Four Risks Growth Leaders Must Consider for 2022, Part Three: CX Initiatives That Are No More Than Lip Service

23 Nov 21

Despite great external conditions and careful planning — a strong macroeconomic environment, big bets with aligned commercial capacity, and increased investment in digital marketing and selling — SBI Research found that even high-growth CEOs expressed uncertainty around their teams’ ability to execute their growth plans. Our research surfaced four key risks and aligned recommendations that all growth leaders should consider as they finalize their 2022 plans and shift to execution.

Most commercial leaders agree that customer experience is important; we found the same: 67% of all companies surveyed are planning a significant CX initiative for 2022. (That number jumps to 85% of high performing companies). Furthermore, most leaders share that they’ve documented a CX strategy and/or aligned on goals with their leadership teams. When it comes to execution, however, high-growth companies are nearly four times more likely than typical performers to have a significant CX initiative planned for 2022. And when exploring companies’ progress executing CX initiatives, average-growth companies generally haven’t moved off the starting block, whereas their peers have begun leveraging technology to improve their customer experience, impacting critical growth outcomes such as retention, and advancing customer success capabilities.

high-growth companies invest beyond cx vision

To ensure CX helps drive growth for your company in 2022, high-growth companies’ experience suggests several key actions:

  • Audit your commercial tech stack.

    While most tech companies have the foundations of a revtech stack in place — customer relationship management, marketing automation tools, and enablement tools, for starters — many leaders had less confidence speaking to critical CX enablers. To begin this journey, CEOs should ask their leaders for a full picture of the key capabilities currently in use, their overall adoption, and the value they generate. From there, align with commercial leaders on the capabilities needed. For CX, this typically means CX measurement tools to capture feedback such as CSAT, NPS, and win/loss as well as front-end technology that delivers digital experiences. While leaders may not need to head to the ‘engine room,’ they should have a handle on how technology can support critical experience gaps (e.g., points of dissatisfaction, poor value realization) and guide their teams to prioritize the introduction of new capabilities accordingly.
  • Attack the biggest friction points.

    Only 50% of high-growth companies believe it’s easy for customers to buy from them, and that number dips to 30% when looking at average performers. Yet a majority of all companies surveyed have evaluated their customer journey, giving them the insight they need to prioritize and advance initiatives targeting their customers’ points of greatest friction. SBI challenges CEOs to take the strategies and journey maps their teams have captured — and begin prioritizing opportunities and assigning teams to execute against these initiatives in 2022. As companies put improvement initiatives in place, they should consider how different capabilities might accelerate their efforts — specifically, journey orchestration and analytics tools to ease customer experiences and measure results.
  • Benchmark your customer success capability.

    For many companies, customer success remains an emerging capability. Across the course of this research, we heard a number of questions around ideal reporting lines, org structure, compensation, and responsibility sets. Leading CEOs and CFOs shared that they typically align success to a CRO in organizations where the product is mature to support cross-sell and upsell; where products are less mature, consider orienting success toward product value realization and COO reporting lines.

Not sure where to begin? Together with commercial leaders, CEOs should “mystery shop” their buying experience across channels. Consider the consistency of the experience across digital and seller-owned channels, the quality of information provided, and the clarity of key differentiators. The findings for this type of investigation should point to clear actions and accountabilities for GTM leaders in the areas of digital content, technology enablers, and team feedback and coaching.

Consider the following questions: How does your experience compare with those of your nearest competitors? What can you incorporate into your GTM model that would help you outpace the competition?

Speak with one of our CX experts about your experience goals and roadmap to achieve them.

"Four Risks Growth Leaders Must Consider for 2022" is a four-part series from SBI Research. Join us each week for a deep dive into each of the risks outlined in our recent report.

  1. Unrealistic assumptions about talent
  2. Disproportionate budget allocation to ‘feet on the street’
  3. CX Initiatives that are no more than lip service
  4. Too much agility