John O’Connor Show Notes Page
Our world is rapidly evolving, and technology is becoming more advanced. Business operations and marketing efforts are becoming more automated and less personal. However, as we enter into this new digital age, does it also change the way we do our marketing? Listen to this episode as John O’Connor shares why although the digital age has changed, the marketing principles remains the same.
John O’Connor is the CEO of the European B2B customer experience (CX) company Deep-Insight. John has 30 years of experience in customer management. Prior to Deep-Insight, John was an Associate Partner with Accenture in London and led its CX practice in Dublin. John holds an engineering degree from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from the London Business School. John has advised the senior management of Atos, BT, DWF, Hitachi, QBE, Toll Group, Serco, Suncorp, Santander and VISA on their CX strategies.
00:36 – John’s background in B2B Digital Marketing
04:49 – Thinking outside the box
06:10 – Benchmarking your own company
07:56 – Taking the deep insights and applying it in marketing
15:49 – Susan and Bill’s relationship problem
17:26 – Why a majority of modern B2B digital marketing is overrated
20:47 – What to do in order to be a disruptor
23:30 – Understanding the cadence of getting customer feedback
27:22 – The fundamentals and focus on the customer
30:39 – The one question every digital marketer should ask themselves
37:05 – Connect with John O’Connor
“The most important thing to any customer experience program is it has to be driven by the top. You need leadership.”
“It’s not about financials, it’s not about operational issues. It’s about the customer end.”
“The basics of customer relationships is built around trust and commitment. Technology is just the enabler.”
“The digital age has changed, but the marketing principles are the same.”
Links and Resources
John’s email: email@example.com
John’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-o-connor-crq/
John’s website: https://www.deep-insight.com/
Show TranscriptClick to access unedited transcript
Jim Rembach (00:01):
Okay. B2B DM gang. I’m really excited about having this guest on the show because he is an expert in a realm that I spent over 15 years in. Um, and in being able to incorporate that into the business to business, uh, digital marketing, interactive marketing, and ultimately sales activities and customer retention activities is really vital, is really vital. Uh, it’s an overall systematic approach that all organizations have to take. And if you miss one part of essentially the three legged stool, meaning marketing sales and member, or client or customer experience, um, you’re missing out on some important opportunities that could cause you to disrupt your competition. Uh, so I actually have John O’Connor on the show with me today. Welcome John.
John O’Connor (00:49):
Thank you very much, Jim. Delighted to be here.
Jim Rembach (00:51):
I’ve not, I’ve given a little bit of insight to the, uh, you know, what you do, but if you could share with the B2B DM gang, your background and experience with, uh, B2B marketing. Sure.
John O’Connor (01:01):
Okay. Well, I came into B to B marketing through a fairly security route because I I’m an engineer by background. So I do, I did mechanical engineering and Trinity college, Dublin half a century ago, literally almost half a century ago. And, uh, I ended up working as an engineer down a coal mine in South Africa for my sins for a few years. Um, decided after three years that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working in the coal mine. Um, so I went off and did a master’s in business administration in London. Still couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do ended up saying I’d become a consultant for a few years and I joined, uh, Accenture. So it was in the strategy practice of Accenture. It was a big kind of tech company. All the stuff I was doing was kind of mainly working with, um, with people on market and sales strategies.
John O’Connor (01:48):
I did that for about 13 years, uh, before jumping into a company called deep insights, which is where I’ve been for the last 15 years. Um, and deep insight is a, it’s a B2B, um, marketing and almost account management company. Um, but kind of towards my end, towards the end of my period in, um, in Accenture, I was leaving their CRM practice in the Dublin office or in Ireland. And I also managed to get myself involved in writing a book at that stage, which is called marketing in the digital age. Uh, it’s actually quite amusing when you read it back now, cause this is 20 years ago. So, uh, the, the digital age 20 years ago is a little bit different to the digital age now. And yet the funny thing is, cause I was, I was actually, I was trying to read the textbook this morning again, just to see how out of date we actually were.
John O’Connor (02:41):
The core principles of marketing are still, still exactly the same. It’s just, you know, the technology has evolved and probably moved in different directions to where we thought it would be 20 years ago. So that’s kind of how I got into, uh, the whole, um, uh, digital marketing, B2B stuff and stuff we with deep insight is, um, it’s purely business to business. It’s primarily around customer retention. And if you strip it down to its basics, all we do is we ask the, so our clients are people like, uh, BT, British circle, uh, Atlas, uh, AXA, um, QB down in Australia, big business to business companies, across a variety of different industries. They will typically have a relatively small number of large corporate clients or government clients. Um, but they’re quite complex relationships. So you could have 20, 50, or even a hundred people in a client that have a view on you and your service.
John O’Connor (03:37):
Um, so it’s quite difficult if you’re a marketing person or a sales director to get your hands around, what’s actually happening within that client relationship. Our job is just simply to go out and ask our clients, customers what they think of their relationship with our client. And we’ve got some smart questions and a methodology and a bunch of other stuff as well, but it’s primarily, it’s driven around trying to really understand what’s happening inside of that complex relationship where the client might be worth 10 million, a hundred million, 500 million a year alone. Um, so that’s the sort of fun stuff we do these days.
Jim Rembach (04:13):
Well, and talking about that fun stuff and, and, you know, referring to deep insights and, uh, different perspectives is that, you know, I often find it very interesting to study things that are outside of your own perception of what your organization is and who your customer is because that that’s where the nuggets of opportunity lie. So if you start looking at the creative thinking process and the innovative process, uh, it isn’t by continuing to play in your own sandbox. If you think about it, it’s going and looking at the toys and somebody else’s.
John O’Connor (04:47):
It is. Yeah. Jim, a good example of that is yesterday. It was on a call with, um, it’s an English law firm called DWF and they’ve got offices in the, in the States as well. Uh they’re they think they’re the largest publicly quoted law for, I mean, in Europe. Um, and they brought deep insight on board because they didn’t want somebody who works with law firms. They want, they want to be a business. And they said, we’d like, you know, you guys work for some of clients. Um, what it gives a perspective, um, what a big corporate thinks about customers and customer countries rather than you know, us in the lower world, because we’re quite focused in, on legal stuff. And we think we’ve probably learned more from other companies and we learned from our own profession.
Jim Rembach (05:34):
And you know, when you, when you say that it starts me to thinking down the path of what we normally do, what we normally do is we want to look for people that are like us and what they’re doing and not what we should be doing, especially if we want to differentiate, if we want to disrupt, if we want to take market share, if we want to retain our customers versus giving them a reason to look at others. Yeah.
John O’Connor (05:58):
So we, so actually this is an interesting point too, because most of my clients say, yeah, can you tell us where we are in our industry? You know, give us a bit, how are we doing against the benchmark? And so the first thing we say is benchmarking either way at the time, guys, um, particularly if it’s your own industry, because if you want to be a mediocre company, then benchmark yourself against your industry. And we can tell you whether you’re above or below the average. In other words, if you want to be mediocre, just do that benchmark. So we normally set a, a benchmark, which is it’s, it’s an external benchmark. And it says, do you guys want to be unique? Um, and we have a unique benchmark, which is across any industry and it basically it’s equivalent to the top 10% of our database.
John O’Connor (06:43):
Um, but it’s based on the views of our clients, customers as to whether they think our client is unique or not. And that’s unique in two dimensions, it’s unique in terms of the relationship that they have with, with our client and the solution that our client offers to them. And I say solution rather than product, because they’re two very, very different things. Solution to us is around, um, are you producing something that helps me move my business forward and makes me more successful in the marketplace? So it’s not, you know, have you got the best technical solution? Are you the best value for money? It’s, it’s a lot more than that.
Jim Rembach (07:21):
Well, and then, so, okay. So let’s talk about the whole passion element of all of this and meaning that, you know, when you and I had talked off mic for a little bit, and one of his thing, things that’s really important. He, if, even if we’d just kind of separate out, you didn’t even, and I talked about geographic uniqueness talking about UK, us Asia, you know, and how let’s just kind of move that subtleness away. Um, but let’s talk about how things have changed in regards to how organizations need to take those deep insights and feed them back into the entire digital marketing process because you and I even talked about, well, it used to be like digital marketing had, let’s just throw some numbers out there and we can argue this, but we’re not going to do that. I’m 30% importance in my overall relationship building and retention. Um, but now in the world that we’re, you know, we’re now having to live in and I don’t see it going back. It’s not like 70 to 80% of the importance is in that. So I need to take these deep insights and feed them all into that type of a presentation, um, engagement perception building. So tell us a little bit about that.
John O’Connor (08:30):
I think I probably make the point that, um, I think regardless of where we are at the moment, and regardless of whether we are forced to sit behind computer screens rather where it can be physically face to face, if I look at any organization, um, what I, what I try to do with the CEOs or with the senior leadership teams that I meet is I try to get them to think about how you make, how they make their more customer centric. And a lot of companies are going to say, well, look, I to be customer centric, I need a Seesaw program or a net promoter score program. And I need to understand what my customers are thinking and then jump straight in and they’ll try and put into tools. Um, and we, we, we wrote another book. I, I swore after the last book that I would never write another book again in my life.
John O’Connor (09:20):
Um, I actually went off and did it. So we had a, we come up with a book called customer at the heart. Um, and we did it based on a series of interviews with CEOs, MDs, chief customer officers, chief sales officers, marketing directors, across Europe and down in Australia. Um, I don’t think we have any, uh, us, uh, people that we interviewed. Um, but one of the interesting things is when you talk to, when you talk to the CEO or sales director of Compli, particularly large organization, you begin to realize that it’s not just about the tools. Um, it’s not just about the digital piece of the technology. Um, we basically came up with kind of four quadrants in the, in the circle. So if you think of, um, if you think of a circle where at the top, you’ve got the customer at the bottom, you’ve got the, the executive team, um, on one side, uh, you have what I call the soft side.
John O’Connor (10:15):
Then it’s like, what do you call the hard side? Hard side is stuff which lends itself to KPIs, numbers, metrics, and so on. Um, and the soft side is basically the people side. So down in the bottom, right, is a thing called leadership. So leadership is it’s soft side, and it’s very much with the management team. So the most important thing, if you’re running any sort of a customer experience, customer feedback, C-SAT net promoter score, whatever you want to call it. Customer retention program is it has to be driven by the top. So you need leadership. I’ll give you the four quadrants in a comeback. So you need leadership strategy, execution, and culture and leadership is the most important one. Um, uh, you have to have the CEO or the sales rep with the company, driving the program and actually being passionate about it so that every single all hands call they have with their teams, the customer, or a customer has mentioned.
John O’Connor (11:12):
First of all, it’s not about financials. It’s not about operational issues. It’s about the customer end, my last visit to that customer exists. Um, that the second thing you need a strategy and by strategy would mean this is kind of getting more now towards the kind of a hard side where we’re saying we’re taking feedback from customers. And we were then going to push that into the way we segment our customers. The way we do our account management, the way our products are actually manufactured, because actually traditionally we build products because we’ve got a bunch of good techie people over here. And they’re very, very good at manufacturing products. We never quite put the product team and the customer into the same room. So if you’re, if you’re in marketing or you’re in sales, you have to take the customer and actually stick them into the product team.
John O’Connor (11:59):
You have to stick them into the operations team because we build operations to be good for, for our needs, not for the customer’s needs. So unless you have the leadership, you will be able to build those into your operation strategy, your sales strategy, your customer segmentation strategy. And so on the third piece then is the, what we call execution. This is where people normally going to jump in and say, well, we need a CX program. We need a, a, a, we call it a CRQ customer relationship quality. We need to see our cute program. Um, and those are having the tools and techniques, the governance structures in place and all that sort of good stuff. And there you need, you need, it needs to be, it needs to be led actually by sales rather than their marketing. So, so with your ears, anybody out there in marketing, because you can’t sit in an ivory tower, this has to be done as close as possible to where the customer is.
John O’Connor (12:53):
Um, it, what we normally find is that when you run these customer programs, they tend to be coordinated by marketing, but the really successful ones are actually driven by the sales teams. It’s the accounting to own the program. Um, and then the final piece is culture. This is basically where you get the entire organization pointing themselves towards the customer. Um, it’s the account teams or service teams. It’s a product development guys. It’s the operational back-office people who say, there’s no point in doing this because that’s not what the customer wants, but they only do that. If they see the leadership constantly talking about the customer. So you get into this virtuous circle, um, this is what a lot of companies do is they jump straight into the execution piece, they get the tools, right? And then they wonder, why is my, why am I only getting 20% response rate from my, uh, my customer feedback program when it should be 50, 60, 70%?
John O’Connor (13:49):
Um, why is nothing fundamentally changing? You need all four quadrants. Um, and the, the, the digital piece in there in some ways it’s actually relatively small, um, because you get down to the basics of, of customer relationships, they’re built around trust and commitment and some fairly kind of soft stuff. The technology is just the enabler. So, you know, when I was looking back at that very first book that I wrote the marketing in the digital age, um, yeah, the digital age has changed, but actually all of the marketing principles are the same. And actually the core thing I remember that we talked about in that book was the importance of a good customer database at the center of everything. Now, I think things have moved on, but fundamentally you need to have anything to do with the customer, whether it’s their needs. So once their, their aspirations, um, they are contacts the, our interactions with them that all should sit in your CRM system. Um, but we really kind of put all of that stuff in the CRM system. And we rarely get everybody to share information with the sick and stick it into the same CRM system. So it’s funny, 20 years ago, we were talking about how, how, how difficult it was to get sales people and service people to buy into the concept of Salesforce automation. Um, nowadays we’re still getting the same problem getting to use Microsoft dynamics and Salesforce.
Jim Rembach (15:13):
Well, as you’re talking though, I start thinking about if I’m not in a situation where we’re already have the framework in place, marketing does have the opportunity to start driving some of that change, because, you know, if I’m taking this information and I’m asking these questions to be able to feed it back into, you know, that congruency, if we’re saying we’re customer centric, it needs to be, it needs to happen and be felt all the way through. And it is that it’s a feeling, however, that feeling is very tangible because otherwise the deep insights that you’re collecting it would be all false data, right?
John O’Connor (15:50):
Yeah. Yeah. We had actually, we had, um, a few years ago I wrote a blog or a series of blogs that was called Susan and bill have relationship problems. And as Susan was the sales director and bill was the marketing director. So they, the whole kind of concept was around how you get things to people who come from slightly different perspectives to actually work together, to do the right thing for the, for the customer. And yeah, marketing has a key role to play, but they also have to get the salespeople or the service people, or the people were in the face of the customer on a day to day basis. They need to be working very closely with them. And, you know, even still, we still tend to very siloed organizations, even in relatively small companies, certainly the large ones, you know, you’ve got the sales organization sits over here. The marketing organization sits over there. The profit guys are somewhere in the back office. We never see those guys, or we don’t want to see the bear. There was of the guys at the point he heads, and we don’t want to talk to them. You have to get them all together. Um, if you want to make this work
Jim Rembach (16:50):
Most definitely. Okay. So that lead me, that starts leading me to, uh, when you started looking at a lot of the tactics and practices and things that people talk about that they need to do in order to be able to do, um, and have the impact that you’re talking about. And, and this is going back to the whole sandbox thing. Some of the things that you’re doing with some of these very large organizations absolutely can be executed and accomplished, you know, in those smaller organizations. So it works for everyone. Um, but I have to ask you from, from your perspective, what are some of the things from a digital marketing perspective that you just think are just overrated?
John O’Connor (17:26):
Probably most of it, I would think. Um, okay. So let’s, let’s take a couple of examples, um, artificial intelligence. Great. But we know we haven’t figured out how to use that in a, in a, in, in a marketing perspective, really the AI is going, being used and actually being used kind of quite well to sort out delivery or operational stuff, uh, for, for the, for the most part. Um, you know, maybe, maybe we’ll get there. But I think if you kind of go back to the fundamentals of it, either when you’re selling or marketing to people, this is all about trying to understand the perspective of a human being at the other end of a telephone or the under the, the other end of a coffee table, telephone. These there’s more coffee tables. Um, and the digital piece really is just a facilitator in that.
John O’Connor (18:14):
Sometimes I think we hide behind the technology and we think that the technology will solve all their problems. If you’re in big B2B sales, um, frankly, um, you can sell or fail to sell, um, a contract worth a hundred billion, sorry, a hundred million a year. Um, but you only need to talk to 10 people, but you need to know exactly what those 10 people are looking for. And you need to know them individually, intimately as people. So, you know, I’ve been tongue in cheek when I say, you know, most of the digital marketing, most of the digital stuff is not really that relevant. Yeah. It’s relevant in a facilitative point of view, but we shouldn’t hide behind the fact that we are dealing with individuals, people, human beings, and we’re trying to solve their business problems that we’re trying to make them more successful.
John O’Connor (19:07):
So only view the digital stuff as an enabler, and don’t let it get in the way of really understanding what, what are the feelings of the individual, the little side of the table who’s thinking of buying from me or of buying from my company, what are they actually trying to achieve? What’s their business problem and how can I solve that for them? So, you know, I, again, I kind of come back at this. We used to take a very wide definition of a marketing in my old days, which kind of, it’s more kind of sales driven marketing then. And certainly in the top end of B2B, a lot of your marketing tends to be done on an account basis. It’s account based marketing. Most of that is around just physically walking around the client’s site, talking to people, getting to understand what they need. Now technology can help to try to capture that core, that together into kind of one place. And it’s going to come back to things like CRM systems, but, you know, ultimately if you’re trying to build longterm relationships at the big end of the BSB scale, it’s all about Cressman relationship still.
Jim Rembach (20:12):
Well. And I think to me, I think that’s the important message that you’re really bringing forth here. So if we were to talk about digital marketing, right, and I want to be a disruptor, I want to be that organization that is capturing market share. That’s capturing attention that is, you know, connecting with the needs of my ideal prospect or customer. Cause I do have that longer sales cycle. I know there’s going to be multiple relationships. What do I need to do in order to be a disruptor?
John O’Connor (20:38):
I think just use the user technology that’s already there. You know, we’ve been talking about, uh, we used to call it a automation 20 years ago. I say, now it seems like Microsoft dynamics, it’s Salesforce, and a bunch of other things. People don’t use those truffles in most organizations. They’re kind of old fashioned tools in some ways these days, but that is the core of your digital marketing capability for most companies. Um, and it should be the place that you capture and stick everything related to all of our interactions with, with each type. So if I’ve got one large client where there may be a hundred contacts in there, as I say, it might be worth 10 million a year, a hundred million a year to make, um, everything that I do should sit into that. We’ve got a repository and I should be using that to try to build account based marketing strategies.
John O’Connor (21:29):
And I can only do that if everybody in my organization is linked into it and is feeding stuff into it. And actually I should, if I can make use of it. Um, and you know, the collaboration tools of Indies are getting better at, you know, we’re doing this, we do this on zoom. Most people are starting to use Microsoft teams. Um, so those capabilities of collaborating are there, but, but the core of any customer based off really should sit in that, in that central CRM system. So like if you get me a million dollars in the morning and so spend it on anything, um, I would say going invested in your CRM system book, use it properly. And think about that framework I was talking about, um, I would probably take half of that million and I put it into soft stuff and I probably put it very little of it actually into the technology. I put no effort into training, into working with leadership team, maybe changing out some of my leadership team who are more cost or not customer centric enough. Um, so I, I can take a holistic view of this. Don’t throw all the money into technology and think of technology just as the enabler. So digital marketing, it sounds kind of high tech. It doesn’t have to be, and it probably shouldn’t be
Jim Rembach (22:44):
Well. I mean, I think what you’re saying is
John O’Connor (22:47):
Ruined your show now, apologies for that.
Jim Rembach (22:52):
No, not at all. And the reality is for me, when I start talking about, you know, B2B, digital marketing, um, fundamentals, you use that word, you know, that’s important cause oftentimes we’ll get disconnected from fundamentals. And then we, if, if we’re lucky, you know, we’ll come back to the fundamentals. Uh, you talked about tool optimization, um, which I also think is critically important, especially when you start talking about remote work, you know, I have, for example, you know, five people, you know, supposedly doing the same thing for their different areas of responsibility yet, they’re all doing it quite differently. They’re all using the tools quite differently. And, and I think we often forget, you know, that whole element that you talked about in regards to, you know, uplifting and skills, right. Because we’re when it comes to any tool, um, we’re just going to make it functional for us.
Jim Rembach (23:44):
Um, and then we’re going to repeat that pattern, right? Uh, it doesn’t mean that we’re optimized. It doesn’t mean that, you know, we’re getting the most out of it most valued from it. It doesn’t mean that we’re converting that. And you know, I mean, so all of these things are critically important and your perspective is vital because going back to what I had said, you know, I spent, you know, 15 plus years in the customer experience measurement world, I mean, it was, it was associated with those that were being served in a contact center. Right. Um, so it’s, you know, Hey measure my experience, those deep insights that we, that we were able to provide back to clients were vitally important to some of those key metrics that you’re talking about, like the whole net promoter or whatever I’m using customer sat, customer effort. I mean, all of these different KPIs and metrics that could be, you know, used, uh, in order to be able to deepen the relationship, you know, but whether or not they use them was a different story, whether or not they use their tools that were currently existing, you know, was a different story.
Jim Rembach (24:43):
So I think there’s a whole lot of fundamental things that we need to focus in on that you shared. So ruining my show, absolutely not. I mean,
John O’Connor (24:51):
You can just pick on the point, you were talking about kind of contact centers and KPIs and stuff. Um, one of the things actually that most companies are, I think still struggle with is understanding the cadence of the frequency with which they should be getting customer feedback. So most of the stuff that we do at deep insight is around trying to get an annual strategic conversation going with the client. So you’re talking pretty kind of big conceptual stuff with clients at the, at a really senior level. Um, and we do that once a year, typically with most of our clients might say once a year, does that give you kind of enough feedback to make it make a difference? Don’t you need to take, put your finger on the pulse more regularly. And the answer is, yes, you do, but you do that kind of true tactical metrics.
John O’Connor (25:35):
So if you’re working in a call center, I want to know probably Arab area or whether we’ve got an issue, I certainly want a daily updates. And if we’ve got an outage or a problem somewhere, I need to do that as it’s happening, not a week later and certainly not a month later. But, um, so, so you need to take those feedback loops in at least two different levels, maybe three. So you’ve got the tactical level, which has done very frequently, but it is tactical and very, very transactional, um, at a strategic level. Annually is usually enough because what that gives you is that basically gives you the program of work that the leadership team needs to start thinking about for the next 12 months. And it requires making some pretty big calls probably on investments. Um, and that could be investments in people as well as technology or re-engineering of processes or coming up with a new product that actually fits with customer wants rather than what we think is good for the customer. So we tend to find that a 12 monthly cadence for those TJ conversations, actually, it’s fine, but you do need to supplement it with much more regular stuff. And the really good people have figured out just how to harmonize the two and get them to work in sync together.
Jim Rembach (26:46):
Yeah, that’s it, that’s a great point that you bring out the whole strategic relational type of measurement. Um, and the tactical transactional. Now they do have to work in harmony. Um, you know, one will help bring insight to the other, you know, because ultimately when you start talking about a lot of these strategic numbers, the question starts becoming why, how, what, you know, uh, and that’s where your transactional types of measurements can hopefully build in those gaps. But then we can spend all day long talking about methods and methodologies and signals and it gets crazy, quite fast. Um, but I think,
John O’Connor (27:23):
Well, Jim, if you want to, let’s, let’s not for the moment.
Jim Rembach (27:28):
Yeah. I mean, we can start bashing net promoter, but I don’t think that’s appropriate. Um, it’s too easy. Um, and it’s easy to beat up the other KPIs too, but I think the point is, you know, going back to what we had talked about fundamentals and focus on the customer. Okay. So then how do we do that? Right. And then how do we feed that back into the whole client retention component? How do we, uh, shorten our sales cycle, you know, and, and take it and shave, maybe shave off a month or two, how do we understand all of these different constituents and personas, you know, that are part of the buying process? Cause that’s one thing that has changed as well with, um, you know, talking about our new reality is looking at some of the studies on how people decide more people are getting in fall involved with the sales decision.
John O’Connor (28:14):
They are, although again, um, and I actually, I was on a, I was on a conference call, uh, earlier this week when that very topic was being mentioned. Um, I’m slightly skeptical about some of this stuff. Um, because I think that is true when, when you’re buying on it in a transactional fashion. I think again, if you’re, if you’re talking about big beads with large companies and you’re talking about a contract that might be three, five, seven years long, and both parties are, it’s going to cost both parties, a lot of money to just do the evaluation, nevermind get into that, um, into that contract. These are big deals where the, the basis of the deal is actually trying to tease out between two organizations, what each other’s capabilities are and what the, what the fit is. Um, a lot of that stuff you can’t really do by trolling the internet in advance.
John O’Connor (29:08):
You can do it if you want to, like, if I want to buy a phone or if I want to buy another one of these things, um, yeah, I have done all my research before I get on a bike and that’s a B2B sale. Um, I guess I’m thinking more around these, a top end, your customer base, the police rule, where you’ve got, um, 70% of your business is coming actually from a very small number of customers. Those ones we need to really understand intimately. And that’s, I think where some of the digital marketing stuff, we kind of almost need to continue to downplay it and get back to the, get back to how do we kind of build relationships with people and, and how do we share our knowledge amongst all of our people about what all of their people are thinking so we can actually work together. So, you know, maybe it’s more of the, kind of the collaboration and breaking down the silos. That’s important rather, and using technology to do that rather than just using technology for technology’s sake.
Jim Rembach (30:03):
That’s a great point. So you talked about where you would spend your money, you talked about what you would quit doing. Um, but I have to come and ask you with all of this and everything that we talked about, including the fundamentals, geographic nuances and all of those things. What does a digital, you know, B to B marketer really need to be asking themselves?
John O’Connor (30:23):
Um, so I think if you’re, if you are in marketing, if you’re a digital market here, uh, the one question you need to ask yourself is how am I going to work with sales to get more revenues into this company? Um, and again, I kind of go back to that blog that I wrote, which has been with the bill and Susan story about how they’re having relationship problems. If this is about, you know, we’re actually having problems with our relationship with our customers, but we need to work together cause we’ve actually got different agendas, so fine. I’m bill, the marketing director. I need to produce a net promoter score because the guys upstairs, you need to have that number. I’m Susan on the sales director, I on give a whatever about the NPS score. I just want to make more sales. I can conceptually understand that NPS drive sales, um, but I’m coming at it from completely different angles. So if you’re in marketing, I think you have, you have to try and get us thoughts as you counter the customer. And these way of doing that is just go and spend an awful lot more time with the people out in, out doing the sales. So talk to the sales people, talk to service, people, find out how marketing can help those cause they will basically sell your marketing capabilities into the organization.
Jim Rembach (31:35):
I think that’s true. I mean that right there talking about fundamentals, um, I was working with a client to help with the sales enablement and I had a sales person come to me and say, thank you. And I said, what fork I had just met her. Uh, and she said, your work has enabled me to make sales a lot easier and to make connections a lot faster. And I’m like job done,
John O’Connor (31:58):
Jim Rembach (32:03):
Yeah, that was easy. I didn’t even know I did it. No, but I think that’s really the important thing to really walk away with here is, um, when the day is all said and done, um, that is the fundamental that we need to be able to execute upon. Uh, know the KPIs, talking about KPIs, the difference between, you know, w w a, a market, our marketing qualified lead, and a sales qualified lead, you know, I think that just needs to become qualified lead. Yep.
John O’Connor (32:31):
Yeah. I think, you know, um, most of these needs, if you’re talking about the needs for not new locals, that you’re trying to get onto the, onto your company webpage, but if are leads for existing clients where you’ve already been working with these people for the last 10 years, um, it’s around, how can you both kind of work together to try to close that lead? And in some ways I don’t mind whether that takes two months longer to close or two months shorter. That’s not really relevant to me. The key thing is that we actually close it and we start increasing the footprint we have in that particular client organization. And in some ways, somebody advice I give to our clients, if you’re a sales guy, try not to sell, try to listen to your customer, try to find out what it is, that’s their problems. And just, and slowly, you kind of work on little work on solutions and they’ll come to you. You know, the, the sales will come. Um, you don’t need to be kind of an aggressive sales person who is trying to close everything this month, nevermind this quarter spend more time using, um, using these two things rather than this one thing
Jim Rembach (33:41):
I’d love that you said that. Cause I actually had an email interaction with somebody who has referred to me. I had never met this gentlemen and I did some research and on him and he just quits back a quick email and says, you know, tell me how you can help me. Why really don’t even know what your needs are. I really don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish. I don’t. And I said, it would be foolish of me to sit here and say, I knew how I can help you. And he replied back and said, well, he goes to, then I really don’t have time to meet. And I’m like, well, then we’re not a right fit. Exactly because I’m not, I’m not going to be someone who’s just going to try to do something just totally inappropriate and say, I can help you in a way without having that basis of understanding. So thanks for sharing that.
John O’Connor (34:36):
I actually just, just find out that point yet. I think in some ways, if you actually made that sale to that person, um, you possibly could be doing yourself more damage in the longterm. I think if you can’t find a natural fit between what it is that you do as a company and an organization, and even as an individual with those clients, um, you run the risk of having them in series of transactional relationships rather than the proper, deep longterm meaningful relationships with clients. Um, so one of the things I always say to my clients is we, our methodology basically takes customers and they break them into kind of five or six different buckets from ambassadors for the most loyal and lobby to death all the way through to what we call stalkers and opponents and stalkers. And the foreigners should be no more than about five, five or 10% of your database or your customer base.
John O’Connor (35:25):
Um, and it’s where everyone kind of focuses in on these guys gave us a horrible score. How do we turn that relationship around? And the first thing I say is, do you actually want to turn that relationship around would be better off taking that costume by the hand, walking down the road and passing them over to the competition because chances are, they’re not profitable. If not the chances are you may not ever be able to service their needs. Um, so would you be better off just cutting them loose in a nice way? Now you may well find some of them were big clients and some of them actually are, they are a very good fit for what we do, but we just kind of run into this particular roadblock and we would just do need to get wins. You get through that roadblock, but it’s worth asking the question, is this the right fit in the first place? So from a marketing or from a sales point of view, be very clear. I think about who your target customers are, even within your customer base as a stance. And don’t be afraid to shed customers. If it allows you to reallocate sales and marketing resources elsewhere, where they can be more productive.
Jim Rembach (36:30):
Yeah. Talking about the fundamentals, it’s a longterm, you know, type of a scenario and timeline. It’s not something quick, Jay, John, I’ll tell you I’ve, I’ve had a great time talking to you today. Can you please share how the B2B DM gang can get in touch with you?
John O’Connor (36:47):
Um, probably the easiest is, uh, John Datto Connor and deep insight.com or just go onto our website, deep hyphen insight or deep-insight.com. Um, and if you’re interested in hearing more about her ability to Susan are getting long with their relationship problems, I I’ll share that link with you and you might want to pass it on to, uh, to the, to the game.
Jim Rembach (37:08):
Sounds good, John O’Connor thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and we wish you the very best pleasure. Thanks very much. Take care.
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.