Closing Time

How Go-to-Market Teams Can Deliver Exceptional B2B Customer Experiences

How can aligning go-to-market teams help to elevate and deliver an amazing customer experience? Research shows that aligned sales and marketing teams produce 400% higher average annual growth rates than teams that aren’t aligned.

In this episode of Closing Time, Jay Baer explains the philosophy of “Youtility” and the importance of building relationships and creating value that “transcends the transaction.” He also provides actionable tips for B2B go-to-market teams to help them achieve alignment and enhance their customer experiences.

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The Philosophy of "Youtility"

Jay Baer is a thought leader on customer experience and customer success who has written a book called “Youtility,” which explains that better marketing is about helping customers rather than hyping products.

The idea is that by helping someone, you can create a customer relationship for life, whereas selling something only creates a transactional relationship. This relationship building should start during the pre-sales phase, and the first introduction to a brand should be useful to the prospective customer, setting the tone for a relationship that transcends transactions and creates value at every step.

One example of Youtility in action is Barilla Pasta, which realized that their customers struggled to cook pasta perfectly. They created a series of playlists on Spotify for each of their main pasta SKUs, which customers could play while boiling the water and cooking the pasta. When the playlist finished, the pasta would be perfectly cooked. This example illustrates how brands can create content around helping their customers, which can lead to smart marketing and hundreds of thousands of favorites, saves, and plays.

Adding Value to Customer Relationships

When salespeople try to move a deal forward, they often face challenges such as stalled progress or longer-than-expected timelines. In such cases, relying on the Youtility philosophy can be highly effective. Instead of focusing solely on closing a deal, it involves asking yourself, “What can I do for the customer?” and finding ways to provide value beyond the specific transaction.

For example, a salesperson is trying to get a public relations firm to renew their annual contract. After noticing on LinkedIn that the owner had lost his sunglasses, the salesperson bought and FedEx’d a new pair with a note to the client. This simple gesture resulted in the contract being renewed in just two days.

While buying everyone sunglasses may not be practical, the main takeaway is to make the relationship about more than just the transaction. By transcending the deal and providing extra value, you can build stronger, more loyal customer relationships.

Creating Value in B2B Sales

20% of B2B buyers have completely changed their suppliers since the pandemic in 2020. The cause? Not pricing issues. Research shows that what B2B customers care about more than ever is how easy it is to buy from you.

As a B2B salesperson, it is crucial to focus on making the process of working with you as easy as possible. This includes making it fast, not confusing, and displaying empathy. By shaving down the rough edges of those touchpoints, you can create more value for your customers and increase the likelihood of retaining their business.

Elevating the Customer Experience

Aligning sales, marketing, customer service, and customer success is crucial to elevate the customer experience. Customers don’t care about your organization’s internal structure; they only care about receiving excellent service.

The ultimate goal is for everyone in the organization to handle customer issues, regardless of which department they are from. When talking to customers, it’s best not to show the internal wiring and structure of your organization.

The customer shouldn’t have to deal with different people or departments to solve their problems. It’s important to avoid making the customer feel like they’re in a theater production, where you have to check with six other people in your organization. Overall, the customer experience should be seamless and straightforward, with minimal effort required on the customer’s part.

Achieving Go-to-Market Alignment

Aligning your go-to-market strategy is crucial for any business looking to succeed. To achieve true alignment, it is important that the leaders of the organization are on the same page. This means ensuring that salespeople understand what marketers do daily and vice versa. Building this familiarity through ride-alongs or embedding people in meetings allows your teams to work together more effectively.

Surprisingly, even today, many salespeople only vaguely understand what marketing does and vice versa. This lack of understanding must be addressed for teams to align effectively. According to research by CEB, aligning sales and marketing teams can produce a 400% higher average annual growth rate. It’s hard to argue that a company wouldn’t be better off with aligned teams.

In fact, the distinction between sales and marketing teams is becoming increasingly obsolete. For an alien race observing our business practices, it would be difficult to understand why these two groups of people are separated. Many new companies have a unified revenue group rather than separate sales and marketing teams, which is a difference that has outlived its usefulness. Joint leadership and a focus on revenue and go-to-market strategies can help ensure alignment and success.


How can aligning your go-to-market teams elevate your customer experience? Find out in this week’s episode of Closing Time. Hi, I’m Chip House CMO at Insightly this is closing time the show for go to market leaders and I’m joined today by Jay Baer. Jay has been called the world’s most inspirational customer experience and marketing keynote speaker. He’s the author of six bestselling books, a seventh generation entrepreneur, and the founder of five multimillion dollar companies. Plus, he’s a certified Tequila Sommelier and a lover of all things plaid, as you can tell. Welcome, Jay. Chip House. Great to be here on closing time. I’m glad my mom wrote that incredible introduction and sent it to you. That was very nice of her. She is an incredible writer. She’s got a content marketing job in her future, Jay. She’s got 14 master’s degrees in English. So it’s true she she could be a content marketer, but instead she chose to be a high school. English teacher. Yeah. Well, I’m sure she’s a phenomenal writer and editor. So, Jay. As I mentioned, you’ve been in digital marketing, you’ve been in selling. You are a thought leader on customer experience and customer success. And you’ve written a couple of books there. So one of the books that I read some years back was called “Youtility” and “Youtility” was about how better marketing is more about help than hype. Does that sound right? Yeah, it sure is. Absolutely.. The idea there, Chip, is that if you sell something, you’ll make a customer today. But if you help someone, you can create a customer relationship for life. And that’s really what we’re trying to do in most cases. And that relationship building starts in the pre sales phase, right? So the the first introduction you have to a brand can then in my estimation should be useful to the prospective customer because it sets the tone for that relationship that, hey, it’s not just about a transaction. It transcends the transaction and creates value every step of the way. Can I give you a recent example? Yeah, please do. So you like pasta? I like pasta. I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like pasta. Right? Who doesn’t?. Yeah, it’s kind of a universal thing, right? So the thing about pasta is that if you cook it right, it’s amazing. But if you cook it a little bit wrong, it gets bad quick, right? A little underdone, eh. A little overdone, not so good. It’s a little bit of a mystery. Right. And the other issue is that there’s a lot of different kinds of pasta, right? You got your fusilli, you got your penne, you got your spaghetti, whatever. And each of those has slightly different cooking times because the shape is different.. The density is different. I’m not a physicist. Right. But that’s basically how it works. So Barilla Pasta, a big popular brand of dried pasta, everybody’s seen it in their in their grocer. Barilla finally realized that from a customer experience standpoint, the challenge for their customers was getting the pasta dead on al dente, as it’s called. So here’s what they did, Chip. And I love this example of Youtility. They went out on Spotify and created a series of playlists for each of their main dried pasta SKUs. So there’s a spaghetti playlist, a penny playlist, a rigatoni playlist. So what you do, you boil your water, you put the pasta in the water and you hit play on the Spotify playlist. And there’s a whole bunch of songs. Some of them are Italian, kind of funny or whatever. But the second the playlist concludes, you take the pasta out of the water. Perfectly done. I’m like, Bravo. They have hundreds of thousands of favorites and saves and plays of these playlists. That’s smart marketing. So in that case, they’re actually really leaning in to the idea of creating content around helping their customers, right? I mean, that’s the whole idea. How do you add value to the relationship when you’re a marketer, when you’re leading a go-to-market team to just create that value for your customers? Yeah, and it works the same way for sales, Chip. I mean, you know, it’s so often that salespeople are trying to move a deal forward, right? It’s maybe they’re stalled out a little bit or the timeline is extending longer than you thought or you’re trying to get a renewal. There’s some kind of event that you’re trying to progress toward. And I have found that one of the best ways to do that is to rely on this Youtility philosophy. It’s not so much saying to the prospective customer or maybe the current customer that you’re trying to renew, hey, what can you do for me? How can you give me money, but rather, what can I do for you? Yes, of course, I’m I’m a salesperson and I’m trying to sell you something. But there’s a lot of other value that you can provide in that relationship, even if it has doesn’t have anything to do with this particular company and transaction. I had a client once who owned a public relations firm in Albuquerque, and I was trying to get them to renew on an annual contract. And I was on Facebook, and I noticed that he broke his sunglasses so I had somebody on my team just go buy him a pair of sunglasses, same ones that he lost, FedEx it., got to the next morning with a little note: Hey, I’m really sorry about your sunglasses. And we had that contract back in two days. Now, I’m not suggesting you buy everybody sunglasses. That would be probably difficult to execute in practice, but that idea of don’t always make it about the deal, transcend the transaction. For sure. Well, so Closing Time, you know, one of the main set of viewers are B2B go-to-market leaders, including B2B salespeople. So can you double click on that a little bit, Jay, and just tell me more about if I’m a B2B salesperson, what should I be thinking about from helping my customer standpoint? Well, I’ll tell you one of the things that gets overlooked and in B2B. Since the pandemic, OK, 20% of B2B buyers have changed the totality of their suppliers completely new cast of characters. So the question becomes why is that true? It’s not necessarily a price issue. What we’ve discovered in the research, Chip, is that more than ever, what B2B customers care about is how easy are you to buy from. So if I was a B2B go-to-market salesperson and largely I am I sell B2B companies my services all the time. What I’m what I’m always focused on is, is not necessarily what is the product or service or even how do you price that product or service. What I’m looking for is how do I make the process of working with me as easy as possible? How do I make it fast?. How do I make it not confusing? How do I display empathy? How do I make it useful? Right. Working with you can be a feature in and of itself if you spend the requisite time to kind of shave down the rough edges of those touchpoints. Yeah, makes sense. So let’s pivot a little bit here,. Jay, because, you know, the customer journey involves multiple teams typically, right? You’ve got marketing, creating a lot of the content. You’ve got sales engaging with the customers. And then once they become a customer, you’ve got the customer success and the support teams and things like that, engaging. And so why does alignment across sales, marketing and customer service and customer success really elevate the customer experience? I tell you what, Chip,. I love this question because the reality is that the customer does not care about your org chart. They don’t care whether you’re in marketing or sales or customer support or accounting or R&D or janitorial. They don’t care when they see you. All they see is logo, your internal org chart and your wiring and how you work together between your divisions and your departments. It doesn’t matter to them and it shouldn’t matter to them. The ultimate customer experience is that everybody in your organization can handle whatever issues the customer has. In fact, one of my key rules, Chip, when you’re talking to a customer, is to try to not show that wiring behind the scenes, right? Don’t show them the framework of the house. So I really try to avoid saying things like division and department and them, because ultimately that’s your issue, that’s your business structure. It should be immaterial or invisible or at least opaque to the customer. Right? I mean, it always feels weird if you’re on the customer side, right? And somebody says, well, that’s another division. It’s not my problem basically is what you hear, right? Yeah. You’re like, well, wait a second. Why don’t you just get a hold of them and solve it for me? Like, why do I need to now talk to a different person? Or, you know, it’s like when people go and buy a car, right? Like, well, I’m going to have to go talk to the sales manager and see if we can waive the cost for that undercoating or whatever. And you’re like, oh, this is so ridiculous. There’s not even a guy. You are the guy. You’re making this up.. This is like a myth. And and you don’t want your customer to feel like this is theater somehow. Just be like, Yeah, we’ll handle it. And the fact that you have to go check with six other people in your organization that’s on you, not on the customer. Right. What do you mean? This car doesn’t come with floor mats? You know, I don’t know why we accept that, by the way. It’s a sort of common so do you have other thoughts on where the ball gets dropped often, Jay? You know, between departments, you know, is it ability to manage the customer data? You know, what are some of the other common things? And then sort of second part of the question is, if I’m a go-to-market leader, you know, how do I coach my team to avoid some of those pitfalls? Well, the ball gets dropped in any number of ways, but I think the best way to make sure there’s alignment is to make sure the leaders are aligned. Look, this goes back to sort of organizational culture and structure. But, Chip, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know and have not experienced in a lot of organizations. You have a strong marketing leader and a strong revenue or sort of sales leader that ostensibly are working towards the same goal, which is revenue creation and customer preservation. But in reality, sometimes they’re incentivized differently. In some cases, they report to different people inside the organizational structure. They are set up to be at odds. And there’s this idea that that’s good news, right? That kind of factions actually produces better outcomes. But I don’t believe that to actually be the case. Ultimately, if you’re going to have a unified front and you’re going to have true alignment between your totality of your go-to-market organization, those leaders have to very much be on the same page and from a day to day operations perspective, one of the things I really recommend is making sure that you take the time to ensure that the salespeople kind of understand what marketers really do every day and vice versa, whether that’s ride alongs or embedded folks in meetings, etc. There’s a lot of ways to sort of build that familiarity, but it’s shocking to me. Chip, here we are in, you know, 2020 whatever and a lot of salespeople only vaguely understand what marketing does day to day. And there are a lot of marketing people who only vaguely understand what sales actually does day to day, and that’s got to get fixed. So Jay, I mean, clearly you’re passionate about this topic. You’ve written books on this topic. So I’m sure that you believe that companies that are aligned around the customer as a go-to-market team are more successful. So do you believe that and why do you think that? Yes, I believe it. And there’s lots of data to back it up. The research from this CEB said that aligned the sales and marketing teams produce 400% higher average annual growth rates, which is staggering. Right. So I don’t know that anybody could rationally say, hey, we’re better off if our sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, right. Or are not on the same page. I’m not really sure how you would make that argument. And even more so, Chip. OK, this is going to get a little obtuse, but I thought about this the other day. All right. Let’s say that you are an alien race and you show up here at Earth, right? And maybe they’ve already done this time will tell. But you’re thinking, all right, they have a thing in this planet called business, and this is how they get goods and services and how how are these businesses structured? Well, there’s one group of people that’s called marketing, and their job is to get the prospect ready to sell. And there’s another group, separate group called Sales. And their responsibility is to actually extract the money. A rational alien being would say well, aren’t they basically doing the same thing? Why are those separate departments? Why are they separate groups of people? And I would argue the time, frankly, for having separate sales and marketing teams is probably an anachronism, which is why and this is not an accident that a lot of new companies, a lot of startups and early stage companies have a unified revenue group, right? You don’t have sales and marketing, you’ve got revenue and go-to-market. And there’s one leader or joint leadership. But but they’re not, it’s a difference that has outlived its usefulness in my estimation. Yeah, that’s amazing, Jay.. And there’s so much to dig into there. We might have to come back for another episode to dig into sales and marketing. The only alien race episode coming up soon on Closing Time. Exactly from the perspective of Aliens is coming up soon. That’s a killer title, but Jay we’re out of time for now. And thanks so much for joining us. Really great having you. Thanks, buddy.. Appreciate it. Yeah, absolutely. And thanks to all of you for joining us on this episode of Closing Time. Make sure you subscribe, then tick the bell so you don’t miss any episodes and we’ll see you next time.

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