The longer I work in marketing, the more I believe culture has the greatest impact on results.
More than tactics. More than tools...company culture accelerates or slows growth.
For example, if you ask Marketing what their responsibility is, they would say, “Our job is to generate qualified leads for the sales team."
What if we changed it to: “Our job is to understand buyers better than anyone else and inspire them to invite our brand into their lives?”
Ask Sales what they do, and they would say, “We qualify prospects, demonstrate value to decision makers, and close new accounts.”
Try changing it to this: “We help interested buyers find the right solution (regardless of whether it’s ours), and build trust with new partners by helping them transition successfully to our account management team.”
The differences between these statements are not a matter of semantics. They reflect a profound difference in perspective. The first example is self-serving and tactical, the second is about respect and serving the customer.
Companies need to take an honest assessment of their processes, priorities, and organizational structure and determine how they impact customer experience. Because CX is what sets your brand apart and drives long term growth.
In order to understand the customer experience, you need a way to classify and manage the impressions you makes on people. We categorize all customer impressions as either Low-Touch or High-Touch activities.
Low-Touch – all activities that passively engage buyers. This includes content creation, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media posts, and your self-serve knowledge base. It also includes internal processes, incentives, and goals that dictate how your teams handle clients.
High-Touch – direct contact with the prospect or customer by people, usually on your marketing, sales and service teams. These might include social media conversations, chats, phone calls, email, in-person meetings, events, and gifts.
What’s the point of moving all the furniture into these two corners of the room? It allows us to expand our view beyond “marketing and sales activities” to include every facet of the organization that impacts CX.
For example, managers pay salespeople commission to incentivize customer acquisition, but no one gets anything for retention. Why would employees spend time trying to delight customers when there are no incentives, processes, or clear expectations serving that purpose?
“We put our customers first,” is a hollow claim that has absolutely no basis in reality at most organizations. Your company does not customers first unless you are taking deliberate action to remove potential frustrations they might have and replace them with pleasant experiences. Low-Touch activities are all about what everyone is doing behind the scenes to optimize those things.
High-Touch activities play a different role. These touch points involve planned and unplanned direct customer engagements. Every interaction applies, and it’s easy to miss the ways we unwittingly sabotage customer relationships.
The post-sale handoff to an account manager is a perfect example. One of the first things a sales rep does after signing someone new is send an email saying, “Please meet your account manager, Mary. You’ll be in good hands. Bye!”
In that email, you’ve just told the customer (whose business you’ve worked so hard to earn) that you could care less what happens next. And while the customer waits to see if Mary is the real deal or not, you can bet they are reconsidering the wisdom of choosing you as a partner.
A better approach would be to land the plane slowly. Introduce the account manager during the on-boarding process – or better yet, during the SALES process (who wouldn’t love to get to know the person responsible for your success before the sale is closed?) – and give them time to get familiar with each other. When it’s time for the salesperson to step back from the process, your customer will trust the account manager understands their needs and has the drive and ability to help them reach the objective.
Taking a fresh look at every customer engagement will open your eyes to hundreds of ways you can manage their experience in a more deliberate and impactful way. When you expose these opportunities to the light of day, you have the means to differentiate your brand in a way that means something to buyers.
Change the culture first. Then you can change the world.
I attended Inbound 2019 with the same agenda I have for the last three years.