As a Sales Engagement company that helps B2B sales teams automate their email communication, Klenty works with close to 1000 customers across multiple geographies and time zones.
Building a global SMB SAAS company with most of the team based in India has one significant challenge - it is very easy to lose sight of the customer.
Starting with the time zone difference, cultural differences and geographic distances, there are several degrees of separation between our customers and our team. That makes it more challenging to get a firsthand feel for their day to day life and challenges and the context in which they use Klenty.
Making sure that we adopt a customer-first approach to building the company is a top priority and is reflected in the way we design the organization and our operating processes.
As a company, we like to think of Klenty as 3 mini teams.
- The customer-facing side of Klenty - the sales, support, customer success teams.
- The product facing side of the company - engineering, product, design, QA etc
- Finally, the market-facing side - the marketing and lead gen team
For us - putting the customer first essentially means making sure that all these 3 sides of the company understand the customer and work towards solving the customer’s problem.
We achieve this in 3 ways:
- By making the company’s north star metric - customer value-centric and not revenue-centric
- By making every single customer conversation/ interaction completely transparent and accessible to the team
- By including customer facing folks in all cross-functional squads - to represent the voice of the customer
#1: The company’s North Star metric is directly aligned to value delivered to customers.
At Klenty - we are strong believers of using a North Star metric to align every team and individual across all levels of the company. This is the metric that the entire team discusses during all hands. It is the metric that every team tries to move and impact in their own way.
When we first started using the north star metric as an alignment tool, we had MRR (monthly recurring revenue) as the key number that the team would track. But soon we realised that this was not aligned with the customer getting value from the product. Since there were customers paying for Klenty - but who were not yet getting value from the product. We later switched to a customer value metric - weekly active paid customers. Where “active” refers to users actually using certain specific feature getting value every week.
This is the metric that we track, obsess over and celebrate.
This ensures that the entire team is focused on improving the value that is delivered to customers.
#2: Increase visibility and access to all customer conversations.
We constantly try and reduce the distance between customers and team members, by making sure that everyone in the team has unfiltered visibility to customer feedback. To make it easy to consume information, we stream a lot of information to Slack, where the team spends most of their time.
- Everyone in the company has access to and gets regular notifications from Intercom - our customer support tool. Which means all chats/ questions/ issues/ difficulties are public, transparent and open to everyone in the team.
- NPS reviews and customer feedback is streamed live to a Slack channel
- Every sales demo is summarised in a standard templated note and then pushed into a slack channel so that the team can understand the salient points of the customer interaction
- Every week the sales team summarises the key deals won and what helped us win.
- Similarly, for lost deals, feedback/ reasons around losing the deal are streamed into slack
- When a customer churns, an analysis is done on why that customer churned. Any feedback is streamed back into various slack channels.
- All customer development calls/ demos/ support calls that are scheduled are transparently visible on the calendar. Anyone from the product/ marketing/ engineering teams are welcome to join/listen in to these calls
- Recently we implemented Strings.ai for recording and transcripts of these calls - again making these calls searchable and available to the rest of the organization.
Overall, the objective of this effort is to ensure that individual teams don’t work in isolation of customer needs. That important messages from the customer are not filtered by customer-facing teams. And are able to reach the rest of the organization unfiltered.
#3: Cross-functional squads with customer facing members.
At Klenty we create specialised cross-functional squads for specific quarterly goals that the company has. For example, a squad could have an objective such as:
Improve Klenty’s integration with Pipedrive CRM. or Build Features Specific to Larger Teams.
Such a squad would include team members such as Product, engineering, QA, design etc. But it would also include 1-2 members from customer-facing teams such as pre-sales/ customer success/ sales. Even though they are not directly involved in delivering the feature, they are expected to represent the voice of the customer when designing the features and specifications.
These team members often are closer to the customer’s pain points and requirements and can even recruit existing customers as beta users for quick feedback and feature validation calls.
As a company that is constantly growing in size and evolving in terms of priorities, the leadership team’s job is figuring out what are the barriers/habits that make it difficult for the team members to put customers first.
By increasing visibility, making customer facing members a part of product design and aligning the entire org to customer value delivered - we make it easier and frictionless for the entire team to put the customer first.