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Looking Beyond GTM to Improve B2B Customer Experience

Posted April 22, 2024
Nicholas Zeisler, Principal of Zeisler Consulting, joins our host, Camela Thompson, Go-To-Market Thought Leader and B2B Insights Expert, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Z shares areas of the business that aren’t used to thinking through the customer’s lens and why missions and values need to be part of every day corporate life.

Nicholas Zeisler, Principal of Zeisler Consulting, joins our host, Camela Thompson, Go-To-Market Thought Leader and B2B Insights Expert, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Z shares areas of the business that aren’t used to thinking through the customer’s lens and why missions and values need to be part of every day corporate life.

We are going to be talking about why you should look outside of your go-to-market team as well. You should look in it, but also look outside of it to improve your customer experience. Why don’t you illuminate?

“We chatted about this two days ago when we started the conversation about why CX, if we’re getting it right, if we are knocking on all pistons, CX should be enterprise-wide and that’s because the customer is interacting with your brand, sometimes even before you are involved and it’s a truly customer-centric organization that recognizes that and dedicates itself to making it real in the daily lives of their customer That brand promise, no matter where on, as we call it, the customer’s journey that they happen to be at any one point. 

“What we alluded to a couple of days ago was the idea of the engineering, the product, or the delivery teams. Well, it is a no-brainer that they are thinking, hey, our product’s brand promise, or our services’ brand promise is to be easy to use so we dedicate all we have to make things easier to use. Is it the least expensive? No, not necessarily. We beat some other competitors. Those luxury brands, we are less expensive than them, but we’re a little bit more expensive than the discount brand, why is that? Well, because we are dedicating ourselves to making ourselves easier to use, that ease costs a little bit more and that’s how we deliver on that.

“Great! You talk to them, you go down to the engineering department, again, the people that get the bad reputation of not loving the customer enough. They will tell your chapter and verses, about all the work they are doing to try to deliver on that brand promise. Then, the example that I used the other day was to talk to your legal department and say, hey, do you believe that your job, in part, is to deliver on the brand promise of the corporation? And they reply, no, my job is to keep us all out of jail.

“Well, yeah, but in the spirit of that, when you do that and as you’re doing that, are you delivering the brand promise? Camela alluded to AR, accounts receivable, what is the billing and remittance experience like for your customers? If I were to come and talk to it about CX and we talk about your product/service that you deliver, we could go on all day about whether or not you’re delivering on that brand promise and whether or not the people responsible for that, are internalizing that delivery and what you are striving to be on behalf of your customers and brand and making that alignment. 

“However, if we are to say, okay, now let’s talk about some of the ancillary things, let’s talk about when you bill, we send a bill within seven days, just like the contract says and I say that’s awesome! But what’s the experience with that? Because one of the common concerns for many brands is, ah! This bill is hard to understand and what is the line item here and so forth?

“So ease of use is valuable there even if that is not your brand promise, but depending, but depending on what your brand promise is, what is that experience with that ancillary/support part of the journey that your customer is going through? Do you even think about that, when it comes to your brand promise or off-shelve like any other brand? Those companies that consider that all the way through the entire journey are the ones who are knocking that brand promise out of the park.”

Yeah, I’ve been officially triggered because I’ve consulted with brands, their whole brand promise is white glove luxury experience and they’ve got an evergreen C clause and this particular customer isn’t too happy. So we are just going to let that slide underneath the rug, and I marvel, oh my gosh! That is an incomplete contradiction to everything that you’ve promised. we need to be able to communicate to them that this is coming and in order to do that, maybe we need to fix something ahead of time. How do we get that done?

“Yeah since letting something like that sneak up on your clients isn’t a very luxurious experience.”

Or white glove.

“Definitely not. Surprises are not what you expect. Well, some pleasant surprises are something that you expect, if that’s the brand promise, but certainly not something like that.”

Yeah, zero downtime. That is a surprise I enjoy.

“There you go! That is another brand promise and we will use that as an example of zero downtime because we are the high-quality, always up, always running brand. You can always count on us. We are reliable. Now, here is the problem for that brand and I am not trying to discourage that as a brand promise, but that company is always reliable, always up, zero downtime as the brand promises, unfortunately for them, they live in the same world as you and I. For example, if a major cell network just stops working for a day, well, now what will you do? What is your recovery experience? How do you take care of your customers when something out of your control happens and is that contingency plan built in a way that the contingency itself delivers on your brand promise?

“When you say always up, there’s always an asterisk there. Yet, what is behind that asterisk is that asterisk which I call the recovery plan, is that in line with your brand promise as well? And that, by the way, if you’re that brand that promises that we are always 100% up, the experience when you go down is different from your competitor. 

“The discount brand says when they go down, okay, we’ve got a discount way to take care of you when that’s the case. We realize that since this is the business we’re in, we had one job and we’re going to go down sometimes too, but because we’re the discount brand, our recovery process is frankly a discount recovery process. You make that on the back-end since you pay us less. That is why you came here to us as the discount brand. If you wanted, always reliable, always up and heaven forbid the time it was down, even that is an always up type of an experience, a high-quality experience, youi should have gone with them. 

“We gave you the discount and what you got was discounted, which is not to say we’re half-ass or we don’t care since, again, you always had one job, but at the same time, that recovery experience should lime up with what your brand promise is. That is where you say, it’s not just go-to-market. It is not just marketing. It is not even the delivery and the engineering. It’s the whole ball of wax. 

“Everything. Every part of the organization should be delivering on that and for that matter, I will take it and I dont know if you wanted to go there Camela, but it should even be the way you interact with yourself, your HR team, your culture team, and your people team should be delivering the brand promise internally to the entire organization as well.

“When you pass things back and forth to different departments, you should be sharing with each other. Now you’re really living your brand promise and you are sharing it with each other, drinking your own champagne, as they say. That makes it much easier. When you are saying, well, we treat our customers the same way, this same fantastic way. We deliver the brand promise to our customers in the same way that we deliver it to each other. Well, now you are really living it.”  

Thinking of so many misaligned teams right now. I just couldn’t, yes, that’s where I went.

“There is a silly cliche about when you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers. It’s a silly cliche since it is partly true inside of a silly cliche is yeah, that is topological of course. But it makes it much easier, culturally, to live that high quality always up. We always take care of it. We get it up and running it, and you should treat your onboarding the same way when you bring a new team member on. If you run your meetings in that way internally saying okay, this is our culture and this is what we do. Therefore, it isn’t just all the different ways that you interact with customers. It’s the way you interact internally as a team.”

 I’ve been at companies that were highly transparent and people collaborated to solve problems for the customer. It was magic. Yeah, it can exist. It does exist, though it doesn’t exist often enough.

“I often allude that, it is going to seem corny, but it is so true. It is that mission and vision. It’s your corporate values and principles. What have you etched in the marble in the lobby? That is how you should run your company and a lot of those are just hand waved away. Yeah, is the thing. We’ve got a mission statement and there’s the thing. No, but you know what? It can make things run much smoother. If no kidding, you believe it and live it, you will recognize it yourself as a team and your customers will recognize it because that is what’s they’re experiencing when they interact with you.”

100% I was also thinking of other ways this shows up that we perhaps don’t think about all the time, but as consumers we do. I am thinking of when you go to the website and interact with chat and it’s the spot and you’re just typing human into it, or in person. Or calling the company, same experience, human, send me to a human. Those are big ways that marketing can help impact the rest of the organization.

“I’ll tell you what as we alluded to this a couple of days ago. In fact, marketing gets it. Your marketing department knows that there is value in feedback and customer insights. More importantly, they know what that value is, which is you can improve, you can change, get better and become more aligned as a result of internalizing and acting upon it.

“They should take the lead in that. Look, what we did and I will tell you what, if you’re in the marketing team, what you don’t want to be is, hi, I’m Z. I’m from marketing. Let me tell you what you should do differently or where we integrated feedback and insights from our customers and this is how we change things. You all can do it too.”

I think you have to be cautious though. You are going to seem tone-deaf if you are taking that feedback from a population that isn’t your ideal customer profile. That is aspirational, that is outside of the organization. I think it benefits marketing to understand their ICP, acceptable and unacceptable, and that you’re driving towards understanding what exactly makes that ideal customer delighted. Maybe not right now. The exception to that might be very early stage where they are trying to figure out product-market fit. It’s a little different.

“Yeah. the leverage of these tools and of this discipline is actually oftentimes more valuable to an organization that is done with spinning plates and just getting it out of the door and knock the code compile and that sort of thing. Once you get to a position where you feel you would be comfortable getting offsite with the leadership team and say, okay, this is why we got into this business. This is what our core principles are all about. Are we actually manifesting that? Are we living these things?

“Well, that is the sweet spot to say, by the way, let’s invite, perhaps not physically and literally, but let us also invite our customer’s perspective into that conversation as well since you are having that. If you’re at that position, you’re having that conversation again from the perspective of curiosity and striving to be and live that way. Your customers can tell you whether or not in the real world outside of your doors when your product/service gets there, they can tell us whether or not that’s actually what is coming through.

“And again, validate, see it yourself, but that is a great opportunity. Again, if you are willing and curious to be exposed to that sort of information, an opportunity to identify ways that you can use to improve the things that you do and the operations you’ve got in place so as to better deliver that brand promise.”

Z is there anything else that you would like to impart on B2B marketers about CX?

“Yeah, walk the talk. I don’t think I need to tell marketers because as I said, this is such a warm place in my heart since I use marketers as I have over the last few conversations, Camela and I had to use marketers as an example of, hey, this is how it’s supposed to be done. They’re listening and then they are acting upon it.

“Those are the two big steps. Learn about what’s going wrong and where those gaps are with the purpose of then taking action based on what you have learned, demostrate that, live that and then sharing it around. Again, not as a taskmaster, let me tell you what you need to fix over here in product, in legal or wherever else. But also as a clarion, as an example. I say, hey look, this is great. You could do it too and then be that resource for that.”

Yeah. I encourage people to focus and communicate about what they can affect and control and then if it goes well, I think other people are naturally going to want to imitate that.

For more content on B2B marketing trends, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.

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