Live Your Customer's Experience
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Explain the Salesforce Discovery model.
- Describe how to be your customer’s customer.
- Activate the three stages of customer centricity.
Salesforce worked with Somersault Innovation to create the Salesforce Discovery model to help account executives stay focused on collaborating with their customers to solve their business problems.
It’s not until you truly understand your customer’s vision, and even their customers’ vision, that you can fully demonstrate the power and value of your solutions. This requires placing your customer and their customers at the center of your approach. We call this customer-centric discovery (CCD). Here’s how to do that:
- Uncover new insights about their business, so your customers can leverage these insights to improve their own business, their lives, and their customers’ lives.
- Be honest when sharing insights, and use those insights to encourage innovative thinking to solve business problems.
- Inspire and connect with customers, so you can create new opportunities together that lead to a more successful future.
CCD encourages you to experience the challenges facing your customer:
Know your customer: Get to know your customer’s company, industry, and your specific buyer’s role. This analysis allows you to connect with your customer in their language, identify with what they care about, and build credibility.
Be your customer: Here is where you have a chance to walk in your customer’s shoes and even be your customer’s customer. By imagining yourself as your customer, you can conduct authentic conversations and establish trust.
Connect with your customer: Now you can start connecting the dots between what you learned in Know and Be to spark a new conversation and understand their vision.
Create value with your customer: It’s time to build your case for change with your customer, validating their reason for change, and showing how your services can offer a better future for them. By collaborating together, you’re using trust to create solutions that position everyone for success.
In the CCD process, the Be component is the most unique, because it’s driven by the principles of empathy and curiosity. Both of these help us uncover the unknown, and personally experience the challenges and needs of our customers.
As Be suggests, it’s not only mentally putting yourself in your customer’s proverbial shoes, but actually getting out of your seat to do just that—be your customer. It means engaging in the everyday experience of what it’s like to be an employee in their call center, a customer in their store, a distributor in their supply chain, and more.
Be is demonstrated in the following scenarios.
- Shadow and interview all stakeholders to look for patterns, observing even the most mundane processes for insight, and consider dominant environmental dynamics. For example, contrast observing processes that drive patient compliance with strict hospital regulations versus an experience where patients are treated like hotel guests. It can include you becoming the patient and living the experience.
- Observe the entire process and make sure that you’re covering the full context of that process. For example, you can chart the moment a patient enters the emergency room through their discharge, and understand where that process really begins and where it ends. In this example, does the process begin before admittance and continue after discharge?
Adopting this new approach to “being” a customer takes just a little bit of creativity and practice. If you really want to be a trusted advisor, you need to be a boundary spanner, shifting your intent beyond your interests (how much you’ll close this week, the status of our forecast, and more) and into the world of your customer.
As you've seen, curiosity can be an effective tool in helping to uncover challenges your customers are facing. There are three approaches you can take toward leveraging curiosity in your selling process.
Discovery is exactly what it sounds like: a chance to learn and discover new insights about your customers (their problems, solutions, and visions). There are plenty of ways you can approach this, but the most common discovery tool is the interview. This is a good chance for you to ask your customer for specifics. People often tell us things that are different than what they actually do, so asking them to show us what they are doing leads us to discover new information we might not have otherwise learned.
Insight is a driving force in sales. Everybody is looking for new insight that’s going to transform their customer relationship. You’re not psychic, so don’t try to be. Instead, look for firsthand insights. A firsthand insight is something that you learned about your customer or customer’s customer. This is in contrast to a secondhand insight, which is based on what you have read or inferred from analyst reports. A firsthand insight is more authentic and adds to your credibility.
This stage is all about testing your ideas and getting feedback that can help you quickly provide value to your customer. By working with your customer, you can review your thoughts and ideas to better refine them. In this stage, it’s often more effective to use visuals to communicate your solution, as visuals stick better than words for many people. And it’s even more compelling to draw something on a board to communicate with your customer versus creating a static PowerPoint® presentation.