The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

Giving Your B2B Customer a B2C Buying Experience w/ Sultana Mangal and Annie Dohle


Think about the experience of walking into an Apple store. Or the ease and simplicity of making a purchase on Amazon — 30 seconds, one click, and you're done.

More and more, B2B buyers expect B2C buying experiences.

In light of that, what does “customer experience” mean to you?

On today's episode, I talk about customer experience with Sultana Mangal and Annie Dohle, both Account Executives at Gorilla 76.

Here's what we discussed:

  1. What kind of experience B2B buyers expect
  2. How to differentiate your B2B brand beyond your physical product
  3. Tips for creating amazing new customer experiences in the first 100 days

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Executive, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here

A twenty dollar pair of Cycling Glove today is one fifteen hundred dollar bike in a year. Every touchpoint counts and I always think about that because, yeah, I could have I could have even just gone in there to get a water bottle and if they created a really good experience for me like that, would have made it like a lifetime customer to welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving midsize manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a cofounder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla seventy six. What does customer experience mean to you? Is it the way you're treated when you walk into a store or when you sit down at your table at a restaurant, or maybe it's the ease, or lack thereof, when you're trying to buy something online. Customer experience is a term that seems to be thrown around quite a bit and beat TOC buying environments, but the things we experience is consumers without question, shape our expectations as business buyers to and that's exactly what we're talking about today. So I'd like to welcome both the Sultana mangle and Annie Dolie of our own agency, guerrilla seventy six, to the show. Sultana mangle is an account executive at our agency, guerrilla seventy six. She's a master at building strong relationships with her clients and creating exceptional client experiences. SOTANA works closely with clients to ensure all goals are achieved and that work is buttoned up and ready for implementation. She's also a member of our strategic planning committee. Sultana has an MBA from Webster University and outside of work, she's a member of the SAMOAR network and organization that converses on community issues affecting the Afghan American diaspora. When she's not working, you can find her hanging out with her three dog nephews, Hank Leo and Simba. Annie Doli is also an account executive at gorilla. She works handinhand with clients and our team to ensure all goals yield the best results and use an advocate for our clients businesses and enjoy seeing others have great success. When she's not cheering on the Missouri Tigers, you can find Annie Sipping on a cup of starbucks and playing with her adorable yellow laborator retriever and millie. And he graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in communication and a minor in business. Anian Sultana, welcome to the show. Thanks for having our yeah, it's about time I had the two of you on here. Were thirty some episodes in and one of my goals is to highlight different areas of expertise that people from our team bring, and so, yeah, this is long overdue. So thanks for doing this. Yeah, for sure, we're super excited. This is also officially the the first episode where I've had two guests joined simultaneously, so you two are pioneers in that regard. I'm doing another one of those soon, but you're the first, so we'll see how that goes. Don't mess up there. Back now pressure, all right, well, let's let's get into it here. Sultana, you made an interesting comment to me recently about how be tobe companies are now almost having to compete in a way with the expectations that are being set in B Toc buying experiences. So, for example, think about your experience walking into an apple store to buy a computer they're kind of famous for, or an iphone or whatever. They're famous for their in store customer experience, or the ease of buying something on Amazon. You think of how easy it is to just find what you need and you've purchased it in thirty seconds, right. So you know, these these experiences that people are having on the business to consumer buying front, you know, are things that everybody who's in the Beeb world are obviously experiencing in their...

...personal lives and I think they're changing expectations about what kind of customer experience people expect in the B Tob World too. So I was just kind of curious to hear what you're seeing on this front, because you're the one who kind of brought the the issue to light for me and I was thinking, yeah, that that makes a lot of sense really. Yeah, so I think customers are going to be more demanding when it comes to things like personalization, of specifically, like in messaging. People want to connect with people and they and they want to feel like they're, you know, experiencing experiencing something that's personalized. I think also transparency, just and how you operate. That's going to look different for everyone and there are so many ways to do it. You know, I might be pulling back the curtain on how you operator certain process or, you know, maybe it's it's people who tend to be in the background that you bring to the forefront, maybe getting them on camera. Maybe it's an engineer or or safety manager. I think also the speed in the ease of working with you is really important. You know, what is your technology staff look like, as it take four days to respond to an RFQ and someone hop on your website and just quickly, you know, get on a life chat and chat with a sales representative. And I think there's also going to be a lot of value that's wanted and demanded in each touch point, from like an email to a voice mail to a phone call. I think the expectations for all of those are going to be really high. Yeah, those are all really good examples and things that I'm sure listeners are probably nodding their head at, thinking, Yep, that's that's definitely my world and it's a lot different now than I think it was ten years ago, Fifteen. Know, we started our business, John and I, fourteen years ago, and Jeez are the changes in technology even in that period of time is has significantly impacted expectations for our own customers. So good examples there are? Are there examples that either of you can recall, whether it was a bee to be experience as a professional or a B tob experience, b Toc Experience, excuse me, in your personal lives, where you've experienced something as a buyer and thought now, that's a really good example of creating a great customer experience. Yeah, I'll kind of jump in here first. I think the one that comes to my mind, my mind and one that everyone can relate to, is the experience you re see about starbucks. It's the one place in the morning where I don't mind skipping the drive through line parking and walking in because of that community neighborhood atmosphere that they create. I think they have really set this expectation that no matter where you go, it's the starbucks five minutes from your house or one in a different city, you're likely to experience the same service and environment that you're used to. I used to joke, and sometimes I still do, and it's in our slack channel, but one of the things I said I would miss most about college is the starbucks that would go to because they knew me so well. But I quickly realize, after going to the one in my apartment near and St Louis, that after going there a few times, they grew to know knew me, they grew to know my order. They're throwing a few drink or, you know, pastry here and they're just like the one in Columbia would do. And I think they've also really played into that need for immediate satisfaction that our culture now craves and expects. I mean you could literally be packing up your lunch in the morning, letting your dog out and ordering your drink off the APP and by the time you get there it's ready at the pickup the counter. So I think just all these factors play into why a customer doesn't mind paying three to five dollars for a cup of coffee when they could be getting that for fifty cents at the gas station. Yeah, it's startable. Yeah, and starbucks is so interesting because they truly have created the experience around coffee like that. Really that really didn't exist before starbucks. You know, you let that fifty Cent Cup of copy that you get from the gas station and you have like the Little Red Straw that you just put some cream and sugar and like that's what everyone was used to in starbucks created what is the experience around coffee now. And I'm personally not a fan of starbucks, but I go because it's convenient and it's familiar. Yeah, and it's I think you've been... interesting point and you mentioned like it's a cup of coffee, right like that. Ultimately, that's what you're buying and it's and you know it's pretty good coffee, but like compared to a gas station at least, right. So, but you're you're willing to pay, I mean literally probably four times the price that you pay at a gas station or something for the for the same thing because of the experience, the customer experience created there. I think that's a takeaway for anybody in business. Is, you know, just that point. Like there are ways to differentiate yourself outside of the physical thing you sell, and probably becomes more and more true the more your product moves toward being sort of a commodity or an interchangeable thing. The way you're going to differentiate yourself is largely going to be in the experience your buyer has with you. So I like that. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I had a really good experience with big shark by school company. So they are a local bike shop in St Louis. Before going in I didn't know anything about bikes. I was very intimidated by the cycling community and I went in basically not knowing anything. In the sales rep there was so helpful just because of like the steep expertise that he had, and he didn't use like bike jarget and so I actually understood that he was talking about and he listened to what I needed and, knowing that I didn't know what I wanted, he didn't really push like the more expensive bikes on me or anything like that. I ended up getting a bike there and then I was able to get all my gear there, so like gloves, helmet, like the water bottle holder. They ended up doing a bike fitting. They installed my water bottle a holder for me. They installed my bike rack on my car. Like it was just a really great experience and I remember walking away being like this is exactly what I needed and this is the type of like local business that I would recommend to like a friend, just because of like the empathy around the situation, the convenience and like the listening that was there. It was a really overall, really really great experience. Yeah, I like that a lot. You think of probably a lot of businesses shy away from over extending themselves something like installing a bike rack on your car right one of those five ten minutes of their time that they can't be you know, that can't be spent with another customer or something, and and they're paying for that employees time. But you think of the long term impact and the fact that you're talking about it on a podcast right now, right like, sharing this with probably hundreds of listeners. You've probably recommended big shark to other people. Now every time you need something, you're going to go back there, and so you know, I think it's a matter of looking beyond the transaction in front of you with your customer and looking at the bigger picture and the life. You know the I guess, the lifetime value of that customer and everybody that they're going to touch as as an advocate or ambassador for your business. Right, Yam and Joe, I remember I posted about this experience on Linkedin and you commented and you said a twenty dollar pair of cycling glove today is a one fifteen hundred dollar bike in a year. Every touch point counts and I always think about that because, yeah, I could have I could have even just gone in there to get a water bottle and if they created a really good experience for me like that, would have made it like a lifetime customer too. That's a that's great. Well, I'm going to have to paying Mike Weiss. He's the owner a big shark. I know him personally, John, and I did some some business with him actually a long, long time ago, probably good twelve years ago at this point. But I've had a good experience there as well. So shout out to big shark bikes at St Louis. Okay, Great. Well, something I wanted to hit on here and our agency, Grill, we do a quarterly book club. It's not mandatory, not everybody participates, but many do. or at least you know from from some some quarter as they do, some some quart as they don't. I've been a part of maybe half of them that we've done. One of my favorite reads that we did as part of our book club was the book never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman. If I'm lucky, I'm hoping some day we can have joey on this show. He would be an amazing guest. But his whole platform is about shaping an amazing new customer experience over the...

...first one hundred days of them being your customer. And so, as two client service professionals, Andi and Sultana, what have you seen to be true in the very early stages of working with a new customer? Yeah, so I think every stage is just as important as the one prior and the one next. But I would say I love what Joey Coleman says where he says don't Tom how great it is to work with you. Show them, and I think this is extremely important when customers aren't going through that acclimating stage. I think it's important that during this stage to walk slowly with them, kind of hand holding them through the process so they know what's coming next and that they feel comfortable. I think someone in a position like Sultana and I can often so it's like a nature to us that we can just kind of go whole steam athead. We know what's coming, we know what's going to happen internally with our team, that we really need to take a step back and look at it from our customers perspective and think about how they would feel, because once you pass the stage and once the company customer feels Comfortab Bowl, they know you're transparent with them, so you have their whole trust and they can see that outline, your kind of envisioning to them at this stage is skipped. I think that's been that fires remorse kind of creeps back in because that they have that nervousness. They don't know what to expect. They don't know will the results be good? We don't we don't know what's the team is doing on the back end. So I would say that stage is so critical and retaining customers and just showing that customer experience. Yeah, you hit on the topic of buyers remorse there, which Joey Coleman, I know, talked about a number of times in that book and it's I've something I have absolutely seen and it's driven a lot of that. I think the changes that we've tried to make a gorilla. You know, you go through. I think there's a lot of psychology baked into that book and his research that led him in writing it. But you know, there's there's sort of a peak of excitement and anticipation that hits right, I think I don't remember exactly when, but it's peaks right before the purchase actually happens. You know, you've kind of vetted all your options, you're excited about this new solution, whether it's a product or service or whatever it is you're buying, and then you buy it and now all of a sudden it's like, okay, I just hand it over my money and I hope that this is what I thought it was and that buyers remorse, or maybe not remorse, but like a fear almost starts to set in and like there's a a nervous sense that that you get me. We probably all experienced in our own lives, whether it's, you know, spend in twozero on a computer or, you know, a new bike Sultana right like it. So you know it's I think it's so important to think about what you can do immediately and having an intentional plan and process in place for, you know, recognizing the fact that your buyer might be kind of nervous right now. They just made a big commitment in the bigger ticket your product or solution is, the more likely that that buyers remorse or fear is is going to be that it will be present. So what things can you intentionally do? I think is what we need to be thinking about to put them at ease, to make them know that you're there, you're a partner to them. So yeah, I like that. I know our client service team here, you know, the two of you and others who have been in that role at gorilla have worked really hard to create an exceptional on boarding process for our new clients. A lot of its stemmed from what we learned and never lose a customer again. But can you know, the two of you talk a little bit about what what are some of the components of that on boarding process for us? And although we're a marketing agency and of course, right now we're talking to manufacturing folks, what I'm hoping is that some of these elements might at least spark some ideas for listeners about how they could apply similar concepts and processes in their own manufacturing business. Yeah, I think we've really we really refined are on boarding process. I think the handoff is probably the single most important component of that. Whether it's a good or bad handoff, it's going to set the tone for the entire relationship and it's something that Joey Coleman also just explains, that it's so important to create that meaningful experience after the sale is made and that starts with the handoff.

That's a really important part. I think the kickoff meeting with all of our new clients and for people who are listening in their new customers it's a call where the account executive and then our main point person we'd meet and set expectations. I just get excited about the relationship and I think sometimes that's forgotten early on is that this is really exciting that we get to work together, that we get a partner together, and so it's an opportunity to like just kick things off and celebrate. And then also, you know, I spoke about transparency before. We have created a client manual. You call it a customer manual, but it's basically this idea that I got from David Baker that we have laid out everything and anything related to Grilla, like how we operate, how we bill, how we give feedback. It really breaks down so many different parts of our organization and it's laid out for anyone to see. Yeah, that's great and I love what how that handbook has has evolved, because it's you taken all the things that all the questions that we've heard over the years from people during those those first few phases, or things that you know have been worries or concerns, or how do you handle this? And what if this happens, and it's all right there for them before anything begins, and so you go and then the other expectation setting. It thakes great in that first meeting like this is how we expect communicate to happen if we want things to be successful, you know, and it's not. It's not like we're dictating that. We're acting, as you know, dictators are saying you will do it this way, but we're demonstrated to our clients that, you know, we're experts in this. We have seen things go wrong and things go right. In different scenarios and if we want things to go right, this is how how we believe things should play out and and you get on the same page about that. And sometimes you might hear from a client, wow, that's going to be tough to do because of this reason or that, and then you work through it, but at least that conversation has been had before the problem occurs. Right, yeah, but I also love about the client handbook, is basically just a longer version of our kickoff call. So if the client, you know, may feel overwhelmed in the kickoff call, here they have this mean will that I can go through at their own time where it goes through our revision process, introduces team members and so forth. So I think it's something that's really helpful at the end of the day to the customer. goold add so how about when you get beyond those first hundred days or you know, whatever you wanted to consider your sort of orientation period for a new customer? For some listeners it might be the first day, but you know, depending on what kind of relationship you have and what it is that you physically sell your your customers, and once you get through that on boarding phase, what are the things that an account manager, inside of a relationship driven bdbe company, can proactively do to enhance the customer experience on an ongoing basis? I think just having conversation stations, you know, once a month or bi monthly, when you're talking with your customer about how you can improve roadblocks they're seeing, working with your team and just were really overall nurturing that relationship. They can't be tough conversations to have and you may not want to have them, but that at the end of the day, it's going to be how you improve and how you provide that excellent customer service which you are striving for, I think, and they need to add. I think it's a really good nurturing the relationship is really important. You know, continuing to just provide value and just to be a source of knowledge for them I think a really great position to be in. It's when the Clim the clienter, customer just has a question that they reach out to you and you may not know the answer, but you can at least point them in the right direction. And I think just making sure that they know about all of the different services that you offer, because sometimes, you know they may not be aware of like post purchase support that you offer, or maybe there's a new service offers offering that you have. I think keeping them updated on that is really important. Yeah, good examples. I'll tell a quick story of what's probably been my favorite be to be experience on the buyers and will give some props to the company that produces this podcast, sweet fish media. You know, we, I conduct these interviews and every week and record...

...them and then we throw our files to them and they make them sound really good and put the beginning and end, a sound bites and all that on there and help us get it published. But you when we were thinking about launching this podcast, probably a year and a half a go. At this point, Logan lyles over at a sweet fish was my was the sales guy who's my main point of contact, and you know from the first touch point I had with him it was he was purely helpful. He was just helping me figure out, like, is podcasting even right for gorilla? What things do I need to be thinking about? Who could my audience be? You know, I was talking about maybe trying to do it on my own, without a producer and as opposed to trying to convince me we should hire them. He's after the call, he sent me a list of links on Amazon for all the equipment I should buy if I want to try doing it all myself and, you know, tips and I'm like cheese, this is, I mean just genuine, authentic helpful sales process. Well, you know, some time passes there were starting to think about high and I'm covid hits. We're being real budget conscious because we don't know where anything's going, and he kind of continued to just check in and always provide something help those never a you know, an aggressive sales pitch coming at all. It wasn't a sales pitch at all. It was just a little helpful nuggets, you know, examples of things that might be helpful to me as it keep thinking about this podcast thing. And so when we did decide to launch, it was first of all as a very obvious choice that we were going to hire them as opposed to another company that, frankly, was almost half the price of them, but I could see the value that was going to be created. And then what was most amazing is after the sale it only got better. You know, I was put in touch with with Dan. They're one of their guys WHO's an expert in marketing on the podcast front, and he helped me, we work through naming of the show and convince me to name it the manufacturing exact as opposed to some I don't know what I was going to call it, something more metaphorical. It probably didn't even make sense and it had reasoning for that. He helped me figure out how to what I'm going to do with all my assets after the show. I had read our account manager, sort of the equivalent of Youtube but on the podcast side, who was just always responsive, checking in on top of things, and then, and then it was all the little things like, you know, I remember what it was. I think was when I hit episode twenty five or something. All of a sudden in the mail I get this little package and it's well, it's right here. You're looking at it right here if you're for watching this, but there's like this little you know, with our podcast logo, like a microphone box to go around at a little branding element. They sent me like, I think, to put on my wall with the logo on it, and it's just a handwritten note welcome you and welcome to sweet fish. Thanks you know, congrats on making its episode, whatever it was, and and so, you know, simple things that it didn't cost them much at all and but it showed that they they cared and were there. And then the other thing they did is they sort of welcomed me into their their real active on Linkedin and they've helped sort of prop up the show on linkedin and help me get exposure for it. So these are all the the intangible things that you don't necessarily even know you're buying when you buy something. So I love to use that example and sort of just challenge our own clients to think about what is your version of that for your customers? How can you make them feel special, know that you help, help them, know you're in their corner and that you're working towards the same goals? So, anyway, thought I'd throw that in there. Yeah, I really like that example because for clients are listening, it really doesn't always have to be some huge, like just a big thing. It can be those smaller things too. Can Be smaller touchpoints, it can be smaller like delights, quote unquote, and I think those are still contributing to an overall really great customer experience. M Yeah, for sure, and I love to plug and sweet fish again, but that's where we got the idea where that welcome video intro that we sent to our clients. It's just everyone records a quick thirty seconds of themselves saying what they're role on the account is and it gives that personal touch point to the client that otherwise we probably want to have these sides showing a picture of them in our kick off call. So just again that personal communication they...

...can put a name to the face when we talk about them in calls, is extremely important. Yeah, that's that's a great one and yeah, I love I love the impact that that can have, especially, you know, at this moment in time when there's there's less in person, you know, interaction happening. And just to add a little context there, you know, basically what we do is we say are who are all the people who are going to touch this new clients account? We all just simply we turn on our zoom or whatever, you know, loom or whatever tool we've got for recording a quick video on our desktop camera on click it. Introduce yourself very naturally unscripted. This is this is who I am, this is what my role is. Working with you, excited to be here, excited that we're going to be working together, and then we just sort of compile them and it w ends up being probably a three minute video with an Intro, and that's been really well received. I think it's something that any company, regardless of what industry or world you work in, could do to add sort of a personal touch at the very beginning of a relationship. Yeah, for sure. Well, so the two of you are, of course, in client service specific roles, but I know you're both big believers in the philosophy that every touch point that a company has, regardless of who is making that touch point with the customer, contributes to the overarching customer experience. So can you talk a little bit about that? Yeah, I mean, I could go on a tangent about this. Please do. I think it's so important and it's overlook so many times, but a customer is very remember every interaction, good or bad, they had with you or one of your team members. Right now, I think this is so interesting and I'm reading the book the cult of the customer, which I think everyone should read. Sultana recommended it to me, but in the book the author describes these like moments of magic where at its best it's a touch point anyone in your organization has with the customer that's just like exceptional out of the world, and as worst, it's still above average then what they would expect from a different organization. And that he goes on to say that this really starts internally. So having your employees feel these big moments of magic with your colleagues management and building that trust from within, because then it will obviously transfer to the customer experience. So I think it is just so, so important to show your employees, and this is something grill it does well, I've noticed. I've clients do well. It well as too, but just building that trust from within because at the end of the day, if you show them, they're going to show it to the clients and that's how you make oil customers. It doesn't matter if you're in a meeting with the customer or if the IT specialist walking them through. You know, their website, redesign, every touch point matters and if they have a bad experience they will remember that subconsciously next time they talked to you. Yeah, yeah, I think that. I think it's so important. There's so much value in taking beb customer experience seriously. Your customers are only going to become more and more demanding. I think we know that. We've seen that. This idea has to be adopted throughout your company and every single department, and I always say that it starts with the leadership team. It starts from there and it has to trickle throughout the entire company, because it truly is not on just one person's shoulder to carry this but it should be throughout the entire company. So it is a touch point for for each of those. Yeah, great points there. Well, is there anything that I should have asked the two of you today and did not, or anything you'd like to add to the conversation? More just like a comment for the people listening. I think when you're when you're thinking about up for your own company, like think of a really great customer experience that you've had yourself. Write those down. Like, if it happens, right it down, come back to it. If you had a bad experience, write that down to write down the why and then figure out how you can translate that to your company. Like what small things, what big things, whatever it is like. What does that look like for you? I think there's a lot that we can learn from be Toc because in B Toc things are only getting faster, things are only getting better and quality isn't being sacrificed, and I think there's a lot that we can learn for bed. And I would just also...

...say, you know, no one is perfect, no company is perfect. You're going to make mistakes, like some moments you won't have great customer experience, but it's how you react to those moments as well. And just like Sultana kind of said, just think about your everyday life. If you had a great interaction, think about wow, how could I translate that into my work, no matter who you are at a company. Yeah, great way to put a bow on it. I think those are all really good points. And you know, just because we've just because we're operating in a be tob world, doesn't mean that the things we experience in in a restaurant, at a bike store, at starbucks right it all the thinking behind you know, that behavior is, I think, what you want to you look at and then you just figure out, how do I apply this in my own world? And you know, in some ways that will probably become kind of obvious. So we just need to be conscious of it. Yeah, well, very good, great conversation today. I appreciate the two of you do in this. I think it may have been your first podcasts, from what I what I heard from you, and I think you nailed it. So Nice job, awesome. Well, obviously I know how I can get in touch with either of you instantaneously through our company slack channel, but our audience doesn't have that same privilege. So sorry audience, but any and Sultana, can you tell our listeners the best way to get in touch if they want to follow up or have any questions? Yeah, just connect on Linkedin. That's probably the best way. Yeah, I would say the same. Both of our linkedin profiles is on grills some sixcom under our BIOS. So just go ahead and connect. All right, perfect. Well, thank you both once again. And as for the rest of you, I hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles videos, guides and tools specifically for B Tob Manufacturers at Gorilla, seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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