The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

10. Does Your Sales Team Hurt Customer Success? w/ Nick Hart

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sometimes it’s a bad thing when the sales team closes the deal.

Customer experience often starts with the sales team promising something that the customer success team can’t deliver.

We asked Nick Hart, Customer Success Manager at Outreach.io (a sales engagement platform), how to make sure that the sales team and customer success team are all on the same page.

Salespeople frequently have the mentality of just getting deals across the finish line.

From a financial point of view, the sales team needs to be incentivized to prioritize prospects who are most likely to renew.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The Perils of Productivity
  • Customer Success Metrics
  • Where Sales Causes Problems
  • Who Should Send Marketing Materials?
  • Bring Your Executive to Work Day

All hop on calls woth our sales people,and I hear Hem, say things and say we should not be selling that that's isreally difficult to set up, if not impossible, to set up and that's justmaking sure th t there's good communication throughout theorganization. You're. Listening to the customerexperience podcast a podcast dedicated to helping today's growing businessesrestore a personal human touch throughout the customer life cycle, getready to hear how sales marketing and customer success experts surprise anddelight and never lose sign of their customers. Humanity here is your hostEefan Beaute, Hey! Welcome to this episode of thecustomer experience podcast thanks. So much for clicking play here, we'regoing to go deep on customer success with the CSM At outreached out Io NickHart two and a half year member of the team. There also a teech Seattle,organizer Baybe, we'll get into that as well. He's been working out as a CSM onthe market leading sales engagement platform nick welcome to podcast, eventhanks for having me excited to be here yeah. So I open this always with withthe same question and I'll ask it of you, because I want to know howdifferent people and different seats in the house see it differently. What toyou when I say customer experience, what does that mean to you? What is itconjure? Oh that's, a great question. The first thing I'll say is: itdefinitely sits outside of just the world of customer success. I reallythink it's the end and experience that a prospect or customer has ith yourorganization, so it starts from their first impression that they get withyour marketing teams that first conversation that they have with salesall the ways through their hopeful expansion, but also maybe potentialturn. So you really have to be thinking about that experience throughout thefull life cycle of pastomer. It's great. I think a lot of people want to justkind of lay it into the CAS. Well, we'll put that over there, but to yourpoint is truly end to end his tell me a little bit about ou outreach, dot io sothat, as we get into some of the the customer success metrics and how youmanage those so there's some context for talk a little bit about OutweagShaio, how you found them and what you guys are trying to do in the world.Yeah absolutely so I'. Reach is a sales engagement platform. So it's anew space that we're defining ourselves. But what we do is we help sales peopleengage with their prospects in a way. That's, I guess more efficient, moreeffective, telling them when they should be engaging with what types oftouchpoints at which, which times they don't have to do all of that manualwork. The data entry, all everything that was involved in the sales processbefore we're getting rid of alv that streamlining iss they can actually havemore hours in their day to actually sell awesome. So you're doing thingslike helping them manage cadences, track activity, look at theeffectiveness of activity, etce yeah, exactly so. What we're doing is we're.Taking your best performing rap and we're building a structure for whichthey're engaging with their prospects and then we're allowing you to repeatthat across everybody else on your team, so one of the driving functions or orways that we do. This is vio, what's called a sequence which sounds fairlysimple in concept, but it's amazing the organizations that I work with how muchstrategy they put behind this as they should, but s, essentially, what asequences is you predefine the series of touch points that it's going to taketo engage a prospect, and then you can put your prospects through that andthen you can start to measure what's working and what's not so you can see.Does it take seven touch points. Just take three mails three phone calls, ordoes it need maybe some linked in steps and social touches, all of that cand bemeasured throughout reach so that you can refine your process and become moreeffective over time. That's awesome, so you're helping sales professionals andsales teams improve their share of the customer experience for their customers.HEU got it yeah exactly. We got ta Wee Goin to find tune. Your craft make itas good as it possibly can be, so you...

...can have the best Messagan to engage.Is Your your prospects in the right way, and hopefully landom is custo awesome,so, as e CSM, I assume that you're working a lot off customer success.Metrics, give me a little bit of a framework for how you and your team doit there. You know how do you gather the right metrics? How do you knowthere'r the right metrixs? How do you put thim into play right? It's onething to have A. I know we all have dashfords in front of us off and onduring the day that how do you bring it to life and make it valuable talk alittle bit about the customer success metrics that you all use in kind ofprocess, maybe that other folks could use to get stronger in that area. Yeahgreat question the interesting thing about this is: This has been quite anevolution for us when I first started here over two and a half years ago,this concept of success metrixs was completely new. What we've learned overtime is that it's very easy and success to be suckd down into the weeds havereally like a support level conversation with our customers, butthat's not how you drive business value and that's the business value Thatgh alot of times your sales people are talking about and selling up front. Weneed to make sure that we actually deliver on that. The analogy that Ialways give is your sales people are selling the gym membership. Customersuccess is responsible for actually getting you in shape. So you need to know what what thoseendgoals are, but when you're thinking about how to aggragate these success, metrics onesthat actually matter to your customers, there's a couple different places thatyou can go. First ask your customers, they obviously or they hopefully knowwhat what they want. You can talk to your Hus for success. RUPS CSMS. Theyobviously talk to your customers every day and they know what types ofprojects that they're working on and then also ask your sales people they're,the ones that are selling the vision. They hopefully know. What's resonatingmost you're not going to get it perfect, the first the first time around we've,definitely put together success metrics then either we don't actually know howto measure them, which is its own problem or ones that customers don'tcare about. So it's a bit of a it's always a moving target D. it'salways evolving. What we found is really helpful. Is you start to curatethis list and then you can suggest Tham me the way I always explain this. Is Wetry to build a menu for our reps that they can then take when they go totheir ebrs executive business reviews with their customers and they can showtheir customers this menu of opctions? One thing that Weve we've learnedthrough this process is that a lot of times customers think theyknow what they want, but they don't actually know what they want or you'llcome into a media and they say oh yeah, we're so excited to discuss success,metrics and then we just ask them, and I've done this plenty of times when wewere first in this process. I'd say great. So what are some success?Metrics that you want to track and they go. I got nothing more calls. Think, okay, but that'sthere's more calls really going to move the need on your business and they goou. I don't know SOTHAT's why it's helpful to have a menu and be able tocome to them. Nd say here's some other things that we've been working on withother similar customers that we think would be relevant to you Le and thenlet them pick yeah. I love it. So you curate from customers, your fellow CSMSand sales people to generate a menu, I'm sure there's some kind of processof winnoing that down a little bit ecause. You don't want to zillionthings on the menu. So in this many concept you know what are a couplechoice items about how many items are on the many like it's someone's someonewants to do this process because, it seems very seems like something couldget down over the course of you know thirty days or so. If you put a couplepeople on it, have some conversations talk to some customers and some some offellow team members. You could generate a raw list like from that. What are welooking at? Are we looking at at a dozen or we looking it a hundred likeyeahgre? Might someone land after after round one yeah? So what I can tell youis what we've done and what's worked for US sure, and this is also a greatsegue into once you've built this list...

...you have, it has to be easy for yourreps to consume because just a static list somewhere they're not going toknow what to do with it or it's Gon, to be too much legwork to actuallyimplement it into their process that they won't. So what we've done is we'veactually just simply put together a epository of slides that our rebs canpick and choose from and use those in their evrs there's probably about Oh, I would say, probably twenty totwenty five success. Metrics in all, we wouldn't take twenty to twenty five toa meeting with Er with with a customer, so the Rep, to the best of theirknowledge, will grab for maybe five at most and put those into one one deckand say here's the metric that I think, makes most sense for your business,hopefully they're putting metrics in there that are relevant to the customerbased on the conversations ind, the relationship that they've built so farput four or five in there and we'll spend most of our EXECUTIV businessreview. On that one side, I got a a ninety minute meeting with a customerwill probably spend thirty to forty five minutes on. One swide only istalking through success metrics. So the successmetric being really like thisstrategic initiative that they're working on you can think of success,metrics in two different ways: There's the actual metric itself, but thenthere's what is this strategic outcome or goal that you're trying to achieve,which is really the two should be thought of in the same in the samelight so yeahso we h t, so we have this goal in concept, a qualitative goal,let's say, and then how do we know we got? There is the actual metricpart,the quant side of it, so that they I mean theyre, that's the number representation of theidea we want to achieve it'sexactly in yeah, and so the way that we lay thisout to customers is, they might say we want to have a higher conversion rateson prospecting emails great, the success metric there is going to be theactual conversion grade, but the goal who are trying to achieve is more effective prospecting messagingright, an', so that that really helps us kind of frame. What is the goal? Howare we going to measure against this goal and then, in that same motion weactually talk through what are the? What are the projects in order to getin order to get us there? So, by the time we leave that meeting WEU knowexactly how we're going to track it and how we're going to get there. I love it.I think one of the places where a lot of folks fall down on customerexperience in general is not having that explicit a conversation about whatdoes success? Look like for you cool here, a few different ways. We couldpaint it. Here's how we're going to measure I and then we're going to checkback in on it. You know I think a lot of I'de been in this position.beforeward. You know, I think I know what success looks like for him or her,but when it finally bears itself out, I was off the mark or we just saw it completely differently,or I thought they were successful, but they didn't, or vice versa, and so Ilove being really explicit ind having a menu to choose from and that you, asthe CS prior to going into the review, are narrowing that down so that therecan be a very targeted conversation around it. Any other best practiceshere around success, metrics review them often, so we use that well,do our quarterly usually quarterly check in with our with our customers,and then that becomes your project plan for the next couple quarters or acouple months. I should say, and then you review them at the next and justmake sure that you're tracking progress for sure that probably that probablybeen my big one- we're in we're in the motion right now of doing a better jobof centralizing, this and tracking it internally and figuring out whichcustomers actually have defined, set success metrics and how are wemeasuring against those? That's kind of a work in progress for it, but yeahmost of all, as you define these, make them easy for your reps to use and thentrack them on going it's excellent. Now you came a little bit from the world ofsales. You've had some sales roles in...

...the past, in fact Youw're an outreachecustomer before he became an outreached team member talk about that transition,but then also speak to this is I want to cover this a few different ways, having been a salesperson and havingbeen a customer success professional? What do you wish more sales people knewabout the CS function either in the context of customer experience, Yourejust in general, so again talk a little bit out of your transition from salesto cs, and what do you wish more sales people knew now that you've worked bothsides of the fence yeah Ho I love. I love that question. This is a. Thereare plenty of nights that I stayed up or sleepless nights. I should say debating whether I was making the rightdecision and and still to this day I often feel like I have to put mysales calp back on. I do miss that side of the house a little bit, but for methe decision to move over to sales is because I wanted to have more strategicconversations with customers, and I I wanted to be a little more technical. I thinkthat was part of it as well, but Eah just working being able to upplobbl theconversation, the type of person that I was that I was speaking with in thepath for me to be able to do that was quicker honestly through CustomerSuccess N. I know problem solvings a lot of what you do in in sales as well,but with customer success. I got to see that further through which was fun forme. I guess that there's one thing well, maybe there's a couple things. Let'ssee, let's see how many come to mind for my sales counterparts that I wish Iwish that they knew, or just that I wish I knew when I was in sales. Firstis: If you cut any corners, it doesn't just disappear. Customers.Customer success is going to have to pick that up. So if you sell a deal,that's that you maybe overpromising a little bit. It's not that once you get it over theline that that problem just disappears. It means that somebody else in yourorganization is going to have to pick up this lack on that. That's that'sgenerally cust for success. t then the other is at least I know this is thecase for our business, but really in the SASS world. Your cak payback periodis generally for most startups is more than it more than one year. So I knowwhen I was a salesperson. There is always that mentality of like, if I canjust get this thing across the line, will be good to go. Eeeverythingeverything is smooth sailing from here and from a business standpoint. It'snot really the case, because if you're overselling deals and they churn outafter the first year, he most likely losing money on those customers. Sofrom financial standpoint it just it makes sense to really look big pictureand try not to cut corners so yeah. I love that I could feel heads nodding tobu from collectively the listeners of the of the show wher in CSreecollectively nodting as you're like. If you got Ta, if someone cuts a cornerup front someone's got to clean it up in the end, there's there's no hidinglike that bill will come do and ces tends to have to pay that bill. I couldyan see a lot of people getting behind that idea. Yeah and one thing I willthrow in there to is that it was really difficult for me in the sales world toknow these things, because I didn't have the visibility that I wish. I hadinto customer successn Ofer any organizations out there that arenotting their head saying yeah. We completely agree. You can't completelyblame sales dreps if they're left out of the loop, so I don't whether it's amonthly meeting or a spreadsheet or review make sure that when customers doturn out or when there's problems that you're seen in success Han that getsback over to sales that they know not to sell those deals. Alsometimes hop onsales. No organization is perfect. When it comes to this. I willall Hav oncalls of our sales people, and I hear them say things and say we should notbe selling that that's is really difficult to set up, if not impossible,to set up, as that's just making sure t, there's good communication throughoutthe organization getting back to those sales, people, job yeah, that's killer, it's so good,it's! So it's so funny how much can be...

Resi ICAN. I can see you know a coupleCS, people sitting over at lunch and you know Gosh. I wish they would stopAba Bla Blah Lah. You know like the like that kind of like end. Likewise,on the sale side, they don't understand the pressure were under. They don'tknow how hard it is to takit quota and just how much just simple exposure Imean you just said just better communication throughout the OritiolOrganization. How much just basic exposure really washes out a lot of thea lot of the problems, an weaknesses, switching it up a little bit marketingfor the marketers listening. What does ha marketer need to know about Cs thatheor she probably doesn't know. I can speak in terms of customer marketing acouple things that we've learned is we love to have resources and assetsand communication to go out to our customers. It needs to be really easyto actually get out there and what I mean by that is. We have in ourorganization our product marketing team. Every time we release a new feature, annot every feature, but the bigger release. is we like to push it throughcustomer success books as we find that our engagement and emails comingdirectly from our success, reps versus sending it out through our marketingAunomation, is drastically higher? In fact, little shamewas plug here we useour own our own system out reach. In order to do this, where our average,let me think there, our average open rate on an email from cucoming from customersuccess, is like forty five clus percent, whereas if youware to send it through marketing auimation, your open rate would beprobably in the single digits, maybe into the teens. So we find it's a lotmore effective now, where I'm going with. This is the only way that you canask her success traps to do this. If you is, if you make it really easy forthem to communicate, so you have to either draft the email that the repsare going to send, or in our case we draft an entire and entire sequence,which is several emails, and all of the rebs will have their list of customersthat they want to send it to. So it's really just a couple clicks to get thatcommunication out there. So I guess the high level theme there is marketing. Ifyou want success to push anything to their customers, you have to make itdead simple for them to do. I love it so for us, you know we work, we do havea ton of larger accounts, but we also have a even more very small Accountan,so it wouldn't be practical to do that, but I can think of you know severalhundred accounts of ours that we should definitely put into play. What youprescribed there, which is it, builds a relationship that creates anotheropportunity to get back in front of the customer with a message of value.Instead of you know a a is everything: okay, it's like hey. You know, here'smore value that we're building on to your account. You know, if you have anyquestions, let me no, it just opens. It gives people a reason to get back infront of a customer which is awesome. I wrote that one down and started. I'mwriting a lot of stuff down, but I wrote that one down and started becauseI'm going to pitch that one internally last one in the series of questionsabout what should people understand a little bit better about about CS, speakto the executives like the vpof engineering or a VPA product or CEO or somebody else that isn't in thegots, probably hasn't been in the guts of a customer success. Customer SupportCustomer Care Organization. What would be helpful for them to know about thecustomer success function? You know that is a good question. Nothing on honestly! Nothing reallycomes to mind. That's this a real standout! I guess the one that that Ifound has been really valuable internally. That I think we do well isjust bring your executives to costomer meetings. We do this really well. Wehave for all of our accounts. We have. What do we call it? An executivesponsor outreach executive sponsor so for all of our all of at least all ourstrategic accounts. So probably our top hundred two hundred accounts, we have adesignated assigned executive on our...

...team. We try to align an executive whoeither like are engineering. DP engineering would probably be allignedto one of our customers who sells a product that would resonate with dpieceof engineering, so you can help thod report that way and I'd say as you're,going around and doing onsites with these customers or even if they're, asmaller customer and they don't warrant an onsit, even an email introduction toone of your executives. We found that to be hugely hugely successful. It alsohelps you uplevel the conversation within an organizaation a lot of times.You can spend your entire day having conversations at least in the successworld. Talking with your ops and enablements team H, those are theprimary personas who administrat our tool by Briin in our executives. It'sdone wonders for us to Uplobe that conversation to the executive, love onour customer side. That's killer. It also lets the customer know howimportant they are like if, if an executive from the company showing upit, just a sign another sign that I care. It also keeps the executive teamin touch with what's really happening out in the field. So, just anothergreat tip, hey before we get to the way. I always like to close the show you'vespent time with one of the brands that's regarded as one of the mostexcellent in terms of customer experience that companies Nordstrim, Ibelieve, they're PA based up in the Pacific northwest as you are, so youspent a little bit of time there. What did you learn in your time therelike? How are you on boarded or tranersors there, something that youtook away from that just because it's such a legendary brand from the waythat they treat their customers? What was that ex? Now? We are again goingback about a decade, so you know bring forward what you can, but I just saw that on your on your linkedin profile. I thought you know nords from his worth a mention yeah, it'sfunny. I think I can sum this up in one sentence really and this this stuckwith me and my time there they said we will not fire. You go everybodyfirst off, everybody knows. Nordstrom has one of the most exceptional returnpolicies out there, and that just says something about their custer experience,and I remember one quote that somebody said to me was: you will not get firedfor doing a bad return, but you may get fired if you don't return, somethingit's not just it just days at. You always put the customer first and wewould. Rather, we would rather take the loss and take a return that maybe weshouldn't have, or maybe it's going, no hurt our business a little bit, but ifit helps our brand and our makes our customer experience better than do it,so that one that one really stuck with me, I think that just kind of emulatesthe way that they think about customer experience. It's so good, because it'sall about repeat and referral and and that's the kind of thing just so manystories come out of that as a policy when you train everyone on the way inthe door that that's how we treat people you just giving customers assoon as they experience this easy ways to talk about the brand in the company,Hey here on the podcast and at Bombam, where I work we're all aboutrelationships. It's our number one core value. So I like to give you the chanceto think or mention someone who's been really important or valuable in yourwork or in your life and in a company that you personally have experiencedexcellent customer care, yeah, absolutely there's actually two peoplethat come to mind. The first is my former SBP of of revenue, and thatwould be Matmillen and e. One thing that I learned from him that reallystuck with me is the the power of being prompt and one story inparticular that stands out. We were doing whoas, it t was a customer eventover on the East Coast and we were catching an early flight back. The nextmorning- and we had been out with customers and doing the whining anddining thing and having a great time and if there are any morning to have anexcuse to meet in the lobby at maybe a few minutes after the time that we had,we had specified that would have been the morning to do so and so Matt'scredit every time we're supposed to be...

...somewhere. He was he's always fifteenminutes early always, and this this morning was no exception. H, t that'll,stick with me forevery. He taught me the power of being prompt and I'vedefinitely tried to take more of that into my life. Intead of I hid a biginclonse, the other, the other person that comes to mind. That's had a hugeinfluence on me is. I haven't talked to her in probablyfive or six years, the Lory flory small. When I back in my Jama days, I rememberthis is like my first real career job and it was an a tech company. It wasreally cool and et had the whole laidback lifestyle or culture with thepegs and the kegs in the Brak Room and they had the Papasha and they had theping pong, and I was fully embracing this this lifestyle, as you could say-and I remember for pulling me aside and saying anic- I know how hard you work, but noteverybody at this organization does, and you should really know thatappearances are our reality and I see you playing Ping Pong and Papa shotwith your coworkers and it's great that we have this culture here, but justdon't forget for those other people who may not work with you and as CloseMenat relationship that I do, they may not realize how Hardoa worker you are.That's, that's really stress stuck with me Throughou, my cur, and maybe that itmight even be the reason I'm the guy, that is, coins is wearing the tie everyday to work but yeah. So those those two have definitely stuckstuck with meover my career, it's good stuff and great tips there to talk a little bitabout a company that you really respect for the way that they have treated you could be, it could be a restaurant, itcould be a brand, it could be a corner, neighborhood shop. I've had I've hadall kinds of responses to this one and they're all very interestedg could besoftware that you use. Oh, that is a great question. Oh youknow, who's does a really good job at this is Alaska Airlines, God they'vegot just a great customer experience. I've I fly almost exclusively with themnow and any opportunity that that I have to sing their praises. I do, Ithink, the way that they do customer service is phenomenal. The fact thatyou can still pick up the phone and call somebody and answer, but onelittle thing that they do that has always stuck with me as they say whentheir customers support answers, the phone they say this is nick in Seattle,Washington and it just gives you it just humanizes the person that you'retalking to and gives you some some sort of ice breaker to talk about. So Ithink they do a really great job with customer experience, it's cool! Thankyou so much for a taking the opportunity to prop them up and yourinformer coworkers who, whose lessons still stick with you today. I alwaysenjoy those questions, because I always get great answers. Like Yours, hey nick,your time has been so valuable to me. I hope listeners have enjoyed it to.Thank you so much for doing it. If someone wants to connect with you orwithout reach, what are a couple ways they might do that yeah linked in is agreat way. You can shoot me an email specifically if you want it's nickdothart atd outreached on IO check out our website at outreach got io yeah.This should be all all of the necessary channels you want to get in touch withUS awesome. Thank you. So much for your time. Thank you so much for yourinsights. I really enjoyed it yeah. Thank you, youthen. Thanks for havingme, you are listening to the customerexperience podcast, no matter your role in delivering value and servingcustomers. You're intrusting, some of your most important and valuablemessages to faceless digital communication. You can do betterrehumonize. The experience by getting face to face through simple personalvideos, learn more and get started. Free at Bombomcom. You've beenlistening to the customer experience podcast to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visitvombomcom. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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