David Nour 00:01
Hi everybody, David Nour with my business partner Jenn Cordz for another episode of our Intelligent Growth live stream. We’re live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and want to welcome you back if you are listening, or if you’re watching our previous episodes, we’re live each Tuesday at noon, Eastern across various social channels. And we repurpose these into our podcast as well. And we are wherever you consume podcasts. So hello, Jenn.
Jenn Cordz 00:35
Hi, Nour, how are you?
David Nour 00:36
I’m great, thanks. For our audience, what we’ll focus on is really this idea of intelligent and profitable growth. And just to kind of set the stage, we’ve never seen an organization cut its way to growth. And this is year 21st, of our of our business, and in working with a very broad spectrum of size companies and industries and geographies, and not just domestic US, but internationally. We’ve got this bird’s eye view of what leaders are thinking, what they’re doing, and more importantly, how seamless is and how integral is really their marketing, their sales and their customer success efforts. In driving growth, what we don’t believe in is growth at any price or any cost. Cost, human capital cost, potential financial risks, certainly reputation risks. And our supposition is every business in essence, every business model is or soon will be aiming to become a repeatable or recurring revenue business model.
You may have heard of SaaS, so you know, software, typically as a service, or subscription models. It’s not just for consumers, increasingly, they’re also the prevailing business model for predominately technology companies today. But you’re seeing, we’ve got an industrial manufacturing client that is, you know, really thinking about how do we get from a transactional product sale to one that we now bundle the product with a suite of services. Or traditionally, we’ve been saying, you know, selling this big sale, this kappo, you know, capex intensive business, if we rented it, and we included maintenance on that. Now, it’s an OP X business. And now it builds a recurring revenue stream, with a much further line of sight into the utilization of that product for the desired outcome, not just a transactional sale. So that’s kind of where we’re coming from. And in our research, in interviewing a lot of these senior executives and working with a lot of these companies, with Jenn’s help, who runs by the way, our revenue operations practice, we’ve come up with a customer lifecycle maturity model. And it’s really about a journey of how you reach people, how you engage them and influence them.
For years, I’ve been saying, the relationship really starts when they buy. So it doesn’t end when somebody gives you a purchase order or kind of buys your product services, how do you then really deliver on the promises that marketing and sales made with customer success, and really helping them adopt and embrace your unique value, and ultimately, create and this is the key part that a lot of organization miss, unless you create material impact in their business, you’re not earning the right for them to come back. And I gotta tell you, one of the things Jenn, I would love your comments on this as well. But I love about that recurring revenue model, is that you have to keep earning the right to call them a customer. You have to keep earning the right for them to continue to buy from you. And you know, you can disappoint a customer once, maybe a few times, but you’re not going to stay in business long if you keep that up. And that shows in the churn of many organizations. Share your thoughts on that recurring revenue model and just at a high level, the customer lifecycle journey maturity.
Jenn Cordz 04:35
Absolutely. So the recurring revenue model really, it comes back to every interaction that you have with a customer via digital touches or person to person touches. That is an opportunity for you to provide value to them. And every time they say “yes” to a meeting or open one of your emails. It’s It’s a micro “Yes.” And you’re trying to get them to the macro “Yes,” which is either buying from you the first time or continuing to be your customer. A lot of organizations think of a funnel as something that people fall into. And I like to think of the funnel really as like a pyramid. You’re trying to get them to the top. And so every time they say yes to one of those interactions is moving them further up the pyramid, if you will.
And then the customer lifecycle maturity model really is a way to track and understand how people are engaging with your organization, from how you’re attracting them to what they’re doing when they’re researching you. And then what does that buying process look like and then all the way through implementation? And then how are you converting those people who have bought from you once? How are you turning those people into raving fans. So and then they become your advocates, and they will do case studies for you and customer references, things like that. And so you really have to look at the whole journey that somebody goes on with your organization, and every touchpoint needs to continue to provide some level of value to that person, to want them, for them to want to continue to engage with your company.
David Nour 06:14
Just to build on that. What I love is you said every touchpoint. This is, this is not just a sales thing. This is not just a marketing thing. It is a fundamental shift in helping every individual in the organization, regardless of the role, regardless of the realm responsibilities to understand that these touches create, reinforce, dilute those experiences. And they matter and they matter to a great deal. And it’s got to be seamless. And as as if you’re watching us live, we’re going to show you the lifecycle maturity model in a second. The best way to describe it is a relay race. And if you’ve ever been around one, you’ve watched one perhaps in the Olympics, maybe your children are play track and field or participate in track and field, you know that if a team drops the baton, it’s over. If overlapping teammates, you know, if one person leaves too early, they’re gonna you know, it’s not as efficient, they’re going to overlap.
If they leave too late, they’re gonna miss the handoff. So the processes and this is a lot of what we talked to leaders about. Your capabilities, the processes with which you demonstrate to that customer with every touch that they matter. And then ultimately, the tech stack. And the tech stack, Jenn, I’ve had some some heated, you know, positive, constructive, but heated conversations has to be frictionless. If you if your technology makes me eat like this, that’s not going to get us anywhere. So any chance to save keystrokes, any chance to create seamless integration, and, to her credit, she’s doing that and we’re eating our own cooking, by the way, she’s doing that with that internal infrastructure. So when I go into our Salesforce, and I see the emails have exchanged, or the data is sinking bi directionally with Outreach and other tools that we use, it just shows that the technology is really thinking about how you work. You also have to invest in understanding how the technology works. And really using the technology as an enabler of this maturity, of this journey, not an inhibitor. Jenn comments on capabilities, processes and tech stack.
Jenn Cordz 08:44
I will start with process. A lot of companies don’t invest the time in documentation and our internal team and every client that we’ve worked with knows that I love my documentation. And the reason why I love it so much is that that’s your foundation for growth. Your that’s your understanding of how everything is connected, what’s doing what, what system is talking to what, who is responsible for what piece of this this relay race, if you will. And those documents need to be treated as living, breathing things. And as the process changes, as your organization grows and scales, continually investing in updating that documentation will allow people to work more efficiently, they’ll be able to work asynchronously. If they’re all working remotely in different time zones. They’ll also be able to onboard more quickly because they have a way to answer their questions without having to wait for somebody else to give them the answer or be online or be available.
So that documentation in that process really needs to be one of the foundational things within your team and a lot of companies put it as the last thing on their to do list and really it needs to be one of the first. And uh then going to people and tech stacks. To your point, David, you don’t want to force people to do things that are outside of their norm. So the technology really needs to enable how they work and where they want to work. And so asking really good questions. From an operational perspective, our job is to make everybody else’s lives easier when a sales rep, for example, can come in and do their job without any barriers, errors, hiccups, whatever. And they just everything seamlessly goes, that’s when ops has really done their job. Well, when people forget, more or less that ops even exists, is when we’ve done our job really, really well and we’ve connected that that tech stack seamlessly. But we also, we being ops, need to continuously ask those questions as teams grow, as products change, we need to ask the questions of “is this still working for the organization,” “is this going to work in three months, six months a year from now,” and continually have someone keeping their eye on that future and making sure that the systems are going to grow and scale in the way that the company needs them to.
David Nour 11:11
So for our audience, again, if you’re watching us live on a the cost of different platforms, a we encourage you to jump in with questions, comments, examples, anything you want us to clarify. If you’re listening to this episode, we’ll also post the image I’m about to show you in the Nour Forum, that’s our private online community, I would encourage you to join us there nourgroup.com/forum, where you know Jenn’s active, I’m active, we post regular basis. In essence, that’s where you’ll find our show notes and resources that we share from these episodes. So if you can see our screen, this is the customer lifecycle journey maturity model. As you can see, it’s got seven distinct stages, I’m gonna go through just high level and then I want to dive, Jenn, in each of these, and really help the audience better understand what happens or what should happen at each one. And then we’ll come and talk about both the challenges and opportunities. So, bottom of the image, the digital onramp, I don’t know about you, but it’s been a few years where I’ve called a company and said, you know, send me a bro, you know, mail me a brochure, or have one of your sales reps come see me. Most of us get online.
Most of us really do our own due diligence and read forums, read discussions, peer groups. So there’s some sort of a digital on ramp, then there’s awareness, where I kind of really become aware of not just what my challenges are, but where the where the potential solution be. Engagement is really engaging with multiple solutions, and really exploring where what which one might be the best fit. There’s a product on ramp, if you’re familiar with product lead growth, really, that’s where a freemium model, for example, a chance for me to test or try your product leads to evaluation, where I feel pretty comfortable with kind of where again, I’m taking the role of that consumer or customer, where I feel good that this the functionality, the benefits, the value aligned with kind of what we need purchases when I buy. And what I’m buying is a promise. What I’m buying is a commitment. What I’m buying is a relationship. Then five, as you can see kind of comes to adoption. We see a lot of scenarios where the buyer may not actually be the user. So how do you ensure the user base and user community is engaged, and it’s really utilizing and really embracing and adopting it.
Then impact, the said this is the quantifiable ROI, this is you feeling and you can tell customers about this. Customers have to feel that their condition, their business is better off because of you. If they don’t feel that you can talk and brochure talk and MBA talk and I’ve got one, all day long, it’s not going to matter, I have to feel it. Only when I feel that we’re better off because of your company. That’s when I become an evangelist. That’s when I become an advocate. That’s when I carry your company’s flag. And then you renew. And we’re in the process of also updating this with our more recent research, when they renew, right, it’s really staying in that so right hand side circle of seven, you know, coming back to five and six and seven again, there’s also an opportunity for them to expand and scale.
And we’re adding kind of eight in the right hand side, the nine and 10 at the bottom is scale and expand. Let’s say you start with a domestic organization and they have global operations. Or you start with one business unit or one division and others could benefit from it. So there’s opportunities to scale and expand and our updated version of this model will demonstrate that and show that. Jenn, let me let me come over to you. And let’s talk about each of these. What are the top things that happen in stage one awareness? Briefly? And what what should happen? What What are? What are some of the things you look for you and your team as you go and do a baseline assessment? What are you looking for in the awareness stage?
Jenn Cordz 15:26
Sure. So in the awareness stage, research has shown that most buying decisions are made before they a person ever reaches out raises their hand, some numbers I’ve seen in the past is anywhere from like 50 to 60% of people have done extensive research before they actually raise their hand or fill out a form on anybody’s website. So making sure that your content is easily consumable, and easily findable is what really is the core of what awareness stage is. So our in our baseline audit, we look at everything from your website presence, your SEO, your Google Analytics, how your content is tagged, do you have buyers journeys, very high level? Do you have personas? Are you targeting the right people? Are you using language that the person who may be seeking your solution can see themselves in your solution?
Or do they see the problems that they’re experiencing, and that you’re the solve for them. So at a very high level, we look at how you show up in the market and in the in the digital ecosystem, because to your point, very rarely is hard mail or real mail ever used anymore. A lot of times it is targeted in specific ways, gifts and things are very effective. But digitally, most everybody does their research online. So the awareness and how you show up in all of these places is key. And so that’s the first part of our audit. And we also look at the tech stack. Are we tracking this information? If we are, or the appropriate teams having access to the information that we are tracking? What are our key metrics? Are there defined KPIs? If there aren’t, why aren’t there? And if we’re tracking everything? Are they really the right metrics to be tracking? So those are those are just some of the things that we look for.
David Nour 17:25
Love your comment about, this is how you show up. And I gotta tell you, I heard a analogy a couple of years ago, if you confuse you lose. And one of the things that makes us cringe is when you go to somebody’s website, and again, I think I’m fairly intelligent, but you read a paragraph, if not a page, and it says literally nothing, right? Either it’s a whole bunch of industry jargon, or right it’s, it’s it’s it just it’s a broad brushstrokes. That’s another one. Let me let me at a high level, let me explain. I just, you know, if you, many of you know that English isn’t my first language, and one of the things I learned is English is incredibly powerful as a language. And most people believe simplifying is dumbing things down. To the contrary, simplifying, the complex is a gift. And it’s really difficult for those highly technical organizations that tend to fall in love with their own, you know, press clippings and their own media releases. And let me tell you how great we are. And that gets really boring really fast. So tell me what
Jenn Cordz 18:45
It doesn’t help the end user, see themselves that you can help them. Like if you talk about yourself, I mean, everybody likes to talk about themselves. But you’re selling a solution or a product and the person who’s coming to seek that needs to see that you can help them. And keeping it in very simple terms – don’t try and use a whole bunch of buzzwords and everything else. I mean, yeah, it might be great for your Google Analytics and your Google ranking. But it doesn’t tell anybody anything. So, speak in plain clear terms on your website. Talk to the customer. Don’t ever try and talk down to the customer because nobody likes to be talked down to digitally or in person. And then also just talk about how you can help them. How your solution helps the industry that you’re in, or how you can your unique selling proposition. Not how great you are and all the cool things that you guys have done. That can come later in the journey and other places on your website. But your homepage specifically, needs to attract people that they want to engage further with your content.
David Nour 19:55
I’m gonna also plant a seed here. I, Jenn, increasingly the more executives I coach and work with, Jenn, the more I really believe that storytelling is a new leadership competency. And I think that awareness, the tone is set from the top of “what story do we want to tell?” what what fundamental challenge and and I don’t believe everybody’s broken, right? So what challenge or opportunity is our ideal relationships facing? Where we’ve got the credibility, we’ve got the experience, we’ve got the resources, we’ve got to know how, to kind of be their guide. Be their Sherpa. Be there, kind of get them, help get them to the Promised Land, right? You want to get to the top of Everest? I’ve been there. I know where to store the oxygen. I know where the base camp should be. I know when not to ascend or descend. And so you know, clients and buyers, and I keep thinking about your pyramid, right? That sale is and I heard this one mentor years ago, is sales a series of yes’s? What’s the next yes? What’s the next commitment to learn more commitment, further dive into this. So we’ve got awareness, let’s move to engagement. What should happen there?
Jenn Cordz 21:20
Engagement, again, is is allowing that person that’s coming to experience your website or interact with your company – how are they engaging with you? Do they have to fill out a bunch of forms to learn more about your product or solution? Do they have to jump through hoops to talk to someone if they’re ready to have that buying conversation? So really, how are you drawing the person in and allowing them to talk to someone within your company or learn more about your company, making it as frictionless as possible, really should be the goal. If somebody wants to come and binge out on a whole bunch of your content, you really should let them. All the gated forms and everything else, that’s great for lead gen, but that doesn’t really tell you anything about who or what they are, or wanting to consume. But if you track them in a non intrusive way, you’re still going to be able to see what they’re consuming. And you can then follow up in appropriate ways because it informs what they consume, informs how you follow up. And if you do that in a really intelligent way, the person feels like you’re actually listening, if you will, it’s a little creepy when they do it really well. But I mean, it’s still like that is the goal you want to them to see you as not just a vendor, they want to see you as that guide, as that Sherpa, and somebody who really can help them solve whatever problem challenge or opportunity that they’re trying to.
David Nour 22:52
I’m gonna, full disclosure, without without naming names, we use a tech stack product that I gotta tell you, it’s impressive, and it’s really valuable. But from an organization standpoint, I think we’re up to six or eight different people we’ve been passed around to. And I don’t know if it’s engagement or adoption, and but if they just come across as dysfunctional. They come across as the right arm has no clue what the left arm is doing. And they don’t talk. And their systems don’t talk and they’re in this business. And it’s so aggravating from the customer side where, you know, Jenn, you mentioned in a frictionless, you’re like, Okay, who is this person?
And how do they fit in and who should I be talking to. And you’re just creating obstacles. And that’s not conducive to a long term relationship. And these guys may be really good at what they do. And if you don’t hear anything else from me, during this session, you need to hear this: customers always have a choice, or they will find the choice. And, and several times, I’ve thought I know, there’s other options, these guys are very good at what they do. But I’m determined to find another option because of this dysfunction. Because as Jenn mentioned, you know, you raise your hand, and six different people jump at it, and none of them talk to each other. And it’s just aggravating to know and to try to work with organization that way. And again, it just highlights to a customer or potential customer: you’re either incompetent, indifferent, clueless, and none of those really convey confidence.
Jenn Cordz 24:35
Well, and unfortunately, that same company that we’re referencing, without being named, even when you get someone that on the phone or on a Zoom, and you think they can help you, they point blank tell you that, “well I’m not the person that can actually help you. But let’s just have a conversation anyway.” So you want to make sure that the customers experience in the engagement phase and actually all through this maturity model is is intelligent. Like that your support people know what’s happening in sales or when sales or customer success goes to reach out, they know how many support tickets this person may have filed. Or what problems they may be facing, or that they just added 100 users. Like you don’t want them calling, saying, “hey, let’s add more users.” And the day before, or the week before, or the month before, they did just increase their user count. So you want everyone in the organization to have those insights that makes them intelligent and credible to that customer.
David Nour 25:33
Again, I’m gonna keep bringing leadership perspectives into this. I am frightened by how many executives aren’t consumers of their own products and services. I’m specifically reminded of a senior executive who talked about pulling, of a car manufacturer, pulling into the corporate headquarters and not a single one of their own cars were driven by the executives. And he’s shocked that here we are, senior executives of this car company, and none of us drive our own products. So I greatly value secret shoppers, and all the things that we used to do. But I really like to see the CEO of my favorite airline, sit in that seat with me and experience the gate agents and the boarding and the in flight experience and 14 public service announcements in an hour and a half flight. And so I think that engagement, and we’re jumping between engagement, adoption impact, but I think more executives and executive ranks could benefit from going through his journey of their own companies and really seeing kind of what that experience looks like. So moving on to evaluation, what happens in evaluation.
Jenn Cordz 26:56
Evaluation, when my team goes in, we we look at how how the person can engage with the product or service that you’re selling. If you are a SaaS company, do you have a freemium model? Do you have a way for the user to get in and play with the technology before they’re actually expected to buy it? If you do have that freemium experience, what does that look like? What limitations are there? Are there guided journeys? Is there knowledge documents? Things like that. So that evaluation, are we giving the person that’s looking at our solution, all of the reasons as to why we’re a great person to work with, and making it again, very easy for them to consume that information and also to play with the technology to, again see themselves in that solution. And in using the product or service that we may be selling.
David Nour 27:53
I don’t think you and I’ve ever had this conversation. Do you actually like the idea of a freemium offerings? And and answer that one first. I’m gonna jump in a follow up question.
Jenn Cordz 28:06
Yes, and no, there’s not a straightforward answer on that. Some companies do freemium very well. For example, like Dropbox. They do it really well, because they give you enough that you can continue using them for free into perpetuity. Like if you’re a small company, individual user, and you just need a small amount of storage for something or sharing big files, they give you enough that like that is sufficient and they don’t bombard you with a whole bunch of marketing and trying to upsell you and things like that. Companies that do freemium, and then they start locking all the features, and you hit paywalls for literally, everything really just drives me insane because why dangle that product or feature out there, if you’re just going to force me to pay for it or block me from using it.
I do also like the ones where they give you a time bound, like, give you everything. So a company that I’ve done work with in the past, that is what they do. They give you enterprise level access to everything, but they clearly identify the features and parts of the product that are that enterprise level. So if you’re falling in love with something that is at a very high tear, you know it from the get go. So they’re very clear upfront that if you want this after your trial is done, you’re going to have to pay for it. And so the ones that do it well and clearly communicate the value of the product. I appreciate them. Those that give you a small bit or makes it really cumbersome to actually figure out how to use that freemium model, I don’t like very much and I stopped using them relatively quickly.
David Nour 29:49
Yeah, and I want to again reiterate, the tone is set from the top. This is an opportunity to immerse your target audience in your value proposition. It is not a George Foreman grill of set it and forget it. You and I’ve seen that as well where they have a freemium offering, but all of those freemium users, including some Fortune 50 names go into this never neverland that from a business standpoint, we never touch base, we never follow up, we never ask how things are going, we never give them that full immersive experience. I again, these companies are in business for a reason. And they’re most of them are very good at what they do.
So I don’t believe in kind of the welfare system. And here you go, here’s my IP and technology free forever. I like time bound. I like as you mentioned, certain tiers, I love the crystal clear, transparent communication upfront, as you said. Here’s the functionality in these different tiers, for 30 days, we give you access to all of it after that, figure out what’s the right option for you. And you can continue to use some functionality for free. But other things that you know, greater value add should have a tiered pricing model. And if I’ve had a good experience, and there’s, again videos, and it’s you know, the technology has come a long way to make that experience immersive, and experiential, and really valuable. And it’s a missed opportunity by a lot of folks. So we’ve done one through three, and now I’m ready to buy. What happens when I buy.
Jenn Cordz 31:31
When you buy again, this word will be repeated a lot, but it needs to be frictionless. It needs to be painless. When somebody is ready to buy and they raise their hand, get them to a sales rep that can actually help them. Don’t, don’t push them through some sort of qualification phase yet again. They’ve answered all the questions by this point in their journey, it’s probably a week, two weeks, they’ve been engaging with your content, you should have a good idea of who this person is. And just based off of the data points that you’ve been able to collect. So don’t force them to do a whole bunch of qualification. Get them a meeting quickly. Don’t fill out a form and we’ll be back in touch with you in 48 hours. Allow them to book specifically on a salespersons calendar and get them to the right salesperson. Do geo targeting and geofencing. If they’re in North America, hook them up with a North American sales rep. If they’re in EMEA, put them with an EMEA person so the timezone difference is not a problem either. If you do have a freemium model, it would, I would strongly recommend that those companies that offer a freemium model, allow the person to check out on their own.
Just, you want to buy it, a lot of them put their credit card in and just start using the software with no no calls, no friction, no invoice, no nothing, allow them to just make their purchase, because that’s what they want to do get out of their way, when they say I’m ready to give you money. And then when you do get them into that conversation, and you’re with the sales rep. Again, make sure that the sales rep is aware of who the customer is, and what their solution is have them ask really good questions about what they’re trying to achieve with the product or software. Because then that’ll help set the tone of the adoption in the impact. And that’s you can help reinforce the value that you will be delivering and, and set expectations clearly from the onset of “this is how we can help you and this is what your next steps will look like” to make sure that the handoff between sales making that purchase and to customer success, or the implementation team, whichever comes first is seamless. And you can have all that information and transfer it in a way that the prospect is not repeating themselves over and over at every step beyond the purchase.
David Nour 33:54
Three, three quick points. I think, again, the leadership team needs to set the tone of when you buy from us, when you become a customer, early and often, this is what you should expect. So I believe in kind of sharing those philosophical, leadership, cultural, early and often from an executive standpoint. Number two, we’ve been talking a lot about software. But this is as relevant to others. As I mentioned, we’re working with industrial manufacturing client, that is that is thinking dramatically different about not just a physical box, a physical product that they sell, but now a suite of services and cloud based and installation. And what if we rented that box instead of sold it because of the technology evolves. And as part of your rental agreement, you get maintenance and you get updated hardware and we’ll even replace the box every two three years because it changes. So this has the opportunities, not just software, has the opportunity to change fundamentally business models. I also we also get pushback of, well, we’re enterprise B2B or we’re it’s a really complex sale.
And it’s not selling just to consumers. Couple of things. Last time I checked, even the enterprise, they’re made up of consumers. Remember so, so Jenn’s comment about let them buy with a credit card, you never know when somebody can and often does put 10, 12, 15, $20,000 buy on a corporate card. And when they have a great experience as a consumer, they are much more likely to become advocates and really become proponents of your technology, or your solution inside their organization. And you need that internal champion. So it goes back to Jenn’s comment of knowing who they are, knowing where they are in their buying cycle, engaging them as frictionless as possible. Follow through, which is a process. How was your experience how I listen, I like surveys as much as the next guy. Call me old school, I still like using this antiquated device called a telephone, where you can actually hit numbers and get someone on the other side, their voice, and here’s who I am. Here’s what I do. I just wanted to follow up with you and ask how your experience was with us. And just a quick story for the audience. What do 99% of hotel front desks say when we leave a hotel property? Jenn, I’m gonna use you as our audience gauge what do they say when you check out?
Jenn Cordz 34:05
We hope you had a pleasant stay?
David Nour 36:41
Checking out? No, I’m I’d like to have my tires changed. Here’s my room key, I’m checking out. That exchange does little creates little to no value. Conversely, same scenario, what if that person at the front desk simply asked, “What’s the one thing about your purchase, about your stay with us, we could have improved?” Think of any hotel, any full service hotel, think of how many guests check out. It is you know, they’re now their labor challenges and a aim for efficiency. Don’t even come talk to us. Just drop your keys off in the dropbox and leave the property altogether. And that couldn’t be a bigger mistake. Because what you’re missing out on are insights at that purchase. You bought a night or of several nights or a week with us? What’s the one thing we could have improved in your experience?
Jenn Cordz 37:46
On that note that you mentioned it earlier. But the follow through. Asking that question is great. And some companies do ask that question. It’s shopping or car purchasing or hotels. And they ask the question, but the person who’s receiving that information, the person behind the desk is indifferent. Or they’re just asking it because it’s part of their process. The follow through the actual you ask the question and care about the answer actively listen to what the person is saying, it you may not be able to solve their problem or fix their problem if they had something that was drastically in error. But listening, asking, being empathetic to whatever that person says, really is valuable. And that person feels heard. So a lot of people and there’s that stat where like one person out of every 10 will actually complain. But there’s six or seven that will just go and say nothing. If you ask the question and actually listen, and then follow through on maybe in two days, you’re like, I can’t fix it but let me talk to my manager and you actually talk to your manager, and then the manager reaches out to that person, again, that person feels heard and valued and that their money was maybe not perfectly well spent, but well spent. And so that’s the other piece to that. Yes, ask the question, have that engagement, but then do something with it. Don’t just ask the question to ask the question.
David Nour 39:13
And I gotta tell you, I borderline detest, like surveys. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, much less, “How was your survey with our you know, how was your experience without car dealership or our, you know, this technology or this thing you bought?” And I just I don’t know how many people respond to that. Or worse yet. I get a survey again from my favorite airline asking me about the gate agent. Gate agent was fine. The flight attendants were rude. Or, you know, the way we landed was was awful. So you’re not looking at the whole experience. And again, what one thing we could improve really helps you again in the middle of the of the page. Stage 4: validating the sales cycle and confirming the buying journey, how did you find out about us? How did you pick us? How was your experience with us? What one thing we could have done differently, invaluable to reiterate Jenn’s comment, if it’s done authentically, and if it’s done by people who care enough to act on it. So collecting that information is step one, acting on it to improve just the left hand side is step two, and really then implementing, optimizing it and elevating that is critical. So moving on to five, what happens, I bought, now I bring your solution, your technology, whatever into my organization, what happens in adoption?
Jenn Cordz 40:41
At adoption, you want to help them get your solution product, whatever it is integrated into their ecosystem quickly, and help them realize some of those efficiencies if it is a software for instance, or have them experience some of that low hanging fruit like success. You also if it is a physical object, like a car, or motorcycle, or something else, making sure that they see value and continue to add insights to their purchase. Recently, I bought a new motorcycle. And one of the great things about my experience was I’m actually getting emails from the company, the manufacturer, and they’re giving me insights into the TFT, which is the display on the front. Like did you know this is how you can control it? This isn’t you can can change your colors here. It may not be like revolutionary what they’re doing. But the information they’re giving me is something that I would only find maybe in the user manual. But those touch points are giving me insights into something that makes me fall in love with whatever it is that I just bought a little bit more. Or I want to go play with it or, you know, so it gets me to engage further. Adoption is that period of time where you’re delivering initially on the promise that you made in the purchase space.
David Nour 42:02
And again, there’s there’s all kinds of battle tested practices. And if you don’t position, the right hand side, the adoption, we’ll talk about impact and evangelism in a second. Before purchase, here’s what to expect from us. Next, here’s let me introduce you to our customer success team. Here’s the, they’ve got to feel the relationships have to feel a: the passing of the baton in a seamless, by the way, I’m still here, I call me, contact me if you ever need anything. But I really want you to work with Janet who leads our customer success team, and their role, their focus over the next three months, six months, 90 days, whatever horizon is to really help you jump in both feet, really get the value from what we bring, and the impact we believe this can have on your business. If they don’t hear that and feel that, you’re leaving it to chance. That’s a missed opportunity to really drive that adoption. Really drive the recipient of that value, embracing and being a part of the impact you want to create. Which leads us to actually impact. Jenn, what are you looking for in six?
Jenn Cordz 43:27
We are looking for how companies are demonstrating the value that they actually bring in once they’ve been implemented at a prospects company or organization. When you promise to save keystrokes, are you actually doing that? If you’re saving money or time, show records. Show a true hard evidence of the value that you promised in the purchase phase or even in the evaluation phase. Show that the things that you said you could do, you are actually in fact doing. But then you build on that. Like the impact. Here’s what we promised you. Here are additional things we have found. Because you’ve implemented our software or your team is using our software in this way. Did they know you can also use it in this other way to help in these other areas of their job.
For instance, like if it is like a customer success organization. They’re listening to the customer over here. Did you know you could actually send surveys? Or you could track your meetings? Or you could track sentiment? Or whatever, like, show the impact. Demonstrate what you promised is actually what you’re delivering. But then give them that additional insight. If you don’t give them that additional insight into how else they can leverage your software, again, you’re leaving opportunities on the table and they’re going to see you as a vendor, not as an actual partner in their journey. By giving them that additional insight or guidance in additional ways that they can leverage your solution, they’ll see you as a true partner and asking questions to you of, “well, we’re trying to solve X, can you help me solve that?” So you’ll be top of mind when they’re trying to solve other problems within their organization as well.
David Nour 45:18
Critical. Three things come to mind. I’m a big believer of proactive impact creation, not reactive. Jenn mentioned she just bought a motorcycle. We both ride. Don’t get me started in the power sports industry, because we’ll be on the I’ll be on the pulpit for a while. But even the manufacturers with a $30,000 motorcycle, you get a motorcycle owner’s manual. It could, the impact couldn’t be more reactive. You’re asking me to spend time to go read this thing to figure out how to best utilize. Right? In the in the age of video, in the age of, why not walk me through? Why not introduce me to somebody else who bought that similar motorcycle in my community? Why not get me involved with a local users, kind of a riding club, to kind of get the most out of. I promise you I didn’t have $30,000 burning a hole in my pocket. And I didn’t have anything to do with to go invest in this machine. And the electronics alone I’ve I’ve come so far, and they’re so capable.
And yet I know zero about how to get the most out of the investment I just made. So that brand that will go unnamed. And now it’s not just a brand – it’s a distribution channel. It’s the dealer. It’s that training of the rep. It’s that customer success team is reactive in their value creation and impact, not proactive. One. Two: most valuations of organizations are still based on top line revenue. You know what top line revenue comes from? The left hand side of this graph. You know where recurring revenue and your ability to grow your ARR comes from? The right hand side. We don’t see enough investments in the customer success function.
Resources, processes, capabilities, tech stack. It is almost like a redheaded stepchild and often forgotten about. And that is a huge mistake. Also a leadership, focus or lack thereof, tone, or lack thereof. If the goal becomes “we just got to close it and get the next logo” that stops at four. If the goal becomes “we want that logo to not only be a fantastic client, but a huge advocate of ours, serve on our advisory board, speak at conferences with us, do case studies” and will lead all due to the number seven, if that’s the tone from the top, then you got to invest in five, six and seven. Jenn last but not least, let’s talk about seven quickly.
Jenn Cordz 48:13
Yeah, this is where you do, you dive deeper with that customer. You help you do case studies with them. You do ask for their feedback and recommendations on how the product can improve. And again, listen and apply those things. And in that evangelism phase, that’s where they they will renew. If they’re only talking to their sales rep or their customer success rep when there’s a problem, they’re they’re again, seeing you as a vendor, they’re not seeing you as a partner. So if you’ve done five and six, really well seven will come easily. They will let you use their logo, they’ll be willing to do reference calls, all of that, to help you close additional deals. And also, the acquisition of net new customers is more expensive than keeping and landing and expanding the ones that you already have. So if you do 5, 6, 7 well, your cost of acquisition of your your user base is going to go down and your ROI and the profit that you’re making is going to go up. I mean it’s basic math.
David Nour 49:20
I can’t reiterate enough about the value of seven. The best marketing many of you have heard word of mouth. I’ve always believed the best sales tool for your company is a not just met expectations, but really exceeded, delighted customer sitting next to a prospect at an event and just let let them naturally have that conversation. So how did you meet these guys? And how long you’ve been working with them? And how are things going? And I’ve seen executives do this on a golf course. I’ve seen board members do this on a golf course when when considering hiring an investment banking firm or moving the law firm from one firm to another. And they have these conversations and a evangelistic customer, and evangelizing customer becomes invaluable. And they’re not going to happen overnight. They’re not going to happen because of your good looks. It is an investment in adoption and impact, and really creating and sustaining real value over some period of time. So
Jenn Cordz 50:36
and when you love a product or service, you’ll talk about it wherever. Like you’ll, you’ll go in, and it doesn’t have to be prompted and it doesn’t necessarily have to be an organized event. Like if you’re on a plane, and somebody asks what you do, or company you work for whatever, you’ll find synergistic conversations just organically happen. And if you love a product or service that you’re using, and this person happens to mention, “oh, we’re trying to solve X,” you’ll just bring it up. And you could sell this person that you have never met before sitting next to you on the plane. So that’s the type of person you want to create that love of your customer and everyone that interacts with you.
David Nour 51:18
So again, we call it the customer lifecycle journey maturity model. Because we measure key metrics at each stage. We’re started, they also benchmark our client companies, against their peers and against other organizations. In every organization we’ve worked with, there’s definitive strengths, as you can imagine. We’re really good at awareness. We’re awful at impact. We’re great at impact, we’re really bad at it in engagement. So, and what’s fascinating is you ask the same group of leadership, the leadership team, and you get different answers based on their perception of what what we collectively do as a team, but we need to work on. So we’d love to talk to you more about this. We’ll have this on our website, we’ll definitely put it in the forum, again, nourgroup.com/forum. I would encourage you to come visit us there. Come jump into the conversation. Happy to answer questions or comments you have.
We’ll also post a copy of this in there for you. It is constantly evolving as we research as we interview more executives. And we encourage you to jump in and participate with us. So if this episode or maybe the previous one on 10 attributes of success and 23 have been of interest and value to you, we’ll hope you’ll continue to come back. Listen, subscribe to our podcast, join us in the forum. Jump into the conversations. In the next few weeks, we are generally going to talk about intelligent profitable growth as it relates to strategic business relationships. Over my shoulder, the other shoulder, that green book is Relationship Economics, it was my first book. Published in 2008.
I did a second edition and 2012 or Wiley was kind enough to ask me to completely rewrite it in the post pandemic world and it’s being released this next month. And leading up to it we’re going to share some insights and I have some really interesting conversations about aspects of our personal team and organizations relationships, both within the organization, as well as external to it that we believe and we’ve proven, contributes to intelligent and profitable growth. So we hope you’ll join us. We hope you’ll jump in questions, comments. Let us know how we can support you and your journey in delivering intelligent profitable growth. Jenn, thank you. Good to see you. On behalf of our team, thanks, everybody. Look forward to seeing you. Again, Tuesdays, noon Eastern. All the best. Bye bye!