Lithium Takes a Stand on Customer Experience Hype

The echo chamber on customer experience is so loud it almost drowns out any creative thought you might have floating in your head. It’s coming from all corners with everyone jumping on the bandwagon.  As companies grapple with what it means, if it’s relevant for them and how the heck to get started, B2B technology vendors are circling like beasts eyeing a herd on the savannah..... Read the full article on Forbes.

Sales and Marketing Alignment Begins With Your Customer

50 percent of B2B sales staff keep missing their quotas. It’s a problem as old as business itself.  The culprit, according to sales, is the quality and volume of leads from marketing. The marketing department may be quick to snap back that sales is ignoring their leads or not trying hard enough to close them.  When the squabbling causes the revenue pipeline to become even more unpredictable, that gets the CEO’s attention..... Read the full article on Forbes.

Should Sales Own Customer Experience?

Closing deals and driving revenue has been at the top of the agenda since the dawn of commerce. However, the sense of urgency and bewilderment about how to grow a company is at an all time high. As I recently blogged,experiments with Chief Revenue Officers have largely failed  with the burden for revenue falling, historically, most heavily on sales, even if sometimes unfairly...... Read the full article on Forbes.

Customer-Centric Messaging JIT for Sales Kick-Off

It’s three weeks before annual Sales Kick Off event and there’s grumbling in the hallways about marketing’s messaging. It just doesn’t seem to work and wouldn’t it be nice if more effective messaging could be shared with the sales team at Kick Off. It doesn’t really matter if the conclusion that the current messaging is wrong was reached by sales, marketing or management. L ikewise, arguing that the messaging is correct is both fruitless and a political blunder... Read the full article on Forbes.

Why Customer Loyalty Is Hard

Wrapping your business around the customer has been a core business principle since before Adam Smith wrote the “Wealth of Nations” in 1776. Yet every year, there are new technologies, theories, and business models that promise to get a company closer to its customer, as if customer alignment had just been discovered for the first time. Do we really need new-fangled ways of solving the problem, when many companies have performed well at customer alignment for centuries?... Read the full article on Forbes.  

14 Articles Every CMO Should Read

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post “The Myth that Marketing Automation Reveals Buyers’ Journeys” that explained there was increasing consensus among analysts, academics and consultants about changes in the buyer’s journey and the mandate for vendors to adapt to those changes in order to grow. Consolidating the research in one place demonstrates the flood of voices urging vendors to align with the customer, break down silos and bridge marketing and sales departments. Below is a collection of reading materials every marketing executive should sift through. Customer Centricity • A study by Booz & Company found that companies that offered valuable customization in a cost-effective way outperformed their peers in revenue growth two-to-one and had profit margins 5 to 10 percent higher than competitors. • A Forrester report on content marketing emphasized that the right content “requires a deep understanding of the buyers, their information needs, and their content sourcing preferences.” • An article in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management recommends an approach where “all business processes and all individuals are focused on identifying and meeting the needs of the customer.“ • Forrester has published a wealth of research aligned with the recommendations we give at New Business Strategies, including reports like “Transform To An Experience-Driven Organization” and “Become Customer-Centric, Service-Focused, And Automated.” • Forrester analyst Ronald Rogowski wrote a post urging readers to improve the digital customer experience. Forrester has also written reports about webinars, social media and other aspects of marketing and how to align them with the buyer’s journey. Marketing & sales alignmentHubSpot wrote a good post about overcoming the blame game between marketing and sales with open communication and more accountability. • One of my own blogs last year offers three metrics to measure the degree of sales and marketing alignment within your organization. • A report by Oracle says the friction between marketing and sales has gotten “cliché” and found that a lack of communication was at its heart. • Research by CSO Insights and IDC have identified four problems with a lack of marketing and sales alignment: longer sales cycles, missed quotas, lower productivity and less sales efficiency. (source) • A study by The Red Herring found that sales and marketing alignment was ranked a nine or ten on an importance scale of 10. (source) Breaking down silos • According to an article in HBR, executives identify silos as the top inhibitor of innovation, but silos can only be overcome if executives can embrace change. • Businessweek provided an overview of silos and some common approaches to overcoming them. • Forrester’s 2012 Tech Marketing Planning Guidance noted that marketing hasn’t made the drastic changes that are needed, because each year’s plan is based on last year’s marketing strategy. • IBM’s 2012 State of Marketing Survey called upon marketers to expand our role in the customer experience and break down silos.

Change or Die

We’re waking up from a daze that started when marketing results became increasingly unreliable and change whacked us in the head and flipped decades of established marketing and sales practices upside-down. Lori Wizdo also noted that buyers expect a personal touch yet sales departments are still pushing products instead of building relationships. As a result 50 percent of sales don’t meet their quotas and only three percent of customers feel their interactions with sales are meaningful.... Read the complete post on Forbes.

7 Tips of the Chief Customer Officer

The transition to a customer-centric organization will transform many Chief Revenue Officers into Chief Customer Officers. As organizations realize that the customer experience and relationship is the asset that leads to revenues, CROs will shift focus from the revenues themselves, to the customers that deliver it. For CROs making this transition, it may feel like unfamiliar territory..... Read the complete post on Forbes.

Stop Kicking the Customer Loyalty “Can”

The adage says that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Nevertheless, companies routinely don’t focus on “the customer” or on how the relationship is going. It’s often not until the customer complains or a quarter-end sales opportunity is identified that the state of the relationship is investigated..... Read the complete post on Forbes.

Is Your 2013 Planning a Budget Battle? Try Something New – Preference Marketing

It’s budget season for most companies and a key part of the process is balancing revenue targets with investment levels. We all know how the story plays out; it’s always a fight leaving all involved bruised and sore with a good amount of lost trust. Oddly, people wonder why Sales and Marketing don’t get along? The irony is that both Sales and Marketing are wrong..... Read the complete post on Forbes.