CMO Spotlight: Jonathan Becher, SAP—Teams Work for People and Deliver Experiences

Louis Foong 0

Becher-headshot-1-2011Soccer fever continues and the world is watching these teams as they play for their nations to move through the levels and get to the top. Reigning world champions, Spain have had to bow out of the tournament already. It’s still anybody’s guess about who will take the cup this year.

The world of sports is always an inspiring arena to motivate people and teams to work together towards a common goal. As marketers, we are typically driven by our corporate goals and brand strategy and yet, many organizations still struggle to maximize team performance.

In our continuing CMO Spotlight series, I am happy to feature SAP CMO, Jonathan Becher. His Twitter handle describes him as a performance management enthusiast, sports analytics aficionado and three times CEO. A fitting choice for our Spotlight feature in the midst of World Cup Soccer 2014.

Becher is credited with turning SAP’s focus to a more human approach. “It’s not just ‘business runs SAP’; it’s also ‘life runs SAP.’ You can sum up the change as moving from B2B to P2P—people to people,” Becher says. This new approach fit right in with the company’s mission to “help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”

The important thing to remember when adopting a P2P approach is that people need to work together for engagement to become a reality. For experiences to become memorable, desirable and repeatable, teams need to cut across the barriers of departmental silos and organizational hierarchy. Becher recounts the story of Four Oxen and the Lion reminding us of the perils of operating alone and getting stuck in silos rather than standing united and strong. It’s good reinforcement of a message I have regularly emphasized.

See this Definitive B2B Lead Generation Checklist: Part 1 | Part 2

Deliver Consistent, Positive Customer Experiences
—5 Simple Steps…

  1. See what’s working and make it work harder, faster, better. As marketers, we are easy victims of our ever-increasing “greed” for wanting shiny new toys, overhauled strategy, new people, the latest marketing automation tools…the list goes on. We want to throw out all that is old, but why? Becher’s advise is not to try and fix what isn’t broken. Instead, focus on the elements that have worked in the past and update them with your latest knowledge of customer expectation and behaviour.                          
  2. Outside-in approach. We are fortunate; we have Big Data, we have Predictive Analytics, we have Customer Experience Optimization (CXO) tools. With all this in hand, many organizations still follow an inside-out approach to deliver what they think their customers want. Becher cautions that unless we start mapping the customer journey through various stages of the buying cycle, we are shooting in the dark. Build organizational effectiveness and boost process efficiency with a 360° view of your demand generation activities.    
  3. Forget volume, focus on value. The true measure of customer experience is based on lifetime value (LTV) rather than the number of customer interactions. And that is the first of 10 Key Questions to Ask when Evaluating B2B Lead Generation Performance.  In fact, hints Becher, if every interaction as treated as the first and last one, each one will be great. In the end, you will have a series of positive customer experiences that deliver your goals of engagement, conversion, retention, loyalty and referral business.
  4. Let marketing be the glue, not the barrier. Becher looks upon marketing as a “force multiplier”, a catalyst for enhancing team performance. Although, in most B2B organizations, marketing is seen by others in the company as one of the biggest barriers. Why? Because as marketers, we lose sight of the overall outcome and keep chasing meaningless metrics to work on our churn ratios. It is not about churn, it’s about quality leads and conversion through consistently delivered customer experiences—that’s the positive outcome we must aim for.
  5. Get your specialists and tactical plays in place. Markets are volatile, customers are predictable until they do something unpredictable. Industry peers are co-players until they hog the limelight and become indomitable competitors. How do you take on these challenges and not fail miserably? Yes, you may have a defined strategy, a cohesive crisis plan, and all the marketing ammunition you think you will need, but unless you have a core team that specializes in dealing with intense and sudden changes, your entire marketing strategy may be headed south to a point of irrecoverable loss. As Becher says, make sure you have a S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team. Enlist your employees to pool their knowledge, skills and customer handling experience to raise the performance bar. Be armed with your Swiss Army Knife for B2B Thought Leaders.

What steps has your B2B company taken to enhance customer experience? Are there any hard lessons you have learned from focusing on the wrong metrics? What changes will you seek to implement in the next half of 2014? Feel free to share on my blog. You can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.    

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