Customer Success and Community w/ Kiely Monteiro

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This is a podcast episode titled, Customer Success and Community w/ Kiely Monteiro. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week Kiely Monteiro, Customer Community Manager, joins the show to talk about community.</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>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>
Repurposing Content
00:26 MIN
Having Round Tables - Digging Into A Specific Topic
01:48 MIN
Shifting Strategies When Your Community Base Changes
01:33 MIN
A Successful Community is When you Can Continue to Connect With Them
00:55 MIN
How to Build Advocacy
00:56 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain Grow Retain podcast.

Jeff Breunsbach: Welcome back to another episode of Gain Grow Retain. For today, we've got Kiely Monteiro who is a customer community manager for FloQast. So Kiely, awesome to see you and appreciate you being here.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. Good to see you Jeff.

Jeff Breunsbach: You mentioned something... So I always like to start off with a couple of fun questions. Off the cuff, you mentioned that you got to do a fun event recently and it was around coffee tasting for your audience. So I'm curious what ended up being your favorite coffee that you tasted, or was there anything you picked up in terms of the notes of coffee that you liked, or anything... I don't know, anything new that you got out of that experience in terms of your own taste?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. I learned a lot. I really, I drink espresso every day, but that's pretty much it. I'm not a coffee connoisseur. So I learned about all the different tasting notes. And really similar to beer and wine, that there was so many different types of flavors that you could have in your coffee. So I ended up liking the fruitier ones, which isn't a surprise, because I'm a sweets person. But it was really cool to figure out how to smell it right, and how to taste it and all the different things that can go into it.

Jeff Breunsbach: I love it. And you actually, you were already backing into my other question that I like to ask people, which is what is your favorite fruit? It's again, an off the wall question, but I always like people's answers. And I've actually generally found people to have differing answers each time. There hasn't been too many that have been overlapped. So what would you say your favorite fruit is?

Kiely Monteiro: I have to go blueberry.

Jeff Breunsbach: Blueberry? Okay.

Kiely Monteiro: Blueberry or lemon.

Jeff Breunsbach: Okay.

Kiely Monteiro: If you count a citrus as a fruit. Yeah.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Yep. We've been hearing a lot. I heard mango recently. We had somebody also talk about starfruit. I think it's starfruit. Yeah. I think that's... I think that was one. Yeah. So it's always fun. And blueberry isn't as often said. I'm a big strawberry and mango person. I'm actually going to make... For dinner tonight, I'm going to make my wife some mango salsa to go with some chicken and some rice. So I'm looking forward to doing that. Get a little fruit into dinner.

Kiely Monteiro: That sounds delicious.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I'm looking forward to it.

Kiely Monteiro: I made a pineapple salsa, a spicy one with inaudible the other night. So I'm in there with you.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. That'd be right up my alley too. Do you have to... So you cut up the entire pineapple to make, and put it in as chunks, or do you have to make it really small? How'd you do that?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. I had to cut the whole watermelon. I saved half for, just snacks... Or, sorry, pineapple. Saved half for snacks and then I had to dice it up. I guess you could get canned, but I figured we'd just go for the fresh fruit while it's there.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Got to go with the real thing. I like it. We could turn this into a food podcast very easily, and one day we might.

Kiely Monteiro: Call me back for that.

Jeff Breunsbach: But we're not here to talk about fruits. We're here to talk about customer success and community. And I'm excited to talk today, just because I think you've got a unique perspective. We were talking a little bit about this, that where you sit in the organization, just in terms of the customer community manager and owning that community, you actually sit in the customer department or customer success team. So curious, talk a little bit about how that, maybe has differed from what you've seen, how you've liked it. But what have you noticed as being part of that customer organization?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. I think when I first joined the customer advocacy and community world, people mostly sat in marketing. Almost everyone I worked with sat in marketing. I was a CSM for company who worked with customer advocate marketers, and everyone was pretty much in marketing. And I think over the past five, six years we started to see more people sitting in customer success. And when I joined FloQast, that was a big reason why I wanted to join, because community was in their customer success team. And I find that customer success professionals are so used to creating relationships. that is their goal, to create relationships and make their customers successful. So I think it's a really great opportunity to sit in CS for our community.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I think we've started to see that transition as well. I think maybe the other thing that's precipitated that as well is the fact that the experience that I think is starting to happen in customer success, is that you're having to think about digital programs and ways to engage, just beyond phone calls and one- to- one connections. You're trying to... We're trying to give our customers different ways to engage with us. So I also think that that's where you're starting to see community makes a lot of sense to pull into customer success, because it provides a different experience for customers. And like you said, it's still rooted in the fact that we're trying to help make them successful. We're trying to connect them with their peers. And at the end of the day it's all about how we can develop relationships. And that's not only with our staff and our teams, but it's with their peers, which I think also makes a really deep connection with your product as well.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. And I've definitely seen that. Every company is looking to scale their customer success team. And I think community is such a natural extension of that. You can engage your customers at scale and then your CSMs can take their time to focus on the real strategic initiatives that they need to spend the time on, not best practice calls and things like that.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Is there... Obviously, I think.... Well, I would argue that it fits in customer success, and it should be all the time, but is there a downside, maybe that you've seen? Do you miss some of the things that you were getting on marketing teams, or is it maybe a little harder to gain access and to get some of those relationships, especially now that we're virtual I would imagine it might be a little bit harder, because maybe you're in meetings with your customer success team every day. You know what everybody's working on, customers and relationships and all this stuff, but is there anything that you feel like you might be missing, that might just be for somebody to think about as they might make this transition as well?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. Absolutely. I think customer success teams are typically super busy. I've been a CSM, I know putting out fires and working on upsells and renewals. I've been there. I get it. So I think you need to really have a dedicated person to be owning that, and then working really closely with the rest of your customer success teams. Otherwise, just putting it all on your CSMs gets to be a lot. And I think the one thing I would say about sitting in marketing and running a program like this, is you have access to all the content and you know all the plans for the upcoming content. So for me, I think it's actually been an advantage to start during the remote time, because everyone's been remote. I've been on a level playing field, and I can just schedule time to talk with them, and figure out what content is upcoming, and what campaigns and strategies are they working on. And tie that into my program.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I think that's where I was thinking maybe that there would be... That's maybe what you'd be missing from the... I think the other thing that, maybe just naturally comes to mind as well, is that you... I would think in marketing, you probably have, maybe easier access to quick hit turnarounds on, maybe things like graphics or the design elements that you might want or need. Whereas, I think if you probably sit in the CS team you might have to think a little bit more about the planning of those things. They may have to be out a couple of weeks. That might be another thing. But the content angle, I think is so big. It's almost like content first in your mind, I think where community makes sense. You've naturally got these discussions that are happening, hopefully between peers, between your teams. So there's discussion threads and everything. But I do think that if people are thinking about how to leverage community the most, the content becomes the number one thing to think through. Because it can flow in both directions. I think you can really, as the community leader, you can be helping your marketing teams with," Hey, what are people talking about in the community? What are the hot topics? Where do we need... Where do we have gaps in content potentially." And then vice versa, your marketing team is probably listening to the market. They're listening to what's happening in the sales pipeline. They're saying," Hey, these are things that they care about." This natural intersection of," Okay, what topics really matter and what should we be developing content around? What other ways are you thinking about, just leveraging content in your communities? How have you thought about programs that you've developed for those?"

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. I think, for me, it's really important to have format in different ways. So discussion threads are great and you can have that discussion, but I want to find ways for different audience members to engage. So we do polling functionality. I think creating quick videos is something we're planning to work on next for education and best practices, because sometimes you just don't really want to read a blog post. You just want to watch a quick two minute video, hear the tip and move on. So I think things like that have been really helpful for us.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I always think about... I came from a marketing role in my previous careers as well. So I always think about that a lot, how can you leverage an asset in multiple ways? How can you cut a blog, and then turn that into a video, a quick hit video, or how can you take a discussion thread and then take the answers or the responses, how can you consolidate those and get them to help you guest write a blog, so to speak. And turn that.... So, yeah. I always think about, I feel like really good community leaders are always thinking about that. How am I taking one piece of content and making it into three or four, or how am I taking a topic and moving it into an event where we can record something, and it becomes a webinar style or something like that. But I think that is where I think you're naturally going to start to see, maybe customer success teams evolve as well. Is that you want your teams to be thinking, how am I creating multiple pieces of content so that we get the biggest bang for our buck. And then also I think you hit on something too, a lot of people want to consume things in different ways. I very much am probably the last person in the world that's ever going to go read a help article or a really long blog. If it's longer than three or four paragraphs, I'm probably not going to go read it. So to your point, if there's quick hit videos or if there's short discussion posts that you've done, that's probably more my speed and that's where I'm going to get a lot of value. But when you think about community, you have to think about how there's so many different people coming and you might plan for one persona, but really it's probably, naturally going to expand to two or three types of people that are coming in and engaging, which is always a challenge to think about. How do you plan for that?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. And just really quick, I think you had a great point about repurposing content, and that's what I like to do. I'm not a professional content writer. That isn't my background. So I love to take whatever our marketing team does and take snippets out, or take part of it and link out to in the community. So we're having that content in multiple formats, and then we can make announcements linking to other content. So I think just having that mindset of using what's already there, and then putting your own creative spin on it for community is really important.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Just because you... Maybe really fun to talk about that for a minute. So you just mentioned, I guess it's one way that you thought about that, is you are taking snippets and putting that into a discussion thread or a blog, and then you're linking it back to the original article. Is that how you've done some of that before?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. So for example, if we have a feature product release, I'll typically read through the blog that our team did, take out a couple of key snippets so that people can get the point of what I'm trying to say really, really quickly. Like you, you don't want to read the whole blog really. But maybe some people do. So we link back out to that blog that the team wrote so they can get some more information, and then provide them with next steps, whether it's to talk to their CSM or watch a webinar, et cetera.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Yeah. that's such a good way. We're also starting to think about, at least in our customer community, HUG, for our Higher Logic customers, we're starting to think about creating different styles of events as well. Just because I think everyone... I think we've all gotten Zoom fatigue, clearly over the last year. But then I also think that your standard webinar is also... it's just becoming few and far between. I tend to think how do you engage the audience a little bit more? So we're thinking about, do we introduce coffee chats? Do we introduce different kinds of event interactions, essentially. We were thinking about a build with us series, which is much more of a workshop, closed room style, where you're building something. We're going in and building something in the platform, and we're doing it together. And it's an extension of training, but again, it's peer driven. It's peer led. You might have somebody who's done it before, who is actually leading alongside of one of your team members. So I don't know if you've thought about events and figuring out, maybe ways to engage audiences in different ways beyond webinars or not. But that's just something that we've thought a lot about recently.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. So we have been thinking about that recently. And we just launched our first community event after our launch party, and we're planning to do them monthly for our community. So the things that our audience, they're accountants, and the things that they said were most important were networking, discussing, more industry best practices. So we set up a networking session for 30 minutes, and then we did a coffee tasting for an hour after that, led by a pro. So our audience loves networking, but they also really told us that they love coffee. So it was a perfect event, and people really enjoyed getting to know their peers in a small group setting, versus hundreds of people on one call. So that was a really good one. And we're planning to do a virtual escape the room next month.

Jeff Breunsbach: Oh cool.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah, we're really excited about it. And another thing I did in a past role was had a round tables. So we have one topic that was key to our audience, and we would have a discussion about that. And it was just, come and bring your questions, and bring your experience and your wins to share with the group. And they were really successful. People loved hearing what other practitioners were doing. And they found that that was the most valuable. Always great to ask your CSM, but even better if you can hear from someone who's actually in there doing that day- to- day

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I love some of those examples too. The idea of doing the round table, because I also think that could turn into a really nice white paper blog. Because like you said, you've got, maybe a really deep topic where people are going and saying," Oh my gosh. I've done X, Y, and Z." And you can collapse that into some nice piece, and you get to promote them and get to promote their company. That kind of thing. We've been doing... We have a marketing automation solution as part of our product suite. So we've been doing office hours on Thursdays, we call it HUG connect. But it's all about peer- driven insights. So it's like," Hey, we're there to facilitate the conversation." I always like to joke, we're there to open up the Zoom. And then it's like," Okay." It's not a total free for all, but then we think about, how do we facilitate a discussion around key topic? But really our goal in that situation is to talk as little as possible on that call. We really just want peer sharing with each other, because they're in it day to day, figuring things out for themselves, and finding creative solutions, and thinking about how to go convince their teams to do all these things. So the more that they can talk and connect to one another, we get the indirect benefit of that. They're like," Oh, Higher Logic connected us." That's great, but we don't have to be in the room talking about ourselves or talking about our product as much as we really think, I think is at the end of the day, what we've noticed about those HUG Connect events.

Kiely Monteiro: That's awesome. And when I did my round tables, which sound like they're very similar to yours, my sales team loved to sit in. They would just sit in, off camera, be a fly on the wall. And they're like,"I'm just hearing all these amazing stories. This is so valuable for me."

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. That's so true. Yeah. We've had some sales, people do the same thing, and also it just gets people into an environment where they feel a lot more... I think sometimes customers might get... they might get a little gun- shy when you start asking specific questions about what they've done. Because they tend to think that it's not novel. It's not really that. I think a lot of times people just downplay their accomplishments. So you're like," Oh my gosh, you did this amazing thing. We should talk about it on the podcast. Or we should go do a white paper together or do something, do a case study." Whatever it might be. And sometimes they're a little gun- shy, because it's like," Well, I have to go get approval for all those things. And I don't even really think it's that great. I think other people are doing this." But then if you get them in that type of setting, it's almost like the first... I almost see it as a first step of advocacy. Because you're getting them comfortable talking amongst their peers and saying," Oh my gosh. Yeah, we just did this. We saw some good results." And I feel like that starts that movement of like," Hey, it's a small win, but we're building a little bit of momentum with that person, as long as they're sharing in that type of environment, where they're starting to feel more comfortable. They're realizing that they're doing something that might be really great or innovative, and that they start to feel more comfortable. That over time, I feel like then you can start to soften them up a little bit more to say," Hey, I've heard you talk about this on our HUG Connect calls with your peers. Could we do a specific webinar where you go deep on this with slides, and we spotlight just you. Or then is it a case study? Do you help do reference calls?" But it's you've got to find that funnel to bring people down. And that journey where you're building the relationship and not just outright saying," Hey, you did something great. You want to come do a reference call?" There's got to be so much more building alongside of it.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. And what a great way to build that customer's confidence in all the success that they're seeing. If they are like,"Oh, I'm a little nervous. I don't know if this is really a big deal." But they share it in that group setting. And someone says," Oh, I love that idea. I'm going to implement that." Just builds their confidence and shows them that they are actually creating a lot of value.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. You mentioned that you right now are working with accountants, and that it's a little different audience than you're used to, and that they're.... It seems like the accountants of the world haven't really had communities to belong to before. So I'm curious, how has that changed? Have you had to change a lot of your thinking about communities? Have you had to approach it maybe differently in terms of how you drive engagement or how you think about opening them up? What's been your initial experience and how you've tried to do that?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. It's definitely been a big learning curve for me. I used to work with customer marketers and CS folks, and they were totally aware of community, and advocacy and how to engage in a space like that. Now, working with accountants. So our end users are staff accountants and managers. And then we also have a lot of controllers and CFOs who are very busy. So I think the couple of biggest things I've learned, is that for this audience, we actually have a lot more executives in our community than I have had in previous roles, typically super tough to engage. But I find the controllers are really earning for that connection with their peers. And there aren't a lot of places to get it. So unless they know a lot of folks in the industry, there aren't really accounting communities. So that's been a big win for us to be able to have... I think half the people on our call yesterday, where we did our coffee masterclass, were directors and controllers. So really great to see that, but they do engage differently. They're very busy, obviously. It's tax season and all of that. So they're a very busy audience. And we have to find ways to engage them quickly, but also sometimes just understanding that they're going to come in and read, and they might be more introverted. So they might not necessarily reply. So we've been working on building that confidence in people to feel comfortable responding to folks in the community. And we started to see a lot more people posting their own organic questions out to the community and customers answering each other's questions. So I think it's just taken some time to build that understanding of what community is, and why you would participate. And now they're really starting to see the value.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah, that's great. It really becomes too, I feel like the nice part, hopefully as you build this over time is that you get to go talk with your sales team fully and tell them that this is a benefit that people can start to see as a tangible extension of the product or of the platform. It's like customer success managers become an extension of the product in a way that we describe," Hey, you get access to a CSM. This is what they're going to do for you, or this is how you think about the next steps. That when you become a customer..." And this really is another natural way to do that, where you say," Hey, we're not here just to enable you on the platform. We're not here just to enable your success with a CSM." But like," Hey, you have access to all of the peers who are using the same software that you are. They're going through similar challenges. They're talking about the same things." And that, I think it also, again, becomes a tangible benefit of like," Hey, why are you going to pay for this solution?" It's like," We can bring the audience to the table to help you solve challenges, not just our team who has great expertise, but also peers in your industry who have similar professional requirements as you, they have similar accreditations and they have similar backgrounds and things like that." That all becomes such a tangible benefit for them.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah, absolutely. And that's what our sales team is starting to do. Because accountants need to have a certain certification, their CPA, and they have to do continuing education courses. And we provide them free in the community and from our website. So that's a huge value that all of them are just listed right there and they can make sure they keep up on that certification. And we also have a job board in our community. So that's a big push for our sales team to be like," All right, I know you're hiring. So sign on with FloQast, we can post your job on the job board. And you have access to all these really qualified candidates."

Jeff Breunsbach: Wow. That's cool. Yeah. Again, starting to be small things, but the community can start to tack on programs that also just start to take a life of its own as well. I've seen how mentorship programs become a part of this. I've also seen how... I guess we've seen also how boards can... Or they can create some boards of communities that help develop assets that people can use as well. They have a content creation type of mentality. So I feel like there's so many different angles that you can take. I'm curious, too. When you started to go launch the community, did you start with a small passionate MVP style group that you found ahead of time? Or did you just go out yourself and start curating some of the relationships that you know you needed with some of the key stakeholders from customers? How did you initially get over that hump of launching it, and making it available to customers?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. So when I joined FloQast, we were also just purchasing our community platform and launch in the community. So there wasn't a ton of time to make a bunch of really strong relationships. But I was able to connect with our CSMs, figure out who might be the most interested in joining the community. And we did start with a beta test, about a hundred users that we thought would be the most engaged. And some of them are still our top users today. And then in addition to that, we wanted to do an invitation campaign, talking about how accountants are more than just their jobs. They have a stereotype of being boring and quiet. We wanted to show the fun side of them, who they are outside of work. So I actually emailed all of our customers, asking about their favorite hobbies and how we could include them in the community. So we invited some of those folks as well. and we have people who wake board and downhill mountain biking. And all kinds of really great things that you wouldn't think an accountant did. So it was nice to work with them to break that stereotype a little bit.

Jeff Breunsbach: That's cool. Did you let them... Does that become a part of their profiles going forward? Some of those hobbies and interests, did you ask them to include that kind of stuff? Or have you tried to figure out ways to pull that out in some of the threads or conversations that they're having?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. So a lot of that we're pulling out in the threads that they're having, I have a master doc, our member insights doc, where I take all the fun facts and learning our customers and our members and add them to that. And it's really nice because our CFMs have access to that. So they can... Before a call, they can be like," All right, she loves karate. Let me make sure I mention that on the call.

Jeff Breunsbach: That's cool.

Kiely Monteiro: And then it's also great for them if they want to send their customer a gift, they can go check up the fun facts about them and send them something really personalized, from information they shared with us in the community.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. That's such a cool way. And I think, too, that's one of the things that we've learned over the years, especially about building communities, is that I feel like community has become really successful over time when you can continue to connect them, and connect smaller groups of people in multiple ways. If I have a connection to a group of people in a community, because we both love to go play golf. And then I also have connections to other people in that community, because I love CS and customer success. I love onboarding journeys, and I love to do that. But the more you can create these small group connections, and these tidier relationships. I feel like that's where you're starting to see how that can help span somebody staying involved and engaged in the community, is that it's not single- threaded. It's almost like when you think about a CSM, we've always said you need to get high and wide in the organization. You need to be multithreaded in terms of relationships. And I think that similar trait holds true when you start thinking about communities. And I'm curious if that's something that you've noticed as well, that you're trying to... Ultimately, I guess you're trying to create these tight knit relationships where you're connecting specific people because once they have that bond, then hopefully it just continues to flourish over time.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. We have started to see that. We have a pet pictures thread in our community, just in our fund section. And we were talking about dogs earlier, our customers are super passionate about their pets. So it's been really nice to see them just connect on a personal level, and it's great to connect on a business level and an industry level, but just to have those personal connections, I think is really exciting. And then from there we were even able to see," All right, we have a lot of customers with dogs. Let's create some really cool swag that we send to them for their dogs." So it's been, all around, an awesome experience. And then I think in the product side, we're starting to see it more. So if people use an additional technology, we want to connect those people who are users of both of those platforms.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. That's such a good way too. I think we've seen... We've started to notice that exact point you can make, which is also, how can you let partners come in and help provide value to the community as well. If there's a really tight link between our products and other product. If we notice that there's a high propensity of our customers using both, how can we start to bring those people in and continue to curate that knowledge? Even if it's not on our own direct platform. if it's on a partner's platform, how do we make sure and bridge that gap? Because I think in today's age, and probably more so moving forward. All of these platforms need to connect and talk to something else. It's rare that you're ever going to have one platform that does everything. So the more that you can try and help eliminate friction for your customers, as well, to go find answers and try and get some of the insight that they need, then it's always going to look well upon your brand as well. It's another indirect benefit I feel like you can get.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah, absolutely. And I've been working with our partnerships team to figure out what are those key softwares that we recommend? So if someone asks in the community,"Do you guys know a platform for X?" We have some recommendations. And we're also planning to have our partners come in as thought leaders, and be able to share their best practices and their ideas on certain industry processes.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. That's awesome. One thing you mentioned earlier as well that I wanted to dive into a little bit is, well, first you've got some experience in the customer advocacy world just from your previous CSM role. But I'm curious, as you start thinking about community, and cultivating these relationships and being the extension within that customer success team, how have you thought about advocacy? Right now are you thinking it's a," Hey, you can earn points, and badges and things in the community." Which is the first part of advocacy. And then it morphs, and we have varying degrees, or becomes a stair- step. As you start to do more things, you get more benefits or access as you go along. How have you thought about building some of the advocacy that you're hoping to get from your customers?

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. We want to have a more formalized program today. Our CSMs handle a lot of the advocacy asks, which is great because they have those strong relationships with customers, and they're able to make the right ask at the right time. But we're looking to be able to have really intelligent asks based on all the awesome data that we have on our customers, and provide the right opportunities to them, right at the right time. So I think that we're trying to think of a bigger program for our advocacy. And also people are incentivized by different things. Intrinsically and extrinsically, some people just want swag and gift cards, and some people really want access to our product teams, to share a ton of feedback with them, or get a sneak peek of the roadmap. So when I think of an advocacy program, I think you really have to capture each person's different motivators. So there will be a lot that you'll need to try to get in there. But I think if you can incentivize more people, you're going to drive more advocacy for your organization.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I think that's such a good point, because I think the way I've seen advocacy done, or sometimes I've been a part of advocacy programs, is they just blanket it for everybody. It's like once you're an advocate or an MVP, you all get swag around our annual conference or you get discounted tickets, which in some cases it's nice and it's great. But I always don't want to go to the annual conference. So then it's like I get disheartened, because it's like," Well, I didn't really see that as a benefit. Because I wasn't going to go anyways. And now what do I do?" So I think that it's such a good point, how can you capture those motivators for those individual people. And then it's almost like you can create little subsections of people, probably if you have an MVP group, or an advocacy, or a customer advisory board or whatever that might be, as you start thinking about some of these intimate of people that you're bringing together, they still will have subtle differences about what they want as motivators. And if you can understand, you can list out and have them stack rank those, essentially. And try and pick out the one or two that are important to them. And then try and find those groups of people. Such a valuable way. It takes a little bit of extra time. But it creates such deeper connection. I think that's, at the end of the day, the... I don't know, I just feel in a lot of times people just blanket these things and it becomes a spray and pray, a shotgun style approach that people use. So just take a little bit of extra time, try and get a little bit more segmentation and a deeper level of knowledge there. And I think you're going to create a deeper level of engagement, which probably at the end of the day drives more authenticity with your customer and will develop a deeper relationship over time.

Kiely Monteiro: I totally agree. And I think that's something that they were looking to work more on is creating some type of advocacy survey, so we can ask our customers," What types of activities would you be interested in?" Maybe some of our big logos can't do case studies, but they might hop on a bunch of reference calls for us and talk to someone privately. And then some people might be looking to up their thought leadership. So they want to be on those webinars. They want to be featured in blogs. That's a really great opportunity for them, even though it's an advocacy ask for us. So I think it's really important to just ask your customers, how often do you want to be involved in these things? Which types of things do you like doing? And then it becomes more personalized. If I said to you, I'd love to hop on a podcast or webinar, and then you gave me that opportunity. I'd be like," Wow, Jeff remembered." That's really personalized to my journey.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. And I love that example too, because I, at the end of the day, think as well that sometimes we get a little too caught up in the logos itself. We think a little bit too much of the big logos, which again, we need, it can help in the pipeline and whatnot. But I also think if you can find the people who are really interested in building their personal brand, and they see themselves as trying to make sure that they can give themselves as many opportunities across their career. Those are the types of people that are awesome, because you can get content out of them. They'll want to do webinars. They're bringing stuff to you almost naturally. They're like," Hey, I developed inaudible scoring model. And I thought it was really interesting. What do you think of it?" And the more that you can get those types of things as well, it's almost like you're getting inbound advocacy in a way, if you can turn some of those relationships in the right direction. And that to me, again, is working smarter, not harder. Because it's like," Cool. I'm only one person. I can't go track down all the advocates and do all this stuff." How can I get more inbound activity to me? That's such a good insight that you mentioned as well.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. And sometimes, the big logos, they're great... Everyone loves to see a fancy logo up, but sometimes you might be better off going with a smaller organization that is a much better suited reference for that prospect. They might have more in common in terms of industry, size, the stage they are in their company. So the logo might not always be the best mast, just because it's a sexy logo to have up.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah, definitely. Awesome. Well, I know we've talked for quite a bit here and getting towards the end. So maybe just one more question that I'd love to throw out there, which is, you mentioned that you would create a community yourself around baking. You spend a lot of your free time baking. So what's been the number one thing that you have loved that you've baked over the last 12 months? During quarantine, what do you think you baked the best?

Kiely Monteiro: All right. I'm going to say two, but one is not for me. So one of them, a lemon tart, that was really good. I made the crust from scratch and the whole process.

Jeff Breunsbach: Oh man.

Kiely Monteiro: I think that was really good. And then my dog, Rio, has been really happy that I've been hand making some dog treats for her and her friends. So that's been a big win.

Jeff Breunsbach: That's funny. Yeah. We have a good group of our friends here in Charleston, and we have a thread. And we were just talking about that the other day. We have a friend of ours who's getting really into baking too. And she's like," What are dog treats." And I was like," I'm sure all the dogs would love that." We have seven dogs in our little friend group here. So I imagine all of them would be excited. Yeah. We've done... My wife and I have gotten really into... We enjoyed cooking before, but I think during the pandemic, it was just a really fun way to try and, like you said, get creative, get your mind off of work, was to go dive into a recipe or think about doing something different. So we've been doing a lot of handmade pasta, which has been really fun.

Kiely Monteiro: Wow.

Jeff Breunsbach: So we've been doing a lot of Italian night, which is probably not good for my body figure, but it's been really delicious. And I have figured out that if I can eat some pasta and a nice piece of bread I'm happy as a clan. That's been fun for us to go do.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. That sounds like a delicious hobby.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Well, Kiely, if people want to find more of you, this is your... I'll give you the chance to grow your own personal brand or whatever you want to shout out here. So don't be bashful. Where can people find you? Is it on LinkedIn? Is it Twitter? Do you push out content anywhere. Give the people a place to find you.

Kiely Monteiro: Yes. They can find me on LinkedIn. I'd love to connect and chat. Community, advocacy and CSL things.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Well, I'm excited to do this. And I think it'd be really fun if we did an episode three or four months from now, and highlighted topics like certain events styles that have worked well, or how we've got content flowing. That's a big thing that we're going to work on. So I think it'd be fun to have a followup to this, if we can make it happen.

Kiely Monteiro: Yeah. I would love to reconnect.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Cool. Alrighty, we'll see you next time. 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.


This week Kiely Monteiro, Customer Community Manager, joins the show to talk about community.

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