Customer Experience Driving Unity Between Sales and Marketing

Tracy Robertson

VP Global Customer Experience & Marketing at Kimberly-Clark

Andy Clement

Chief Customer Officer at Kimberly Clark

Learning Objectives

Please join the VP of Global Customer Experience & Marketing, and the Chief Customer Officer for Kimberly-Clark Corporations as they discuss the importance of department unity when driving successful customer experiences.


Key Takeaways:



  • How do you define Customer Experience (CX) at KCP?

  • Why did you start the CX journey at your organization?

  • I think many of us would agree that, sometimes, there's been a divide between sales and marketing teams. Why do you think that is? How did you overcome this divide to develop a good, strategic relationship?

  • How have you seen customer behavior change during your time as a sales leader and why is experience more important now than ever?

  • Given that change in behavior, what is the future of sales? How will the sales professionals role change? What will you need from marketing in order to support those changes?

  • What is the future of marketing and what will you need from sales to be successful?

  • In your opinion, who should "own" CX in an organization?

  • What are some lesson's learned you both could share about your CX journey?

  • From your seat, what is one piece of advice you'd give a marketer?


"At the heart of what we do, we are a people-centered culture first, both on our own people and on our customers."

Tracy Robertson

VP Global Customer Experience & Marketing at Kimberly-Clark

Andy Clement

Chief Customer Officer at Kimberly Clark

Transcript

Britt Erler

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the CONNECT CMO Leadership Virtual Summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent. Thank you so much for joining us. We have two fantastic executive speakers joining us today, Tracy Robertson, VP of Global Customer Experience and Marketing, and Andy Clement, Chief Customer Officer of Kimberly Clark Corporation. Welcome to the both of you.


Tracy Robertson

Thank you.


Andy Clement

Great to be here.


Britt Erler

It’s a pleasure to have you here. In today’s interview, we’ll be discussing the customer experience, and really how to drive unity between sales and marketing. To kick it right off, I’d love to hear from both of you how you define customer experience at KCP.


Tracy Robertson

Great. Well, Andy, I’ll get us kicked off. You Google this “customer experience”, and there’s a million different definitions, but at our organization, we refer to customer experience as a customer’s perspective. All their interactions, both online and offline, with an organization throughout their business relationship. Andy?


Andy Clement

I agree, Tracy, to me, it’s simply about making sure our channel partners and our shared end users have the best overall possible experience they have with Kimberly Clark Professional.


Britt Erler

Fantastic. Was there a shining moment that really defined why you started this customer experience journey?


Tracy Robertson

Well, I have to give that credit to someone else. We had a President, her name was Kim Underhill. She was our Global President of our division. She’s now the President of North American Consumer. She, probably about four or five years ago, started to look at our organization and look at the industry and what was changing not just in our industry, but every industry for it. She was seeing that customers are really taking charge of their own buying journey, and wanting to do most of that digitally. She saw that the experience a customer has with an organization was going to become as important as the product or service that they were buying. She was also seeing trends of commerce, that in b2b, it was going pace to the [inaudible] of $9 trillion, as of this year. She started seeing all of those things, and she said, “We’re going to have to really start a transformation, and it’s going to need to be centered around the customer.” She went to the Board of Directors and said, “We’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna transform our business, so we can be around another 150 years.” That was kind of the shining moment.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. I think one of the silver linings of everything we’ve experienced in the past year and going into this year is that customer experience has really become the driving force for many organizations. They’re really all starting to kickstart that journey from the top down. I think one of the things we’re seeing, and I think many of us can agree on this call that, we see this divide constantly between sales and marketing. They’re always looked at, sometimes, as two separate departments. They don’t go hand in hand, but when in reality, it’s really kind of an ecosystems environment where they need to work together. Why do you think there is this divide? How do we overcome it to make sure we have a functional working relationship between the two?


Andy Clement

Yeah, I can start on that, Tracy. I think, traditionally, if you think about it, there’s been a handoff between marketing and sales. Marketing always does a great job on the online engagement and the purchase progression, and then it’s handed off to sales who follow up and close the deal. Because of that handoff, it sometimes fumbles, can get a little messy, and I think that generates a lot of the challenges. Wouldn’t you say, Tracy?


Tracy Robertson

Yeah, I think you’re being nice, Andy. I would say, there’s an opportunity—and I’m a classically trained marketer, I’ve been in marketing most of my career, I would say there’s an opportunity for marketing to have a better understanding, and maybe even appreciation for the sales profession. It is a tough job, and it’s an evolving job. I would say, the other thing is, as a marketer, I need to understand my customers better. I need to look at sales, as a customer. They are the face of the customer. They have a very difficult job. I appreciate what they do. I think, as marketers, we need to appreciate the profession, and say they are representing the customer. If you look at it that way, it’s a different dynamic.


Andy Clement

I would say Britt, the second part of your question, and how we’ve overcome that. I learned a few years ago when Tracy joined Casey that her background is customer experience, and that really everything her team wanted to do was to improve the customer experience, and she looked at our sales team that I ran as one of our customers. Quickly, because of all that, I became a huge fan. Through the years, I’d say communication between the two of us is key. And then, as you mentioned at the beginning, making sure there’s not that handoff, but that sales and marketing are working in unison together.


Tracy Robertson

I think mostly—oh, sorry, Britt.


Britt Erler

Oh, no, go ahead. By all means.


Tracy Robertson

I also say transparency is really key. We’re very transparent between the good, bad, and the ugly. I would say, the other thing is, the goal is for both of us, like Andy said, it’s about the customer. If we keep the price as the customer, and we’re both working on that, we’re always going to have the same—if that’s the goal, we’re always gonna win,


Britt Erler

Right. At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is what leads the business as a whole being successful. You really have to take a look internally at both teams and say, “How can we work together to make sure that end goal is achieved every single time?” Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Communication and transparency has really become a key theme within this last year with everything we’ve seen, everything going virtual. Companies have to do that to survive.


Britt Erler

Now, Andy, I want to take a turn a little bit into sales a little bit deeper, and talk about how customer behavior, customer wants, and needs have changed pretty drastically, I think, we’ve seen in the last six to eight months. What have you seen, and why is it so important, as a sales leader, to identify this and have experience in knowing what to look for?


Andy Clement

Great question, Britt. Things have really moved digital and and for selling. That is, I’d say, been happening for the last couple of years, but to your point, it’s really accelerated now over the past six to 12 months. Studies show that 80% of the buyer journey is done before seller even gets involved with that customer. More and more customers don’t even ever want to see a salesperson, and about 74%, if they do want to see the salesperson, it’s all done digitally, like we’re doing right now. Additionally, we’ve seen end users changing their buying behavior on which channel partners they want to buy from. Some are very much focused on e-commerce and digital presence, while many others still really want the product expertise that certain channel partners can provide their facility as well. Those are probably the biggest changes.


Britt Erler

With those changes that they’re seeing, what does this mean for the future of sales, and the role of a sales professional in general? I think we’ve seen already that rules are expanding across the board, but what have you seen?


Andy Clement

I think some people think it’s the Death of a Salesman, I don’t believe it’s that at all. I believe sales is just really evolving, like many professions are. Moving more and more, as I said, either full time digital selling or some combination maybe of hybrid selling where 60, 70% is done digitally and 30% in person. When, of course, we’re having those interactions, we’re really telling our sales people make sure you have your video camera on because the conversion rates with customers is about 94% higher when you’re on video than when you’re not. Lastly, we and sales really need more than ever for marketing in terms of digital assets and demand generation. In the past, most of our leads were self generated by sales or came from our channel partners. Now, we’ve got to control more of our own destiny and really partner with our brethren, like Tracy.


Britt Erler

Tracy, with that being said, with all the shifts that we’re seeing in sales, what does that now mean for the future of marketing? What do you need from the sales team in order to make sure that you’re successful?


Tracy Robertson

Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, like sales, marketing is evolving too. We’re becoming left and right brain people [unintelligible]. It’s like with tech, it’s no longer just creative and adspend and social, it’s tech and data and digital, so we’re full brain people now. I think marketing will really be about the experience and being the advocate for the customer. Now, it’s everybody’s job to be the advocate for the customer, but if you think about mobile first, and self serve, and digital, and the buyer journey, 80% of that, as Andy referenced, we’ve really got to be there. We’ve got to do a lot more heavy lifting, and we’ve got to advocate for the customer. It’s really this marketing as part of the experience, as part of the product. We’ve got to change our language and our mindset from convincing customers to buy to helping them to buy wherever they want.


Tracy Robertson

From our sales professionals, from Andy, it’s about partnership and patience because this space is changing so fast. What was relevant last year is not relevant today. We’re just in constant change mode. Again, that’s where the transparency is key, and working and saying, “Hey, this is new stuff we’re putting in, so we don’t know what we don’t know. ” That partnership and co-development is really key.


Britt Erler

I completely agree. I think the aspect that you mentioned there that’s crucial is also the ability to adapt and pivot and being willing to. Not being so stagnant that you’re like, we’ve been doing this for years, this work. Your two markets are changing every single day, and they will continue to do so for years to come. Being able to adapt and change as quickly as possible, but also making sure that your entire team is on board, is what’s going to make sure that the both of you are successful.


Britt Erler

Now, I do want to ask, and I feel like I already know the answer to this, but I’m curious Andy and Tracy. Do you believe that there is a specific team or a specific person that should really own the customer experience?


Andy Clement

Yeah, my opinion on everyone in your organization has their own customer experience. That goes from Supply Chain, the people that manufacture the product, all the way to the people that sell it, and everyone in between. Most importantly with that is, it’s a mindset to always be thinking about the customer that’s out there.


Tracy Robertson

Yeah, I agree with Andy. I think you do have to have people to help lead it to drive the change management piece. To Andy’s point, yes, people can own it, like we’ll carry the flag and help drive the change, but everybody has got to really say, “We’re in this for the customer first.”


Britt Erler

Right. They have to really dedicate themselves to that entirely. I completely agree. You guys have obviously been through this journey. You’ve seen the difficulties, the ups and downs, but also the successes that have come with it. What are some of the biggest lessons learned from both of you that you’ve seen?


Andy Clement

First, I would say, and Tracy talked about this already, you have to have leadership buy in at the beginning. When our Global President brought in Tracy and her team, it was very clear to me that this is a really important initiative that we’ve got to drive. Secondly, I would say one thing I’ve learned from Tracy is there’s no quick fixes here. It takes time. You can’t just flip a switch and have the perfect customer experience. It’s a process. As we’ve already talked about, you’ve got to have great collaboration between sales and marketing, and no handoffs. Lastly, I think one of the things we’ve done well is kind of blend external talent, who are really experiencing customer experience, with other existing talent folks that are willing to embrace new ideas. When you get that magic together, it works really well.


Tracy Robertson

I would say a few things is, and this is my second time doing this, so I should have known better. I would say, co-development in the middle layer, like even if you have leadership, sponsorship, and support, it’s always in the middle layer where things kind of get stuck. Getting in there, and developing, and then objective sharing, like my objective is your objective, so we can win together. Then, making other people the experts earlier, like, instead of me being on a stage, like Andy’s the expert, and he’s on the stage, and he’s carrying that flag, and I’m not the change management expert all the time. The last one, which I think is really important, is about opting in. I use the analogy, there’s certain things we—your children have to eat their broccoli, because it’s good for them—there’s certain things that you have to do when you’re on a cx journey, where you go. These things we have to do because for the organization, and for our customers, these are opted in, and then these other things we can talk about, and decide together, if that makes sense for it. There’s some things you just have to say, “We have to do this. This is the broccoli. These are nutrients. We don’t get a choice about this, but these things we do.”


Britt Erler

With that being said, have either of you seen any pushback or any difficulties with making sure that these new strategies align across your teams? Or have you seen a lot of them excited about this new collaboration effort?


Tracy Robertson

I would say both. That’s just part of change management. It’s like you’re gonna have a percentage of people who always raise their hand and go, “I am all in for that and sign me up for your early adopters,” and then you have a big people a big percentage in the middle that go, “I’ll set back, and I’ll go with the flow, and you tell me what to do,” and then you have people who will never be on board—that’s just change management. At the heart of what we do, we are a people centered culture first, both on our own people and on our customers. That is the heart of who we are as an organization. This concept of taking it to the next level, and really heightening customer centric culture wasn’t a big leap for people. It’s when you start changing people’s work, and that’s common at any organization, any kind of transformation you’re doing. Andy, I’d love your thoughts,


Andy Clement

Nothing to add. I completely agree, Tracy. I mean, certain people were bought in from the beginning, and other folks were not, and many of those have left the organization, but we’re probably the better for it. I would say most really said, “It’s about time that we made these changes,” because they saw it happening in the world around us.


Britt Erler

Yeah, absolutely. I think we’ve seen it within, my own organization as well. Being a smaller company, they used to be pretty separate—sales and marketing. With these pivots, these changes in technology teams, these new virtual summits, they’ve now had to come together and work together as a one giant team to make sure that it’s successful. The people that don’t want to be on board, you’re right, they end up leaving, and your organization is better for it. It’s really how you develop your culture from the very beginning to make it work, so absolutely agree with you.


Britt Erler

My final question to wrap it up is you have seen how the leadership role has changed time and time again, and what is so crucial to make sure that your team is successful, that they are happy that they are productive, and that they are progressing, and always adapting. What is some final advice that you have for other leaders like yourself out there that are trying to make it through this time?


Tracy Robertson

I’ll start. I would say, empathy at the core. If anything taught us about last year, it’s that empathy is rising, as really, it has to be a differentiator about how we think and that’s for both employees and for customers, and how we design everything. I would also say, again, look at your sales professionals as your customers. They are representing customers. If you can look at that, and co develop with them, and have them as your partners, you’re going to go a lot faster in any journey.


Andy Clement

To build on that, I would just say, and I’ve said this to a lot of folks who are in Leadership or in Marketing or in Supply Chain, get out and see your customers in action. Don’t take it for granted. Walk a store, see the product being used, talk to a channel partner, ride with a salesperson, which is easier to do now because everything’s digital. Don’t assume that what you read online is exactly always the case with buyers.


Britt Erler

Yep, I think it’s really that idea of a sense of humanity that we’re really seeing is get to know them as people, get to know their business. It’s not just the sale and money deal. At the end of the day, it’s really building those relationships, and making sure that it’s beneficial on both end.


Britt Erler

Fantastic advice from both of you. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you to everyone who has tuned in today as well. If you have any final questions for Tracy or Andy, there will be a discussion forum underneath this presentation. Thank you again for being here. Please stay safe, please stay healthy, and enjoy the rest of the show.


Andy Clement

Thank you.


Tracy Robertson

Thanks, Britt.


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