The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

38. Training and Certifying Your Sales Teams to Speak Your Customer's Language w/ Alex Rosemblat


If you want to learn a little bit about training and certifying your sales teams to speak your customers’ language you’re in the right place. 

Alex Rosemblat, VP of Marketing at Datadog, came on this episode of The Customer Experience podcast to walk us through how he’s training his sales teams to truly understand and speak their customers’ language. 

What we talked about:

  • Your customers speak their own language
  • So, how do you learn it?
  • Listening for ‘the crinkle’
  • Building your curriculum

Resources we talked about:

There's a lot of times that givingsomebody some knowledge without the context about why this is important,mean that it's going to go in one ear, an not the other. The single most important thing you cando today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers,learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internalalignment, achieve desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in apersonal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here'syour host eat en beaute Ohay. Welcome back to the customer experience podcast.If you want to learn a little bit about training and certifying sales teams tospeak, the customers, language, you are in the right place. Today's guestbrings to the conversation more than a decade of enterprise softwareexperience in product marketing and in product management. He spent time atSamantic, V, colonel and Dell. He earned his MBA and MIT, and for thepast six years he's been at data dog, a monitoring and analytic service formodern cloud environments. He serves their vice president of marketing, AlexRosen Black. Welcome to the customer experience podcast thanks. You thinggood to be here: Yeah, you know, I'm really excited to get into this ideaand learn how and why you've pursued it around training and certifying salesteams. Partly my interest is in the relationship between sales andmarketing that permits this to happen, but we'll start where we always starthere, which is you know your thoughts or your definition or characteristicsyou think of when you think of Customer Experience Yeah. You know I mean Ithink ther the big thing that I think about with customer experience whenyou're working at a company I mean that you get really bogged down in howyou're going to deliver the product of the service that that you're going tobe giving to the person that's going to be using? U Whatever I is that you'reoffering, but you really have to turn it around and realize that for theperson that is a customer like they don't know about all the difficultiesor everything it's going on behind the theme. They only care about whatthey're going to receive in terms of a product or service. We always try tohave as t e mindset here is, what's going to be the perception of thecustomer and they're actually using our product, you know, and it's got to begood. I think that most industries nowadays there's a lot of options. Youknow, especially in technology with the ADEMT of cloud computing, which is thespace that we plan. It's amazing to me that all you need is a credit card. Youknow anybody with a credit card can start a claud environment up for notvery much money and if they know what they're doing can put together aprototype for an application, pretty quick and Damn, you can go out thereand compete with a big company. If you want to so, you know going back tocoufor experience. I think that for a lot of companies out there, if you stopreally keeping that in mind and you lose side of the customers and whatthey are, you know how they're interacting with or whatever s thatyou're offering someone else is going to come out there and compete for themand potentially take them great breakdown there. I really like it. Ilike this idea that we can get caught up in our own tasks and checkless andthings, and we lose sight of the customer. Pretty often this idea thatthere is functionally approaching infinite competition, because all thesecloud services are built on other cloud services and to your point, all ittakes is the ability to take a credit card number, and so this perceptionpiece is critical as well, because that's what we carry forward. that's tthe feelings that we have is the stories that we tell so love that breakdown there, hey for context before we get into the primary topic here. Canyou share with people a little bit about your background, Alex and alittle bit about data dog as well sure for me personally, I started from you know: Undergrad, being muchmore technology focused my first couple of roles for enterprise software andthen in online Dato, backup, I'm sorry online, first enterprise, howiters offfor and then Onli nee to backup. I was much more technology focused onbasically working with product teams to make sure that the solution that wewere delivering for o customers with exactly what they specked out in a lotof it required custom development and I actually trie to start a company. WhenI went to Grad school at a my t and...

I partnered with with anothertechnologist, we built a prototype for something that was like mind blowingand I was aut there trying to get Baita customers for the Prototepe that we hadand even though everyone took a look at what we builda they're like wow, that'sawesome. Nobody would agree to even try AF for free and it wasn't until we were meeting with some angelinvestors that you know, one of them said: Hey y know what you guys seemreally bright. Your product of prototypt seems really interestiingabout to just throw you guys a million dollars just because I can I have it inthe bank, and I think that you guys have a future, but I said you couldonly use it to get customers. What would you do with it? And we had noidea so that was kind of my introduction to the point that I reallyyou know hadn't thought about what it would take to get somebody to part withmoney and that really started me down the path for marketing and I'vebasically been in marketing ever since in tech them through a couple ofacquisitions. I've seen startup smidsized companies really really bigFORTUNTE BIE hundred companies from the inside wor wit customers, and you know,I think that another part of it I've been in tech because, having come frombeing a technologist, I have a pretty good understanding of what thatspecific Persunis. Looking for and what they're going to react to. But again, Ithink that for any customer they definitely have their. You know hotbuttons and the same ligon apply. So you know basically I after thatexperience, I dedicated myself to learning a lot more about, go to Markt,both tals and marketing, and have really merged. I think an engineeringmethodology with what it takes to get out into the market present yourproduct to people and get them interested to try it out for data dog.We are a monitoring platform for modern, dynamic applications. A lot of ourcustomers run their applications on public clouds like Amazon, web servicesor Microsoft. ASER, Google Cla Platform, but we also do have a lot of customersthat are doing some pretty adbanced stuff with on premise servers, and youknow, onc to it's dynamic and Workfloa work loss can just shift around basedon the need of the application. Things get a lot more complicated, it's reallygood functionality, but it also makes it hard to keep track of everything.That's going on underneath the application and we've basically builtout a whole platform that gives you a hundred percent visibility intoeverything. That's happening in every part of that application, so that if anissue happens and it's a needle n, the Hayeback whe're able to cripwe find itfor you so good. I, by the way, before we go further, I have to say that isone of my favorite, a marketing origin stories, because it's just it was sucha blunt moment there, whereas, like I, don't have any ideas and they get theidea that y Youe continued to pursue that over the next many years isawesome and in that that background, for you two I'm sure lends itselfreally well to being successful as a as a technology marketer, let's get intotraining and certifying sales teams to speak the customers, language andthere're several things. I love about this one, especially now with thecontext of your background, but the necessary relationship between salesand marketing to have that trust in report that allows this to be done,raising up the customers, language as a really important factor, as well ascreating some continuity in the customer experience by being joined atthe hip, at least on this function, if not other. So let's break that down alittle bit and start with you know. Why does this matter to you? Why did youpursue it? What was kind of the origin of this this project or practice foryou yeah? I think ther's, a big thing. You know,I don't know if a lot of listeners out here have seen some of the shows thatthat really focus around like the Tet community, silicon valley and IAS, areally popular one, Mr Robots, another one. You know with developers and sidtreliability engineers which are the users of our product. You know, there'sa real, I guess like set of values, norms, language, you know they all.They all work on similar challenges.

They all similar passions in terms ofthe work that they do, they're very passionate and there's there's a wholekind of community that exists around it. And the thing is you know, no, somebodythat is not at that community will never be that you know from thatcommunity, but I think it's almost the equivalent of like if you're going toyou know a foreign country that speaks same other language to visit. If youlearn some of the basics, you know like where's the train station, I'd like ahotel room for you know for one person R for two people. You know you getreally far and F. If you know you go somewhere and- and you don't add upthese those basics, like good luck, you're not going to be able tocommunicate with the people that you're talking to so I mean I think thatthere's a lot of that, for I o want to have a good conversation just to startout an interaction with with a company, so it became a parent very early on,and this isn't just a dated Don. But in my previous positions in marketing thatyou know, you've got people that are battare doing sales or that are doingmarketing and they're very good at the jobs. But they are not technologists.They didn't go and you know tool around with programming when they were in highschool or they. You know they didn't go through a computer science or someother sort of engineering degree an in Undergrad. You know they don't have thesame background. They don't have the same traning. They don't have the samemethodology of how they see the world. So you know you need to educate someoneon what all that is and just telling them about it. Isn't enough, you haveto train them enough, so t at they can actually speak enof the language tostart a conversation off kind of. Like the same, you know equivlent f. If youwanted somebody to go to a country with another language, you want to drillthem on the basic so that it's in their head and whenever they're you know theygo to a restaurant they're able to order. You know a meal, so they need toknow like you know how to order chicken or vegetables or whatever else, so thatthat's really where the imphatis for this came from. I love it because whenyou can speak in a way that that doesn't create friction right likethey're, not using my lingo, they don't understand who I am right. There'sthere's this trust component in the sales process that is immediatelygreased or immediately slowed down, or you know, there's friction there. Ifyou can't speak that language, so so really really important. So for you,you know, as I think about you, know, a listener to this and maybe outlining anumber of the potential customers like different types of customers, for you,of course, learning what the customers language is is very easy because it is,you know you are kin to them, based on your background, but give anyrecommendations around like process or documentation around personas or idealcustomer profiles, or anything like that for someone who's listening. Wherewould they start in terms of trying to capture the customers language so thatit can be taught and certified yeah? I think that the number one thing to dois to get a microphone you know by by something that at's easy and portableand that you can kind of plop down and then try to find people either fromyour company. You know maybe the a founder of you're at a startup or somesort of subject matter: expert of Youre at a bigger company, or maybe acustomer, or maybe someone from youwn from your own network, find a couple ofpeople and sit down, and you know more than just say just like ask him Abo. Ithink that a really good place to start is why don't you take me through a dayin your life for a week in your month or a month, you know like what is kindof a standard unit where you go through all the kinds of things that youusually do from beginning to end and have you walk them through it? You knowan example that I avten uses like. If you were to ask somebody what they didthis morning, they probably be like. Oh I woke up, I took shower, had breakfastand got you know and made it over to work, but there's so much more thanthey did it's like whut d. You have for breakfast. Well, I had ex Adyo Macem.Well, I had them scrambled. You know like the just taking kind of the bulletpoint is not enough. You have to get in there into the rich detail andunderstand like okay, when you were making e, did they stick to the PanYeah they did kind of that was really nor you know, maybe if you were sellingcooking tools like that would be the kind of conversation that you have, butI think a good place to start is just a... in the life for you know week inthe month and try to get into that rich color. You know it's almost as if youwere like a novelist, you know like Tet's cry, you know you can't just mostNovelis, don't just say we went to the beach. It's like the deep blue of theocean contrasted with the lite blue of this guy. You want to get the thatlevel of color and I think that we're things start to get really interesting.I call it the CRINKLE, there's probably other words for it when people startpausing in the diction and you a D, You can usually hear this really well. Whenyou play back the recording, that's when all of a sudden you Cak pater, andI think that they're pausing, because they're trying to think about the bestway to say it or perhaps they're trying to uthamize like it's something, that'sreally painful or hard and they're trying to like color over it. Basicallyththey're, not speaking freely, and it's because they're thinking aboutshould they cover something up. Should they change the meaning of it. There's maybe a lot more informationthat they have to unpack for you, tondunderstand. What they're saying andusually, when you start hearing those pauses in a conversation you star anhit pater and you're, starting to like really understand things that are superimportant, that you definitely want to be documenting and then turning itaround into some sort of training for sales. People or forother go to marketpeople. So if they understand these critical things in someone's day todaythat cause problems or or payin or other kind of difficulties, such agreat tip, and if you happen to catch it in real time prior to playing backthe recording, that might be a great spot to ask a follow up question aswell. So as you organize this capture, it probably documented in some waystart sharing it around. How formal are we talking here like what kind oftraining and certification are you doing like what types of training andwhat does certification permit like? Are Their doors closed to people whohaven't been certified like how you know? How seriously are youimplementingthis? That's a great question, so I think that, once youhave your list of everything, so I think that that the building Wolk, youknow the individual brick. If you will is recordings- and you know trying toBueld into each thing- that's important to know about someone's. You know dateda responsibility, things that are easy things that are hard things that makethem successful things that cause them trouble once you have. As far as youcan tell the whole list and you're going to keep on adding to the list asyour industry changes or new technologies come out or you yourselflearn more about what you're working on, and you realize that you missed a lot,but you have to start somewhere, you have to build out a curricullum in this.This can be a pretty tough one. I think that sometimes you have to have a lotto go goes I it. I think that one protapper is that, while you'rebuilding out like the name, you know the name of the class or the name ofthe segment another column to have immediately before it are. What are theprerequisites? So if you're building on knowledge, you know it's like you can't.Have you know Spanish one or two before you took Spanish hundr an one, so youhave to basically start saying what all the prerequisites are and usually onceyou write those others things down. You turn it kind of backwards, and youstart to figure out what the first courses that you need to have, or youstart to realize- that there's additional courses, because there'ssome prerequisite knowledge that you hadn't originally put out there, and Ithink that, with the curriculum te Tad from chopping it up, you probablyshouldn't have a session. It's going to go longer than an hour. If it's longerthan an hour, you should chop it up and make it into multiple sessions. Butthen the sequencing of the session, I think, is important. Another importantthing to not is that there's a lot of times that giving somebody someknowledge without the context about why this is important, means that it'sgoing to go in one ear, an not the other, and sometimes people have tostruggle a little bit. So we have a couple of really basic trainings thingslike teaching kind of history and terminology, and just the main thingthat tha people do to use our product that people get within the first weekor two that they're out ofr company and then weve staggered out other moreadvance. Trainings that happen. After they've been at our company for two orthree months or six months, and we don't want them to have the moreadvance training because it like they haven't yet struggled and hit along ut.Oh my God, I don't know how to answer this question or this person's speakingin words that, even though it's English, I don't understand what they're tryingto tell m like they haven't, had that...

...struggle and they need to have thatstruggle a couple of times. So when you present them the information, the whiteturns out there like okay, great that's what that person was trying to tell me-and you know it's tough, because you know that it's going to probably be acouple of weeks to a couple of months that they're not fully enabled, butagain almost every single role out. There has a certain amount ofonboarding time and you just Hav. You know people managers factor in the factthat their people are going to be fully productive for a couple of months andthat's, I think, part of it, but trying to figure out how what's the minimumamount of time. Where somebody has a struggle and not know something to thepoint where they're going to be really enthusiastic to learn that missingpiece kind of, I guess an art a little bit that that's a tough one to call youknow, I think, probably the best example of the model. There's when I was in Grad School Tha. My teveryone's required to take this like advanced statistics, class and Bhatsounds you know that doesn't sound like fun unless you're statustician andeveryone kind of groans about it and they give you a real white problem andI'm not going to say it because of anybody. heres listing going to theproblem, it's great problem, but it's based on on all sorts of real lifestuff. They give you all the actual data that that the engineers andbusiness people that ere tryingto stor out the problem had and then, as a team.It's your first project. You need to figure out what the solution is, andyou know it doesn't look that complicated the beginning. But thenalmost every single team spends like Friday, Saturday, Sunday Monday andthey finally have class on Tuesday, and you sent four days. You know justbasically running against a Briak wall and then all of a sudden, the professorpulls out to like statistical formula that Whit you put all this data in.There was going to give you the exact answer and you ere, like begging,you're, absolutely just begging for this knowledge by the time you get itand it, and you know when I took a step back, it made me think if this personjust explained the concept, I would have been like: Okay cool whatever you know, you were so desperate becauseyou couldn't figure this problem now and you've been working on it with yourteam for a long time that when they gave it to, you was like you know,being given water after having you know crawled in the desert for a day such agreat analogy, ins kind of fun story to an IT really does make a lot of sense.I think of it is like you know, you need a a rack to hang the code on, andso the prior experience n an the struggling and the successes in the thekind of soft questions that start building in your head that ultimatelyprovide that resolve. You know at maybe its most dramatic point is you knowwater AFTR, you've been wandering in the desert, really great recommendation.There speak briefly about what type of relationship, because this is key as afundamental premise of this podcast is, you know, customer experiences builtacross every team, member and every touchpoint, and so how do we worktogether with other? You know in some organizations, depending on the culture,it can get very, very silet and even potentially antagonistic. You know.Hopefully, that's not the case in most shops, but I have seen things like thatbefore so, can you speak a little bit to how to build the trust inrelationship with sales, people and sales leaders and sales management inorder to build this out and have it taken furiously, because I think itshould be obvious to Anyonewho's listening the value of putting togethersome program like this, even if it's not as formal and buttoned up as whatyou've outlined here with some several great tips, but talk about that trustin relationship component between sales and marketing and what did it take toget there yeah? I think that in any organization with people you're alwaysgoing to have a doll curve in terms of some people are going to be superinvested, an want to keep on learning more and becoming better and better andbetter, and some people are there. You know potentially just kind of coastingby you know at the other end of the spectrum, what we've usually donewhenever we rolled out a more advanced certification- and you know we run- wewere on some things that are pretty, as you said, buttoned out like. Not onlywill you sit down and learn in some cases, you're going to have to do withtheur amount of practicing and then we're going to put you in front ofsomeone that wasn't involved in the training to role player, to do someother kind of certification, o Mae sure...

...that you really understood the concept-and you know it's Coan- be pretty close to like a real ifscenario and if you,if you know how to handle that, then you're good you're certified. What weusually do is that we find the people that are looking to get a competitivadvantage. Looking to you know to better themselves, you know we startwith a small subset and usually those people. You know anytime, you roll onnew training, Thee's often times a you know, you don't get it right. Thefirst time you have to kind of tweak it a little bit to the Gen Er right ure,and you know those people also oftentimes,give you the most leeway, and you know once those people start getting theknowledge. If you hit it right and it's a missing opponent that they've beenreally frustrated with, because they didn't understand it's making thembetter. They become your marketers. They start saying: Oh yeah, thatproblem, here's how you solve it and then all ther peers are like how d youknow how to do that. Oh you know the markiting Tean gave me the training andsoted it all. You know it give me everything that needd to know so. We'vealways used the pilot group of people that are that are really enthusiastic,and you know first of all, they help us because they give us a fee back to makeit right for the broader audience and then, secondly, they usually do all themarketing- and I mean it would oftentime happens- is for something you.We we're still doing our our everything we've been doing before. So we offersomething new. We do it and there's just not that we don't offer that manyclasses, if you will or itcepsions for it and then all of a sudden we startgetting the next year of People Maye. You know that they're. Also on thatBellcurv more, you know looking to try to get more knowledge and then theystart saying: Hey whe're do onnta do the next one cabe. Can you put me onthe weight list right now, so we keep on working our way from the people thatare the most emthusand, the most open to learning you stuff and once it getsto majority, and most people have had this training, then the people thathaven't they start Goly mufked out and that's how we usually sweep througheveryone. I love it. It's like this idea that they want to be on a weightlist is a a testament to the quality o of what you're doing in the value itprovides to the salesperson. But it also makes me think about like batingdoing batis with customers and, like you know, the customers that are justsuper enthusiastic and they want to know. What's going on and they want totry stuff out so great practice there in terms of getting rearly feedback andadapting and again creating a weight list, that's so excellent, Hey! This isa really great framework. I love it. It reminds me of a number of efforts.We've done that are have not been as formal as this. That may that I want todouble back on. It makes me think about a variety of our customer personas hereat Bombam that you know a new salesperson needs to understand inunique ways in order to you know, build that trust in rapportthrough common language. So this has been awesome before I let you go,though, Alex I like to give you, because relationships are our numberone core value I like to give you the chance to thank or mention someonewho's had a positive impact on your life or career and a chance to mentiona company. That's doing customer experience really well, that's treatedyou the right way, sure you know, I think someone that I definitely wouldwant to give a call out to is, or rather a shout out to his Brian Semple.Who was the person that taught me, I guess alot of the basics of marketing when I transition for me more if totechnologist es the CMO at a company called Mark forched. Now that does alot of three printing stuff, and you know he was actually a he's written,an interesting book that I' recommend to marketers out there about metric andhe's a former submarine officer so he's actually compared how running amarketing operation in today's. I Guess High Texh Sedit for marketing is reallysimilar to controlling the nuclear reactor for for Sobso he's a formernavy, a marine officer and ous said knowledges to KNEU, where Iwas coming from. He sat down and taught me kind of all all the basics ofmarketing as I kicked off and transition over, so he's. Definitelysomeone that thatd like to give a shout out to how do you spell his last name and whatis his book called? If's, FE, mpl e...

Brian Semple and his book is theDigital CMOS guide to marketing measurement. Think like a submarinerfor operational success, awesome and and how about a company you respect, Iguess we go with a cuiche answer. Fortunately I say you know Apple. Youknow the the thing that they do amazing is going back to gos from experience.They really have fought through, like what you're going to feel like when youexperience were their products. I mean every like something that I don't knowif it's been written about. A lot is whenever you open up another product,even the packaging and the way that it's that it's like laid out is likeinviting, like you want to open it up. You know whether it's a computer orphone. I know it's Super Cliche, but they do they just do a really reallygood job of making. This bhing seem like thes super special thing thatyou're unpacking for the first time. Another area that that I oftentimespull people to is the way that the highlight benefits of a product I mean,if you ever go to their website and you look at like you know the the AppleWatch. I mean it's like it. It's always showing off some piece of functionalityand one picture says you know I is a thousand words, so they do a reallygood job also, I think just in terms of showing off benefits and, of course Iknow that, there's a lot to say about apple and is probably Super Clicche,but they really do it a very good job at it awesome great recommendation. Iknow I could visualize opening a couple different boxes of theirs and even theway these sequents and stack the pieces and layr them in and create that littlespot for your finger to go in to pull that next piece out, and all of that isreally really well planned and designed and executed. Alex again, this has beenawesome. Thank you. So much for your time. How can someone connect with youor with data dog yeah data dog, just go to our website? Datadogcom, if you area developer or site reliability, engineer or CPO, and you want to getvisibility into your application, just sign up free trial, you can use e wholeproduct for as big environment as you want to try it out for me, inparticular, twitter handle Alex Rosa Blad, just Alex at data dogcom awesome.Thank you again so much. I hope you have a great afternoon and I need torethink our internal curriculum. All right could hear it clearcommunication, human connection, higher conversion. These are just some of thebenefits of adding video to the messages your sending every day. It'seasy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book.Rehumanize your business, how personal videos, accelerate sales and improvecustomer experience learn more in order today at Bombam Com Bock, that's Bo, mb,Bombcom foock, thanks for listening to the customer experience. PODCASTremember. The single most important thing you can do today is to create anddeliver a better experience for your customers, continue. Learning thelatest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favoritepodcast player, or visit Bombomcom podcast.

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