Karen Tang, Head of Sales, Customer Success, and Support at Prezi, talked about her company’s process for identifying customers and launching a new product.
“The story I want to share today is about how we evolved the customer journey and experience and how we changed some of our processes. I also want to mention some of the mistakes we made along the way as we evolved from a B2C to a B2B market,” announced Tang at the beginning of her keynote presentation at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held on March 23 in San Francisco.
To begin the process of identifying the two billion users that Prezi’s CEO envisioned bringing to the company’s new product, the first step was to identify its initial persona. “This was Stevie. She’s a Head of Products and essentially an SMB business user,” explained Tang. “We shoved all business users into this one persona. The challenge is that ‘Stevies’ work a lot in teams, and we were trying to cram a bunch of these different use cases into this one persona. So, Stevie represented sales, marketing, HR, procurement, IT, executive. The next step was to invent Bibbi, which is Stevie working in a team. Then we expanded even further to create different types of personas.” Tang learned that personas are difficult when trying to solve for the entire customer experience. It was necessary to expand on the idea of the persona and re-architect it for the company’s new business product. “The personas were a warm-up and helped to build empathy in our business,” she said.
The first step in developing Prezi’s product was bringing real customers into the mix. “In pre-launch, the company recruited 15 to 20 ‘Stevies’ and ‘Bibbis’ into our organization. These were real customers. We included these folks in weekly feedback sessions as part of our product development process.”
Tang continued, “The second stage was developing pitch simulations for our sales teams by having them step into the shoes of the customers to build empathy.”
The first step was bringing real customers into the mix. “The second stage was developing pitch simulations for our sales teams by having them step into the shoes of the customers to build empathy.”
Once the company was ready to launch its product, a sales strategy was developed that incorporated a multiphase rollout involving extensive pricing and packaging tests. “To start, we only let the sales team sell the product. We set a price point and let them play with it. In this way, we did a lot of experimentation with customer feedback before we got the product out the door,” said Tang. “The next step in the sales strategy was the action matrix, where we required the product managers and UX teams to be sales engineers, make sales calls, and submit surveys. From this we got a lot of customer information. This generated direct input into the product prioritization and roadmap.”
“The next step in the sales strategy was the action matrix, where we required the product managers and UX teams to be sales engineers, make sales calls, and submit surveys. From this we got a lot of customer information. This generated direct input into the product prioritization and roadmap.”
Next, the company created targeted content around what customers were looking for and what the pain points were. “We asked for customer testimonials, and our marketing team wrote up case studies from early customers that would help us sell further down the road,” stated Tang.
“Once we had customers, we wanted to find out if we were delivering on expectations. The first piece of this was our onboarding process. The first 60 days are the most critical for us in getting customers started. We tracked customer success activities, customer outcome, product usage, and time-to-value to determine activities and trends that drive customer outcomes that we wanted in this onboarding process. This was followed by customer-support-and-learn content, for which we tracked bugs, feature analytics, customer stories, and the top articles,” she said.
“Once we had customers, we wanted to find out if we were delivering on expectations. The first piece of this was our onboarding process. The first 60 days are the most critical for us in getting customers started.”
“The last piece was customer wins-and-losses meetings. These are among the most attended meetings in the company. We share success stories, action matrix summaries, sales, and insights. Very simple but very effective,” noted Tang. “In customer retrospectives, we have a cross-functional team (customer team, product, and UX) do a deep dive on specific customers.”
In summary, Tang emphasized:
• Start with your customer’s journey; learn their experience.
• Build empathy inside the company. Actual customers are the best for this purpose.
• Start focused and build a learning curve.
• Include the product team systematically in customer interactions to remove tension and speed decisions.
• Solve challenges in conjunction with the product and marketing teams.
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