95% Agree: Customer Experience Is Key to Unlocking Growth

The challenge of sustained top-line growth is not a unique phenomenon of the 21st and 20th centuries. Revenue growth has been top of mind for every business since the dawn of trading over 150,000 years ago.

What sets today apart from the 1900s is the increasing pace of change in customer preferences, economic cycles, product lifecycles, business models, and modes of communication.  Accelerating change is fueled by growing volumes, transparency, and accessibility to information.

For most of the 20th century, personal relationships were the foundation of B2B business. Information flows were slower, not as robust, and often available only to organizational leaders. Contrast that to today, where a college intern can access almost as much data as a company CEO. And have about as much influence, albeit in different circles.

Today, information velocity and volume coupled with global business volatility shines a spotlight on outdated business practices. One practice in today’s spotlight is how companies plan and manage their go-to-market strategies. Done well, top-line growth from new and repeat business is healthy.

Yet, 78 percent of the 2,400+ sales and marketing professionals polled in LeanData’s 2019 State of Revenue Operations Study said that consistent revenue growth is a challenge for their B2B organizations. The underlying reasons unpack like a Russian stacking doll – sales and marketing misalignment, siloed data and teams, sales productivity and turnover, low campaign conversion, customer churn, and employee frustration.

Ironically, part of the solution is the very catalyst that surfaced the problem – data.

With ubiquitous access to information, B2B buying teams took control of their journeys over a decade ago. No longer relying on vendors or traditional influencers for data, advice, and access to experts, buying teams often know more about solutions, how they compare, and ROI than a vendor’s sales and marketing teams.

And yet, thousands polled in LeanData’s survey said data was the least-aligned area in their organizations’ revenue engine.

If growth is a challenge, what is the solution? Almost universally, those polled said fixing B2B’s broken buyer journey is critical for revenue growth. Organizations are being forced, often kicking and screaming, to compete on customer experience instead of the traditional 4Ps of price, product, promotion, and place. Ninety-five percent of study respondents responded that delivering consistent and seamless customer experience across the entire customer lifecycle is a critical competitive differentiator and revenue driver. 2020 is the era of customer experience.

Successfully competing on customer experiences requires data. That means tearing down silos and aligning sales, marketing, and customer service/success data and processes to deliver customer expectations, and then institutionalize new practices with technology like RevOps.

Alongside industry analyst firm SiriusDecisions, LeanData helped coin the term “RevOps” or Revenue Operations for a new go-to-market structure — which unites the disparate operations teams supporting sales, marketing, and customer success into one holistic function singularly focused on how to increase growth and performance across the entire revenue chain.

While LeanData and industry analysts talk in the language of “conversion of prospects into customers and maximize customer lifetime value,” RevOps is a mechanism to align organizations outward to the customer based on a single source of truth (data) and clear interaction ownership, cross-functionally.

One study respondent described their internal alignment results as, “Today we plan from lead to end-of-customer lifecycle and are factoring in those numbers towards our growth. In the past, under a pre-RevOps mindset, this simply did not occur.”

Eighty-four percent of study respondents agreed that sales, marketing, and customer success share ownership for revenue growth. Having advised over a hundred B2B C-Suites and marketers, I’m not surprised that 40 percent of the same respondents said these functions aren’t optimally aligned within their organization to maximize revenue-growth potential. Data inaccuracy, lack of detailed customer knowledge, absence of a common shared language, and incomplete customer micro-moment mapping to business processes coupled with internal power struggles are common barriers.

The study found that within the over 2,400 respondents, the least-aligned aspect is data with the lowest average score of 5.7 out of 10. Other significant adoption challenges include culture, resources, organizational complexity, organizational maturity, and leadership support.

In my many North American and European change management initiatives – success comes down to people.

Unless people see a personal benefit, long-term change will be fleeting. My advice is to understand, without judgment, what is in each team member’s heart and mind. What is their motivation for change? Every person is different.

As RevOps gains momentum in the wake of many failed prior approaches to silo-busting and getting everyone to stay on the same page, keep these five steps in mind as you plan your implementation:

  1. Widely and repeatedly socialize a well-articulated RevOps vision that gives each team member a clear understanding of the real meaning their work has.
  2. Widely share detailed customer journey maps that show aligned business process flows to help employees understand who does what, when, and why.
  3. Implement accountability to reinforce commitment across all levels of the organization.
  4. Transparently share metrics to help team members understand cause and effect.
  5. Have a milestone-based plan and encourage team members to share suggestions, ideas, and feedback.

The more people feel heard, involved, and part of the process, the greater the impact your RevOps will have on revenue and customers.

First published in Medium

Leave a Comment