Episode #6: 3 Steps to Getting Started with Modern Channels

It’s the question I hear most often from our customers: How do we get started with modern channels? And it’s not really a question about which modern channels to start with (short answer: all of them). It’s more about how to corral the various silos in an organization and bring them together as an integrated team. These three steps can help you accelerate your digital transformation and tame your marketing Frankenstack.

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All right. Welcome to the CXM experience. And today I’ve got a really fun topic today. I had a great morning. One of the things I get to do in my job as CXO here at Sprinklr is I get to talk to a lot of customers. I’ve been doing that for a long time. I was actually talking to Sprinklr customers when I was a customer. So, I was a customer reference for many years. And then I’ve been doing it since I got here a little over two and a half years ago.

And you know, it’s just so…what’s the right word? It’s like… energizing, and invigorating, and mentally stimulating. And it’s also fascinating how so many people have the same problems. And I was talking to someone this morning, a great customer of ours, one of the world’s great brands. I’m not going to say who it was or what the brand was. But you’d all know it. And it was a person, based in Amsterdam, a European company. And we’re just having a good time talking about what he’s trying to do, what he’s trying to accomplish. Super innovative thinker, really looking to break forward, help his company connect to people where they are now.

The thing I keep telling everyone, this sounds kind of obvious, but it’s just not obvious inside most companies, is that customers have moved to modern channels. Customers, they’re on blogs and forums, and they’re on review sites, and they’re reading social posts, and they’re doing messaging. They’re not, they’re not looking at display sites, and they’re not reading billboards. And they sure don’t want you to broadcast at them anymore. They want to have conversations with companies.

So he gets it, right? He gets that. And he’s like, how do I convince my team and influence other folks, and bring people on board? So we’re having a broad based discussion. It made me think the conversation that I have, most often with customers is this conversation. And we really don’t have a lot of thought leadership material on how to solve this particular problem. So I’m going to start talking about it today. And then I’m making some notes on what we could do to be more helpful in this area.

But the question that people ask, the topic that people are most interested in is, how do I get started? Like, that’s it. How do I get started? And how do I get started is a very, very deep question, because it’s not so much which social platform do I connect to first? By the way, quick answer, you connect to them all. That’s why you use Sprinklr. But anyways, it’s not so much, maybe even which brand do I do it with first? It really is, how do I corral the various silos in my organization and bring them to a common understanding so we can do this as an integrated group?

Because as companies have broken themselves into functional empires, it becomes difficult to have a common view of the customer, becomes difficult to collaborate. And it’s very difficult for everyone to agree on a single technology, which is why all these companies have all these Frankenstacks. Drives IT crazy. But everyone’s just buying their own tech because you know what, these are for me. I’m going to talk to that person over there, or that person over here. I can just focus on what I need to do and get my job done. I’ll hit my KPIs and go home at the end of the day. And it, at the end of the day, creates a mess.

So, it’s a legitimate question today, which is how do I get started? And I was thinking a lot about it, because I think there are three buckets in the how to get started party. Bucket number one is, we need to think through your partnership with IT. You need to think through your partnership with IT. I’m going to come back to that — it’s extremely important. Number two, you need to think through who your bell cows are, we’ll talk about bell cows in a moment. But you need to think through who your bell cows are. And number three, is you need to think through what causes people to herd in your company. What causes the stampede in your company, right? What’s the what drives the herd instinct.

So, let’s come back to number one, IT. I can’t overstate the importance of this enough. So, the IT teams have been in large part in many organizations… this is not a generalization that can be always true everywhere. But it’s true often enough that a lot of people are going to nod their heads when I say this… is that business decision makers have been buying tech. I read an amazing stat that CMOs are now spending more on tech than CIOs. Incredible. And they’re end-running their IT departments.

What I typically hear is well, IT is too slow, or they want to build it all in house, or they’re very conservative, or stuck in the past. That kind of stuff. And that might be true. And that might be true. But you know, I guess I’ve just had some amazing IT partnerships. And I’ve had some incredible relationships. And I don’t know if that’s true, or if people just are biased that way. Because I know that the IT teams are horrified at the Frankenstacks that are blooming inside all these companies. Even something as simple as provisioning, a new user requires 60, 70, 80, 90 logins. And then when that person leaves the company, they have to be de-provisioned off 60, 70, 80, 90 systems, and they’re very rarely cleaned off all the systems, which leaves all sorts of vulnerabilities and holes into the organization where people can continue logging into SAS applications and accessing company data. It’s a real problem. And that’s just a simple one, one simple example.

IT people are smart enough to understand that building these like theoretically, API connected systems isn’t going to work — that they need to have a more unified system. And I think that’s where their head goes on building in-house. Because maybe in-house I can build something more unified. They may not be aware of Sprinklr, they may not be aware that there’s a unified front office out there. But they do know that just buying all these individual apps is a path to madness.

And so I would encourage you to start finding the thought leaders and the innovators in the IT team. It may not be the CIO, might be someone in a different group, somebody reporting in, somebody at a mid-level. But there’s going to be people in IT who get it and recognize it. And I would bring them on board to the decision. Work with them as partners. Doing that actually helps you get started because it gives you the backing to get rolling across the board. So, step one.

Step two, bell cows. So a bell cow, if you don’t know what a bell cow is, is that you take a cow who tends to be a leader in the pack, and you put a bell around their throat, and that clanging bell of the lead cow causes the other cows to follow. So you want to find the bell cows in your organization. (Sort of one little separate note, don’t actually call them bell cows to their face. It’s very important.) So what does a bell cow look like? Right? What I have noticed, is the bell cow is not necessarily the biggest brand. In fact, it’s rarely the biggest brand. The biggest brand is usually conservative, and there’s a lot of anxiety and angst around potential mistakes. They tend to rarely be the bell cow. The bell cow is going to be slightly smaller brand. Probably struggling, maybe in a bit of trouble looking to make some waves, looking to shake it up a bit. Probably have someone on the brand who’s younger in career, a little aggressive, willing to take some chances, make some waves. And will shout from the rooftops when things work. Those are your bell cows. Find your bell cows.

Finally, herding. What does it look like when everyone in your company gets excited about something? And there’s lots of examples. Look at your giving campaigns and look at how the things work around the holidays, and look at how people work with new employment programs and compensation. Always good idea to check out HR. HR has got a good sense of how herding works in the company. If you watch how HR rolls out programs, it’s usually a good way to think about rolling out your own modern channel program. But look at the way the company herds.

Typically, you’ll see like range of adoption curves, you’ll see people kind of early, middle, late. But you’ll also see people want to talk about it. You’ll see community inside the organization. You’ll see people excited. You know maybe you’re a T-shirt organization, everyone gets to wear the T-shirt. That used to be a huge thing at Microsoft for years. You knew something was on the go when there was a T-shirt for it, to the point where it got so ridiculous that there’s a very famous memo called shrimp versus weenies, which basically came out saying we need to stop ordering so many t-shirts. And one day we’ll talk about shrimp versus weenies it’s one of my one of my favorite Microsoft stories.

But yeah, you’ve got to think through like what is it that gets the company excited. What gets people behind things and you want to be that kind of herd. Right? You want to make sure that that last exciting thing we all did as a company, that your modern channel initiative looks like a really exciting thing too, it’s got many of the same characteristics.

So how do we get started? We’re going to talk about this a lot. We’re going to get speakers on here who will talk to it. I think I’ve got some really great people lined up who will be able to talk about how they got started. And I can talk maybe about how I got started and you know, sort of my previous to Sprinklr life. But for now, just remember, make IT your best friend. Find your bell cows, and make sure that you look like a herd when you get going.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining the CXM Experience. I’m Grad Conn, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.