Customer Onboarding for Scale w/ Jeff Heckler

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This is a podcast episode titled, Customer Onboarding for Scale w/ Jeff Heckler. The summary for this episode is: <p>Today, Jeff Heckler, Director of Customer Success Solutions at MarketSource, is here to talk with Jeff about his 10 point list for a better strategy when onboarding at scale.</p><p><br></p><p>If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><br></p><p>Connect with Jeff Heckler on LinkedIn: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><br></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...</p><p>Jay Nathan: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Jeff Breunsbach: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
PLG principles and why they matter when onboarding at scale
02:35 MIN
The importance of your adoption platform and LMS
01:52 MIN
The onboarding CMJ checklist
01:04 MIN
CS touch points - This carries value!
01:34 MIN
How webinars and community help CS teams be successful
01:38 MIN
Go Live Expos or Kickoffs: Huge in change management
01:08 MIN
Pre-sales use cases
01:56 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain Grow Retain Podcast.

Speaker 2: Hey, Gain Grow Retain, let me tell you about the MarTech Podcast hosted by Benjamin Shapiro brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. Episodes are 30 minutes and he talks all about strategies and stories from world class marketers on how they're using technology to generate growth and achieve business outcomes. One in particular of late is unifying and activating your customer data, something that we talk about all the time in customer success. So go listen to the MarTech Podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

Jeff Breunsbach: All right, welcome back to another episode of Gain Grow Retain. Today, I've got Jeff Heckler, another Jeff on the podcast. I've got Jeff Heckler who is currently the director of customer success solutions at MarketSource. Someone that we've gotten the chance to meet in the community and the broader community at large of customer success here over the last year. So somebody... I think Jeff, you can correct me, but I believe you were involved in the top 25 customer success influencer by Success Coaching. You've definitely been active on LinkedIn and Gain Grow Retain. So I know you've been out there, but really excited for you to come on and talk through a few things today.

Jeff Heckler: Yeah, I am as well. I appreciate the opportunity. Do about one of these a week for some organization, try to get back to the community and two guys that probably contribute as much as anybody on the planet, you and Jay and everything that you've done in the community. So my thanks to you and everyone else who contributes.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Well, I always like to start these off with some icebreakers if we can. So I didn't prepare you for these, so off the cuff hopefully, we'll get some good responses from you, but holiday season is coming up. And so I imagine that you like to celebrate Thanksgiving. So what's your go- to dish for Thanksgiving? What's the thing that you can't pass up if you're staring at a table of Thanksgiving food?

Jeff Heckler: Oh gosh, well, you got to try anybody's stuffing or anything that they're making that's quintessential Thanksgiving and anything off the beaten path. So if there's something out there that I haven't seen or tried before, I'll do that. If I'm coming to your house for Thanksgiving and I'd be delighted guest, I will create this thing called a chocolate tofu pie, which sounds a lot more difficult than it is. It's equal parts tofu, chocolate chips, and then you just throw in stuff like honey, cinnamon, vanilla, you blend it, and then you throw it in a pie shell and you chill it. You don't have to bake anything. You get to microwave the chocolate chips. So it seems very fancy, and then you just had to make sure you tell everybody it's dairy and soy and stuff like that so nobody gets allergic, but it is weird. So it becomes something to have a conversation piece about. So that's good.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Well, I've got some family members that are vegan, so I've become used to different types of dishes around Thanksgiving in terms of throwing some tofu in there, maybe stuffing that you try and make in vegan in healthy ways. So that one, like you said, it sounds a little intricate, but that actually sounds like something I'm probably going to have to tell my family about to try.

Jeff Heckler: So someone in your family bring a tofurkey? Is that something inaudible there?

Jeff Breunsbach: We have. I've required both. Hey, I'm happy we can accommodate, but at the same time, I'm a big turkey guy. I love a fried turkey. So just wanted to... I need to make sure and get that in for sure, but I'm a big stuffing like you. Never been a big cranberry person, but stuffing, sweet potatoes any sort of sweet potato pie, casserole. That's always up there for me too.

Jeff Heckler: Thanksgiving dinners like pizza, it's also very good the next day. It ages well.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yes.

Jeff Heckler: A chilled in pizza.

Jeff Breunsbach: Oh my gosh. All right. Well, second go- to question, I believe you're down in Florida. Is that right?

Jeff Heckler: I am. Yeah. inaudible.

Jeff Breunsbach: All right. So what's your go- to outdoor activity? It's Saturday morning. The weather is looking great. What's Jeff doing? What's your outdoor activity of choice? Something that you hobby your passion, something that you like to do to get outside and get some fresh air away from this Zoom screen?

Jeff Heckler: Six to seven days a week I run. So that's easy. It requires a pair of sneakers. So it travels well. So that's my meditation. That is my mental, emotional, psychological deal. Other than that, I will tell you we're in Tampa Bay, right? So we've got the Lightning and we've got the Bucs and we've got the Rays. So they all done very well in the past couple years. And I just moved here like three years ago. So that's been fun. And I will tell you plug for our Rowdies. So the Tampa Bay Rowdies, which is the united soccer league team, they are the Eastern Conference champions again. And on Saturday night, we beat FC Tulsa, which believes that not Tulsa as a team in the first round as a playoff six to two, which was nearly a baseball score or a football score. So that's quite exciting. And then this Saturday, the play again with Birmingham, and then we get that and another match, and then we're in the finals. So-

Jeff Breunsbach: Man.

Jeff Heckler: ...that's the fun.

Jeff Breunsbach: Well, I'm glad that I found another soccer fan here, football fan, whichever word you want to use, but I'm a big English Premier League fan. So I watch pretty much any of the premier league, but we have a USL team here in Charleston called the Charleston Battery. So we've been going to games with a bunch of our friends, unfortunately, this year, I think we were just out of it. We didn't quite make it into the post- season, but a couple years ago we had a good two or three year stretch where we made it to the finals, won the league one year. This was back in 2017 or so. So I've tried to keep up with that team quite a bit as well, just because they've done a good job here at least. I don't know if you can say the same here at the Tampa Bay Rowdies, but they've done a good job of building a good social following, they do a lot of good social, like Instagram type stuff. They bring in local food trucks and they've made a nice, almost like veranda where you can go, they open it up about an hour before the game, so you can go get beer and you can go get some food and they've done a nice job with their little team store. So yeah, they've done a nice job just making it a fun night and it's tickets are usually cheap you can get over there for 10,$15 ticket every once in a while and$ 5 parking. So what better way to go spend 20 bucks and support a local team and get to watch some soccer?

Jeff Heckler: Yeah. And it's family friendly and it's friend friendly and you just make a party out of it. And I think you're also Man U fan, aren't you?

Jeff Breunsbach: I am, yeah.

Jeff Heckler: They got nipped by City on Saturday. So sorry about that, but they're still good in the table. They're at six, I believe so. And you got Ronaldo, so.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Hey, I was in the camp of like keep Ole and OGS and we'll see where that goes. Now I'm like, hey, we've given him a lot of resources and still not making it happen. I love the story about how he was a player there, but it might be time to move on and start competing again with Man City and Liverpool and some of the others.

Jeff Heckler: Well, it's not like they lack for money.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah that too. That's so true. Awesome. Well, one of the main reasons that we wanted to hop on today, I think the there's a couple of podcasts we're going to end up recording because there's some juicy topics, so this is a thread in our Gain Grow Retain community. And it was actually started by Jonna Peterson and she was talking through just customer onboarding for scale. And this is something that I think a lot of businesses are going through. You either start at one end of the spectrum are enterprise and you tend to move down market or your are down market, you move to enterprise. So at some point I feel like all customer success leaders have to think about this question of how do you improve time to value? How do you start looking at onboarding customers at scale? How do you organize teams in the right way? What are the right processes? What are the right things to be thinking about in the product? And so, as Jonna put this out there. I was just scrolling through some responses and you had a really nice 10 point list that was just short and to the point. So I figured we could talk through some of these points. It seems like you've lived this before. It seems like you've gone through these things or researched it. So it seems like there's some good ones in here, so first one you threw out there was just PLG principles. Given you have an ironclad relationship with product and marketing and sales. So maybe talk a little bit about what stuck out to you from the PLG principles and why you think that matters, you start onboarding at scale?

Jeff Heckler: Yeah. So the first thing to think about when I was looking at this question, I come into the forum every day and just see if there's anything I can add value to, or I can lend my experience and mistakes to. So I've worked for enterprise companies like SAP and I've worked for companies that have... We had a 100, 000 customers of my last shop. So regardless of how you come at it, you have to tackle onboarding. We all know that's the premier place for either slippage or for wins when your customers come in and then however you go about it, whatever your budget is, whoever you are, from the smallest mom and pop to the largest enterprise, you're going to do something thing of one of these items on the list. You're going to get at it one way or another, either homegrown it, growing up your sleeves, you're going to buy a platform or you're going to co- op with another team to get things done. So the PLG thing was the first thing that came to mind because that's how everybody comes in. So especially in SaaS. An so the way I thought at first was you've got to hold your folks and product and your friends in marketing responsible and keep them honorable to what your ICP is. So when I get into pre- sale motions and looking at what we're doing as a company, I want to know that everybody says ICP, ICP and a fan until they have to sell something. And so you want to make sure that everyone is honoring. And even if you don't have deal desk, or you don't have an exec that helps you pull that through. You've got to see what's coming down the pike. So from the PLG most it's like, okay, what do we have coming down the pike? And if we're growing with product, either a feature function or actually additional modules outside of our general ICP, I've got to know what we're going after so that I can build out my team and build out my infrastructure to match that. So that's where I was thinking and probably didn't phrase it well, because I was just sitting there pounding on a keyboard. What am I looking at from my folks and my cross- functional stakeholders and product and marketing, that's going to come to us? And then how am I going to support that? With the products led, you can almost also plant seeds with your customer base. You can run webinars on here." This is what we're doing on the roadmap." And you can start to grease the wheels on," Hey, this is where we're headed," to give your customer base a vision and preparing them for," Hey, this is what's new, this is how we're trying to meet your upcoming needs. This is how we're advising you on customers like you are trending in your market." So getting into that advisable.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I think the thing that also stuck out to me at least what rang true in terms of PLG principles is when you think about the product led growth movement, which is what PLG stands for. If people didn't catch onto that as we were talking, but the pieces is that you're essentially approaching a product that you don't necessarily need to be sold or onboarded to. It's actually like the product is intuitive enough and it's built in a way that actually allows you to be onboarded to some degree just being in the tool itself. I think there's some element of that, it doesn't always come through. But the example I think of is Calendly. Calendly is a PLG type product. It's probably on the extreme end, but it's so intuitive enough once I log in that it's really like, I don't need to leave the product once I get in there. So I think also where I was going or where my mind went as you wrote PLG principles is also trying to challenge your product team to be thinking in that way. I know not all products can be built in that way. And it's not going to be such as easy or seamless experience, but I do think about challenging your product teams to say," Okay, how do we make this approachable as a customer gets in the door and as a user starts to get onboarded? How do we make sure that some of these things and tenants areas to go the UX and the design of where we're sending them, it makes it easy for them to know what they should be doing when and how they should be doing it?" I think a little bit of that coming through, but I think it makes sense too, the ICP element that you're trying to fold in there which is we need to be selling it to the right person in the right teams based on the way that we've built this. And so thinking about some of those as well, but I went back to thinking about how do we also challenge our product teams to make these things approachable to some degree? Again, I know it's extreme example is Calendly. It's a very simple tool and use case, and Salesforce is never going to be like that. But I just think there's probably ways that you can start to move in that direction and challenge your product teams to be thinking about that. And hopefully you've got like you said, I think if you've got the right relationship with product, you can be approaching those conversations in a valuable way, bringing data to the table, bringing customer experiences to the table and talking through some of the challenging moments early on. So that's another piece that I was taking away from your PLG principles was that relationship with product and how you can have some of those conversations.

Jeff Heckler: And that's depended upon who you are and what your org is. I'll hold myself accountable and honest. I am by no fan of real PLG in its earnestness. I think that some of this is we would like for this to be the truth. So we will say, this is the truth. And I don't see a lot of product and marketing people meeting with customers regularly to understand how this life cycle's going to go. So that being said a podcast for another day, but we can talk about customer led growth, customer value led growth. We can talk about human led growth, something I've written about on my LinkedIn page. So there's a lot of other ways, PLG is the hottest thing. And it's a very romanticized version of how to get consumption and how to grow to scale. But in honesty, it's got its fault, so.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Your next two points that you listed, I think somewhat go together. Some degree, it's related to technology, but the things you wrote were just, you wrote adoption platform and then you wrote LMS. And so, I'm curious as you're answering this question of customer onboarding at scale, what did those two things mean to you in terms of adoption platform and LMS? Why were those two things at least important for you to drag down?

Jeff Heckler: I've seen some real massive advancements in adoption platform vendors. You look at our friend Wayne who's recently gone to WalkMe and some of the other smaller. The cost of entry into the field has dropped. The need has accelerated. It's all rushed to market share an available market. And so companies are willing to say," Hey, we'll hand over this entry point of our product to a vendor that can do this at scale well and get our customers in the door." And so you have a lot of smart people building out very cost prohibitive, I think, in that pose, but there's also cost effective ways to get this at scale. So you can really march through your lookalike customers to say," Hey, they go from A to B. Now they're going from A to C to E, let's get them along that path. We can run this at scale algorithmically and also with AI." So there's a lot of good stuff going on there, where from your core ICP, you can concentrate on going up market and doing the things that you want to advance your product with while you usher your first round of customers in the door. So there's a lot of things with that. And a lot of more effective ways to do that in the marketplace. LMS a little bit different because you can get them into a third party tool, which will be more about the learning. So more about, hey, here are the boxes you want to check. I'm going to walk you through. This is our table of contents, for example, this is our course curriculum. And here's how I want you to check this off. And then I can monitor that I can hold accountability to it. I can graduate them out of certain phases. So it seemed there's winds there and it's really about structuring something and having it in front of my eyeballs, in front of the customer's eyeballs and then all the tracking mechanisms. So the ways that we build the adoptions more under the covers of the Trojan Horse, the LMS is more, hey, this is something that we're agreeing to.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. And I think your point too, just the tech stack for customer success is growing. And I think you're starting to see, like you said, these ancillary tools that sometimes people didn't necessarily think about as related to the customer success umbrella. These are starting to matter to these different functions in the org. And you're starting to see these become much more advanced and have the capabilities to also integrate data and other elements. So for instance, we started using an adoption platform recently, we're using Pendo to drive a lot of our onboarding and some of the early guide pushing messages through our help center built into our admin directly through what they call resource center. So for us, that's been a really key aspect is I think, like you were saying Trojan Horse, getting information into the product, into the environment that they're already in and making sure it's really easy and flexible for those things to happen. And then LM S too, I think that it's a blurred line a little bit. Adoption probably takes on some LMS components. There's some of the training and aspects that you might be using in that adoption path and making sure can we create some of these moments where we're hyping up both sides? So in the LMS, can you talk about the in product elements that you might be doing through a tool like a Pendo or a WalkMe? So how can you make sure that customers look out for those moments and then vice versa when they're in the platform they're in some of those adoption moments. Can you also call out," Hey, this is also in our training X, Y and Z. So I also think of sharing the content back and forth, because at the end of the day, when you're creating content, you want to try and maximize that, the visibility of that as much as possible. And so any chance you have to cross promote," Hey, this is found in X, Hey, this is found in Y." Another example that we're using in our adoption platform as well is, hey, here's a great moment to go look into our customer community for other types of questions that are being asked around this or other best practices that are being used. So again, trying to find another moment to build those in. So those two definitely stand out and make sense to me. I think they're also becoming, like you said, hyper critical. I think in some cases, these might have been thought about down the line as when I get to the right moment, I can buy these tools. And now I think they're starting to become more and more, hey, if we don't onboard a customer well, and we don't help them start adopting the platform early, then that's an easy risk, easy site for first year churn. And that's not going to be good for us. So how do we invest in some of these things now because we know that's going to pay off dividends in those first few years as a customer.

Jeff Heckler: And two other, just last thoughts on these two before we move on. Adoption, and this is one thing that I'm very bullish about in a lot of the places that I talk and share. Customer success is not just for SaaS anymore. So if you're adopting a product, if you're a new consumer of a vehicle, if you're buying hardware, if you're in the roofing industry, I get to talk to all these people every day. And so we're all adopting and we're all learning. And from the learning aspect, there are so many educational professionals out there in the world. Like our friend Pam, who comes to a lot of our CS stuff, they have so much to offer. We've forgot about training. We've forgot about learning. And we do it with our teams all day long. But we don't do that with our customer because, oh, wait, product led growth's got it. They handled it. There's a fallacy there. So there's a gap that I want to make sure we're always addressing.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. And I think the other thing that comes to mind too, there is just, those are moments that you can think about as driving engagement with a customer. It's keeping the customer active, it's keeping them engaged and it's doing it in asynchronous moments where you don't necessarily have to be there. That's the other thing to think about is that, like you said, there's also the other side of this PLG coin where people are trying to put resource human capital towards these things. In some cases, we get a platform and we get this at scale, it starts to lend itself to advantages on top of that. So next one you had is?

Jeff Heckler: And to that point, as we're going from four here through, I think 11, if I have the list correct, almost all these go and lend themselves towards asynchronicity. So it's getting more exciting.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah, yeah. So four, you put down here onboarding CMJ checklist. What does that mean? What's CMJ?

Jeff Heckler: I will go to my customers and I'll say, hey, in the back room of our architecture for your life, this is what we have mapped out. So I will show them here's our journey. This is what customers like you, this is what we mapped out. So we will look at that together and say," Does this make sense to you?" Because this is what we're doing in our laboratory, back in Seitzville. We're architecting this journey for you. Does this make sense to you, does this seem like something that's going to be? Now, either with the touch points, with the cadence, with the timeline of it, and then have that built out with the customer, hopefully a little before they go live in a pre- sales cycle. But afterwards, say," Hey, this is how we're going to roll out to you. Here's the whole deal. Here's the blueprint. This is what we designed for you." And then getting that, so it's a partnership. Long ago, I realized this is not a vendor customer relationship. This is a partnership. I want to get things done. You want to get things done. You want to grow your organization. And so do I, let's do that together. And so it's really uncovering, there's no secret sauce back here. This is how we manufacture the sausage. Let's do it together.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. And I think the point too that I think sometimes gets missed and you harped on this a little bit in your answer is just helping to relay how you've helped other customers be successful and being emphatic about that. Sometimes I think we let customers say," Oh, I don't usually want to do that. Or I want to do it this way," and you've got to come back. And I think like you said, you've got to come back to this idea of, we've been making customers successful for a long time. Here's the way we've been doing that. Here's the process that we've been running through. There might be a moment or two where we can tweak this, but by and large, we want to stick to this as closely as we can. And we realize that there's going to be different, that your goals might be different than other businesses. And there's key moments where we can talk about those things and there are going to be differences. But the process and the steps we do and the people we get involved and the meetings we have, those are for a reason because we've done this, we've done it successfully. But I think sometimes it's hard for, I think implementation managers, project managers, CSM, sometimes to push back on customers. It's always a hard thing, how do I have a tough conversation with customer? And that might be one of those moments where you have to go back and you got to be concrete and say," Hey, we've got maybe one or two points that we can adjust around, but we need to be following this because we've done this before we've made customers successful." And I think I heard that in the undertone of what you were talking about too.

Jeff Heckler: And my undertone is an overtone that I talk to my teams. I tell my teams all that for years, you have every right to say no and tell them why. You are the authority in their account. Sometimes you've got to tell these people," This is not the way you want to go. You do not want to go down this path because this is where it's going to lead. And trust me, because I've done this before. It might not make sense to you for the first 30 days, 60 days. But trust me in where we're going." The other thing that customers really respect is, and what they want to know is, hey, we're working with customers in your industry and this is what they're doing. This is a common tell that you're not going to get from a research firm because I work with companies every day. I'm in this position, you're not the only company that's in this vertical buying our software. So let me tell you, let's help you get there to first time to value faster because we know the lessons learned. So trusted advisor will tell you," No, here are the reasons why, follow me this way."

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. If we have time at the end, I want to talk about a quote that I heard recently that might resonate with your point there, but I'll try and circle us back around to that at the end.

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Jeff Breunsbach: Next thing you wrote is just pool CSM and digital CS touchpoints.

Jeff Heckler: Okay. One thing that drives me absolutely nuts is low touch. Words mean stuff. They have meaning they carry value. They mean an impression, so low touch. Every customer should experience high touch, no matter what it costs you, what you're investing, the customer experience should be high touch. Whether you are repurposing material, you're hitting them digitally, digital first, digitally led. However you want to call it. There's no such thing as a low touch customer, because if that's a low touch customer to you, that also means it's a low value customer to you. There's a bunch of other things we can talk about that. So it's never going to be a pulled CSM model, it's never going to be a strict, well, there are some cases, it would be a strict digital CS model. It's going to be a hybrid. So you want to find, because it's advantageous for you and your company to have resources that are there to help customers, guide customers, catch customers at very specific points in time. And I don't mean by linear time. I mean, by where they are in their life cycles and what they're engaging with. And so you'll always have a hybrid of these are the support and enablement. So like community, what you guys they're enablement channels and at scale, and they're effective and they're asynchronous and they're pulled with all the resources of that. There's in community. A CS team doesn't know what the best and brightest is doing all in their industry, using your software at all times. It's impossible. So you want to cultivate all the minds that are out there in your community, all the minds that are out there using software, and then bring that into a digital mode at scale, and then hit them with the pooled model at specific times in their journey when it makes value.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I think I have nothing to say, but I do have something to say, but I just meant like it was good summarization. I think the thing that stands out for me too, is like you said, I think over time, digital CS or low touch, it got this negative connotation and I think we've just been using the wrong verbiage or nomenclature. Really what you're just trying to say is, hey, we're trying to build a digital first experience where we can go engage proactively with these customers based on certain triggers or things that we know about. And it's not only just email anymore, like you said. We've got all these avenues that we can go through, whether it's a customer community, whether it's an LMS, we've got email program. We have Pendo messages that we can push. We have all these different things that we can be doing. And I think it's just reminding customers of that, hey, you can be successful using these channels. Here's the right way to be using them. I think that's the message that tends to be lost a lot is here's when you should be going to the community, here's when you should be going to a support team. Here's when you onto this. And the more that you can reinforce that, I think that's where customers start to get value, because oftentimes what you do is you send a bunch of links over and you say," Hey, here's our customer community. Hey, here's our LMS, Hey, here's our support knowledge base." And somebody will reach out to you soon. And if you think about that, you've just sent them a bunch of links and you haven't really told them how to be using and why to be using them. And going back to your point, successful customers are engaging in our customer community. And they're talking about things like this. Here's two or three examples of somebody talking about something that think that you should be successful customers are going to our knowledge base. And here's some of the key elements or areas that they're thinking about and going to. But you can't just throw a bunch of links of people anymore. I think that's just what the usual was. And you've got to be telling and architecting a story. And part of this is like you said, these digital touchpoints where you're reinforcing some of these self- service or asynchronous ways that they can be engaging.

Jeff Heckler: And so it's all on the timing too. So adult learners learn in a myriad of ways. Some are readers, some are doers, some are watchers, some are view. So some are tinkerers. So when you find the journey and you're watching your customers proceed through the path in your application, you can hit them with in- app helped as well. So they've clicked over here, they're in this section of, so now let's hit them with this piece of information, whether it's in app, whether it's the pop- up, whether it's a chatbot, I'm going to hit them now with a piece of digital content, because they've reached that place in their journey. You can think of it kind of, I don't play a lot of video games, but I think that in video games, you reach a certain stage and then something else fires off. So you can do all these things within app, and you can do these things with onboarding and adoption software. So you have those abilities to do that. But you have to think of every person that comes in, how do they want to be served? They want to come through drivethrough, they want to walk in your store, they want delivery, they want a sit down, fast casual. However they want to consume. You have to meet them where they live and offer that to them. So it's intuition of the user as well. Where are they going to go? They going to look for in- app help. Are they going to go to your website? Are they going to look for a chatbot? Do they want to use the phone? So I think of the different ways that adults want to be served as well.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. And I think that's just the other thing to be thinking about too is that you can't be going to build all the content in the world and building it in so many different ways, but you need to be thinking about some of the key or core components of content that you're building and having it in ways that, like you said, we have a knowledge based article. We've got a video from our academy. We have a community discussion about it, whatever it might be, but let's serve up three to four things around our core components. And that way, a customer can go in, a user can go in and say," Okay, this is the way I really want to learn is I want to go in the customer community. I want to see how other people are doing it." Great. We've got that covered. So the next two that you had, I think they're kind of related, at least in my mind, somewhat. So you said video academy series and then webinars and community. And I think we hit on this a little bit, but maybe just talk a bit about how you think about those being helpful along this onboarding at scale, how can they asynchronously be helping your CS teams be successful?

Jeff Heckler: Sure. Well, the beauty about both of them that can be repackaged in multiple ways. So you can take your webinar, you can take the transcript, you can take bites, you can chop it up. So that's what I like about both video and webinar is you have multiple ways to repurpose the same content. So you have those abilities. The academy series is also, you can go stage learning. You go here's here's zero one. This is episode zero two, zero three et cetera. And build that throughout the product and then add to it. So you can do those. What I really like about webinars. Some of the things I found to be wildly successful is there's a point where you can make it exclusive. You can make it in Tendy and invite specific. And then after the event, you can take the same content and repurpose it. What I also like about webinars is bringing individuals that you wouldn't otherwise find on them. And to that point, the past two places I've been, I brought in product managers, product leaders. I had our CPO on one of them. And from a user standpoint, especially at scale for you as a user to get that individual and that title on a webinar, whether it's an ask me anything or driving you through the product or talking about whatever that access is priceless, and people will sign up and they will stand online and you owe that to them. I mean, at the end of the day, these are the people that you serve. And so that ability to bring people in to really show, hey, we're doing this for you at scale with people that are really on the frontline decision making for what's going to affect all of us. So that look and feel, and the invite and the marketing around that really gains live traction.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I mean, you hit something that I've been talking about for the last four to six months, which is just this idea of repackaging. Nowadays you can develop so much content, but really it's just, how do we develop similar content and just repackage it in different ways? We have so much coming out of our ears and you're are making it without even knowing it. But like CSMs right now are probably putting together one off decks for a customer. You've got an implementation person who's doing it. You've got strategic services who might be doing something, you've got support. And so if you can start to build mechanisms or ways for people to surface those things up and say," Hey, this was really helpful for one customer, do you think it would be helpful for more?" And then you have somebody who can take that and then make it into something and turn it into something that could go to more customers. You take out the sensitive content if there is any, but how do we do that? That to me is just starting to become such a big part, especially going back to your digital CS touch points, hey, what do we need more of? We just need the right content that we can just nudge customer along at different key moments. And what is the best way to do that is get some content from your internal teams who are already making it, making your life easier. So yeah, I love this whole idea. Just like you mentioned around making sure we're building videos and academy and making sure we have that in a series in the right way. We've got webinars and other styles of content that people can be coming to and then community, what better way to be cultivating content than hearing from your own customers. Taking some of the stories and things that they're just talking about naturally and putting that out to more customers. So these two, six and seven resonates so much with me.

Jeff Heckler: I really like what you said about the strategy. And one thing I'm thinking about is I'm a horrible first brain learner. I don't go back to when I was an infant in the stage again, I just want to keep going and I want to go down the next rabbit hole. And I'm often not thinking about the person that's the next new person through the gate. How do I guide them? How do I be the new learner all over again? And so that I often myself, I lose those focus on. One thing I'm a huge fan of is in performance management when our ICs are on the phone or they're in the meeting with a customer is just catching snippets in time. Now having to go back through the whole call again, or the whole meeting, but saying to customer," Hey, I really like that. That the past 90 seconds you talked about this, do you mind if I take a snippet of this, and share this with our marketing team, share this with our product team? Maybe they'll get back to you. And we might want to build a use case out of this or something like that, so that we can share that with our customer base. So customers like you can learn, it also gives some shine on that person," to say, hey, this is a thought leader in your space and in your vertical with our software. So really trying to catch things in the moment rather than have to go back again and really plugging the customer and having who tells your story better than your own customer? So yeah. Doing those things as well.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Perfect. The last couple we got here, so job aids, you listed out, what does that mean to you is you, you started thinking about as helping scale at customer or helping scale onboarding.

Jeff Heckler: Well, horribly, this shows my age. So job aids were these things that used to have next to your workstation to help walk you through per certain repetitive tasks. So it's great for the first learner, the first adopters, but it's also good for customers that have very proprietary processes. They have to go from A, to B, to C. Or they have something in their environment that says," These are ways that we document. We got to keep standard, et cetera." So it's either digitally led or a tangible piece of collateral that leads a user through the first couple steps of adopting your software or your product. The one thing that does from a user standpoint or an early adopter standpoint, and it gives them this very special touchy feel of, hey, this was created specifically for me. And so this must be very important. I must be very important and I'm going to use this. And it's a little bit, it takes a little time, but it gets you very close to the users and your community and your customers. It has a lot of good touchy feely around it.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Those make sense. And those are the types of things too that you can hopefully challenge some of your individual contributors to be helping you with. And thinking about," Hey, what else can be helpful? What do we need to be doing? What do we need to be updating?" But that becomes a component too of you, as you start thinking about feedback from your teams about how to make these successful. I think about that quite a bit too.

Jeff Heckler: Actually I push my customer champions to do this. I say," Hey you want this, I want you to get the next promotion to as much as anybody else. What would be helpful is if you think about your organization and how they consume or how they run change management, why don't you author it? We'll put our logo on you with years and we'll run the production cost, and we'll run it through our marketing, put some gloss on it, but why don't you be the thought leader?" So it's really helping someone else shine as well.

Jeff Breunsbach: I love that. All right, go live expo or kickoffs. What does that mean?

Jeff Heckler: Again, this is giant change management, something that you would want to trumpet with a lot of internal marketing, and you want to hit with a pre- learning actually, I'm doing two of these next week, so I'll be traveling first. So what this is, is that you're leading with the executives behind you and doing internal marketing. So what I call them is the next two I'm doing actually next week are called customer success expos. And so what you're doing is saying," This is our story, this is our go to market internally with what we want to do with the U. S. organization, this is how we're going to win for you." And you have the executives who have supported your cause behind you to say," This is what we're doing." And it gets everybody bought in, everybody dovetailed together. It gives everybody the why, the how we got to this moment, the inaudible, the reason to be and why we exist. And it shows that everyone is bought in. So it's really from a top down where some of the other, like the community and stuff is more from a bottom up. This is really we're leading with the brass in front on this one. It gives you a lot of good publicity and gives you a lot of resources and a lot of good voices.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. We've been talking about this quite a bit recently here at Higher Logic thinking about this from a community launch moment, it's a big moment for people when you start thinking about getting thousands of members, maybe into a community and launching that, and so much time and energy. So how can we, like you said, just amplify this moment more and more, build that person up for who is really the champion, talk about the organization, turn that. I also think about these moments. And I think you mentioned this earlier. I think about these moments a lot too. How do we create content that that person can then go take internally? That makes a lot of people's lives easier when you send them something that says," Hey, we put together two or three slides about the community launch and what we were able to accomplish. We went ahead and co branded it. We put all of stuff in here." Hey, this would be great stuff. Most of our successful customers, they turn this internally to their bosses, to their teams and they talk about this. So we wanted to help you create those types of moments. So I think about those quite a bit as well as kind of, hey, how do we turn this internal and make this really easy for you to go have a shareable moment with your teams? Because people remember that," Hey, you made my life easier. I didn't have to go build these two or three slides." And now maybe have a couple updates now we're engaging again right now we've got a couple moments to go back and forth. So I love it. All right. The last one you put here, or at least on mine, you said you had 11, I only have 10 on your lists. For that listing.

Jeff Heckler: The last one is pre- sales use cases. So where you can use either what already is sorting your CRM from, this is a reason to be with this customer. This is what we know about them. I've done my homework. I'm showing the customer, I'm semantically and educationally fluent to their situation and why we're in. And it's also, I think you guys probably do this on the community and it's a little precede, right? You're telling the earth for these guys and gals, when they come in, they see that some work's already been done. Some of the heavy liftings been done up front, we have something that we're already launching with, it maps back to why we won this in the first place. It gets us to first time to value as quickly as possible. And then you can actually take some of these, whether you record it on the screen share, or you do something live and then record it with the actual voiceover. You can give tutorials. So here's the first stage of how we're winning with this community platform. Here's the first stage of how we're winning with this product. And it shows again, the buy- in, but also gives people that jumpstart to say," Okay, this is going to be successful for us. Here's why, here's how from a company, high level, we've invested into this." And this is what it means for me, where I sit. I think one of the things I have lost sight in here, and I should have mentioned earlier is no matter if it's on your team or your customer's team, no matter where anybody sits in the organization, you want to make sure there's online, from the top of the organization all the way down to someone where they sit, no matter how many levels that is. So everyone shares in the same vision, the same compelling journey. I've done this with my teams when it comes to our OKRs and KPIs, we can draw them all the way up and down the line. It's the same thing here. So you're having the same voice. And if you really can unite those with the companies as you providing the solution and a customer providing the manpower and getting those two united, you're going to have a great team aspect and a great journey.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Man. All right. Well, we just hit on 10 things to be thinking about as you start scaling your onboarding. And I think some of them are thinking out how do you make your team successful? Some are how can you help customers turn content around for you? Some are technology related. So I think there's a ton of good stuff in here and excited. You were able to hop on Jeff and we could talk through this. So if people are out there looking for more content or more things of what do you do, most of your talking, is it Twitter, LinkedIn? Where can people find more of Jeff Heckler?

Jeff Heckler: If they really want that, which is questionable, it's LinkedIn. And then I have a very verbose blog post coming up on our website at MarketSource. So you can find all of our CS and all of our IP there. And it's been a pleasure. I'm not going to let you off the hook. You had some quote you wanted to circle back to. So I want to know if we can get this in.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah, the quote, I'm going to have to go find the quote, because I was trying to look on LinkedIn, but the genesis of the quote was basically that we're doing too much talking about ourselves and not enough talking about our customers and the challenges and problems that they go through. And so as you were talking earlier just about how can we position these things in a way that's making other customers successful that using the customer voice and using other customer examples, they just popped into my mind. And I was trying to go find it on LinkedIn while we were sitting here talking, I couldn't do it quick enough, but if I can find it, I will. But the genesis is basically, essentially we'd be better served not only just an implementation or onboarding, but throughout the customer journey, if we just did less talking about ourselves and more talking about the ICP, the challenges that people are going through, the stuff that people are solving for. And if we did more talking about those things, then our solution fits into those probably naturally instead of forcing our way in. So it just resonated with me as you were talking about finding the right ways to develop content and thinking about how you can go surface this information? And really, I think it's just more around using customers to tell stories about other customers. How can you do that better? It just resonated with me. So I'll try and find it if I can.

Jeff Heckler: Well, I mean, that's the beauty of what you guys do, right? You get people in the community that are trying to solve the same problems at scale together. And there's that thing that if I know that there are the people like me out in the world, that level of comfort and my success and my motivation are amplified and exponentially grow because I know that we're all out there doing it together. I mean, hey, that's where Gain Grow Retain started. Right? So we're all out in the COVID world, wondering what the heck is going on. And all of a sudden we got 6, 500 people together, so.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. That's pretty much the genesis. So it started with this very simple idea like that. Awesome. Well, Jeff, I appreciate you doing this. I think I'm already going to throw it out there in the universe so that we can make sure and record this maybe before the end of the year, but I'd love to talk through, I know you've got some awesome views, again, another thread in the Gain Grow Retain community, just around customer marketing and marketing and customer success and how those three things are coming together. So it'd be fun to get on and talk through some of your thoughts there. So we'll make that happen before the end of the year, and we'll make sure to do it and get this one out. So I appreciate the time Jeff.

Jeff Heckler: Likewise, I really appreciate it and hello everybody in the community and it's great to be here and we'll do it again very soon.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome.

Speaker 5: Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain Grow Retain Podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


Today, Jeff Heckler, Director of Customer Success Solutions at MarketSource, is here to talk with Jeff about his 10 point list for a better strategy when onboarding at scale.

Today's Host

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Jeff Breunsbach

|Director of Customer Experience at Higher Logic
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Jay Nathan

|Chief Customer Officer at Higher Logic

Today's Guests

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Jeff Heckler

|Director of Customer Success Solutions, MarketSource Inc.