Episode #41: Mastering Key Account Management With Alex Raymond

Alex joins Betsy and Tony to talk about proper key account management. He shares his entrepreneurial journey and what he refers to as the “classic startup pivot”. About a decade ago, he formed Kapta, originally a Human Resources software business turned key account management platform. The pivot occurred after the Kapta team simply spoke to their customers. They initiated the customer discovery process and learned the customers weren’t struggling with HR software as much as visibility into customer accounts. There was nowhere to capture key account strategies, track their goals, and understand if a customer was healthy or at risk.  

Alex shares insights during this episode about the difference between key account strategy (“We are customer-centric.”) and key account tactics: Knowledge of Customer, Actions based on knowledge, Measure Impact.  

That brings us to KAMCon. Kapta’s annual conference designed for practitioners in the field who want to better understand the art and science of account management.  

SPECIAL OFFER: Listen to this episode and receive the discount code for KAMCon that Alex so graciously offers our audience – $150 off the April 2022 conference registration! 

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About Alex Raymond

Alex Raymond is the Founder and CEO of Kapta.

Mastering Key Account Management With Alex Raymond

Leading And Lagging Indicators In Your Customer Strategy

I am so excited that we have Alex on the show. Here is what I want the readers to pay attention to. He talks about leading and lagging indicators. He dives into this in a way that most customer experience professionals probably have not thought about before. I come back to it a couple of times during the show in different ways because I recognize the way he is talking about it is not being talked about or discussed out there. We are focused on satisfaction scores, net promoter scores, revenue, and all these other things, which are great, but those are lag indicators. He brings to the service here, “What is it we can measure on the front end? What is a leading indicator of success long-term?”

I love how he ties into behaviors; the things that you can control versus the things you can’t control. You can control your behaviors that lead to ultimately good lagging indicators but what are those behaviors that you need to track as leading indicators? For our readers, Alex Raymond is phenomenal. He is the CEO of Kapta. He very eloquently stated that it is a software company but it is so much more than that. We will leave you hanging, wondering how that can be but it is a neat company for key account management.

He was talking about something near and dear to my heart, as we do customer advisory boards, which is listening to your customers and understanding what their top goals and objectives are. He used a phrase that I grabbed onto, which is, “There are no answers in your building.” I thought that was such a great visual for why you have to get outside your building, talk to your customers and understand what will make them successful. If they are successful, you are going to be successful. I loved this conversation for so many reasons but that was what got my attention. Without any further ado, let’s talk to Alex Raymond.

Alex, welcome. We are so happy to have you here.

It’s great to be here.

The three of us, as we already know because we had a chance to chat before, speak the same language and get excited about the whole world of customers. Let’s kick it off with you telling us how did you find this field for your life’s work. What is your background and what are you doing now?

I’m happy to go through that and give a little bit of background about myself with the company and the journey that we are on here. Kapta is an accidental participant in customer engagement or the account management world. The reason I say accidental participant was when we started the company a good long while ago, we spent the first several years building an HR system. It is something completely different from the world that we’re in now.

As typical of a lot of startups and early-stage companies, you think you are solving one problem but in reality, you are solving a different problem. What happened was, in building this HR tool, we got feedback from people like, “The construct that you have around goals, activities, actions, and tasks is something that we want to use to work with our customers and work directly with our clients. We don’t necessarily feel like we need to use it that much for the internal stuff like HR and performance management. We want to use this with our customers because our customers are paying us lots of money. They need status reports. They need to know what we have been doing for them. This helps us to project to our clients that we are doing a good job and we are on top of it.”

There are no answers inside your building.CLICK TO TWEET

We went through the classic startup pivot where we thought we were doing A but in reality, we were doing B. It led us into this world of account management and customer engagement. What we learned here was many companies are struggling to have an active and strategic engagement with their customers and they don’t have the tools that they need to do so.

The first question that we asked when we went through this pivot was, “Can’t you do this in the CRM? Isn’t that what a CRM does?” The answer universally was, “No, there is nowhere in the CRM for me to track my customers’ goals, for me to build a customers’ strategy or to have a nice organized, aligned plan about how we are helping the customer to meet their desired outcomes and so on. That’s why we are excited about what you are doing.”

To me and my cofounders back in time, our minds were blown about this. It was like, “What do you mean you can’t do this? It seems a fairly obvious solution.” It turns out the CRMs are built for tactical stuff. It is usually for the pipeline, contacts, communications, and top-of-funnel activities that tend to be fairly tactical.

When it comes to the day-to-day of how do I manage an account? How do I be more proactive? How do I be more strategic with a customer? There was nothing in there. That was the journey that led us to build Kapta into a key account management platform. Since that happened in 2016, we have added lots to have the capabilities of the software. We provide a lot more services as a company as well but that was how we tripped into this opportunity and situation.

When you made that pivot, did you change the name, branding and all of that or was the HR software called Kapta?

We kept the name and the brand. Kapta is the same entity, brand and everything but we had to effect a pretty big change in how we talked about ourselves, what we were doing and building. There was a lot of stress associated with that, as you and anyone who is reading and has run a business knows that when you make a change like that, it is a big deal. It took a lot of effort but we did it, we were successful and it was a great idea in retrospect for us to have undergone that.

Tell us how that works. When you make a big pivot like that with your existing HR customers, how did you manage that? Did you put the HR software in cold storage and they had to find another vendor? When you think about taking care of your customers, that is a big shift for your customers as well.

Account Management: Construct an organized and aligned plan on how to help your customer meet their desired outcomes.

Luckily, we were very early in the business and it wasn’t a huge impact. There were a handful of customers but once we talked about it like, “Here is the direction we are going and what is happening with the business,” it wasn’t a huge thing. For the most part, everything turned out to turn out fine and we didn’t have any particular issue with that.

Tell us about your customers and the problem that you are solving for them.

I typically characterize Kapta’s customers as mid-market entities. That could be a fairly broad range but generally speaking, our customers are somewhere between maybe $20 million on the low end to a couple of hundred million dollars on the high end in revenue. We have some clients who have more total revenue but they may be using Kapta for a specific segment.

That would be a typical deployment for us is in that range of company. They are usually using Kapta with some type of post-sales account management team. This could be called strategic accounts, key accounts, customer success or client experience. It is usually getting deployed to teams of about 10 to 30 individuals. Our customers come from many different industries so we have clients in manufacturing, marketing, media, software, and technology services. It is pretty horizontal from that perspective but the problem that we are solving is consistent and similar across all of our customers. That is, we are giving our clients visibility into their customers. Where are we with our current customers? Who is healthy and who is at risk? Those are important questions.

Which of our customers are healthy? Which ones are going to stick with us? Who is going to renew? Who is happy with the service we are providing? Where do we have risks in the business? Risks could be relationships that are going stale, places where we have unresolved issues, places where we have not delivered as we ought to have, places where there is a risk of churn, or risk of down-sell. The number one is to say, “Who is healthy? Who is at risk? I need visibility.” To get there, you say, “You can’t just stick your finger in the air and understand who is healthy and who is at risk. You have to look at leading indicators because customer health at the end of the day is a lagging indicator.”

What is a leading indicator of customer health? Am I doing the behaviors of true account management? It means Have I built an org chart? Have I done voices of customer interviews and surveys with my accounts? Do I have clarity on a strategy for this customer? Do I understand their industry? Do I have an account plan? Those are things that I consider at least leading indicators. What we will do and the problems that we will solve for people is to help them understand the health of the customer, customer risks, and customer visibility. There is a system based on best practices to how to build a plan and engage with your customers and all those parts go together to roll up into that health score.

There are a couple of things you have said that I have got to jump in here and ask questions. The first thing was when you recognize this pivot that had to happen, to me, having been in business like you and Betsy for many years, when we recognize that something doesn’t exist in the marketplace and you’re like, “Why doesn’t this exist?” It is a baffling moment. One of my friends who has never made the transition to entrepreneurship, who always worked for someone else, is like, “If I can think of it, someone else’s thought of it.” I’m curious, what was that moment like for you and your cofounders as you look out there and say, “This doesn’t exist. Is it an opportunity or are we barking up the wrong tree?”

There is a huge discussion and a major deliberation when you’re an entrepreneur. It is figuring out, “Is this a real thing, a mirage or something I just made up?” If you get it wrong, it has a lot of consequences. We stuck and I always have been a real adherent of the customer discovery process. This is a well-known process for understanding if there’s an actual opportunity.

#KAMCon registration discount code is offered in our latest episode with @Alex Raymond of @KaptaCLICK TO TWEET

It was popularized by a guy named Steve Blank in California and it is a methodology for researching your idea. We did exactly that. The main premise of the customer development philosophy is there are no answers inside your building. That means you got to go out and talk to the world. You have to go talk to people who have the problem you think, might have the problem, used to have the problem, or are unaware of the problem.

You got to go talk to people and figure out, “Do you have this problem? How are you solving it? What would a better solution look like? Are you willing to pay? Is there a business model?” It’s not like it was instantaneous and we just flip the switch from one to the other. It was probably 1.5 or maybe 2 years going through and trying to figure out, “What does the world look like? What’s the opportunity here?”

We did hundreds of customer development interviews to understand what the world looks like. Our main questions are, “Are you sure you can’t do this in your CRM? You are spending $1 million a year on Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or whatever it is. Are you sure this doesn’t work? This doesn’t come with that package?” That was the process that we were going to do right there.

I find it fascinating because we have talked to several CEOs on the show who have gone through pivots. What you have described there is something that they have said repeatedly, “We have had hundreds of client interviews.” A lot of these are B2B CEOs. For the readers who think that you can go out there and maybe you’re a startup, at the early stage or further along but if you think you can do 5 or 6 interviews and know what the market is, I’m sorry, it might be a good starting point but it is not the case.

The thing that excites me about what you said is the work we do with customer advisory boards. That is the whole thing. I love this phrase you said, “There are no answers inside your building.” I’m going to grab hold of that because we are preaching the same message, “You have to talk to the customers.”

You got to go figure out how do they see the world? What’s happening? What’s not happening? One person or company, you have got this idea and thing that you are exploring. It is easy to let your imagination grab you and off you go. You’re sitting there and solving all the world’s problems. In reality, the customers are like, “I don’t care about that.” The discipline is going through and making sure you’re talking to people.

The mindset of that is such a common problem with entrepreneurs. What you did was brilliant to make sure that you are indeed going down the right path and validating that versus, “We think we have a great idea. Let’s run.” It is a distinguishing characteristic between mature entrepreneurs and those that are getting out of the gate with excitement and want to go grab hold of an idea.

We had a lot of support. One of the main areas that we got support from was through this organization called Techstars, based in Boulder, Colorado. It is a well-known, very prestigious accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs take their business from 0 to 1. We were a part of the Techstars program in Boulder in 2014. We benefited from a lot of mentorship and all their resources. That helped us along the way. In addition to that, I have personally been a mentor to about twenty companies going through the Techstars program over the last several years. I have been able to see and refine the whole art and science of how to create a successful company.

Account Management: Build a business around putting your customers first.

I want to take a turn here because you have been talking about strategy and tactics. You have used those two terms quite frequently. At least in my experience and I’m sure Betsy has experienced this as well, C-level executives talk about strategy and tactics but when it comes to knowing your customer, can you distinguish those two things? What is a strategy of knowing your customer versus a tactic of knowing your customer?

There is some interesting stuff happening in that world. The strategy of knowing your customer to me at least is encompassed in this idea of customer-centricity. If you look at pretty much any website out there, it says, “We are customer-centric. We put the customer first,” and all of this sort of stuff. Based on my experience, about 2/3 of the time, it is total nonsense. They are not putting the customer first. It is all about them and where are we with our stuff, pipeline, sales, and POs. The customer only shows up as priority number four.

For those who do put the customer at the front, that is the overriding strategy to say, “We are building our business around putting our customers first, and the tactics we then employ to put our customer first are number one is to understand them. How well do we know who they are? What they’re trying to accomplish? Why they’re working with us? Why they’re in the market? What they’ve done before? What their competitive environment looks like?” Know your customer. That is tactic number one.

If I’m an account manager or a customer success manager or I’m a salesperson, I am gathering this information. I’m sharing it with the team. It’s visible. It’s part of how we talk about the customer regularly. The number two tactic is action. Based on what we know, what are we doing about it? Are we helping the customer? Are we talking to the customer? Are we coming to them with plans and ideas on how to help them be successful in their markets and world? We go from knowledge into action. That is an important step because a lot of people get stuck at the knowledge and think, “I filled out a PowerPoint about the customer. I’m done.”

That is not the point. It’s, “We have the data. What are we going to do about it?” This is why we have delivery teams, client experience teams, and even account management teams to translate that into action. The second step then is to say, “Based on my knowledge, what are we doing about it? What is the action?” The third, the place that we close the loop, is we say, “Based on what I have done and what results have we seen?” We are measuring impact.

The tactic goes from knowledge to action to measurement. The measuring says, “We tried X, Y, Z. It didn’t work. What happened? What have we seen about our leading indicators or even lagging indicators about this account? Are we seeing changes in customer health, NPS, satisfaction, profitability, revenue, or anything like that? Is the customer getting the impact that they were looking for when they bought from us? Is there any dynamic changing on their end?” The strategy is we are customer-centric. The way that we get there is customer knowledge, actions to support that, and then measuring our results.

Alex, you bring up something we are excited to talk to you about, which is the conference that you have. When you said knowledge, action, and measurement, we happen to know that KAM is the first part of KAMCon. If you would like to share with our audience what that conference is all about, who is going to be there, what kind of things you talk about and bringing that community of key account managers together.

KAMCon is an event that Kapta runs and we do this on an annual basis. It is going to come to Boulder, Colorado, on April 6 and 7 of 2022. It is an amazing opportunity for practitioners in the field, be it individual contributors, all the way up to leaders, NSTPs and CXOs, who want to better understand the art and science of account management, who want to be better at engaging their strategic customers. We saw that there was a lot of appetite for people to learn, network, meet their peers, and hear from the absolute best in the world on these topics. There are not a lot of opportunities to do so. There is a lot of demand.

In this age where everything is so competitive, the only way to truly stand out is by how you engage with your customers.CLICK TO TWEET

That is where this conference was born. We have run this conference twice before in Boulder and once in London. 2022 is going to be the fourth time that we have done it. What we aim to do the way that I always think about it is we are throwing everyone into the deep end of the pool. What I mean by that is we are going to skip the fluff, the basics, and get into, “What does it mean to be a spectacularly good key account manager? How do I take my customer relationships and make them so strong? How do I create customers for life?” Those are the types of things that we talk about.

We are looking at themes around creating customer value. “What are the levels of customer value? How do I get to the highest level? How do I get to be that indispensable partner for my customer?” We are going to be talking about tools like third box thinking, which is, “How do I think about my customer’s customer in a way that helps my client understand where they are going and provides a clear way for me to be able to help them?” That is going to be another one.

We are going to talk about customer advisory boards. What are tools there that we can use to develop deeper, more intimate relationships with our customers to expose risks and opportunities that we haven’t previously seen? We are going deep. The speakers that we have are fantastic from many different areas of expertise, all together in 1 room for 2 days in Boulder. This is an opportunity to come and meet other people who are trying to solve these same problems. It’s to engage with fantastic speakers who are deeply knowledgeable in this space and we build a community around that.

The community is a community dedicated to being more proactive, strategic, and effective with their customers. It is a fantastic event. I would love it if your audience could come and join us there. You can learn and sign up for KAMCon at Kapta.com. For readers, we offer a $150 discount on the tickets. Simply when you are checking out, enter the code RKYC in the discount code.

Thank you. That is so generous of you. We appreciate it.

This conference is going to be interesting. I’m thinking about this idea of where you are going to go with the types of things you are talking about. I want to tap back into something you brought up and I know you are going to talk about at the conference here, leading versus lagging indicators. I have been in analytics my entire career of many years building BI systems. One of the hardest things to do is to identify leading indicators.

Your discussion of, “It is the behaviors. Am I checking the boxes not just to check the boxes, but am I checking the boxes to know I’m doing the right thing on a day-to-day or monthly basis with my account?” That is important. Can you talk a little bit more about this leading indicator? With how fast everything has changed with COVID, we need to be more aware of leading indicators because we don’t have time to wait for the lagging indicators to show up.

The number one way that I think about this is, “What is under my control?” Those are the things that I put into the leading indicator bucket. Those are my behaviors, my attitude, what I’m doing, and how I’m showing up in the world. If I’m an account manager, I’m responsible for a large, complex multi-stakeholder and multimillion-dollar account, there are certain things I can do on a Tuesday morning that are going to have positive results in the future. There are certain things I can ignore and I’m going to suffer the consequences of not doing it.

Account Management: Bring questions that are open-ended, future-looking, and strategic in nature.

We look at those behaviors as the critical leading indicators here. In the account management world, it is things like, “Have I mapped out an account strategy?” That is easy to say but what does it mean? “Have I done SWOT analysis on my account to document strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Have I taken the time to document the top three goals that the customer has been working with me on, for example? Have I written that down?” That is an important leading indicator as well.

“Have I reached out to the decision-makers, sponsors, champions within my customer? Have I shared things that I believe are going to be of interest to them? Have I aligned with my internal teams about what we are doing for the customer?” All of these are leading indicators. They are behaviors that are going to drive long-term success. If I pull up a dashboard and the dashboard is full of revenue numbers, profit numbers, this, that and the other, those are lagging indicators, and revenue is almost the ultimate lagging indicator here.

It is not for a long time until it gets influenced. Our job in account management and customer experience is to work on the stuff that we can control. That is how we think about it. The way that we brought that to life through Kapta, to share a little bit there, is the whole system or tool is essentially a template saying, “Here are the steps to take to drive the outcome. Can we control the outcome?” “No,” “Can we control the process that we are using to get there?” “Yes. Here are the steps to take. Here is the template or the roadmap that is going to help you be successful.”

I feel like there is a lot of overlap between that and parenting in talking about raising your kids like, “These behaviors will lead you to a better outcome.”

It’s all about the behaviors, inputs, and the process.

Talk to us about how internally you drive the customer-centric culture within Kapta. You said everybody and their brother puts that on their website that they are customer-centric. What are some of the things that you do as the leader of Kapta to make sure that that’s happening for real within your organization?

One of the most powerful tools for living, breathing, and doing customer-centricity is doing the voice of customer interviews. Those are an opportunity to have meaningful dialogue and conversations with your customer about what matters to them. I’m not talking about a survey, an NPS score, or a C-SAT thing that you get by email. I’m talking about sitting down with the sponsors or the decision-makers at your customer site or within that organization to say, “Let’s have a dialogue and establish the parameters of how we’re going to work together, what does success look like, and what do you need for us to help you be successful?”

The voice of the customer interview is typically very short. We do it in 15 or 20 minutes. It is not a big investment of time but what you want to do is bring the right questions that are open-ended, future-looking or forward-looking, and strategic so they get people thinking. We ask questions like, “What’s coming up for you in the next 12 to 24 months? How did you describe your decision to work with us to your peers?” That is a great way to get them to talk in their words about, “What are they trying to do? How are we helping them? What are the problems that they’re trying to solve?” It’s critical stuff.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It starts with simple things like documenting your customers’ goals, having great conversations, being thoughtful and deliberate.CLICK TO TWEET

I also love to ask in voice of customer questions, “If we were to look out three years from now and we were coming to ask for a renewal or an extension of the contract, how would you know whether to give that to us or not?” What we are asking is, “What are your criteria for success in 2 or 3 years?” Nobody is going to their customer and asking that level of question. The other true thing is customers love talking about this stuff because you’re giving them a different frame of reference. You’re showing up and saying, “Tell me about you. What’s going on in your world? Let’s talk about how to make you a hero.” Everybody wants to open up and talk about that stuff.

90% to 95% of the companies show up and say, “Thanks for the order form. We’re going to get into the tactics of deploying your solution or building your thing. Talk to our junior customer success person, our customer support person, when you need them, and we will send you a note if we didn’t get the payment in 60 days.” It is 2022. Is that how we are supposed to be dealing with our biggest, most important, and most successful customers? No.

We bring voice of customer interviews to what we do. It is a critical tool, super important for everyone, and nobody is doing it. If you do it, you stand out from everybody else. This is a question I get all the time, “How do I compete? How do I avoid being seen as a commodity vendor in a competitive market?” You could do that thing to show up as a strategic partner to your customer by asking these questions. It is incredibly powerful.

Tony and I have had multiple conversations about this. Sometimes things that we take for granted that seem like such a no-brainer in our world are not, and you have to get that message out to people. That is why I’m excited about your conference and the work that Tony and I do to try to educate people that this is important. It is not always the way it goes.

Let me tell you another very basic and very straightforward but I get asked a lot, “What else can we do to get started? What is a good starting point here.” Another important customer engagement tool that nobody is doing is to document your customer’s goals. The example I use is, let’s say I’m an account manager for any old company. I’m walking down the hallway. My CEO trips me up and says, “What are the top three goals for the Nike account?” How fast can I answer that? How fast can I tell the CEO, “Here are the three things that Nike is trying to accomplish by working with us. Here is how we are helping Nike or whoever the customer is and how we are helping them to further their goals to get their desired outcomes?”

Very few people have ever asked those questions, documented them, or shared them with anyone else. The best practice that Kapta brings and the very strong recommendation that we have on this is to get in the habit of asking about the goals, documenting them, making sure everyone else who is on the team is aware of them because then what you do is you start to align to what the customer cares about the most. You are getting more into customer-centricity and getting away from me-centricity and you’re going to be more successful in the relationship.

The voice of the customer is critical tool number one. Documenting customer goals is critical tool number two. Documenting customer goals doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t need a system or Kapta if you don’t want to do that. You can do this on a napkin, on an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document or your phone. You simply want to get into the habit of saying, “What are the desired outcomes of this customer? Let’s document them, validate them with the customer and share them internally.”

What I love, especially this last tactic here, is that it doesn’t take any investment except for a little bit of time. It ties back into what you were saying before about making the customer the hero. You are asking them what is important to them. I have seen this happen all the time with companies. When they are working with their customers, they don’t realize what creates value. When you ask a question about, “What’s important to you? What are your goals?” That create immediate value that cannot be purchased.

Account Management: Align yourself to what the customer cares about the most.

It puts the person asking that question into a different framework or mindset. It is not about that employee. It is about the customer and creating this customer-centricity. I know you said all of this but I wanted to pull it out for the audience so they get this. It is not just about asking a question. It is about a mindset and changing how you view the world as you talk to your customers.

In 2022, every single market is a competitive commoditized market. Your customer doesn’t know the difference between you and the next vendor. To them, everyone looks and sounds the same. The only way to stand out is the service you provide and the mindset that you bring. If you show up with a win-win mindset, meaning, “We only succeed when you succeed,” then you are showing up with something different. At Kapta, we are giving you the tools for how to have those great questions, conversations, and impacts for your customer. At the end of the day, in this age where everything is so competitive, the only way to truly stand out is in how you engage with your customer.

If you are sitting in a coffee shop and you overhear somebody talking about Kapta, what would you most want to hear them say?

What I would hope to hear is recognition that Kapta is not just a piece of software. Kapta is a software company. You go to our website. We look like a software company. You can request a demo. There is a platform behind it. What I love the most to hear is when people say Kapta is not just a tool, it is also a system or roadmap for how to effectively engage with our customers. What that means is there is an element of technology but it is a technology-enabled roadmap for how to go and be a better account manager.

One of the things we love to do on the show is to give our guests an opportunity to give a shout-out to a non-profit, a charitable organization, or somebody that you have an affinity for the good work they are doing to give back. Is there somebody or an organization that you would like to tell us about?

I live in Boulder, Colorado. On December 30, 2021, there was a terrible set of wildfires that poured through two towns very close by, Superior and Lafayette, Colorado. It has been a huge tragedy for the community. The community is hurting and in need. There are lots of organizations that have been set up to help people who have suffered from those wildfires. Something like 990 homes were destroyed or damaged all in a matter of a few hours. It was very fast and unexpected for everyone, raging fire through suburban neighborhoods.

A lot of people got caught off guard and lost everything. There are many organizations here in Colorado that are helping families get back on their feet. I would encourage anyone who has extra time and resources who is a part of their community to find an organization that is helping people here in Colorado and makes some space in your life for those types of organizations.

We are all been aware of that happening. That was tragic. That is the funny thing about even a business social platform because I first heard about it on LinkedIn. I saw your post about it. Rallying the business community as well is important because that is real and it is painful. When you think about those people being business owners as well as homeowners, it is tough. Thank you for sharing that. Any final comments you want to add or exclamation points you want to put on anything we talked about?

I talked to a lot of senior business leaders about how to better engage with their customers, drive retention, reduce churn, reduce risk and become that “trusted advisor” for people. There are lots of ways to get there. The one thing that I would emphasize is it doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to spend months and years thinking about this and coming up with great big plans and initiatives if what you want to do is become more customer-centric and help your customers to be successful.

It starts with simple things like documenting your customer’s goals, having great conversations, being thoughtful and deliberate with how you interact with your customers. I would encourage anyone who has been thinking about this, anybody who wants to do this, anyone who wants to get on the journey of customer engagement, account management, being a strategic advisor to just get started. The first step is going to yield a lot of benefits and results. Action taken today is much more valuable than waiting, analyzing, and seeing what will happen. You don’t need to complicate it. It doesn’t have to be this huge investment of time, energy, and resources. It is a mindset shift and it is something that you can accomplish and see benefits very quickly.

Alex, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it. This has been chock-full of value for our readers. I was taking frantic notes as I know Tony was as well. Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and time.

Thanks to both of you.

What a great interview. I’m going to refer back to what I talked about as we opened – the leading and lagging indicators. He gave us so many cool tactics and tools to be able to use. One that pops up is the voice of the customer interviews. You working with the CABs, the Client Advisory Boards, that is at the heart of what you do. When I work with customers and try to understand what’s happening on the consumer side, that’s what we do. We get in there. We understand what’s happening. What is your problem? What are your goals as a consumer? We both know this. Sometimes, because we know it, we take it for granted.

Here, Alex is sharing it in a way that wakes me up a little bit to say, “We need to talk about this more and need to be on this more because there is such value to it.” You opened the show with this. You said there are no answers in your building. Alex said it during the show. That is so true, especially as we try to figure out if we have got to pivot yet, but a lot of people and companies are still struggling with COVID. How do they pivot? They haven’t done it yet. They have maybe made some shifts but where is the market going? The questions have to be asked of your customers. What problems do they have? How do they try to solve those problems? Which problems are not being solved elegantly or easily? That is where you can create value for them by figuring out those answers.

I was so glad he talked about KAMCon. I have the good fortune of being a speaker at KAMCon 2022. I’m so excited about it and the idea that we can be with all of these people that are customer-minded and walking the talk. I’m honored to be a part of that conference. I was taken aback. I appreciate that he gave us the discount code for our readers. That code is RKYC. You can get to it through the Kapta website and save $150 on the conference. I highly encourage everyone if this topic is of interest to you consider going to KAMCon.

With that, it is another great interview on the show. We appreciate you being here. If you could give us a like or subscribe to the show, that would be helpful for us as we work to spread this message about growing your knowledge of your customers. Thank you so much. We will see you next time.

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