Sales is Not Binary
Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an interview with FullStory’s Scott Voigt. You can read the first part on how to create Magic Moments for your customers here.
You either love or hate sales. You can go all-in on self-service and let the machine handle customer acquisition. Or you can hire an army of reps and let the humans sell. There is no in-between.
This commonly held view of sales is wrong. Sales is not binary.
FullStory’s Scott Voigt says the answer is a bionic approach to sales. Man plus machine. Human, but more than human.
Empathy and Clarity
Two of FullStory’s guiding principles – empathy and clarity – led them away from sales early on.
“A lot of people don’t enjoy being sold to, including the folks at FullStory,” says Voigt. “As a company, we are super leery of anything where we have to talk to someone in order to see the product.”
Having to talk to someone suggests that something needs to be hidden – most likely the product’s cost or complexity. “We just want to cut to the chase and quickly understand the product and pricing.”
Valuing empathy leads to the Golden Rule. If FullStory doesn’t like being sold to, it would be weird if they turned around and aggressively sold their product to others.
Valuing clarity leads to transparency. Simplicity and clarity is easier said than done when it comes to product marketing , website copy and pricing pages. But customers are desperate for it.
Does It Work for Everybody?
FullStory’s focus on empathy and clarity means the company leads with self-service. I mean, look at the messaging on their awesome sales page:
But self-service doesn’t work for all customers. “I wish it worked for everybody. But in fact there is a correlation between the size of a company and the complexity of the buying process for that company,” says Voigt.
Complexity means your buyer needs help. The self-service machine falls down under the weight of a complex buying process. And if one of your humans doesn’t step in, the customer will turn to someone else’s human (and ultimately someone else’s product) to help them.
Empathy isn’t partial. You need to cater to the needs of both the “leave me alone” people AND the “help me buy your product” people.
Making Things Bionic
Empathetically coming to the aid of people with complex buying processes means embracing sales. But after initially avoiding it, FullStory wasn’t eager to do sales in the traditional way.
“Old school customer interactions are remarkably inefficient,” Voigt says. “Hire an army of sales reps to get new customers and a boatload of support folks to keep them happy. We’re living in the 21st century and there has to be a better way.”
This is where FullStory’s third operating principle comes in – making things bionic. It means making a human process more scalable through technology. But it’s not robotic automation stamping out generic crap. “The human component is the heart of bionics, because of that all-important first principle: Empathy. Being bionic helps us scale empathy. It allows us to be human with an ever-growing number of customers,” Voigt explains.
What does this look like in practice? FullStory provides intelligent, personalized customer success to anyone using the product. All users are created equal, and there is no fundamental distinction between prospects and customers.
“If you’ve ever tried our product, you’re a customer.”
Similarly, there is no fundamental distinction between sales, support and success efforts. “If everyone is a customer, then we want everyone to be successful.”
The intelligence and personalization comes from FullStory using its own product to deliver an amazing customer experience. A common example is receiving a proactive note saying, “It looks like you may have tripped on a bug earlier today. I’m really sorry about that. We’ve fixed it now and you should be all set!”
FullStory does the same thing when it sees users expressing frustration at the product during a session. We’ve all been there – the site is slow and you aggressively click the mouse in hopes of a response. FullStory calls this user behavior “rage clicks.” The team gets a rage click alert and the customer gets a message asking how they can help.
“Customers love this kind of care and attention. It leads to better customer conversion and satisfaction, but it would be impossible without bionics.”
We’ve been sold a false dichotomy – that you must choose either the path of self-service or sales, but not both. But there is a better way, and it’s called bionics. Man plus machine. Human, but more than human.
Onward to a better future for your company and your customers!
Achieving true product-led growth takes a winning combination of free parts of your product, virality, paying users, and more. Startups spend years (and thousands of dollars) trying to figure out the right model for viral growth – and many never do. So how do you succeed at PLG. Find out here.
Eraser founder, Shin Kim, shares why his company, Eraser, a whiteboard for engineering teams, built an AI sidecar that ultimately drove 30% of all product sign ups. Learn more here.
Miro’s Kate Syuma shares how the company’s growth team iterated smart to improve the user onboarding journey for their popular collaborative platform.