How One B2B Software Company Shifted Its Mindset to Unlock Growth

How must we examine the complete customer journey to understand the underlying drive of customers? How can we use that customer journey to develop digital products that better meet their needs? In this episode, Mark Bartlett, Chief Experience Officer at FPX, chats with me about the importance of developing your customer narrative and understanding their behaviors, so you can design products that they’ll get the most benefit out of.

FPX, a B2B software company, simplifies buying and selling experiences to align enterprise businesses with the expectations of modern customers. Mark’s B2B experience in technology and engineering have shown him that too many times, engineers and developers build products, only to be disappointed in the end when nobody uses them in the way it was intended. He shares tactics that have been helpful as he rebuilds FPX from a customer-first perspective, to be a B2B value-driven engine. 

Shift the Mindset of Your Operational Approach

Mark shared an interesting insight regarding his original business approach, which was, “if we build it, the user has to use it. It’s just part of their job function. It’s a tool they just use to get their job done, and they might complain about it, but hey, this is how it works. This is the process they have to follow.” He shares that this was an outdated way of thinking and understands that B2B companies now need to emulate the best B2C practices. There’s a digitally native generation that’s entering the buying and selling workforce and have different expectations of how their technologies should function.

With his new understanding of outdated methods that were preventing true growth, Mark shares that they had to change the cultural mindset of their culture and approach to journey mapping. He explains that he and his team had to spend time looking at the ways their customers interpret FPX technology before they even start using the features and functions of the console. It’s important for them to know how customers are looking at the industry and how they’re influenced by their B2C experiences. By doing this, they can put the journey together in a story and narrative that can be better communicated to the customers.

B2B companies now need to emulate the best B2C practices. Mark Bartlett, @fpx Share on X

Start with the People, Then the Process. Lastly, Implement New Technology.

Mark explains that his ideology to improving the organization’s CX was to focus on a customer-end approach. Rather than thinking about technology first, think about the customer and their behaviors and needs. He found it useful to develop the customer journey and create a narrative around it. He tells us that once you’ve put together your customer’s story, you can bring together processes and technologies to help validate the story, and ultimately, make the process smoother for them.

This idea of not relying on technology to be the impetus of your CX change goes back to my conversation with Thales Teixeira about market disruptions. Thales told us that it’s not about the technology that makes a difference, it’s about understanding your customers’ behaviors and needs, which will allow you to develop a value-creation process that supports them.

Mark shares that at FPX, they created a tool that they internally refer to as SOS. The SOS system allows employees to aggregate data that comes in from their customer tickets. The system showcases what’s happening inside of the product road map. Everyone inside of the organization has access to the information within the SOS system, which provides more insight into what’s happening with front line support and product management. Employees are able to see the status of customer actions and can determine when a customer may be on the cusp of leaving. With this system in place, the appropriate actions can be taken to intervene and help the customer achieve their goals. By creating a seamless internal system that houses information that everyone can access, Mark and his team began the first step of improving their CX.

For Mark, the initial step to CX transformation began with a bold statement about taking a customer-end approach, then evangelizing that story by backing it up with the customer journey flow and data from the customer’s point of view. According to Mark, once they had the customer story, they were able to bring together processes and technologies to validate it.

Once you’ve put together your customer’s story, you can bring together processes and technologies to help validate the story, and ultimately, make the process smoother for them. -Mike Bartlett, @fpx Share on X

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Mark says:

“You don’t have the answer, right? The hubris aspect. I think I saw that a lot in my career. From the early days, we were the first generation of “user experience professionals” at a really tactical level. And there became a kind of moment of hubris of, hey, we know what’s best for the customer. We are the experts from a client services point of view. You, the customer, are paying us, so we are the experts and we know what’s up. I think we don’t have all of the answers and the business is changing. The customer expectation is changing so quickly that if we better listen to the customers and then couple that with our depth of experience to come up with an answer, and then test, and prove, and iterate on what we think is that answer, then we can be successful.”

About Mark Bartlett

Mark Bartlett is a leading practitioner of eCommerce and digital transformation, with more than 25 years of experience. Throughout his career, Mr. Bartlett has leveraged his deep understanding of customer journeys to develop a conceptual framework for what has come to be known as “experience-driven commerce” — an approach that unifies content, commerce, and communications into a seamless and cohesive experience.

With his blend of industry and commerce category expertise, Mr. Bartlett helps FPX continue to modernize the way businesses buy and sell across all channels through FPX’s enterprise CPQ solution. Before joining FPX, Mr. Bartlett led customer experience and commerce practices for agencies such as Digitas LBi, Sapient, and Razorfish.

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