I’m fortunate here that our customers not only love us, but are hungry to hear our point of view. And because customer success is our priority, I knew when I joined that I had the air cover to build a team and explore a new discovery approach to selling. The approach is to go to your customer and walk in their customer’s shoes. For B2C companies, this can involve visiting their stores, acting as a consumer. For B2Bs, it can mean sitting in a call center observing calls for a day.
What we try to uncover is what the customer experience is and where the opportunities for change are. Transformation can come in many forms, including a new service, an improved process, and even a new revenue stream. We’ve found that customers are eager to avoid being disrupted by social, mobile, and big data, but they need advice on the “how.”
The time-to-market and time-to-value that cloud computing offers means we’re not just painting a vision that a customer might be able to execute 20 years from now. They can go from vision to reality in days or months, which builds incredible trust. “That’s our goal with transformational selling, and the speed and flexibility the cloud offers is the wind in our sails to get us there.”
I knew I needed to hire differently to sell in this new way. Of course I wanted sales architects and engineers with technical depth. I also wanted visionaries and dreamers. I started to mix in people with an eye for the user experience, MBAs who were more business focused, and even McKinsey alums. Instead of forcing enablement on transformation selling, I started injecting this group into teams to spread this thinking organically.
I told them, “It’s as if I have a pitcher of clear water and you are a drop of blue dye. But I know it only takes a drop for the whole pitcher to turn light blue.” And that’s what started happening. All of a sudden, I noticed all of our demos changing. Everyone began talking persona first. The way they were doing discovery changed. Everyone started embracing this new way of thinking, because they saw how much better they were able to connect with customers.
“We’re winning over a company’s entire business because we’ve built a holistic vision, rather than taking an opportunity-only view.”