of coordinated calls, we had weekly meetings to check-in and see what was going on. We knew who we wanted to reach out to and said, “Here’s the call script”, then we sent an email, “Here’s the other call script”.

And at the end of this, it was an eight-week process, we stopped and looked and saw what we had. And the first thing is, we had 200 accounts and we only reached out to like two or three people in each one. I would have tripled that number in hindsight. But we ended up with like eight meetings that ended up being four opportunities that represented $10 million all for about $12,00 dollars. And that’s because we printed in FedEx things. The sales people went nuts, because they were like, “we got the $10 million and all, but we had something new to talk about with our accounts. And that’s what marketing gave us, and it was so helpful.”

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