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.

Customer Experience: Is It the Chicken or Egg?

Companies are starting to see the light. They are embracing the principles that Apple, Google, and Philips Electronics have been advocating for a long time – differentiate yourself based on the experience you deliver to customers; not on the products you sell. According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. But only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. These statistics highlight the magnitude of the growth opportunity before us. What if you just increased the percentage of consistently happy customers by 5%?.... 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.  

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.

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.

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.