How Do You Break into a Career in Tech?
Steven Minsky | Oct. 2, 2019
Breaking into the fast-paced world of technology can be intimidating. Have you considered a career change to have a more visible impact in a customer-facing role? The good news is there is an industry shift of Customer Advocacy that is proactively focused on building relationships and helping customers solve their challenges, rather than reacting to them. This new trend of Customer Advocacy is driven by the See-Through Economy trend, where prospective customers are able to learn about a company’s products, services and reputation on their own through customer reviews, industry reports, eBooks, blogs, social media, user group forums.
What is a Customer Advocacy Program?
Customer Advocacy is a customer-first mandate that applies to every area of a business. It’s all about forming a partnership with your prospective customer from day one based on their needs and how you can help them achieve their goals. It is about having customers that are so satisfied with their relationship and solution that they advocate for you, bringing in prospects on your behalf. This approach results in a high Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a proven metric that measures customer experience, consistently above 50 versus the industry average for SaaS companies being in the low 20s.
How you treat prospects in a sales cycle is becoming the new reality of how they interpret they will be treated if they become your customer. This focus on pre-customer experience is called Customer Advocacy, where customers become partners and share their success stories with their peers.
Why are Client Support and Customer Success Skills a Fit?
The Customer Advocate role is well-suited for people with customer success or client services backgrounds to create impactful sales careers. Yes, a Customer Advocacy group is a sales team that involves solving important problems. However, unlike traditional sales, it does not force performance by incentivizing employees with commissions that lead to undesirable behaviors, like pushing a solution that is not a fit. Rather, compensation is structured in a way that recognizes employee skill competencies which enable salespeople to be more knowledgeable about the company’s products and services. This approach also encourages better time management and uses the latest technologies to automate the mundane aspects of the role, eliminating cold calling through inbound marketing.
Customer Advocacy is all about becoming a better resource, allowing you to be in a better position to help customers solve real business challenges. Instead of pushing solutions to meet a quota, you are listening to the customer’s challenges, identifying the root cause of their needs, and helping them understand how your company’s solution can specifically address those needs in a way that best suits them. As a Customer Advocate, you are using higher levels of knowledge to demonstrate the superiority of your company’s product or service against others rather than “persuading” someone into buying something. Instead of a transaction-based relationship, you’ll help customers with their business case, enabling them to educate their key stakeholders on the benefits of the solution and to set accurate expectations around when they will receive them.
So, why now? The See-Through Economy
In today’s day and age, people are not afraid to share their opinions and reviews of companies. They easily share their experiences on social media and move their business to companies who meet their expectations. Advancing technology allows customers to impact a company’s reputation - both positively and negatively - with just a tap. We recognize this phenomenon as the See-Through Economy.
For sales, the game has shifted from company representatives being “persuasive” to being “educated”; from selling to helping prospective customers solve their challenges and meet their goals. As a customer advocate in the See-Through Economy, you have an opportunity to empower potential customers to speak out about the companies they interact with, choose to support, recommend, and trust.