The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 9 months ago

Owning the Customer Experience w/ Allison Metcalfe


Buzzword alert: Customer Experience

We’ve all heard it. We all know it’s important.

But why do so many companies still struggle to nail the customer experience in a way which positively impacts all aspects of the business?

To break down the do’s and don’ts of customer experience, I talked with Allison Metcalfe, CRO at Demandbase, a leader in account-based marketing.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Why customer experience is everyone’s job
  • Making your team accountable
  • Ways to get your team to live and breathe the customer experience

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Allison Metcalfe, CRO at Demandbase.

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

You're listening to the btob revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated ELP e executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies wore tools and resources, youv come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: welcome everyone to theBto B revenue executive experience. I'm your host Chad Santerson today we'retalking about a wider ray of topics ranging from customer journeys tocustomer experience and the impacts. These focuses can have on all aspectsof the business to help us. We have with this alis an metcalf Siero atdemand base a leader Ind Account Base Marketing Alison. Thank you for Takengtime and welcome to the show. Thank you some much for Havingto happe to be here.So we always ask a random question: let's I guess not so random. If anybodylisten to it, I've been on this kick when I'm asking about things that youmight be passion Amout as a WAV for our audience to get to know you a littlebit better. So if you think about kind of your work persona- and I know thepandemic and has broken down some of these doors- but is there something?What is there something you're, passionate about that? Our listnersmight be surprised to learn about if they had just done a kind of businessresearch on you? What's something you're, overly passionate about thatdrives you outside of Your Business Life, alsoy business like I, have areally big passion against the natural bood industry that might sound strangewoand. I Have Fon of be in my bonnet about it, because I find the fact thatit's not regulared, but the SCA musit can kind of make any promises it wantsto make, and I see a lot of women and especially mothers who are dealing withlike challenging issues. You know struggle to understand how to interpretthose types of claims of my waste, a bunch of money and I felse promises. SoI get really passionate about that and then professionally. I've gotten reallydeep into the concept of the girlts mindset, and I ampline at Ho goes to myprofessional life and my personal Li. So I'm giving you two for one an gus. I would love to do an entire podcast ondigging into the food thing, because we did. We all get inundated with that,but and I's not what we are Kis and it is the most unique one I've heard inthe last few months. So thank you very much for for sharing that, and so wewant to talk about customer experience, and this is it's turn into. I don'tknow I've been listening to it for ten years. I guess it's kind of Turne intoa buzz word right. It means a lot of great things. I see some companiesstruggle with it, but I'm curious when you go to stand up a team. That'sfocused on customer experience. What's your perspective on on how to do thatand misssteps to avoid? So I actually think you really shouldnot do that. I think, and I ban I ge O, give you some perspective, my wiy. Ithink that and how I got to that point, because I used to have a very oppositeopinion. Frankly, but I really, I think that high level is. I think thatthinking of customer experience as a Department or even what executive focusor setting up a team, that's that focus on customer experience alone is, cancreate a crutch and excuse for other parts of the business to not becustomer centric and I've seen this in play, I thatt. I would be selfawareenough to know and admit that when I was younger, my caeer and focusedexclusively on customer success, my earlier executive roles, ere vp ofcustomer success as defined by renewals of and upselves. I wanted it to be. Youknow so called mine. I want right. I really think that you know perhaps whenthe VPC s well, first rally started to emerge. That was the intention and withvery good intentions. Right, like my my story- and I don't know if this is trueor not my observation, my experienceis going back to two thousand and eightthis was, I think, IU. Two Thousand and eight Invio in my recollection, was precalling this job that that the postsale...

...job customer success. It was stillcommanding at the time and the economy startd to fall apart and all these sastbusinesses that kind of kind ofsumed, a certain retention, started to doubleclick, a little bit more into their numbers, realize it wasn't quite thereand and thee's this kind of rush to protect base so to speak, reallystarted to emerging. My again in my recollection around that time, becausethere were you know, Netne logo was slowing down and it was very expensiveto lose customers, and so the role of customer success butted to involve andbecome more important, and then it started to be this idea that this wasthe the voice of the customer. This was the executive that was advocating forcustomers within the apartment, but I think the unintended negativeconsequence of that was everybody else kind of Mich Great. I don't have to do it anymore.That's that is not my job, and so you know I have addressed the entired.Manbas company is WESA lease Fridy, stressing that customer experience iseveryone's job. Literally. Every department needs to be a con over this,so how we market how we engage on THESCR level, how we sell you know howwe deal with customers when their billas leagues or when they need helpor when they're not getting something or when they're being challenging likeevery single touchpoint forms their view of us, and so it has to beeveryone's job and every one should be talking about it all right and I'm onehundred percent agreement with you glad to know that it's not just you know,we've all seen those companies that have hey. We have a. We have a customersuccess team. We worry about customer experience and then nobody else, anyorganizition givs a crap, and I love the example of even when a customersbill is late, because that goes, I mean that goes far beyond what most peoplewill think about in terms of how that creates an impact on the customer. Butthen there's also this other challenge right. So if it's everybody's job andthe North Star is customer experience aligning all of those teams, Eres goingto be challenges, getting everybody to understand how a consistentunderstanding of what we mean when we say customer experience where how thatimpacts, those various roles, I'm curious as you've worked to do this atte mand based what are like the top three challenges. You've seen that wewant to make sure anybody listening of voids as they focus on getting theentire organization pointed at that North Star customer experience. Yeah, IWOTI love. I love the question, but I I just want to reflect on your comp. Likeyour comment on my Commont, but the bill. I worked in a company where I notI found out after a while that things literally was the second. The deal wasclosed. One in sales for the first experience o plant had, after close one,was an invoice, and I was just you know t it was like what a way to welcome theC. So, like I mean billing and finance, maybe not an organization, youtypically think of his neaeding to becustomer CENTIRC, but reallyimportant, but you ask about you know the challenges are around. Trying toyou know make customers Tdini be everyone's job. I think it's reallythree things or what I think about, and one is two or one side of each coint:Either it's either it's not my jobism or redundant. It's my jobnism right. Soyou know everyone thinks this part of the journey and then the other one isreally if you, if you eve a very abiguous nonmeasurable goals thatcreates ave, been problem and so n. When you think about okay, then not myjob ISM, which honestly that's that's a soap box issue for ma, because thatjust it irritates crap out of me when I run into but but w when they're like.Oh, it's, not my job El. How do you help them realize that no every cog inthe company impacts some aspect of customer experience and Oor how thebrand is perceived, whether that be like Yeu said mentioned earliermarketing, or how an SDR reaches out? How do you, how do you overcome that?That's not my job, somebody else s is worried about it. Do you build it intothe culture? Do you build it into the comp like what what have you found tobe most effective, yeah, cool things? I mean I'm tellingwhat I'm doing here. So I I've been at the bandbase now gosh. I got yoot midSeptember and I don't even know what month it is or year, but I think that'slike five months or fourmonth. So one...

...of the first things we did and it wasactually like a really I very lucky andtashee the timing of Whan. I joinedthe Manbas it a really solid team when theyd done a lot of this werke on Eboutto talk about the past, but we had o reach recently aquired another companyin Gagio and in November we launched the kind of new combined product, whichis a very different product than what we've been doing in the past. So it wasa great opportunity to say okay by the way. The other thing that Bei'happening was like, maybe six or eight months ago, before I got here, thedecision had been made to start to bring sales back into customers right.So previously there was a very clear church, ING State Line between Zale andcustomer success, teals as net Neu logo, custom successoras everything else andthey started to kind of you know, bring those roles back and, as is verynatural and normal for companies as they grow to involve those roles, butwhat they perhaps didn't do explike exqlicitly enough is really just say.What does this mean in terms of start? Stop Behaviors for you, folks, on thisside, an the fence, and what does this mean in terms of start, stop behaviorsfor you co to listen pence, so we got to work really doing kind of papermapping out this new customer journey and in the customer journey you know,I'm really very passionate about concepts of stage gates and graduationmilestes right to the customer journey. It's like. If you have time to livetime to value. You know time to expand or grow the ultimate lifetime valuewhich you can come in and out of you need to know what objective you know.Milesons need to happen before a customer can graduate from one stage tothe other, and then you need to get really prescriptive of what can gowrong and what needs to go right for the customer to be able to Git thosemitestones. So it's like he wone draft that out, then you go pe to Toyou, knowcreating a very fluid racy provel. So if you're not familar with racy, it'syou know it's just the concept of responsible, accountable consulted andinformed, and one of the painful things about racy, especially if you'retalking about something like this is you can only have one person, that'saccountable. You can have multiple people that are responsible andconsulted and informed, but ultimately only one person can be accountable, andso, when we sat down- and we said Hey- let's talk with every element of thejourney from SDR to selling marketing, to customer success, to sales engineer,to support everyone- and we talked about this thing this this mile son TaNeede- to be hitting money to happen, and we raising that pain taking wathrough it forces some difficult conversations, and you know again, likemy job was really I mean I cannot hi. I would tell you I mean I've done this, acouple friends of different companies to at least three or four meetings theyhavcome to me and say we really really feel that this one thing we need tohave more than more than one person accountable, and I was I now you can't.It has to be one: Go back and figure it out your tip twing around somethingyou're dancing around something you're trying to not offend someone, an you'retrying to not have an unconfortble conversation. You can't the number onerule is. You can't have more than one person accountble and then the otherthing is that I thought was really important when you're rolling,something like this out is to your point start and stop behaviors right.So there'se lots of examples of this, butyou might say like if this team is going to be more accountable, for you,know business outcomes or keep Meu to business metrics being met. Then youare now respond. You were a Cambal FROR, making sure those executive free thingshappen versus you know, just being consulted or informed or whateverwhatever it might be. So the start stop behaviors are very, very important andthen the final thing I'll say is you know when I talk about, like I don'tthink, is talking about this yeah, but I'm also a big componant bit like okay,ours and B to mom BG mom, being the methodology that Benni AF pioneered atsales. Forus stands: forvision values methods, obstacles, measures, I'veactually been a bit of a contrarian on this. Make sure that people that areaccountable for different objectins within those methods are not all on thesame department right. So, for example,... of our stracetic pillars or methodsis deliver a world class customer experience, but it's not only the BPcustomer success that is accountable for the various sobjectives under thatPaner, if that makes sense, Gotcha, okay, so it's creating essentially aframework for ensuring that it's very clear right. Above all else, I meanracees great at making individuals very clear who owns what and it's actuallyone of the challenges you mentioned is how do you get that? How do you findthat one person right- and I love that you said- go back you're, afraid tohave the difficult conversation or you're gonna you're, going to annoysomebody or offend somebody driving that kind of focus becomes critical,and so you mentioned a bunch of different functions just for contextfor the audience. Cro is one of those titles that cand mean a whole bunch ofdifferent things, depending on which organization you're in so when we thinkabout kind of what your organization looks like and how it plugs into thedemand base structure as a whole. What what areas of responsibility fall underyou with that CRRO title? So, let's see so, we have starting Okind of thinkingof from the journey who left to right. So we have SDRs sales, so both net newlogo hunters and what we called account directors, which are you know ouraccount managers and then customer success is a separate department. there.We have a professional services team that incorporates demandbace Niversity,which is both has you know both paid and free, offering so that's kind ofcustomer trading, professional services and then onboarding and implementationand then onm kind of the peripial functions. We have sales, potictivityand sale operations. Okay, and so is that ORG structured hierarchically? Areyou running in pods just at just from I'm trying to drive to the context, sowe can see how the North Star Gets Divi Te Yeah? No, so it is functional right.So I have. I have a vpof enterprise sales and ABP MIN market sales thathave voked net Nulevo and growth like a count director on their teams, bpscsPPS tails ups etceteratp pro serve the one kind of dual executive. The My teamis J who's, both our vp of St of sals development and productivy. Okay,otherwise we are functionally lines functional, and so, when you thinkabout this whole team, and- and I love that you said- I'm thinking about itfrom the journey right- because that's thats really designing from thecustomer back- is a big its one of my solf box issues as well, so big fan ofthat. But when you think about it, a lot of sales people and, let's juststart with like an strsrs. Typically I'm not saying this is the case. Temanbase typically are less experienced, maybe newer in their careers, not notalways so they have a different understanding of what their touch to a customer. What kind ofimpact that may have or how it might change the way they view demand base areven that individual can be different than say, new logo hunter versus anaccount director, and so when we take to that next level, you've got thatframework with racg an all that stuff and you're pulling people accountable.How do you help them as individuals understand the impacts, a theirbehaviors and wor actions may have in terms of that customer experience. Yeah.Let me give you another example of one that, I think is you that's a greatenSCR is very often like the first person that they at someone hears mot rightand then like another example of be support, like I think, support like howa you experiene what your experience is when something goes wrong is so soimportant. I think about how that makes you feel, if, like you, feel likeyou've been taking care of her, you feel like you've been screwed out orwhatever it might be. So one ETAL side, I haven't- had a campce in Dou here yet,but I'm dout of the past and I'm going to do with with broader teams. Is Iactually learned this from one of my mentors. Her name is Lord Desmond andshe was farmer of the former C of Starhom and she's now consultantadvised investor she's, just amazing, and she puts you through this exercise,but one of the first things you do tas go around the room and talk about abrand that you admire, and then you talk about why you know, and it's sointeresting- I've gone through thise a...

...billion times. I love Ho People'sexamples as to why they talk about certain brands, like I have to talkabout Tesla as a brand that I enjoy. I am a testlook owner and one of thethings I love about this test love the most is when things go wrong, how theymake it so incredibly easy to fix them. Half the Tim. They just come to myhouse, and I you know, I click on something in my in my app and it's justlike. Well, we will pov with hin three days you know as whatever and it's likeay other one time I had an Issun and to be spaire. On the flip side, I probablyhave a few more sotwor issues than you know, Norlal car might have, and oneday I had my car parks outside on the streets and the guy texted me he'd cometo fix something and he's like. Oh, I found your car. I can remote entry myway into it all this Sfixit nd and everything tat leave. My House, an myar was fixed in was an amazing exteer. So that's like an exercise we talkedabout and that the other one is talking about. You know. Okay, let's talk aboutbrands, we dmired. Why that it wasn't certain responses and kind of gets youthinking and then the other one would be like tathink about an example whereyou had to complain about something to a brand, or you know it's e company andhow you felt when you got through t when you got SOM, wit it, and why andwhen people start talking about that, you know you really start to thinkabout experiences like I talked a lot about Nix. I think it was like anexperience I had with wift. You know back in the day when we were leavingour houses, and I honestly w remember what happened, which is interestingright and don't remember why I was Natab. Something happened. I not atlift enough to send a note and the the way they responded was. If myyou know, if my level of expuctation was seven, I got like a fifteen fromthem. I mean I was just literally like blown awhite away by their response andfrom from then on, I've had this very positive connotation with lift, andthat was not me dealing with their vp of bd or whatever. That was me dealingwith a support person right and it has had a huge impact on how I think aboutthat brand. So that is a very long winted way of saying I often encouragestorytelling and thinking about people's own experiences and realizingwhat small details and small interactions that happen in our livesactually have great impacts on how I perceive the brands and the companiesthat we interact with n our lives and- and so I you know, hope, to kind ofcimplant those experiences in people's heads and help hope that that drivestheir behavior yeah then supports a beautiful example of that I had a CEOback in the day who had bought a printer, Peron, the persona side, jus apersonal inkjet printer like a decade earlier, I mean ridiculous amount oftime. Something had happened. I didn't never dove into what something hadhappened on the support side of it, but when the corporation that wewereworking for was looking to replace all of the printers in the organsation, hisone statement was, you can use any company, except for this one yeah, it'slike a decade later, so that I mean it does have lasting impacts. Yes, I meanthink about you know. I'm Gin I, like many people, have got done some kind ofhome improvement projects and there, whatever I by a certain apfliance andit got installed and never worked. It still doesn't work and when I've goneto this brand, which I sell tmat name to say, Hey, I got this professionallinstalled and doesn't work. Their answer is here's a list of people thatare certified to fix our stuff in your area and then I have Otoa call them anthe nine tines of the ten they're like I don't serve in Bookland or you know,I don't go that far up the hill whatever and I'm just like. Oh my God,this is, you are making it. So this is such a terrible, AER lk. I just want touse your prodect like Jeez Leuis, so yeah, it's deat by thousand cuts right.Absolutely so when you, when you think about we're in the new year when youthink about your targets, fo two thosand and twenty one across all thoseareas of responsibility, you, what are the like? The biggest challenges thatyou're focused on as you go into the new year. I mean the world got turnedupside down last year, so some of them probably could be the same, whether ornot we're having a pandemic but just curious to know, as you start to guideand lead those teams Throug, two thousand and twenty one. What are thosetargets? Your am INFORC when you look back at the end of the year, you gohell yeah. This was a good year,... I mean outside of like our normal.Like again, so I will say, like Doman, BAS is a bit of a unique situationbecause, as I regmefor reference rearlier, we launched a new product inNovember that were very excited about, and you think it's Gonta be just atotal game changer for us, but we do have to go through the process ofmigrating. All of our hundreds and hundreds of customers ogn the newplatform, which is not as like, of the switch right. So we have to not onlywork on migrating, the customers, N Tan endabling, those customer, but we'restill selling that new Woll Goas. We have to enable Ale those customers, notwhere those customers as well. On top of that, we have to enable our own teans right, like I haveto get this entire fiel organization thinking and talking about something alittle bit different. It's not like apples to oranches, but it's like,maybe green apple to a half, a dozen red apples or somethingelse and struggl. They have to change and then so Thosthoar some like unique things like with the mand base. It's like, okay, do weget all of our customers migrated on time? Are they re? Is the customersentiment high? You are the clients happy with the new solution is renewsolution stable? Is it driving the business results we hoped like? Thoseare some kind of unique things to demand base. I would say bless Youni isyou know like we are really trying to uplevel our own account based marketingor accompanies experience game. We want to have incredibly high indaged clients.We want to have our customers advocating for us, so we're launching alot of new programs. This year, around customer advocacy customer referral.Customer engagement really focused on Lanchin tevoide of the customer programwithin themand Bas, which is a crass functional initiative between customsuccess and product, and sales and support are all heavily engaged on thatone and then, ultimately, you know the net net like the holy grill for us isto improve our aytention. You know improvaricention story by multiplepoints like that. That will be the ultimate measure of our success forthis year, love it, and so let's change direction here, a little bit. We askall of our guess two standard questions, the NDOFINVE, the first as simply as acro. That makes you a prospect for a lot of people out there and I'm alwayscurious to know when somebody doesn't have that trusted referral in, likesomebody in your network that you trust and say you should talk to this person,they don't have that what works the best for you to capture your attention,build the credibility necessary to earn right to time on your calendar. That's super hard and I have to sayit's a tough market, but you know it's interesting. Let me kind of flip thaton you just a bit, because one thing that drives me a little bockers aboutthe kind of Debetiby Selling Industry Af, you will is how much is relinedupon from executive to executive selling, and I don't want to live in aworld where the only way my sales team or my customer success, team or whoevercan engage with executive sponsors on the customer side is because I'mtalking to them right. That's like that's like the cthe kind of standardplaybook, but having been in those meetings and brought into thosemeetings by you know, say bybp of sale box or my vpapracctivity. What standsout to me is when the accountanser ere seller on the you know the vendor side.If you will partner side, KEDO cannot speak executive. I've gone through levon training he paskov how to speak excel. You know it is like kind ofscept of like executive speak excel. We don't speak powerpoint right. I don'twant to see how you know beautiful usecase slides. I want to see like whatbottom Lin number or what kip of line number is t that you're going tocontribute to and how a D, How I know it's youthat did it. You know what Imean like. That's really all I care about, and then the other thing Iobserve- and this is my frenkly wit. This is kind of how I decide where toinvest some time of mine into these other relationships is whether or notthese account managers are sellers Ron, the other side or doing this or nottyeathe one is respect. My team, like I know that as te Cro, if you're sellinginto the sales organization, I 'm the...

Holy Grail of the connection that youwant to get to. I totally get that, but I've also been on calls like with theVP of Seal practivty or sales at Tu is the decition maker, like I trust theirjudgment. This is their job and they kind of overly defer to me or kind ofBoly try to talk to me on a circumvent. My team wherei was like you're gettingthis Ro. I support my team, like you, should be pocusing, I'm making my teamwith good and you know making sure that you're helping them look better andletin get in their job like please respect them and then the fin thing isyou know this is. This is like cookie cutter answer, but I think it's so trueis no. My business right, referencing recent launches or announcementsspeculating what that might mean asking me now. I feel about something I don'tget me talking about what I think about all day. Lan is a good way to get myattention as well. I love it. Thank you very much and I could not agree withyou more on the executive foside of things. We spend a lot of time workingwith clients to get their teams to be able to speak executive. So when we,when we think about okay, so now, let's pretend somebody got you and they andall they want for men. Allison is one piece of advice. Call it ouracceleration inside all they want is the top nugget from you that they canabsorb assuming they actually do absorb it and listen to it. That you believe,is a piece of advice that would help them hit wor exceed their targets. Whatwould it be or Wy? Oh Gosh? I I so much amice chat, it's hard, O thingingyouknow Tsoithinkain. My answer might be kind of goes back to my inition when myearlier answers and it's cotter antuit, perhaps because it's not a skill, it'sa thing. That is, I go at to the growth mindset and investing in yourself as awhole person. I you know, like many of us really devoured, the the last dancedocumentary Bot, the Sheckof capables, and I'm not a sports person really, butI loved the documentary and one of the things that really set out to me wasbill. Jackson, the coach and Michael Jordan's talking about Fil Jackson,he's like man, this Puche Wen, the first coaches that came and reallycared about a cared about us as whole people right we weren't only talkingabout you, know how many hours Wewre logking at the gym, or how many freethirs we did. We were talking about native American spirituaality andburning stage and doing yoga or whatever it was Du, Hey, know, kind ofpushing them out to nother Comforto, and you know I almost ther simelhareanalogy I'll make here to bhe importance of focusing on diversity,inclusion and belonging at companies where you know that can come across aslike a fluffy. I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do type ofthing: growth minds at diversity. Neither are just the right thing to do.They do lead to better business outcomes, because I think that ifyou're pushing yourself in all aspects of your life and your you know, you'retaking care of yourself as the whole person you're investing yourself in thewhole person, all of you will grow and you will become better and more thanoneway. Outside of your ability to sell, I love it and and could not agree morealson. If a listeners interested in learn more about demand base wereworking or talking to you, where would you ideally like us to send them? I am,of course, I'm linked in like most people, but I'm also a big fan oftwitter, and I am, I can be found it simply at healtand ECA excellence. Ican't thank you enough for taking time it's been amazing having you on theshow today, thanks Xactmy Haveentoyd, it all right, everybody, you know thedrill. Does it for this episode, checks out a B, Tob, revizeccom sure theepisode with friends, Family Coworkers, let your kids listen to it, get thimaway from the screens for a little while till next time we bi sellingassociates with you all nothing, but the greatest success you've been listening to the btobrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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