Martech Interview with the President, MetaCX – Jake Sorofman

Jake Sorofman from MetaCX talks about how digitization has enhanced CRM and building better customer experience & management.

“Our mission is to help suppliers and buyers collaborate more effectively — and win together!”

1. Tell us about your role in MetaCX?
As president of MetaCX, I’m responsible for all go-to-market functions, including marketing, sales, customer success, professional services and technical support.

2. Can you tell us about your and the company’s journey into this market space?
At the highest level, MetaCX was born out of the realization — and perhaps just a bit of frustration — that the way B2B customer relationships are managed today is unsustainable.

· CRM doesn’t actually include the customer. There is no consistent collaborative digital experience for the supplier and buyer across the customer lifecycle.
· CRM does nothing to enhance the digitalness of a digital company nor does it create any differentiation that a customer would take notice of or would care if it were gone.
· The scope of CRM is limited to one organization, although business is actually conducted in a connected network of supplier/buyer partnerships and ecosystems.
· There’s no consistent way to document, much less measure, the value customers are hoping to achieve from working with the software vendor or supplier.
MetaCX set out to change this with a collaborative layer that aligns suppliers and buyers around a shared definition of value and a set of outcomes that are consistently documented as the “steel thread” of the relationship and proven with data over time.
We think this is what B2B customers want and will expect from their suppliers in the future — and the ones that recognize this are able to deliver a differentiated customer experience that helps them close more deals as well as the measurable proof of value that helps them renew business and expand customer relationships.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading the CRM sector?
We see it as a strong complement to the CRM platforms B2B companies have already invested in. We’re not asking companies to rip and replace any of their systems so much as we’re providing a unified collaborative layer on top of these tools in a way that creates better collaboration with customers at every stage of the lifecycle.

4. How has digitization enhanced CRM, particularly the customer lifecycle?
Digitalization is at the heart of modern CRM, of course, but the benefits of this have largely accrued to one side of the relationship. Suppliers use CRM to market and sell more effectively, but these systems haven’t included customers in any direct way toward the goal of a) understanding their business challenges, b) organizing and orienting teams in the service of these challenges, and c) measuring and proving value realization from the use of a product or service.

Our mission is to help suppliers and buyers collaborate more effectively — and win together!

5. Can you explain how your collaborative deal management helps sales teams?
MetaCX helps build trust in the sales process by allowing sellers to more effectively collaborate with prospects around their desired business outcomes — all within a co-branded, shared space called a bridge. By providing visible proof of your commitment to their buyer’s business goals, this helps sellers earn trust, build mutual accountability, and move deals forward with higher win rates and ASPs.

6. How do coordinated handoffs help in delivering better customer experience?
For B2B buyers, the post-sales handoff is often a moment of disappointment, not delight. Much of the goodwill and momentum earned in the sales cycle is often lost after the deal is closed. MetaCX helps make the handoff a coordinated set of actions that gives the customer confidence the relationship is set off on the correct foot. As a deal transitions toward closed-won, a CSM or onboarding specialist can be invited into a MetaCX bridge to transfer knowledge and coordinate an onboarding or implementation plan. Bridges then serve as a record where everything related to the deal is captured and relayed to relevant stakeholders. MetaCX even creates small moments of celebration that make the experience memorable in the right sort of ways.

7. According to you, what are the important factors that companies miss while building their customer engagement and experience strategy?
Many B2B companies impose complexity on their customers, forcing them to work in ways that are cumbersome, unfamiliar and more oriented to the supplier than the buyer. Too often, they impose the internal madness of how their company works on their customer. It’s rarely a good look. This often comes from a failure to distinguish between frontstage and backstage thinking, where the former represents the orchestrated experience you want to create for the customer and the later represents, well, the internal madness of how your company works.

8. Tell us what’s unique about Co.Lab.
Since we launched MetaCX, we’ve met with hundreds of B2B revenue leaders who, almost to a person, have the exact same reaction to what we’re doing. This reaction has two parts:
First, there’s a ton of enthusiasm: They tell us that the problem we’re solving is real and important, and our approach to outcomes-based selling and success is 100% right.
Then there’s fear: Transforming selling and success as one “steel thread” experience for revenue teams and customers sounds both really right … and really hard.
Truthfully, we agree with both reactions. MetaCX is different — and unapologetically so. We bear this extra burden because the way B2B revenue organizations have attempted to take on the challenge of managing renewable revenue is, quite frankly, wrong. Simply differentiating on the as-is would be an insufficient half measure. We have no interest in being another half measure.
But that’s not to say that every B2B company is ready to take on this change in a wholesale way. They want a simple, low-risk entry point. They want a way to design the future-state alongside the current-state as the first step into a B2B customer lifecycle transformation.

This is the purpose of Co.Lab. Think of it as a joint innovation offering that provides a strategic blueprint, an implementation roadmap, and working prototype of the future-state B2B customer lifecycle as a way to step into this necessary change. We see this as a scaled-down, simplified version of the sort of innovation labs you’d expect to find in a large enterprise where the future is being incubated, unobtrusively, alongside a running business.

9. What work-related hack do you follow to enjoy maximum productivity?
Listen to your biorhythms — I’m sharpest at the crack of dawn. So, I reserve this time for writing or simply organizing my thoughts. I’m usually able to produce twice as much, twice as well, in half the time. Catch me at 3 p.m. and you’ll see the exact opposite. I try to pay attention to this sort of thing. I also live by my lists, and I hold myself accountable to deadlines — even when they’re self-imposed.

10. Can you tell us about your team at MetaCX and how it supports you?
I’m privileged to work with an incredibly talented group of driven, yet humble people. Every day, I’m awed by their commitment, work ethic, mind-blowing talents, and general humanity.

11. What movie inspires you the most?
I’m a voracious reader, and while I do get sucked into the occasional Netflix series, movies are fewer and further between in my life. If I had to name a movie that has always stuck with me, it’s “Lost in Translation.” Beautifully shot, great acting, and complex and interesting characters.

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Jake Sorofman is president of MetaCX, the pioneer in a new outcomes-based approach for managing the customer lifecycle by transforming how suppliers and buyers collaborate and win together. Previously, Jake was CMO of Pendo and chief of research at Gartner. His writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Forbes, Inc., and Harvard Business Review. Jake holds a bachelor’s degree in English and political science from University of New Hampshire, an MBA from Bentley University, and a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina.

MetaCX is pioneering a new outcomes-based approach for managing the entire customer lifecycle by transforming how suppliers and buyers collaborate and win together.

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