Over 20 years ago Steve Jobs uttered the words, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” Some point to this moment as the birth of Design Thinking or Human-Centered Design.
Virtual Teams and Discovery Conversations: Interview with Andrew Marti
Andrew Marti is a Presales Lead at SAP. Our Head of CX, Jim Kalbach, caught up with him to find out more about how his team uses MURAL for sales.
JIM: Thanks again for taking the time to talk. It's great to have you as a partner with MURAL. Tell us a little about your team. What does pre-sales do at SAP? How does your team interact with other teams? How do you interact with customers?
ANDREW: I manage half of our Virtual Presales Team at SAP. Presales at SAP works directly with customers and prospects to help them understand the value of our solutions. Essentially, we deliver software demos, which help customers see how the technology can improve their business. Our Virtual Team is a unique subset of the larger team in that we don’t travel. We are focused on speed and scale to get in front of more customers, quicker.
Despite being a virtual team, we still have to create a consistently memorable and engaging experience with our customers. We’re always looking at new technology and techniques to improve the customer experience. We do a lot of work with immersive camera technology (think weatherpeople, but for software), video creation and MURAL.
JIM: How is presales like a weatherperson when armed with camera technology? Tell us a little more about that.
ANDREW: Here’s a picture of a member of our team, Lele Palomo, with the technology in action. Using 3D cameras and technology from a company called Personify, we can put ourselves into our presentations, software demos, even our murals! Just like the weatherperson.
It continuously ‘wows’ the audience and helps us establish a personal connection with the customer.
JIM: Very cool. Couldn’t help but notice MURAL in the background. Could you tell us how you use that in your customer interactions?
ANDREW: In our role, we need to understand a lot of things from the customer: their current landscape, their goals, business drivers, current challenges, etc. We call these discussions, 'Discovery meetings'. Traditionally, we capture that information in one-sided phone interviews, which are beneficial to us (but less so for the customer).
We now use MURAL to facilitate these discussions. This allows for Discovery conversations to be more visual and more interactive; it brings the customer into the discussion.
In some cases, the customer can contribute their own items to the template. The template becomes a living document that we can refer to in subsequent meetings. It's also easy for us to share with other members of the SAP team and with the customer.
An example of the template used by Andrew's team
JIM: What are the benefits for you and your team in working this way?
ANDREW: There are a few reasons why we like doing Discovery this way:
- It provides a guide for the customer and the Solution Engineer. It lays out the points for the customer we want to discuss, and it serves as a reminder for the Solution Engineer to address. Think of it as a visible checklist for discussion items.
It keeps the discussion on track. Without a clear roadmap, Discovery discussions can get derailed or go into ratholes. Having a visible Mural helps keep the end goal in mind.
It engages the customer into the process. People love seeing their words and ideas recorded in real time.
It is a record of the discussion that’s easy to share, pass around, and build upon for future discussions.
JIM: Very innovative! What advice would you give to others doing this type of discovery? How should they get started? What common pitfalls should they look out for?
ANDREW: My advice is to start small and simple. Find an early adopter or two. These should be folks who understand and are bought into the concept. Have them help you assemble the first version of the template.
This first template should be simple. Don’t try to overengineer it. Ensure it covers the main topics you need to cover with your audience and no more. Document your early successes and share them wildly. And, allow plenty of room for improvisation. Encourage your partners to add additional information and insights to the template as they emerge. Remember to share your successes!
JIM: Great advice. Thanks for the interview, Andrew.
Jim Kalbach is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in customer experience, experience design, digital transformation, and strategy.
November, 30 2018