Questions abound, right? There are many options and even the best websites don’t give you 100% confidence to pull the trigger and go.
What do you do?
You talk to an expert who can help you size-up your needs and steer you in the right direction.
One of the experts is Kapost’s major account executive Angi Harp. I knew interviewing Angi would reveal interesting insights into the process of assessing and fulfilling your digital marketing needs. The interview went like this…
Discovery Is Step One
Barry Feldman (BF): Angi, at what point in the buyer’s journey do you get involved?
Angi Harp (AH): Typically the first interaction with customers happens with our sales development representatives. After we determine there’s a good fit between what the customer is looking to address and what Kapost supplies, then we have an appointment to talk through their requirements, what has driven them to reach out, and what are the specific challenges they’re looking to overcome.
BF: What else happens during that call?
AH: It’s really about conducting discovery. I want to understand where the client is in the organization, what part of the marketing team are they in, what are their challenges and the KPIs they’re trying to reach.
I’m also answering specific questions they may have about Kapost in terms of functionality—what we can support, what we integrate with. So it’s about understanding their immediate needs, but also helping them to enable that organizational change.
While Kapost is a software platform, we recognize the solution we bring to the table does require organizational change. It has three components: people, process, and then of course, the technology piece. So we have to understand all of the facets and the contributing factors to the overall solution we can put into place.
BF: If a prospect likes what they learn and the relationship should develop from there, what happens next?
AH: Once we understand the customer’s specific requirements, we typically proceed with a custom demo of the platform to show how their use cases would be supported and executed within Kapost.
BF: If a customer then signs on, does your role continue in any way?
“It’s about understanding their immediate needs, but also helping them to enable organizational change.”—Angi Harp, MAE
AH: We have a customer success department responsible for training and onboarding customers as well as maintaining the relationship once we sign a new customer on.
The success department is structured in pods. They’re geographically aligned and include a couple of different roles. One is a strategy or engagement director that is responsible for overall strategy for the customer, understanding their goals and ensuring Kapost is both tracking and supporting how they can reach the KPIs.
Then, we have a customer success manager who is responsible more for the day-to-day interaction with the customer—things like training and onboarding, configuration, and supporting integrations.
Shaping Product Development
BF: Do you get involved in the perpetual refinement and improvement of the Kapost products and services based on what you get asked and the requests that you field from customers?
AH: Absolutely. We have continuous feedback within Kapost that spans across all the different teams within our organization. So we’re constantly requesting and receiving feedback from customers in terms of our overall services delivery and how we’re managing their account.
Angi offered an example…
AH: Our product comes with a robust editorial calendar where you can see plans and understand individual responsibility, what’s happening with the team, or a specified channel or campaign.
One of our bigger customers, a global enterprise software company, had a request for a new feature. They needed to provide visibility into their content plans to an executive group and to teams outside of Kapost. They requested that we build a read-only view of the calendar where they could come and save a view of the calendar and then share it either with a URL or by embedding it into their intranet.
We built this for them and it has become one of our most popular and valued features. So customers really do play an important part in terms of the feedback and the impact they have on the direction of the product.
Contributing to Content Development
BF: In your role, do you get involved or contribute to the content creation process at Kapost?
AH: We definitely have the opportunity to participate in the content process. At the basic level anyone at Kapost can submit a request or an idea for a content piece.
On the sales side, we might be requesting a specific case study, something that talks about a specific part of the product, or something to cover a topic that’s coming up frequently in conversations with prospective customers.
So we have a very open channel with the marketing team. Then, using the Kapost platform, they’re able to review all of the ideas.
Another big thing we do at Kapost is this concept of a content board. We have a representative from each of the core teams at Kapost—success, product, engineering, for example—and we meet on a monthly basis to talk about the content pipeline.
Everyone can share information in terms of what they’re hearing from prospects or current customers or what we’re just hearing about in the marketplace. We talk about what we should be creating to address either gaps, new topics, or areas of interest.
Has Software Sales Changed?
Angi told me she’s been in the software business since 1995. I had to ask…
BF: How have things changed? Do you have a different approach now than you did then?
AH: Absolutely. One, in the old days—the 90s—we were looking at understanding political structure within an organization. Who is the fox? Who is making the decision?
We mostly wanted to talk about solutions-based selling. Late in the 90s and looking at the early 2000s, you were looking at kind of spin selling and challenger selling. Today it’s all about ensuring that we really understand our customers’ businesses and their challenges.
And then secondly is the story that we hear around content. With the advent of the Internet and the availability of content, the balance of power has shifted to the prospect. They know more about us and our competitors than ever before. So we have to change how we’re selling to ensure that we’re able to understand the customer and help them understand and see the value that hopefully we can bring to their organization.
BF: How do you know when you’re successful in terms of the role you have at Kapost?
AH: As a sales person, I have a couple of yardsticks to measure my success. Traditionally, at the end of day, we’re measured by numbers. But moving beyond that, and more importantly, is really how successful our customers are with the Kapost platform.
If they came to us looking to solve a specific problem or improve a specific area of their organization and marketing strategy, have we been able to deliver and help them operate more efficiently and effectively?
When we bring a new customer into Kapost, we leverage the pod structure we talked about earlier. We have a very important transition period that happens when we’re handing a new customer over to the success pod. So part of that is just ensuring that everyone understands the goals.
Once we’re past the implementation phase, we conduct formal joint business reviews, which is effectively where we revisit what their overall goals were when they began using Kapost and we deliberate in terms of how we’ve delivered based on the goals.
We also share information with them about the road map of our product. We solicit feedback on the product and our overall services. That information is taken and logged and added into, for example, a feature request log that we might have for a product.
So we give our customers an opportunity to interface with a broader team here at Kapost to solicit feedback and ensure they’re happy with the service and that we’re delivering on the value that was promised.
Coming attractions: This article is the first in a series that will examine the various roles and responsibilities at Kapost. Our goal is to help you understand how the company caters to and cares for our customers across the complete customer experience.