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John Ellett’s Matrix for Creating a Dynamic Customer Experience

October 26, 2023

GTM Innovators Episode 11 with John Ellett

All customers want to choose their own adventure.

Personalized experiences are everywhere; from Netflix recommendations to Spotify playlists, customers know exactly what they want and how to get there. It’s no longer about guessing what buyers are interested in but creating a dynamic and data-driven strategy so you can anticipate your customer’s next move.

With a mix of integrated intelligence and valuable customer-focused tools to add to your FY25 planning agenda, you can make it easier for yourself and your buyers by taking the guesswork out of the equation and focusing on what’s really important: helping the buyer pick an adventure that is most relevant to them. 

An advisor and thought leader on marketing strategy and author of the CMO Manifesto, John Ellett is an expert in navigating marketing changes. He joined G2 advisor Mike Weir for the latest episode of the GTM Innovators Podcast, where the pair discussed the need for sales and marketing to shift their lens on customer buying, how to move from self-guided marketing to dynamicity, and his matrix to build a customer-centric go-to-market strategy (GTM).

The problem with the inside-out GTM mindset 

In the world of GTM strategy, there's an ongoing battle between the inside-out thinking style and the outside-in mindset. According to Ellett, many companies lean towards an inside-out approach, which often means they must focus more on selling and promoting their products rather than understanding the customer's perspective.

This narrow focus can lead to missed opportunities and ineffective sales and marketing programs. 

“The outside-in mindset prioritizes customer empathy and seeks to assist customers in their buying process, shifting the focus from selling to understanding how customers think about the buying journey."

John Ellett
CEO, The Ellett Group

The shift to an outside-in mindset is transformational but is often done wrong. Ellett points out that great GTM programs should always involve customer empathy. It's not about how you sell but how you help customers buy.

Changing your lens and mindset to prioritize the customer's perspective leads to more effective sales and marketing strategies. Companies embracing this shift are gaining a significant advantage because they connect more effectively with potential and current customers.

Ellett illustrates this with a compelling example from Planful, a financial management software company. Planful's approach starts by acknowledging the customer's pain points, then moves toward developing a deeper understanding of their buying process POV & their needs, and finally connecting with customers based on where they already are and what they need. 

This customer-centric orientation transforms their sales and marketing programs, making them more efficient and effective. It serves as a reminder that when you prioritize customer empathy and approach GTM from an outside-in perspective, your messaging and strategies align better with your audience, giving you a competitive edge.

The dynamic CX matrix: 3 steps to operationalization

Throughout the conversation, Ellett emphasizes that incorporating dynamism into existing customer experience strategies shouldn’t be exclusive or available to a select few. It should involve the entire sales and marketing organization as a transformative approach.

His CX matrix is a strategic planning tool operationalized by aligning the buying stages and guided by research on the business's ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buying committees. The matrix helps define responsibilities for key aspects of customer interactions, including messaging and content, making the tool easy to customize depending on the business use cases.

Defining your North Star: The ideal customer profile

The first step in operationalizing existing strategies into customer-centric ones is pinpointing the customer segment that seamlessly aligns with your unique value proposition. While it may seem straightforward, this step can be game-changing, particularly when ensuring your sales and marketing teams are completely harmonious with your ICP.

Decoding the buying committee: Who, When, and Why?

Next, work to truly understand the buying/decision committee in the buying journey. Identify the key players involved in the decision-making process, their roles, and most importantly, their motivations. The buying committee usually comprises business leaders from various teams, including sales, marketing, IT, finance, security, legal, and procurement.

Understanding which players are most influential at what stage of the purchasing process is critical to building the right relationships, reducing friction, and customizing the messaging for each individual's motivations.

Mapping the customer journey through the buying stages

At the heart of Ellett’s customer matrix is the importance of understanding the buying process and its various stages. Instead of just looking at it from the seller's point of view, dive deep into what this buying process looks like from the buyer's perspective.

This approach effectively tailors business strategies to fit each customer's unique journey. It allows sellers to provide a dynamic and personalized customer experience that matches each customer's needs. Ellett emphasizes that ongoing evaluations must be made as the relationship develops to account for the changing motivations of the stakeholders.

Adapting to those needs and changes in the market accordingly is a crucial step toward maintaining a clear map of your customers' journey. Net net, the goal is to review the matrix periodically to ensure it remains relevant and aligns with evolving customer needs and market dynamics.

Navigating self-guided customer journeys

There’s been a clear shift from the traditional selling approach, which has several customer-sales touchpoints. The digitized buying process is much more self-guided today and enables customers to move through the sales process independently.

That, combined with peer review sites like G2, has empowered customers to reduce dependence on sales reps and be intentional about when they want to have those direct sales interactions.

Success in such an environment comes from capitalizing on predictive intelligence. Diagnosing where customers are and within the right context is crucial to moving the customer down the funnel. An example would be to marry your tech infrastructure, like ABM platforms such as 6Sense or DemandBase, with your sales CRM tools. Sales and marketing must work together with a decision-making mindset by enhancing interconnected intelligence.

The customer-centric matrix comes in handy with an approach like this as it lays the foundation for understanding customer behavior and decision-making patterns. It helps stay ahead of the curve and maintain dynamicity as buyer journeys evolve. As John says, “The matrix is customer-centric but lives with you.” 

Other learnings from John in this episode

In episode 11 of GTM Innovators, the full conversation includes other takeaways such as:

  • Why you should rethink your mission of customer buying vs. constant selling
  • How to develop a cross-functional customer experience
  • Developing customer-centric success powered through content & conversation

Watch the full episode on YouTube and hear more from John and other GTM leaders by subscribing to the GTM Innovators podcast today - available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, and wherever you tune into your podcasts.

GTM Innovators Podcast
More where this came from.

The GTM Innovators podcast features conversations with some of the most respected and experienced GTM leaders. Listen to this and future episodes on all major platforms.

GTM Innovators Podcast
More where this came from.

The GTM Innovators podcast features conversations with some of the most respected and experienced GTM leaders. Listen to this and future episodes on all major platforms.

John Ellett’s Matrix for Creating a Dynamic Customer Experience In this episode of GTM Innovators, John Ellett discusses customer buying, moving to dynamicity, and how to build a customer-centric GTM strategy.
Aayushi Sanghavi Aayushi Sanghavi is a Campaign Coordinator at G2 for the Content and SEO teams at G2 and is exploring her interests in project management and process optimization. Previously, she has written for the Customer Service and Tech Verticals space. In her free time, she volunteers at animal shelters, dances, or attempts to learn a new language.

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