This series highlights the talented Zilliant Customer Success Group; today's post features Customer Success Manager (CSM) Nathan Rabold. Prior to joining Zilliant in 2014, Nathan worked at Deloitte Consulting and Tokyo Electron. He holds a degree in Finance from the University of Colorado.
1. How did your background prepare you for your role as a CSM?
I started my career in technology consulting, specifically focusing on solving sales and ERP challenges through effective technology and analytics. I worked with a variety of Fortune 500 clients to plan projects, define processes, develop requirements, and then manage the complex implementation, testing, and change management of custom software solutions. I then joined Zilliant as a business analyst, working across multiple customer industries to resolve data quality issues, quantify value, and ensure the precision of Zilliant's model and configuration process.
As a CSM, I combine well-developed consulting skills with a strong technical knowledge of Zilliant’s products to help my customers understand their data, quantify benefit and adoption, make informed model decisions, and formulate strategic plans.
2. What’s the biggest misconception about price setting or sales effectiveness you encounter?
That continuous benefit and adoption automatically occur after the conclusion of successful implementation and launch. Initial excitement and education about a new system quickly fade. Without an effective change management strategy, adoption can stagnate or even decline because of poor sponsorship, lack of analytics to report and measure progress, and missing support mechanisms such as training and incentives.
3. What does a day in your life look like?
It depends, and this is what I particularly enjoy about the CSM role.
There are the basics like ETL management, data quality checks and price reviews. But because each client brings a unique set of goals and challenges, every day is different. A “typical” day could involve preparing and presenting a change management strategy to a customer leadership team, working with clients to create a new price review process, or creating custom analytics to measure sales team performance.
4. What’s the No. 1 question you hear most frequently related to change management or adoption?
This price doesn’t make sense to me, how did Zilliant recommend it? Or put another way, how can I explain and justify this price? This question often is based on a user’s mental model of what a price should be and a general dissatisfaction that the recommendation differs from this perception. Fortunately, Zilliant has very effective visualizations to bridge this gap between the truth (data!) and user perception/expectation. Our price review reports give customers the tools to look up price recommendations and understand which segmentation attributes and historical transactions were used to generate a recommendation.
5. If you could send one message to company leaders that are considering deploying prescriptive sales and pricing guidance in their business, what would it be?
Optimized and aligned prices are just the beginning of the potential benefits that prescriptive guidance creates. Over time, the guidance and analytics expose process inefficiencies, pockets of margin opportunity, and inconsistent pricing practices. However, these benefits are often only partially attained because of issues with sponsorship, change management, and training.
To fully maximize benefit, leaders need to provide clear goals, messaging, structure, and expectations to their pricing, sales, and operational teams – and not only during implementation.
6. What industry do you have the most experience in, and what are some common pricing or sales challenges in that industry?
Because of my background in professional services, I observed pricing and sales challenges in many industries: hi-tech, equipment rental, construction and building materials, electrical, healthcare, and internet.
Depending on the industry, challenges can vary. Common themes include managing product relationships across a large portfolio, enforcing logical price alignment, and agreement/contract management. However, all these challenges are symptoms of a larger problem, which is the inability of many companies to quickly and effectively structure, understand, and draw insights from their own data.
7. What part of your work with customers is the most rewarding?
Utilizing analytics to communicate complex pricing issues in a simple and digestible way that allows my clients to drive organizational change – and then observing that change occur. Zilliant Visual Analytics (powered by Tableau) is an amazing tool and my favorite way to express ideas to clients.
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