Who won that new customer sale?

Mary from Magnify shares – This is the third blog in our Magnify series following the recent Wellington ‘Kiwi Landing Pad’ Sales and Marketing Jam, thanks to organisation by John Holt and Sian Simpson.

Today’s blog is inspired by Tanya Neary, Director of Sales at Culture Amp, providers of software that makes it makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback.  Their key goal is to improve the engagement, experience and effectiveness of every employee.  It’s hardly surprising then to learn that Culture Amp rewards all employees who contributed to that new customer coming onboard – not just the salesperson at the very end of the process.

Tanya spoke about the synergy between Product, Marketing and Sales – and how Culture Amp aims to always think like a buyer.  This is very important for all of us – if we’re not building something awesome that creates lots of value for our customers, then we’re missing the mark.

In return for building something that directly solves customer problems, delivers value and ticks all the customer’s boxes every step of the sales journey – we will be rewarded with loyal customers who bring their total lifetime customer value into our business.  And we’ll have fun because we’re serving raving fans.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

If we want to delight our customers at every step of their sales journey, we need to reward staff so that they are motivated to give the best value they can at every touchpoint.

Tanya called this ‘Team of Teams’, and reminded the audience that Sales, Marketing and Product need to talk.  Each of these areas has a different view of the customer.  We will only get a more complete picture of who our customer is, what their pain points are, how they experience their world and our products/services – by dialoguing with our own ‘Team of Teams’.  Silos are most definitely out.

To that end, Culture Amp aims to hire for humility, especially in the sales area.  Key questions they ask about prospective employees are:

  • What do they want to learn?
  • Do they fit the culture?

At Culture Amp, they provide fixed compensation for everyone.  This means no commission for sales people.  In fact, Tanya shared that Culture Amp has always operated this way.  This is an idea that’s been gaining traction over the last few years from sales commentators in the USA and in other parts of the world.

Tanya reports that this approach has created alignment in the Culture Amp team.  Ultimately, they want people who are intrinsically motivated, not just motivated to make that final bit of sales commission at the end of the month.  As Tanya said – ‘Imagine that it is the last day of the month, and my goal is to sell $250K, but I’m on $240K.  The efforts to get that extra $10K in one day will end up changing my behaviour.  Is this the kind of behaviour that we want for our organisation?’

So, it was great to hear that Culture Amp has quarterly recognition of excellence across all the staff, rewarding excellence for sales, marketing, product, etc.  Culture Amp recognises that their staff across all disciplines have contributed to bringing a customer onboard.

Such an approach also values the data which is generated, and measured, by each employee’s interaction with the customer.  Data from Product is just as vital as data from Marketing or from Sales, or from other departments, in terms of a company growing in its understanding of their customers.

Tanya commented – ‘If I as a salesperson get paid 10% of a new sale, and I’m sitting next to a product specialist who helped win that deal, but they get nothing extra, what does that do for our team relationship?’  Again – we’re back to thinking about how your company works as a team.

Sales, Product and Marketing have a common goal.  They are all working to bring on board new customers, and to keep them for the business.  Especially with the Marketing function.  Customers may have seen Culture Amp for a while before talking.  Perhaps they’ve read an article, heard the CEO speak, watch a video, attended a free event where customers talk.

It makes sense for all three functions to be equally rewarded – especially when they each play such a vital part in the total customer journey.  Tanya also spoke about how Culture Amp handles their remote team members – how they keep in touch and keep their team culture.

If everyone on the Product/Marketing/Sales spectrum is rewarded for their part in the sale, and they all play an important part, how early should we bring in salespeople?  Tanya addressed this, sharing how Culture Amp has a focus on the total lifetime customer value that each new customer brings to the business.  As Tanya said – ‘We don’t want to bring a customer onboard at all costs and then have them leave.  With new customers, we don’t want to churn and burn – so we often bring a product person to client meetings.’

This makes a lot of sense, especially if the product team will be crafting solutions to meet customer problems.  Sales is the initial Reach Out.  A team member from Product will sit in the meeting with Sales, to hear the customer issues.  So the whole sales process becomes more collaborative, more buyer-centric – which is what a great sale should be.

Post-purchase nurturing is the norm at Culture Amp.  Tanya’s sales role is to have the early stage conversation, from legal aspects to sign off.  She then sends a welcome email, which includes an introduction to a Culture Amp Success Coach, who will work with that customer to achieve the best results for them by providing technical advice and training.  A six-month check gives the Culture Amp team an opportunity to review an account.

It’s an interesting shift, isn’t it – no commission for salespeople.  Tanya was excited by her work with Culture Amp.  The team ethic is high for this business, who really are walking the talk when it comes to employee engagement and experience.  Just like the football team who all celebrate their win, even though only one of them scored the final goal – perhaps it’s time we all shared in the benefits when each of us helps a new client on their customer journey.