Transcript: How to Track Advocate Maturity (Without Paying For Additional Software) with Crystal Anderson

On this episode, I was joined by Crystal Anderson, Director, Customer Marketing at SheerID. She’s passionate about helping companies humanize their brands by connecting with their customers and also brings a demand gen and growth background to her customer marketing efforts. We dive deep into the value of creating an advocate maturity score, how she was able to partner with different departments on this initiative, and tips for people who want to bring this to their own company. Without further ado, here’s my conversation with Crystal. 

Margot Leong:  Crystal, thank you so much for joining us. Really excited to have you on the podcast. 

Crystal Anderson: Thanks for having me, Margot. I’m super excited to join you today and ready to dive into all things advocacy.

Margot Leong: Can you give us kind of that 30,000 foot view of your background and just a little bit about how you ended up in customer advocacy? 

Crystal Anderson: So I’m currently the Director of Customer Marketing at SheerID, and I’ve been in this customer marketing role for about seven years now. I’ve had an interesting marketing journey, but one that I would not change for the world. And to give you a little bit of background, I fell into marketing almost immediately after college, starting out in marketing ops and slowly working my way into a global marketing manager position within an enterprise B2B company. After almost eight years, I realized I really wanted to gain some experience in the startup world, as well as expand my marketing knowledge, so I moved on to a demand gen position at a B2B startup. This move really allowed me to hone my skills and gave me a deeper understanding of how to develop and cultivate long-term customer relationships, then fast forward, two years later, I took a chance at a community manager position at my last company, and that was almost six years ago. And ultimately I paved my own path to the director of customer marketing there, and that included advocacy as a core function. At the time I started out as community manager, customer advocacy hadn’t quite taken off yet and wasn’t well known or acknowledged as being a vital part of the organization.

And I think we’ve only recently began to see this role in the spotlight as orgs have shifted to customer retention efforts since the pandemic. So long story short, I ended up in customer advocacy because I realized I wanted to be helping fine tune those customer relationships and experiences, and the best way to do that was to be on the customer marketing front lines.

Margot Leong: Got it. And actually did not know that you started  at Invoca  on the community side. That’s really cool. I also started my tech career on the community side, so like it’s such a love of mine. And they like fit together so nicely. And I think the skills that you develop in sort of one arena there works so nicely in the other. So I’m sure that also influenced your approach and your thoughts when it comes to your customer marketing approach in general.

Crystal Anderson: Absolutely. I think that having that role in the community really helped drive, we need to deliver that maximum value to our customers, right. And so, as you’re building the community, then obviously you’re reaching out and talking with customers and building that relationship into the customer advocates, so like you said, it goes hand in hand. 

Margot Leong: What do you enjoy the most about this type of role? What is it that draws you to it? 

Crystal Anderson: I love the fact that it’s a mix of product sales, CS. Customer marketing really brings all of those stories together to tell the full customer story. And I like being able to help bring that value and have the best in class customer experience, right? Something that I’m really, really passionate about is humanizing brands. I think a lot of businesses out there, they’re just about the revenue and you have to transform the brand into something more where you’re creating that powerful human, emotional connection, and so that’s what really drew me into customer advocacy. 

Margot Leong: I could not have said it better myself. Like I love this idea of humanizing brands. And what’s really interesting is this dichotomy between the focus on growth versus the focus on existing customers, and so you have also been on the growth side, like you had had experience in demand gen. And so what I think is really cool about that is that, you know, you’ve, you’ve gotten to see both sides actually. You know, I’m curious about how your experience on the demand gen side influenced your current approach to customer marketing. 

Crystal Anderson: The responsibilities of demand gen managers are vast, and if you take a step back and examine it holistically, I do think the goal is truly aligned to customer marketing, right? So demand gen is an umbrella of those marketing programs that get the potential customers excited about your products or services. It’s designed to build that brand awareness and launch new product lines and promote products, right. And that should sound vaguely familiar to all of us customer marketers out there because essentially we’re doing the same thing, but with different goals into a different audience, our current customers, right. So we’re assisting with creating that industry buzz with thought leaders in our pipeline, we’re promoting those new product lines so we can assist with retention and continuing that product education to establish value and customer loyalty.

So I think the transition to customer marketing after my experience with being a demand gen manager was really a natural progression. I’d also say demand gen drove me to be a more data-driven customer marketer and influenced having a thorough understanding of my program data to continuously drive results. You can have all the customer marketing and advocate programs in the world, but unless you have a solid foundation of accurate tracking, scoring, and the ability to understand and take action on that, it’s all just noise. So without being a data-driven customer marketer, you can’t make the right optimizations for your campaigns and run the potential of wasting a lot of time and budget on tactics and strategies that don’t pay off..

Margot Leong: Even in my experience, right, like I am not the most data-driven. Even from talking to people on the podcast, the way that in which we measure success is quite varied across customer marketers. So you know, bringing on more of this data driven approach, especially from someone like you, who has had to be held to a different standard, especially coming from that world is super interesting. So this is a perfect transition into what we really wanted to spend a lot of time diving into today which is this advocate maturity score that you created and spearheaded during your time at Invoca. So let’s talk about it. 

I guess first off, maybe a good question would be what was the catalyst for even deciding to put this together? 

Crystal Anderson: Absolutely. So I’m super passionate about this topic and I hope you’re ready to dive in. There’s a lot behind it. So let’s start at the very beginning. All right. So there’s a few advocacy and customer marketing platforms available to automate scoring and tracking, but Invoca when I started, is still in startup mode. You have to be scrappy as one does at a startup because there is no budget available and we at the time did not have any to add this to our MarTech. So that’s one part of the story and the beginning. 

And then I’d say the other two main points that brought this about was that there were so many touch points across programs that it was hard to measure which individual and account would be the right fit for a customer marketing op. We’d have to go back. We’d have to talk with the CSM or the AE and so the tracking really wasn’t in place for us to have the sophisticated advocacy program. 

And then the other side to it was that teams are not able to self-serve. They weren’t able to go in if they specifically needed an advocate for a quote or just a reference call, and the typical turnaround time here was I’d say four to five days because our team resources were already stretched thin and there were several steps to the reference call process to ensure that it was done accurately. So that was not acceptable to sales leadership who have that, want it now need it now mentality.

So once we saw that we had a larger issue at hand with team efficiency, a longer sales cycle that we were trying, in many ways to reduce in bandwidth, we began to implement the advocate maturity score you mentioned. 

Margot Leong: Got it. So then talk to me about what is an advocate maturity score? Let’s dive into that a little bit more. 

Crystal Anderson: For customer marketers, I feel like the advocate maturity score is not as widely known or used unless you have one of the management platforms. But essentially, you know, demand gen has their MQL SQLs, and they’re tracking that. And then we also have the customer health score that CS uses. And so why wouldn’t you as a customer marketer track the advocate maturity? For those of you unfamiliar with this, what it is is a score assigned to an account based on several factors. It basically measures the correlation between customer engagement across advocacy programs, customer health, and platform usage, so it’s pulling from all of this. 

In our model specifically, it took into consideration six different categories and yours may have more or less, but these were the six that we outlined that worked well for our scoring model. It was customer satisfaction, so that would be NPS, and we looked at that as having an NPS company average score of nine or 10 to be an advocate. 

And then our MSSA agreement, so do we have explicit PR approval with them in their signed agreement and it’s not red lined or removed. Any early adopters, so accounts that participated in limited releases with us in the past 12 months. 

Customer health score, so taking into consideration a health score of plus 70 or whatever score you’re using.

And then upsell: we definitely wanted to have a handle on accounts that had had recent upsells or were currently going into it.

And then any advocacy engagement within the past nine months. So that’s a lot of different categories, but essentially based on a weighted percent calculation for these six categories that CS, sales agreed on, the automated scoring system that we built out would break out each account between novice, intermediate, and mature advocate stages to show how far the advocate is within their customer journey, advocate engagement and experience with the product. 

Margot Leong: Got it. I mean, that’s a lot, Crystal. I love that. And it’s obvious that you have had to think through this very deeply in order to put together the categories and then also I’m sure the weighting as well, but give me some examples of like, or stories about okay, like how would different departments utilize this in real life. 

Crystal Anderson: I was just thinking of an example in my head. So I liked that you had that question. So one of the things that people would come to me for was having a speaker, whether that was for a webinar, a product demo, or, you know, an external speaking engagement when we had in-person conferences, and they would oftentimes come to me with a suggestion where I was like, that individual is not ready. Let’s put this in a realistic situation. If you have a account that just started, let’s say they’re out of onboarding. It’s probably the first 45 days and they’re just now starting to get into the platform. Their usage is down. It’s very low. They don’t have experience with any of our other product features, they’re not in alphas or betas. That is probably not the person that you want to go publicly speak and endorse your company on your behalf. Right? 

You want someone who is a veteran, has been with you for a year or so, and they are really into the product. It’s deeply ingrained. They have multiple users. They’re logging in multiple times. They have had participation in betas, customer boards, all of those things really take account into how mature the customer is, an account that could actively speak and speak correctly on your product. 

Margot Leong: So like let’s say that, you know, I am here from the events team and I’m like, Crystal, I need a speaker for an event. How about this customer? Like they’re hot, big name,  maybe they’ve been with us for a few months, but like, I want to use this company as a speaker. 

 Crystal Anderson: I would definitely go in and pull all of those criteria, right. So if they’re happy, if that big brand rated us an average of nine or 10, you’re not going to want to use a brand that gave you an NPS of zero or three, They’re not happy, something’s going on with the account and then I’d go and take a look and see, okay. Have they participated with us in any one of these other customer marketing activities, whether it’s a CAB or  they’re engaged in other ways with us and actively participating, they know and understand the product in depth that they can publicly speak on your behalf. 

 Margot Leong: I know that we’re going to get into this a little bit later, but I believe that this was built out in Salesforce.  You would look into Salesforce, right. And then there’d be different maybe categorizations around. Okay. Like, they’ve done this and they’ve done this, but then you would also see next to them like that score of the novice, intermediate or advanced as well.

Right. 

Crystal Anderson: Yep. Absolutely. So all of this was visible within a dashboard that the sales team could use, and it broke it out between novice, which was zero to 35%, intermediate, 36 to 70% and mature, which would be anything above that. And the sales team or CS team were able to go in and self-serve, they could see, Oh, this person and account have been fairly engaged with us. We want to use them for our next webinar. 

Margot Leong:  So let’s say then that I go over to this awesome dashboard that you’ve created. I’m looking for someone that fits this criteria. I find someone that’s advanced. What do I do next? 

 Crystal Anderson: So we actually had a advocacy tracking system in place as well. So you would create a ticket that would come to us. We’d be able to either approve it or not approve it, and then we’d be able to give them next steps within that ticket. So typically that was talk to the AE, talk to the CSM, make sure it’s approved by them, and then it comes back to us and we would get everything else, all the logistics going in that place. 

Margot Leong: Did you have to train different departments when self-serving to be like, okay, look at these factors as well. Don’t just look for the brand name. 

 Crystal Anderson: So we did have to put together an internal training specifically to walk them through what we call the advocacy section in Salesforce. This was at the account level and they’d be able to go to the account once they determined this was one that they wanted to use. We also had an advocacy exhausted checkbox, so that would occur if an ask went out to the same account over three times, and that was also a weighted. They could see if we could make an ask. If that box was checked, they would need to move on. So typically best practice there was come up with your top three advocates that you would like to see at this event, or use in a speaking engagement and we will come back to you and confirm or approve which one is available for you to use.

Margot Leong: And I know that the SLA in terms of what the turnaround time was, that was drastically improved after you implemented the system, right? 

 Crystal Anderson: Yes, it was. So essentially four to five day turnaround time. Basically we gave them a new SLA of 12 to 24 hour turnaround period for completing those requests, which really allowed sales to begin to reduce that sales cycle faster, as well as increase the number of prospects they were talking to since they weren’t focused solely on trying to get that one reference call done. A lot of times sales reps would come back to me repeatedly when we had the four to five day turnaround time saying, I need to get this scheduled. I need to get this scheduled. And we couldn’t get that timeframe down until we implemented this self-serve system. 

Margot Leong: Got it. I see so many benefits in this, not only in terms of reducing the SLA, but also just, you know, for you and your team in terms of reducing that mental and cognitive overload. A lot of times this ends up like kind of living in our heads, and there’s also other information that we don’t know. Maybe we don’t know if there is a recent customer service issue. So then we have to go check with another department. And so I love that this is just as helpful for you and your teams reducing that strain in terms of having to keep all of that in different places and now you just have it unified in one place. 

Crystal Anderson: Exactly. Yep. We were able to gain those efficiencies and start to be able to open up our productivity levels, right, and work on other projects that came our way that were high priority as well. 

Margot Leong: Let’s also back up a little bit too, and talk about just the process of building this thing out, but you know, first off, did you have to get buy-in from anyone to get this created? Like who were the stakeholders? What departments did you have to involve? 

 Crystal Anderson: I needed to get buy in and from the teams who are directly affected, right? So that included sales leadership as the exact product owner, sales ops,  the main team whose resources I needed to rely on to build this out and see us to agree on the scoring model. And like we discussed earlier, the pain points that were the catalyst for this, I basically took those each team and directly correlated it to how it affected them, to be able to rationalize the project scope and resources needed. 

CS was an easy one for buy-in because they tend to understand how this affects customer experience and their entire mission is optimizing that, right. So they were a fairly easy department to work with and get that buy-in. Sales on the other hand, is a whole other beast is most customer marketers know. And sales tends to see the money, right. That that’s what they do and how this will directly help me meet revenue goals. So the big challenge here was that they tend to struggle with quantifying the risk inherent to current systems and processes in place and the lost productivity in a way that’s really meaningful to them. 

Sales ops falls into this same challenge. Management knows that a few minutes shaved off projects isn’t really going to lead into a ton of savings, so multiplying a few minutes a day for manually pulling advocates for requests, isn’t really a compelling reason to support that project. What is compelling is speaking about other cost saving measures that employees can take when their time is freed up and the additional revenue generating activities that come as a result of the change, right? So putting that into the real world, the faster turnaround time to strike when the iron is hot for prospects, turning that four to five day turnaround time into a 12 to 24 SLA and reducing that sales cycle. So I found when I really put these optimization hypothesis into the business case, it really resonated across teams. 

Margot Leong: I have to say like, as someone who’s been on the other side of that process as a prospect and getting that reference so much more quickly, like, that is huge. That shows me you probably must have like a massive roster of customers who are like dying to talk for you, you know? So I love that you framed it that way. I think that is gold. 

You mentioned that you work with CMS to agree on that scoring model. Talk to me a little bit more about how you thought about the weighting at Invoca, like you have all these different categories and you then have to think about the weighting in order to get them into you know, intermediate or beginner or how did you think about that? 

Crystal Anderson: So our CS team was one of the key teams to work with on the scoring categories and the weighted percentages, and then obviously sales ops to help build out the formulas on the back end of our CRM system, which is Salesforce, but we took a look at what categories really affected the advocate score based on engagement across the platform, how customers were engaging with us, either in customer marketing activities or through their contract, and really took a look at what is typical. Like the MSSA agreement, that had a weight of 5% that I know, because that was kind of a throw away one, but we did want to have a little bit of weight there for, because I’d say 60% of our contracts had the explicit PR and then the larger enterprises had it removed.

We really wanted to capture that because that did affect advocacy down the line, right? You need to understand and have PR communication and work with their teams to push through public speaking, public testimonials and stuff like that. In regards to the early adopters and the customer health score, that was taking into account and consideration how the individual was using our platform. So did they have the product knowledge that enabled them to speak on our behalf? Were they able to go into the nitty gritty details? And so that really relied on the health score and the platform usage so that we could see, Hey, are they using reporting like it should be used.

And then customer satisfaction, the NPS, you obviously want an advocate who is happy with you. You don’t want to pick someone who is average and passive or a detractor, and so you really want someone who has done nothing but sing your praises and you have a great relationship with, right. So all of this taken into consideration, I worked with the CS team and we went line by line, determined what was the most weighted percentage that needed to be prioritized, and from there we started to go down the list. Okay. This one isn’t as high of a percentage, and then you go all the way down and you basically work line by line and determine your priorities and then break it out between the percentage. 

Margot Leong: Awesome. This is basically lead scoring, right?

Crystal Anderson: Exactly. 

Margot Leong: Fantastic. And then let’s get into the nitty gritty of the build-out here. So I know that you use Salesforce, like you’re using the existing tools that you already had in your MarTech stack. Were you already pretty familiar with Salesforce? You know, looking at your LinkedIn, I noticed that you’re quite familiar with marketing automation, so I’m guessing you had some experience there.

Crystal Anderson: I did. Yes. So I did rely on sales ops because there was a lot of formulas that had to happen behind the scenes, right. To automate the scoring system and pull it up in dashboard, and also taking into account the advocacy exhausted field. A lot of the other fields that we built out specifically for the tracking, that was just fields that you can normally build out, right. I need to build out a text field or a checkbox. And so those, I handled. And then any of the formula requests went to sales ops. 

Margot Leong: Got it. And I’m guessing there’s a ton of integrations basically pull in data from all these different sources, as well in order to pull in things like I’m sure NPS, CSAT scores, things like that, right. 

Crystal Anderson: We did, but luckily those integrations were already in place. So we had a great set up. We just didn’t have a customer marketing management platform. And so we already in CS, we had integrated our NPS, so that was populating on the individual and account level. And then we also had Tableau and Pendo so all of that usage data was flowing into Salesforce already. So luckily for us, we had that starting data and then we just merely had to build out nearly how to build out the advocacy portion, right.  But that is a good point. If you are starting from a very clean slate and don’t have those integrations, yet, there will be a little bit more work that goes into it where you have to get the right data into your one source of truth, whether that’s Salesforce or any other CRM. 

Margot Leong: And how long did it take let’s say, from like conception of the initial idea to basically finished dashboard. How long did that take in total? 

Crystal Anderson: Yeah. So again, in startup world, you don’t have all the politics of a larger corporation and the ladders of approval to go through. So we moved fairly fast on this and we’re really scrappy. Taking out all of the integrations, because we already had those, all in all this took roughly a full quarter, maybe a quarter and a half with planning and testing and optimizing the scoring model right. So you need to make sure that as you’re going through this, you give it a month to run it and the algorithm is happening, and then you want to go back and take a look and make sure someone who’s been with you for six years is not being rated as a novice.

Or if they are, then you have more problems to dig into and figure out what’s going on there. But you definitely need to make sure that the scoring algorithm and model is working as it should, and then sometimes go back. And so there were a few things, we started out, I believe with four criteria, the categories, and then we expanded it to include the other three. So I think we have six or seven. We definitely had to go back and say, Oh, we’re missing this key piece. And sales ops would go back and readjust it. So a quarter and a half for all of that to be completed. And then if you add in the integrations, I would say another full quarter to make sure that you have all the right data in place.

Once we did have it in place, it was just gold for the company. There were so many valuable moments that across teams that were able to utilize this, that it was well worth the full quarter and a half. And I would say it’s one of my proudest achievements at a company to roll out. 

Margot Leong: And honestly, not bad for, you know, a quarter, quarter and a half worth of work for something that can pay dividends, I’m sure is continuing to pay dividends there. So that is fantastic. 

It’s funny cause I feel like I’m like doing a case study interview, like this was the solution and then like, let’s go into benefits. right?   I’d love to understand, you know, what success you saw as a result of putting this together. Obviously for the external departments that use it for self-serve you talked about the SL but if there’s anything else that comes to mind, I’d love to hear about it. 

 Crystal Anderson: I do know that it started opening up more opportunities for us. So that was kind of an undiscovered benefit at the very beginning. So once we started scoring, I was able to go back and take a look at these accounts that I may have disregarded previously because they were not large brands, and I was bypassing them completely. But when I started to look at their engagement with us, their platform usage, their knowledge about the platform, I started realizing that these were probably an untapped gold mine of case studies and people who want to engage with us, but we’ve never given them the opportunity. That’s another one of the benefits that I think came out of this. We were able to start opening up more doors to smaller brands.

 Margot Leong: I think that’s honestly the power of data, I’ve seen this happen so many times where you have your main go-to customers, these are my old faithfuls and I know I can always turn to them. And so sometimes like you get so into that rhythm that you sometimes forget or maybe you think that there’s not others that are like that, but the fact that it’s clear in the data now and that I’m sure that you probably saw people pop up or brands pop up. You’re like, Whoa, Whoa. Like, who are these people? Like, let me talk to you here, you know? 

Crystal Anderson: Exactly. And I think a lot of us tend to get blinded by the relationships that CSMs and AEs have built. Most companies have core customers that don’t have CSMs or anyone they’re talking to on a regular basis. Those are potentially your largest advocates, I have to say. I have found so many when I went back through that list that were smaller name brands, but who were more engaged than some of our six-figure customers.

Margot Leong: Yeah. There’s so much value in that. And I remember  on an earlier podcast where I was interviewing Leslie over at Sendoso, she was talking about all the ways you can identify advocates and then one of them is even seeing, do they open your emails. So I think that this is just a super important point is that this can unearth some really, really interesting customers that you just would have, honestly, never, probably never found before.

If there’s people who are listening to this, they’re excited, they want to put something together like this at their company, do you have any thoughts or tips, if you were to do it over again, like how you might advise someone, any pitfalls or things to avoid when thinking through this.

 Crystal Anderson: I mean, I’d say it all starts with the project plan. To be honest with you, I probably did three different versions, and really had to go back and ensure that I was emphasizing the loss caused by the pain points and its current state. And I mirrored those specific to each department audience, right? One of my mentors, when I went through this redraft, basically told me it’s very seldom. I love this a piece of advice, by the way. It’s very seldom that sponsors disregard project proposals because they don’t have enough data. It actually gets discarded because you’ve failed to make the data compelling enough to that particular audience.

So what I presented to CS was very different than what I presented to the sales leadership than what I presented to sales ops. Sales ops was all about efficiency. Sales team was more about how we could reduce the sales cycle, right. And so really making that point and driving that value across in the project plan and then justifying it by tying a dollar value to the problems. So going past those efficiency gains to actual metrics tied to revenue. And then last but not least. I just want to give encouragement to those customer marketers out there, seeing the need for this in their own org, but not having the budget is possible. I am proof that it is possible to build out a homegrown system without ever purchasing an advocate management system. And I’m not saying don’t purchase that. If you have the budget, by all means, go for it. But honestly don’t give up hope if you are just starting out and you really want to get to a sophisticated state with your advocates, it is possible. 

Margot Leong: And you had mentioned earlier, too, right, the difference in what you presented to CS versus sales. But you said driving that value across and sort of justifying it by tying a dollar value to that. Can you talk a little bit more to what that looks like? 

  Crystal Anderson: Absolutely. So I have a story to tell you and we had a customer that was probably our highest paying customer at the time and our sales team continued to use them. And so did CS. And so did marketing. We weren’t actively tracking this. They were getting tapped probably four times a month. And so think if you are getting tapped 12 times within a quarter to do something by all of these different teams who have no visibility, I would put up my hands and say, I’m done. I don’t want anything to do with you. And this was one of our biggest brand names.

And so they pretty much halted and put the brakes on and we had to completely remove assets  and took a step back. And so I took this to our sales team and I said, look, this is what’s happening because a) we don’t have visibility across teams and sales doesn’t have a way to source other advocates for either name-dropping in an email or getting the information that they need. We really need to start tracking this and putting a process in a place that protects our larger, I mean, all customers, right. That’s really what drove home the value point for them. Because once you start to put together all of your, let’s say top 25 ARR accounts, you’re going to start losing out on all of that potential advocacy and co marketing ops that they can do for you.

Margot Leong: Yeah. I mean, I’m getting like chills. Like I’m hearing about that story because that is a nightmare for so many customer marketers is that you don’t have that visibility and that you’re doing your best to make sure that you’re on top of this, but how can you be? Because of all of these things coming at you and then to have a customer actually put the brakes on and for you to have to take down assets, that’s really scary. And so it’s really interesting because it’s a tangible pain and somethig that your company actually went through. 

Crystal Anderson: Yep. Absolutely. And I kept saying six figures, but more than that, we’re talking like millions of dollars. And so you really start to think, not just the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but multimillion dollar accounts that you’re not able to work with, that really dampers your customer marketing opportunities.

Margot Leong: Yeah, absolutely. One of my last questions here was the internal promotion of this. So once you got this up and running, talk to me about how you then shared this out with the company and what that promotion looked like. 

Crystal Anderson: So I actually got all three leaders, so myself sales ops, Sales VP, CS VP, and we co presented at an all hands meeting. I think it’s really important when customer marketing rolls something out across the company that you have that support and your team shows up to back you. I think a lot of times what happens is customer marketing presents something and a lot of times the value isn’t driven home to the employees. So it really did help drive the point across that this is going to make us more efficient. This is why it’s valuable, and had each team kind of present their own value points. And then we went through, okay, here’s what we’re going to do now from a process perspective. 

Margot Leong: Yeah. I mean, this is a really massive point as well. Not only do you get the buy-in, but to also show that you have the buy-in externally and of course, especially I know with sales, it’s so much more important to hear it from your leader and then the AEs will actually listen, versus like you’re just one customer marketing team, trying to push. 

Crystal Anderson: Absolutely. And I take that with me to each company that I’ve been at. And now, whenever I present, if I am doing a project that’s directly affecting another department, I tend to ask them to present with me if it’s providing them value, right. Just because that department tends to receive it a little bit easier and pay more attention when leadership is driving the value across.  

Margot Leong:  So when you co presented at the the team meeting, how did you think about what the different teams would talk about basically? What were their parts of the presentation? What did they speak to?

Crystal Anderson: So for sales, it specifically  came down to that multimillion dollar mistake and it really tied back to how this would make their lives easier. With sales ops, it really came down to more around the efficiencies of having to pull reports for the sales team, having to spend time helping us with either figuring out their usage when all of that could be gathered within a dashboard with the maturity score. And so we talked to them a little bit more about the time savings there and the efficiencies on their team, and then the CS team, it was more around, okay, how do we optimize the customer experience and ensure that we’re protecting your customer accounts and we’re not hitting them as many times as we previously were. So really nailing down those specific value points. And you can even work with each leader or whoever you’re working with on each team and go, okay, how is this solving a pain point for you and really present that and drive across the point to the team.

Margot Leong: There’s  that meeting where everybody presented but then where else did this live? Did you sort of continue and have to remind people about it? And also, how did you know new people find out about this dashboard? 

 Crystal Anderson: So it became more of a onboarding tactic. So as people were onboarded and were going through their ramp plans, we had a customer marketing and advocacy meeting. So we went through the entire funnel. This is how we track processes. This is how you can self-serve. And this is a ticketing system that we have in place, so really training them from the start.

And then I’d say probably once every other quarter. So beginning of year and end of year, we typically had a training. So company kickoff and your sales kickoff, we definitely did a training there. And then at the end of the year, we tended to go, okay, here are any updates and optimizations that we had.

 Margot Leong: I mean, the value of this is immense. You know, as someone who has been lucky to have budget to be able to use some of these platforms, I think that there’s actually a lot of value in building it out in the way that you did because you’re leveraging existing tools, right. You’re not taking away budget from something that you could build internally anyway, allows for the other teams to have a bit more trust, right, in not bringing on like another tool that has to be integrated into the system. You’re using something that everybody’s using, which is Salesforce. Sometimes when you use an external tool, they build it with an opinion in their own mind in terms of how they think your processes should be structured.  When you have to build this out manually on your own, you really have to think through every single aspect of this project. I think that just from a training standpoint for your own experience, that’s super valuable. That truly is a soup to nuts kind of thing. And I think that is just fantastic experience to be able to have, because it just forces you to think much more rigorously about the whole thing. 

Crystal Anderson: Absolutely. And I definitely feel like it forces all the teams to really have an understanding of the customer marketing and advocacy foundations, right. A lot of times, if you bring in an external tool, they’re not going through the same process or the implementation where we become experts in that platform. This really was a cross team effort and really drove, this is how it’s supposed to work, this isn’t working, right. Sales could come back and say, I’m seeing issues with this. I’ve left the company, but that is still in place. And they continue to have that knowledge without ever having to reach out to a rep.

Margot Leong: Yes, exactly. We didn’t even touch upon that, but that’s a great point is there’s so much knowledge about customers that exists in other people’s heads. This is really important to be able to put all that into one place so that you’re not worrying or spending that time wasted essentially for whoever is the new person to own that relationship to get up to speed. So you’re not losing all of that institutional knowledge. So that’s huge. I feel like so many people can benefit so much from thinking in this way and bringing something like this to their team.

So last question of course, is, where can our listeners find you if they would like to connect and chat more about humanizing brands or if they have questions about implementing this tool in their own companies. 

Crystal Anderson: Yeah, I’m always more than happy to talk through this. I love this type of stuff. I also have a ton of behind the scenes graphs and the strategy work outline. And so you can find me on both LinkedIn and Twitter, just search for my name at SheerID for LinkedIn.   

Margot Leong: Perfect. I will put that into the show notes, but Crystal, this was such a pleasure having you on I’m super happy that we could dig into this kind of topic. Let’s do a round two in the future, cause I really want to get into this topic of humanizing brands. I’m so into it. 

Thanks for tuning into this episode of Beating The Drum. For more interviews with advocacy leaders and tips on creating customers that will sing your praises, head on over to our website, beatingthedrum.com. If you enjoyed today’s show, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts and don’t forget to rate and review us. If you know someone that would be a great fit for the show, I would love to hear about it. You can reach out at beatingthedrum.com. Take care, everybody. 

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