Books are integral to learning, but we don’t often think of them as making up the practices of an organization’s leadership team, nor do we think of that team as one that would start a book club.
Demar Amacker of Zift Solutions, the platform that brings together marketing, sales and operations in a single tool, explains why this isn’t your typical SaaS company.
Recently, discussions surrounding the redesign of the customer onboarding experience focused around one of the books we featured in our company’s book club: Donna Weber’s Onboarding Matters.
“We’ve really shifted our mindset to be very sales-forward and set up the mutual success plan for the prospect very early on in the sales process,” he says. “So, by the time it gets to a late-stage deal, all of the information has been captured and documented.”
He describes the concept as creating the cookie-crumb trail throughout the process that ensures seamless delivery from one handoff to the next. It’s a far cry from the prospects who get stuck amongst the introductions to multiple people that need multiple prior conversations repeated multiple times.
“[This makes] sure that there’s one linear customer experience-focused journey that we can repeat through customers,” he explains. “It’s about building muscle memory for our team as well—making sure they’re able to deliver the level of training and insight and just pride in the customer experience we want.”
Gordon Rapkin, Zift’s CEO, read Weber’s book and grew enthused about seeing the opportunity customer onboarding held.
“He felt like the book was kind of written for us as a company,” Demar says. “For me, customer success is driven from the beginning, from that first interaction all the way through to the point where they become a customer that buys again and again and again.”
“There may have been an ‘under-capture’ of data in the process until the prospect got closer to purchase, and then you’ve shot yourself in the foot a little bit with having to go back to play catch up,” he says. “It’s like when you’re taking notes for your summer reading and then it’s the last day of the semester. You have to stay on top of it from the beginning.”
The next title the company’s book club dove into was The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. Written in a fable style, the story revolves around a new CEO and the team she needs to lead.
“It’s a great fable on leadership and I prefer that style where it’s in the context of a true, functional business story where you can relate to the characters and place them within your own organization,” he says. “The book club process allows people to step outside of their role in their day to day.”
While initially the role Demar took when joining Zift was RevOps focused, it grew to become much more operational in nature.
“It’s been more operationally focused as opposed to the traditional kind of revenue-facing only,” he says. “I’ve gained all of operations across the organization in my purview, so that’s been fun to level up the organization across RevOps and support ops and customer success ops, as well as the traditional sales op and marketing ops.”
Demar’s attraction to Zift came from the ability to not only report directly into the C-level team, but also the ability to collaborate with the team.
“It’s really been a primary focus of mine to level-up Zift, to professionalize it across all of the operational functions,” he explains. “I’m able to see key decisions made and then turn around and lead my extended leadership team to go out and enact a lot of those.”
While this is the team that brings analysis to the business units, it is also the team that often helps teams with their specific issues. It’s the full-perspective of the company that others, who are often siloed in their roles, may lack.
“I really spend a lot of my time connecting dots to make sure that we’re not redundant in our process and our tool selection to make sure that we have a unified approach to both go-to-market implementation and customer success,” he says.
With varying changes in budgets and uncertainty around customer approaches to the marketplace, Demar says it’s natural for companies to look at redundancies to tighten up and grow more efficiently. He sees it as recession-proofing his RevOps tech stack.
“You’re fully maximizing on the investment that you’ve made and making sure that license auditing is happening on a tool like Salesforce or HubSpot,” he says. “[To make] sure that user adoption is obviously attained so that you can see those ROI points.”
Looking across the tool stack for cost savings is important, but so is being aware of recent offerings.
“We may miss something and have two tools in place that are doing the same kind of thing and if we haven’t stayed on top of that, we’re paying vendors for similar types of stuff,” he explains. “We can stay abreast of change.”
This focus on the full picture of tools and processes comes back full-circle to Weber’s book in viewing how sales, marketing, and customer success work together from onboarding through the entire process.
Within his own team, Demar sees learning as an integrated aspect.
“I think that we’ve specialized into very niche backgrounds where someone can put their professional services hat on, someone can put the consumer success hat on, some can put their sales ops hat on,” he says. “I think the learning that we can get from that cross-pollination as a centralized ops group only brings the rest of the group further along.”
About the Author
Demar is a seasoned RevOps Leader, a co-founder of a RevOps consultancy, where he utilizes his expertise in GTM strategy, Sport & Entertainment Sales, SaaS, Revenue Operations, Strategy, General Operations, Finance, Procurement, Vendor Management, and Business Intelligence.
Demar is an active thought leader of RevOps in multiple revenue communities and as a champion and engaging member for a number of communities created for marginalized groups. He most recently received recognition for being one of the top 25 RevOps Leaders of 2022 by Revenue.io, has been featured in leadership articles sharing his road to RevOps story & is due to appear on several podcasts throughout 2022.
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