Crazy Makers, Trust Busters, and How Customers Get Even

Much of today’s discussion on B2B customer experience focuses on interactions.  What is the buyer doing? What content are they interacting with and where? How can sales engage with the buyer earlier?  While understanding the specific actions and motivations of buyers is important to delivering a valued lifetime customer experience, it is not everything.... Read the full article on Forbes.

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.

Become Customer-Centric in 4 Steps

There's a lot of discussion in marketing communities about how important the customer is and the role of customer experience programs, but few offer a prescriptive pathway to improving customer centricity; Probably because the exact steps that need to be taken are not as obvious as it is in other aspects of business. The CEO may know that their corporate culture needs to be adjusted to focus more on the customer, instead of internal politics, but not what steps to take to achieve a cultural transition. One of the ways New Business Strategies differs from other customer experience and business strategy consultancies is our concrete methodology for consistently aligning organizations with their buyers with pre-built programs we have implemented before. Everything about our methodology is based on our Sellers' Compass, which provides a framework to map the journey buyers go through in their lifecycle as a prospect and customer. Clients that understand what influences a buyer's decision to buy, renew and evangelize their products develop a North star that guides their path to aligning with the customer's decisions that contribute to revenue. I'm happy to announce today that we have finally committed our methodology to paper in a new whitepaper that serves as the industry's first actionable, how-to for building a customer-centric organization. Read the whitepaper at: http://www.newbizs.com/resource-library/papers-stories-webinars/experience-to-revenue-white-paper/

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.

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.

Chief Revenue Officer: A Failed Experiment or an Evolutionary Step?

The clash between marketing and sales departments has fostered the growing popularity of a new position – the Chief Revenue Officer – to bring the finger-pointing under wraps and align the two functions under shared revenue goals.   In theory, the CRO role makes sense. It allows the CEO to delegate marketing and sales alignment to someone with experience under both functions to optimize the teams and manage differing charters, personalities and performance metrics. Many Chief Executive Officers have risen through the sales ranks. They may not fully understand the charter of marketing and are prone to take sales’ side in arguments, instead of creating an environment for collaboration.   In the best of cases, Chief Revenue Officers have gotten sales and marketing to stop blaming each other for lost revenue opportunities and created a customer-focused attitude, aligning both departments with customers rather than lead numbers and superficial metrics.   But in most cases CROs have made matters worse. Instead of leading both functions to a shared, common-sense vision of serving the customer, they inevitably play mediator between two warring sides. Like the CEOs before them, the favor of the CRO is won by sales, who has a more direct way of measuring their influence on revenues. The CRO role has developed into giving sales a seat at the C-suite – almost like a Chief Sales Officer.   The CRO is not dead however, it is an experiment and an intermediary step to the Chief Customer Officer position. As progressive companies realize that it’s more effective to focus on the customer experience, relationship, satisfaction and loyalty that drives revenues than on the numbers themselves, Chief Revenue Officers will inevitably become Chief Customer Officers.   Most Fortune 100 companies are at some stage of the transformation to a customer-centric organization. From strategic planning to job description and performance metrics, enterprises are retooling themselves to align with customer expectations. In this transformation, it’s natural for CROs to move into the position of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) that manages the lifecycle of the customer experience from marketing, to sales and support.   Only by stitching together these functions into a cohesive fabric can companies consistently deliver experiences and nimbly change in lock step with their customers.

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.

4 Ways Verizon Is Trying To Get Rid of Me

I hang on to this myth that Verizon really does want me as a customer. The reality is that Verizon doesn’t care; they know I’m not going anywhere for two years. For many buyers the decision to change vendors happens long before the product or service is delivered or even purchased. Sellers don’t see the signs because they focus on historical patterns; not on the buyers’ experience. By not understanding how the buyers’ journey traverses social and physical worlds and how different interactions impact trust and credibility, sellers inadvertently drive their own churn. There are four experience disruptors that drive churn..... Read the complete post on Forbes.