Now it’s time for Part 5, the conclusion, to see how it all comes together, and how it relates to Revenue Operations, or RevOps.
For reference, we're talking about a few things here.
First, websites are no longer online brochures. At least we should have evolved past that by now.
Next, we take this thread throughout all of the different parts of our website and who interacts with it: marketing, sales and service. That’s what it means to focus on creating a customer experience platform with our websites.
And it's all built on a CMS, the content management system. Plus you couple that with a CRM, contact relationship management, and you can see where the magic happens.
So for those that are visual learners, you can imagine the HubSpot sprocket. The main circle of the logo is the CMS. That envelopes the white dot inside of the circle, which is the CRM. Then we've got three sprockets. We've got marketing, sales and service.
That’s your Customer Experience Platform (CXP). The idea is that the CX platform really becomes integral to your entire business. And it's all wrapped around the CRM and your customer, prospect or contact.
Revenue Operations and Customer Experience
When it comes to creating the best customer experience and reducing the negative friction, we’re really focusing on Revenue Operations (Rev Ops). And we see as much emphasis on the operations part of it, if not moreso, than the revenue. Revenue becomes the (desired) byproduct of a great rev ops strategy.
Revenue operations is one of those things that should focus on the entire lifecycle of prospect, customers to brand ambassador.
For instance, building a well oiled machine often includes the directive to remove the silos. But maybe there’s a different way.
Silos can help keep us organized. After all, completely open offices for businesses haven’t exactly worked out for everyone. Instead of deconstructing silos, we can think of it as sawing out windows between them to be able to pass the messages through.
It’s about communication and collaboration along the journey.
Technology Plus Culture
Now, when a business thinks about its CX platform and this shift in communication, most people will go right to technology. While tech is important, it actually starts with a mindset shift. It starts with culture.
The problem with focusing on technology first is that you’ll likely make the same mistake so many businesses make. We often see negative friction and go right to a software or other tool to solve the symptom.
Each piece of tech brings its own issues, which often go unnoticed until this new tool comes into play. These technologies that help solve one specific problem often create three or four more. It could be from a data continuity perspective. It might look like needing a different place to login for the customer versus other users.
As a business you may have your website framework (CMS), accounting software, a chat option on the website, a CRM for your sales team (or multiple places for customer data), a video platform that brings in lead information… and there’s no single, central point of truth for your data.
That’s the problem with taking on the technology without a culture behind it.
Building a culture focused on customer experience enveloped in rev ops starts with the team coming together on things like efficiency, communication, revenue, experience and more.
It’s a lot like a baton handoff in a relay race. In many races, a single person might be able to go faster than a relay team because they have to rely on each other. But you can go further with a team when they can create synergy.
For instance, the person who receives the baton is not to look back at the handoff. They're supposed to have their hand there, ready for the baton as they begin to speed up. And they have to trust the other teammates to put the baton in their hand.
That’s a collaborative, trusting mindset. That ties into a company culture with trust in the team, or the other silos. At the end of the day, everyone has to be moving operationally efficiently in order to actually win. And winning, in most cases, is the customer not feeling like there's five races going on.
The culture in your organization has to care about that Northstar of customer experience.
Making Your Technology Fit into Company Versus Making Your Company Fit into Technology
A common problem we see is companies trying to make their operations fit into specific technology. We suggest instead taking the path of making technology fit into your business.
Here’s an example.
Imagine you have a conversion problem on your website. Drift could help you. Fantastic. So you buy Drift.
Then you need help with email automation. So you decide to buy into MailChimp.
But you also need a new website, so you build a WordPress website.
Now you discover you need a customer service solution, so you end up with Zendesk.
Look at that MarTech stack. All of a sudden you have all these different buckets. Each of these silos of information by themselves solves one problem. But what is the byproduct of solving that one problem? It's in some cases, creating two or three that you might not feel until you have to move data or processes.
Another example is when we recently conducted an analysis with a client. We asked for a list of all the software they use. They gave us a dozen tools for their sales and marketing operations.
Then we interviewed the salespeople on what software they use individually. We got almost a dozen more. And guess what… some of them weren't the ones that the company is one paying for!
Besides the costs involved, there’s a security point of view with major liabilities.
For instance one issue was a salesperson sayingh, “I don't use the company phone because I'm not always at my desk. So I use my own Google Voice on my personal phone.”
Pressed further on why, they told us their customers also like to text. They just find it easier because they're not always in front of a computer.
So your salespeople are creating processes themselves to do those things they're actually creating. They're making technology fit into their needs. Conversely, the company tries to fit processes into technology, which is a very limiting experience. You can't focus on making your operations fit into a certain technology set, and also care about the customer experience. Another problem is that by adding all these pieces of technology in a disconnected manner, you’re not consolidating and protecting data.
The Power of Consolidated Data
The power of consolidated data, in particular when it comes to your CX platform, lies in perspective.
Maybe you’ve built your website on WordPress and you have Drift for chat and MailChimp for email, Zendesk for support tickets and Hootsuite for social media. There’s no connective tissue bringing all of your data and customer behaviors together.
Each of these solutions may be great for their specific goal. However, your tools are only as smart as the data that you provide to them.
Amazon, for instance, is extremely powerful because of their perspective. Amazon knows what you are going to want to purchase based on the stuff you've looked at before. They have an immense amount of perspective that feeds that AI engine to allow for them to give this deductive reasoning.
But know that you don't need to spend as much money as Amazon does for that level of perspective, because any perspective is better than none at all.
Let’s look at a simple example. If someone subscribes to your blog, you know them. They’ve filled out a form and you now know that they subscribed.
How many businesses still have a subscribe box for every visitor?
Why waste that space? Instead, that could be the next phase action; it could be the next step. You could offer a new form asking what topics they’re interested in. Bringing your data together gives you the opportunity to offer smart content.
Another example is live chat and chatbots. When you have a tool that’s separate from your CRM, your data isn't consolidated. When your chat tool doesn't know the lifecycle stage, the pages visited, the forms converted or the conversations that we've had in our CRM, it starts to fail.
A final example we see often with clients is Net Promoter Score (NPS).
A brand will want to use net promoter score with a third party system because they want to survey people and figure out how happy their customers are.
Let's say marketing gets that because marketing wants to know what people care about how happy they are. The C suite probably sees that too. They look at the score. That information exists in a separate platform from the CMS and the CRM.
What happens if one of the people who was a promoter goes to your pricing page? What happens if a promoter calls you on the phone? What's the conversation going to be? It's probably going to be happier. It could potentially lead to upgrades or a referral.
On the flipside, if you knew that they were a detractor, if you knew that they were very unhappy and visiting that pricing page, it’s a five alarm fire. You might send your senior support person or even the CEO instead of sending the message to a level one support rep.
But if your data isn’t consolidated? It’s a crap shoot.
How Impulse Creative Made the CXP Jump
It’s time to get tactile. Let’s dive into a real example of making the jump to a Customer Experience Platform. Impulse Creative made this CXP jump ourselves in 2020.
We started thinking about enhancing the customer experience in January. Coming out of the new year we talked about what the objectives we had for 2020.
As we started to think about how to enhance the experience, we knew we’d make it more effortless. Remington looked to make it happen in quarter three or quarter four.
Instead, the Universe threw a curveball with coronavirus and COVID-19 and the quarantine. A slight dip in business gave us the opportunity for some time to dig in earlier in the year.
Between the news of the world, having children at home instead of in school, uncertainty and other mental stressors, the team needed to know where things were at and our customers needed to know where we were at without us having to repeat it and sift through hundreds of emails.
So we wanted to create that Northstar of efficiency and really make it a more positive experience all around.
We also leaned into the CX strategy because of the market. We saw some changes coming quickly that this effortless experience or this velocity was becoming really important.
And one of the ways to enhance that experience and really think about the customer experience platform was to make it so that we could alleviate and make our delivery processes more efficient for the customer. In return, as we make it easier for the customer it becomes easier for us.
For instance, as we perform onboarding for one of our partners through our CX platform, we immediately started having customers get excited about the number of meetings they could see they had left.
While we continue to work out the occasional bug, overall it's allowed for us to have more continuity in the customer experience. There's also a lot more continuity internally around processes. An exciting byproduct is more buy-in from the team. Many businesses face difficulty getting sales to adopt the CRM into their workflow.
By using the CX platform as we have, the entire team from sales to onboarding to ongoing support uses the backend software. On the frontend, the customer experiences a top notch interaction with the entire brand.
How Do I Build a Customer Experience Platform and Build Revenue Operations?
Ready to begin this transition and pivot your website from online brochure to customer experience platform?
The first step is questioning the experience your customer has. Be the customer and actually sign up or purchase your own product or service.
Have that meeting as a customer if you can, or attend those meetings. Be the fly on the wall and listen for what sounded right, what sounded wrong. Don't make any recommendations until you've gone through the whole process. Because again, perspective is what matters here.
The next piece is to assess all the technology that you have and all the different places that data lives. For instance, do you have spreadsheets? What about the rest of the team? What's customer data or analytics on your company that you have to manually put together? That's a data consolidation issue.
Once you start bringing the data together, you can start to really think about how to create this platform that allows for that perspective.
You want to think strategically about how your CMS and CRM interact, how a support technology plays into it and how communication happens between your team and the customer.
And then from there, it's chipping away at things and understanding trade offs to the changes and then waiting to see adoption and making sure that you're just mindful of change management for both sides.
BONUS: Who Owns RevOps
Someone in your company has to own Revenue Operations. For some brands, you get a Director of Growth, a Chief Revenue Officer or Director Operations.
Regardless of the title, it cannot be subordinate to marketing or sales. It has to be separate with marketing, sales and success reporting to the person who owns rev ops.
We see the operationally minded folks that can have the perspective of revenue most often ready to head up a rev ops mindset for the company.
When you’re small, that may be the CEO or founder. As you grow, it will be the spokesperson for revenue who can ask how decisions that we're making across all processes right now affect these areas?