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

I'll hop on calls of our salespeople and I hear them say things and say we should not be selling that. That's really difficult to set up, if not impossible to set up,and that's just making sure that there's good communication throughout the organization. You're listeningto the customer experience podcast, a podcast dedicated to helping today's growing businesses restorea personal human touch throughout the customer life cycle. Get ready to hear howsales, marketing and customer success experts surprise and delight and never lose sign oftheir customers humanity. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Hey, welcome tothis episode of the Customer Experience Podcast. Thanks so much for clicking play.Here we're going to go deep on customer success with the CSM At outreached out. I Oh Nick Hart, two and a half year member of the team. They're also a tech Seattle organizer. Maybe we'll get into that as well. He's been working at as a CSM on the market leading sales engagement platform. Nick, welcome to podcast even thanks for having me excited to be here. Yeah, so I open this always with with the same question and I'llask it of you because I want to know how different people in different seatsin the house see it differently. What to you, when I say customerexperience, does that mean to you? What does it conjure? Oh,that's a great question. The first thing I'll say is it definitely sits outsideof just the world of customer success. I really think it's the end toend experience dance that a prospect or customer has with your organization. So itstarts from their first impression that they get with your marketing team to that firstconversation that they have with sales, all the ways through their hopeful expansion butalso maybe potential turn. So you really have to be thinking about that experiencethroughout the full life cycle of customer it's Great. I think a lot ofpeople want to just kind of lay it into the C as well. We'llput that over there, but, to you pointed, is truly end toend this tell me a little bit about outreach, dot Ioh so that aswe get into some of the customer success metrics and how you manage those,so there's some context for it. Talk a little bit about outreach. Ioh how you found them and which you guys are trying to do in theworld. Yeah, absolutely. So outreach is a sales engagement platform. Soit's a new space that we we're defining ourselves. But what we do iswe help sales people engage with their prospects in a way that's, I guess, more efficient, more effective, telling them when they should be engaging withwhat types of touch points at which which times. They don't have to doall of that manual work, the data entree, all everything that was involvedin the sales process before. We're getting rid of all of that, streamliningit so they can actually have more hours in their data actually sell. Awesome. So you're doing things like helping them manage cadences, track activity, lookat the effectiveness of activity, etc. Yeah, exactly. So what we'redoing is we're taking your best performing rep and we're building a structure for whichthey're engaging with their prospects and then we're allowing you to repeat that across everybodyelse on your team. So one of the driving functions or or ways thatwe do this is via what's called a sequence, which sounds fairly simple andconcept but it's amazing the organizations that I work with how much strategy they putbehind this, as they should, but it is essentially what a sequence isis you predefine the series of touch points that it's going to take to engagea prospect and then you can put your prospects through that and then you canstart to measure what's working and what's not, so you can see, does ittake seven touch points, does it take three emails, three phone calls, or does it need maybe some linkedin steps and social touches? All ofthat can be measured through outreach so that you can refine your process and becomemore effective over time. That's awesome. So you're helping sales professionals and salesteams improve their share of the customer experience for their customers. You got it. Yeah, exactly, we gotta. We're going to fine tune your craft, make it as good as it possibly...

...can be so you can have thebest messaging to engage with your your prospects in the right way and hopefully landom'scustomer. Awesome. So is a CSM. I assume that you're working a lotoff customer success metrics. Give me a little bit of a framework forhow you and your team do it there. You know, how do you gatherthe right metrics. How do you know they're the right metrics? Howdo you put them into play right it's one thing to have a I knowwe all have dashboards in front of us off and on during the day,but how do you bring it to life and make it valuable? Talk alittle bit about the customer success metrics that you all use and kind of aprocess maybe that other folks could use to get stronger in that area. Yeah, great question. The interesting thing about this is this has been quite anevolution for us. When I first started here over two and a half yearsago, this concept of success metrics was completely new. What we've learned overtime is that it's very easy and success to be sucked down into the weedshave a really like a support level conversation with our customers, but that's nothow you drive business value, and that's the business value that a lot oftimes your sales people are talking about and selling up front. We need tomake sure that we actually deliver on that. The analogy that I always gives yoursalespeople are selling the gym membership. Customer success is responsible for actually gettingyou in shape. So you need to know what what those end goals are. But when you're thinking about how to aggregate these success metrics, ones thatactually matter to your customers, there's a couple different places that you can go. First, ask your customers. They obviously, or they hopefully know whatwhat they want. You can talk to your customer success reps, CSM's.They obviously talk to your customers every day and they know what types of projectsthat they're working on. And then also ask your sales people. They're theones that are selling the vision. They hopefully know what's resonating most. You'renot going to get it perfect the first the first time around we've definitely puttogether success metrics that either we don't actually know how to measure them, whichis its own problem, or ones that customers don't care about. So it'sa bit of a it's always a moving target, it's always evolving. Whatwe found is really helpful is you start to curate this list and then youcan suggest them. The way I always explain this as we try to builda menu for our reps that they can then take when they go to theirebrs, executive business reviews with with their customers, and they can show theircustomers this menu of options. One thing that we've we've learned through this processis that a lot of times customers think they know what they want but theydon't actually know what they want. Are you'll come into a meeting and theysay, Oh yeah, we're so excited to discuss success metrics, and thenwe just ask them, and I've done this plenty of times when we werefirst in this process, I'd say great, so what are some success metrics thatyou want to track? And they go I got nothing. More calls. Okay, but that's is more calls really going to move the need onyour business? And they go on, I don't know. So that's whyit's helpful to have a menu and be able to come to them and sayhere's some other things that we've been working on with other similar customers that wethink would be relevant to you and let and then let them pick. Yeah, I love it. So you curate from customers, your fellow CSMS andsalespeople to generate a menu. I'm sure there's some kind of process of winningthat down a little bit, because you don't want to zillion things on themenu. So in this many concept apt 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 you could getdowne over the course of, you know, thirty days or so. If youput a couple people on it, have some conversations, talk to somecustomers and some some fellow team members, you could generate a raw list.Like from that. What are we looking at? Are we looking at ita dozen or we looking at a hundred, like, yeah, great, Qumight someone land after after round one? Yeah. So what I can tellyou is what we've done and what's worked for us. Sure, andthis is also a great segue into once...

...you've built this list you have,it has to be easy for your reps to consume, because just a staticlist somewhere, they're not going to know what to do with it or it'sgoing to be too much leg work to actually implement it into their process thatthey won't. So what we've done is we've actually just simply put together arepository of slides that our reps can pick and choose from and use those intheir ebrs. There's probably about, oh, I would say probably two Thousan twohundred and twenty five success metrics in all. We wouldn't take twenty totwenty five to a meeting with her, with with a customer. So theREP to the best of their knowledge, will grab for maybe five at mostand put those into one one deck and say here's the metric that I thinkmakes most sense for your business. Hopefully they're putting metrics in there that arerelevant to the customer based on the conversations and the relationship that they built sofar. Put Four or five in there and will spend most of our executivebusiness review on that one slide. I got a a ninety minute meeting witha customer. Will probably spend thirty to forty five minutes on one slide onlyis talking through success metrics. So the success metric being really like this strategicinitiative that they're working on. You can think of success metrics and in twodifferent ways. There's the actual metric itself, but then there's what is the strategicoutcome or goal that you're trying to achieve, which is really the twoshould be thought of in the same in the same light. So yeah,so we so we have this goal in concept, a qualitative goal, let'ssay, and then how do we know we got there? Is the actualmetric part, the quant side of it. So they mean they're that's the numberrepresentation of the idea we want to achieve. It's exactly it. Yeah, and so the way that we lay this out to customers, as theymight say, we want to have a higher conversion rates on prospecting emails.Great, the success metric there is going to be the actual conversion rate,but the goal who are trying to achieve is more effective prospecting messaging, right, and so that really helps us kind of frame what is the goal,how are we going to measure against this goal? And then, in thatsame motion, we actually talk through what are the what are the projects inorder to get in order to get us there, so by the time weleave that meeting you know exactly how we're going to track it and how we'regoing to get there. I love it. I think one of the places wherea lot of folks fall down on customer experience in general is not havingthat explicit a conversation about what does success look like for you? Cool?Here are a few different ways we could paint it. Here's how we're goingto measure it, and then we're going to check back in on it.You know, I think a lot of I've been in this position before where, you know, I think I know what success looks like for him orher, but when it finally bears itself out, I was off the markor we just saw it completely differently, or I thought they were successful butthey didn't, or vice versa, and so I love being really explicit andhaving a menu to choose from and that you, as the CSM, priorto going into the review, are narrowing that down so that there can bea very targeted conversation around it. Any other best practices here around success metrics? Review them often, so we use that. Will do our quarterly,usually quarterly, check in with our with our customers, and then that becomesyour project plan for the next couple quarters, or a couple months, I shouldsay, and then you review them at the next and just make surethat you're tracking progress for sure. That probably that probably my big one.We're in we're in the motion right now of doing a better job of centralizingthis and tracking it internally and figuring out which customers actually have defined set successmetrics and how are we measuring against those? That's kind of a work in progressfor it. But yeah, most of all, as you to findthese make am easy for your reps to use and then track them ongoing.It's excellent. Now you came a little bit from the world of sales.You've had some sales roles in the past.

In fact, you are an outreachcustomer before he became an outreach team member. Talk about that transition,but then also speak to this is I want to cover this a few differentways. Having been a salesperson and having been a customer success professional, whatdo you wish more salespeople knew about the CS function, either in the contextof customer experience or just in general? So again, talk a little bitabout your transition from sales to see us, and what do you wish more salespeopleknew now that you've worked both sides of the fence? Yeah, Ilove I love that question. This isn't there are plenty of nights that Istayed up, or a sleepless nights I should say, debating whether I wasmaking the right decision and and still to this day, I I often feellike I have to put my sales calf back on. I do miss thatside of the house a little bit. But for me the decision to moveover to sales is because I wanted to have more strategic conversations with customers andI wanted to be a little more technical. I think that was part of itas well. But yeah, just working, being able to unplow allthe conversation, the type of person that I was, that I was speakingwith in the path for me to be able to do that was quicker,honestly, through customer success. I know problem solvings a lot of what youdo in in sales as well, but with customer success I got to seethat further through, which was fun for me. I guess there's one thing, well, maybe there's a couple things. Let's see. Let's see how manycome to mind for my sales counterpart, is that I wish, I wishthat they knew, or just that I wish I knew when I wasin sales. First is if you cut any corners, it doesn't just disappearcustomers, customer success is going to have to pick that up. So ifyou sell a deal that that you're maybe over promising in a little bit,it's not that. Once you get it over the line of that that problemjust disappears. It means that somebody else in your organization is going to haveto pick up the slack on that. That's that's generally customer success. Andthen the other is at least I know this is the case for our business, but really in the SASS world, your CAC payback period is generally formost startups, is more than it more than one year. So I knowwhen I was a salesperson there is always that mentality of like, if Ican just get this thing across the line, will be good to go every everything, everything is smooth saling from here. And from a business standpoint it's notreally the case, because if you're overselling deals and they churn out afterthe first year, you're most likely losing money on on those customers. Sofrom a financial standpoint it just makes sense to really look big picture and trynot to cut corners. So yeah, I love that. I could feelheads nodding to by from collectively the listeners of of the show who are andsee us were collectively nodding. He's you're like if you got it. Ifsomeone cuts a corner up front, someone's got to clean it up in theend. There's there's no hiding like the bill will come do and see ustends to have to pay that bill. I coulds you see a lot ofpeople getting behind that idea. Yeah, and one thing I will throw inthere too 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 had intocustomer sixtens. For any organizations out there that are not in their heads sayingyeah, we completely agree, you can't completely blame sales reps if they're leftout of the loop. So I don't whether it's a monthly meeting or aspreadsheet or review, make sure that when customers do turn out or when there'sproblems that you're seeing in success, that that gets back over to sales,that they know not to sell those deals. All sometimes hop on sales. Noorganization is perfect when it comes to this. I will all hop oncalls of our sales people and I hear them say things and say we shouldnot be selling that. That's it's really difficult to set up, if notimpossible to set up, and that's just making sure that there's good communication throughoutthe organization. Getting back to those sales people. So job. Yeah,that's killer. It's so good, it's...

...so it's so funny. How muchcan be resuct second I can see, you know, couple C s peoplesitting over at lunch and, you know, cash. I wish they would stepup a the you know, like they like that kind of like.And likewise, on the sale side. They don't understand the pressure we're under. They don't know how hard is to take quota. And just how muchjust simple exposure, I mean you just said just better communication throughout the orientationorganization. How much just basic exposure really washes out a lot of the alot of the problems of weaknesses. Switching it up a little bit, marketingfor the marketers listening. What does a marketer need to know about cs thathe or she probably doesn't know? I could speak in terms of customer marketing. A couple 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 easy toactually get out there, and what I mean by that is we havein our organization are our product marketing team. Every time we release a new feature, and not every feature, but the bigger releases. We like topush it through customer success because as we find that our engagement and emails comingdirectly from our success reps versus sending it out through our marketing automation is drasticallyhigher. In fact, little shameless plug here, we use our own ourown system outreach in order to do this. Where our average, we think you'reare average open rate on an email from coming from customer success is likeforty five plus percent, whereas if you were to send it through marketing automation, your open rate would be probably in the single digits, maybe into theteens. So we find it's a lot more effective. Now where I'm goingwith this is the only the way that you can ask your success reps todo this, if you is if you make it really easy for them tocommunicate. So you have to either draft the email that the reps are goingto send or, in our case, we draft an entire and entire sequence, which is several emails, and all of the reps will have their listof customers that they want to send it to. So it's really just acouple clicks to get that communication out there. So I guess the high level themethere is marketing. If you want success to push anything to their customers, you have to make it dead simple for them to do I love it. So for us, you know we work, we do have a tonof larger accounts, but we also have a even more very small accounts andso wouldn't be practical to do that. But I can think of, youknow, several hundred accounts of ours that we should definitely put into play whatyou prescribe there, which is it builds the relationship. That creates another opportunityto get back in front of the customer with a message of value. Insteadof, you know, a he is everything okay, it's like hey,you know, here's more value that we're building onto your account. You know, if you have any questions, let me know. It just open givespeople a reason to get back in front of a customer, which is awesome. I wrote that one down and started I'm writing a lot of stuff down, but I wrote that one down and start it because I'm going to pitchthat one internally. Last one in the series of questions about what should peopleunderstand a little bit better about about CS? Speak to the executives, like theVP of engineering or a VP of product or see EO or somebody elsethat isn't in the guts, probably hasn't been in the guts of a customersuccess, customer support, Customer Care Organization. What would be helpful for them toknow about the customer success function? You know, that is a goodquestion. Nothing on honestly, nothing really comes to mind. That's that's areal stand out. I guess the one that that I found has been reallyvaluable internally that I think we do well is just bring your executives to customermeetings. We do this really well. We have for all of our accountswe have what we call it an executive sponsor, outreach executive sponsor. Sofor all of our all of our at least all of our strategic accounts,so probably our top hundred, two hundred accounts, we have a designated assiignedexecutive on our team. We try to...

...align an executive who either like ourengineering. VP of engineering, would probably be aligned to one of our customerswho sells a product that would resonate with vpees of engineering, so they canhelp build report that way. And I'd say, as you're going around anddoing on sites with these customers, or even if there are smaller customer andthey don't warrant an on site, even an email introduction to one of yourexecutives. We found that to be hugely, hugely successful. It also helps youup level the conversation within an organization. A lot of times you can spendyour entire day having conversations, at least in the success world, talkingwith your ops and enablement's team. Those are the primary personas who administer ourtool. By bringing in our executives, it's done wonders for us to uplevel that conversation to the executive level on our customer side. That's killer.It also lets the customer know how important they are, like if a ifan executive from the company showing up at just a sign another sign that Icare. It also keeps the executive team in touch with what's really happening outin the field. So just another great tip. Hey, before we getto the way I always like to close the show, you've spent time withone of the brands it's regarded as one of the most excellent in terms ofcustomer experience. That company is nords Trem. I believe they're paid based up inthe Pacific northwest. As you are. So you spent a little bit oftime there. What did you learn in your time? They're like,how are you on boarded or trainers ers? There something that you took away fromthat, just because it's such a legendary brand, from the way thatthey treat their customers? What was that expect? Now we are getting goingback about a decade. So you know, bring forward what you can, butI just saw that on your on your linkedin profile. I thought younords from his worth a mention. Yeah, it's funny. I think I cansum this up in one sentence really, and this this stuck with me andmy time. They're they said we will not fire you. Everybody.First off, everybody knows Nordstrom has one of the most exceptional return policies outthere and that just says something about their customer experience. And I remember onequote that somebody said to me was you will not get fired for doing abad return, but you may get fired if you don't return something. It'snot just it just says you always put the customer first and we would ratherwe would rather take the loss and take a return that maybe we shouldn't haveor maybe it's going to hurt our business a little bit, but if ithelps our brand and our it makes our customer experience better, than do it. So that one, that one really stuck with me. I think thatjust kind of emulates the way that they think about customer experience. It's sogood because it's all about repeat and referral and and that's the kind of thingjust so many stories come out of that. As a policy, when you traineveryone on the way in the door that that's how we treat people,you just giving customers, as soon as they experience this, easy ways totalk about the brand in the company. Hey, here on the podcasting andat bombomb where I work, we're all about relationships. It's our number onecore value. So I like to give you the chance to think or mentionsomeone who's been really important or valuable in your work or in your life andin a company that you personally have experienced excellent customer care. Yeah, absolutely. There's actually two people that come to mind. The first is my formersvp of revenue and that would be Matt Milan, and one thing that Ilearned from him that really stuck with me is the power of being prompt andwon't one story in particular that stands out. We were doing was it was acustomer event over on the East Code Post who we were catching an earlyflight back the next morning and we had been out with customers and doing thewhining and dining thing and having a great time and if there were any morningto have an excuse to to meet in the lobby at maybe a few minutesafter the time that we had we had specified, that would have been themorning to do so. And, to...

Matt's credit, every time we're supposedto be somewhere, he was all. He's always fifteen minutes early, always, and this this morning was no exception. that. That'll stick with me forevery t taught me the power of being prompt and I've definitely tried totake more of that into my life. It's had a it's had a biginfluence. The other the other person that comes to mind that's had a hugeinfluence on me is I haven't talked to her probably five or six years,but Lori glory small. When I back in my Jama days, I rememberthis is like my first real career job and it was at a tech company. It was really cool and they had the whole laidback lifestyle or culture withthe kegs and the kegs in the break room and they had the popa shotand they had the ping pong and I was fully embracing this, this lifestyle, as you could say, and I remember her pulling me aside and saying, nick, I know how hard you work, but not everybody at thisorganization does and you should really know that appearances are our reality. And Isee you playing Ping Pong and Papa shot with your co workers and it's greatthat we have this culture here, but just don't forget for those other peoplewho may not work with you and as close then at a relationship that Ido, they may not realize how hard of a worker you are. Sothat's that's really stress stuck with me throughout my cur and maybe that it mighteven 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 stuck,stuck with me over my career. It's good stuff and great tips there totalk a little bit about a company that you really respect for the way thatthey have treated you. Or could be it could be a restaurant, itcould be a brand it could be a corner neighborhood's shop. I've had.I've had all kinds of responses to this one and they're all very interesting.Could be software that you use. Oh, that is a great question. Oh, you know who's does a really good job at this is Alaska Airlines. God, they've got just a great customer experience. I've I fly almostexclusively with them now and any opportunity that I that I have to to singtheir praises, I do. I think the way that they do customer serviceis phenomenal. The fact that you can still pick up the phone and callsomebody and answer and one little thing that they do that has always stuck withme. As they say, when their customers support answers the phone, theysay this is nick and Seattle, Washington, and it just gives you it justhumanizes the person that you're talking to and gives you some some sort oficebreaker to talk about. So I think they do a really great job withcustomer experience. It's cool. Thank you so much for taking the opportunity toprop them up and your informer coworkers who whose lessons still stick with you today. I always enjoy those questions because I always get great answers like yours.Hey, nick, your time has been so valuable to me. I hopelisteners have enjoyed it to thank you so much for doing it. If someonewants to connect with you or without reach, we're a couple ways they might dothat. Yeah, Linkedin is a great way. You can shoot mean email specifically if you want. It's Nick Dot heart at outreach dooh,check out our website at outreach dot ioh yeah, there should be all ofthe necessary channels if you want to get in touch with us. Awesome.Thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for your insights. I really enjoyed it. Yeah, thank you. Thanks for having me. You're listening to the customer experience podcast. No matter your role in delivering valueand serving customers, you're entrusting some of your most important and valuable messagesto faceless digital communication. You can do better rehumanize the experience by getting faceto face through simple, personal videos. Learn more and get started free atbomb bombcom. You've been listening to the customer experience podcast. To ensure thatyou never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast playeror visit bombombcom thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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