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Creating experiences with sales and customer success with Cody Gilland VP of Sales @CloudApp

December 30, 2019
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Welcome to the DNA and Experience podcast from Cloud App where we discuss how and why creating an experience is so important and the psychology behind what makes an experience so great. Thanks for joining us. Excited to have Cody Dillon with us today. Cody is the former director of sales at Lucid Software and currently the head of sales at Cloud App, I thought it would be great to get Cody’s perspective from a sales and customer perspective on building an experience and how that looks within the modern workplace. So Cody tell us a little bit about yourself.



Awesome. Thanks, Joe. Just happy to be here. And thanks for inviting me on this. Pretty cool. Yeah. Um, so, yeah, it’s just Joe mentioned I’m the current head of sales, VP of sales and customer success at Cloud App. I joined just actually, few months ago. Um, yeah. So quickly. Background, I guess. Born in Hawaii raised, uh, yeah, partly there and then also in Atlanta Georgia area and had a great childhood. Started a bunch of my own little businesses and okay, you know, scaled it up a little bit as much as a 14 year old can with a little lawnmower and pressure washer. So, uh, kinda had an affinity for the starting businesses and for, um, doing a good job as well. You know, one of things I always appreciate looking back on my old landscaping days was you could start with a terribly ugly yard and ah, get paid fairly to actually turn it into something beautiful. Yeah. You can see the excitement in the owner’s eyes of, like, over kind of delivering on. And they’re like, I just didn’t want a bunch of I don’t want my grass to be four feet tall and you came in and made it look nice and their stripes. And, you know, there’s everything’s edged up and just exceeding expectations. So little I’m getting money. It was always satisfying doing a good job and seeing the results. Kind of Ah, turnaround from nothing to something.



Yeah, I kind of wish we were recording with video right now, so you could see the light in Cody’s eyes talking about landscaping.



He puts all of our lawns to shame. But it’s cool when you can find some passionate something passionate you’re about. And I think Cody’s definitely displayed that in the business side, was well and really tries to provide a 1 to 1 customer experience for everyone he works with here, at Cloud App and also people he worked with at Lucid and before. Uh, what are some things you kind of learned along the way? To really know, Set a company apart in the experience sector where you know, big enterprise or small business feels a little bit of loyalty to your product to your company based on, you know, that 1 to 1 interaction.



Yeah, it’s a big question. There’s there’s just a lot to be said. I think anyone can connect with a great experience or someone taking them by the hand and ensuring that they’re having a good experience of that. They’re satisfied with, you know, the results that were given to them, whether it’s service or a product, you know that there’s a lot of great companies out there doing it now, and there’s been varying amounts of that over time with other companies. It’s really cool to see some of the resurrect and whether it’s a leadership or it’s, uh just meant a mentality change in their customer base, whether for their products dynamically changed. But seeing companies turn around and go from not carrying it all about the customer to then doubling down and focusing on that, I think I think one thing that’s interesting about that, like the SAS Tech world isn’t so easy to become like a licensed user and or a free user or something like that. If you wanna freemium model, uh, and then not to get anybody noticing you right and you could be it doesn’t matter who you are. But if you don’t come through the right funnels and metrics than you know, you could end up paying for products that you’ve never actually spoken anybody or given any feedback to or, uh, you know, I really felt like nobody cares. But the companies that do it really well and I had a great experience with this at Lucid as well as, um, you know, here Cloud App so far, too, Um is the customer that the emphasis on customer focus it’s It’s so huge. I mean, here one of the first things that Scott Smith, our CEO here, at Cloud App wanted to have when we first sat down, you know, several months before even came on here to Cloud App is he said he wanted to help starting a sales team in a sales organ and a sales motion like we like. I had experience doing over a Cloud App at Lucid being the first sales rep there and helping them scale up to 100 whatever 400- 500 sales people have now, we went from four or five million to about 100 million over the course of a little over five years, Um, and to kind of take some of the learnings there and applying to Cloud App one of the things that he said when we sat down was I want to start out with building the sales team. But I also want emphasis on customer success. And, um, we actually hired our first customer success manager before. It’s gonna work out this way before we actually hired our first sales like e So, um, you know, he really he really means it. Not just not just Scott, but the rest of the team. But the focus on that has really paid dividends, even here so far, Um, your customer success has been, you know, a pivotal, uh, Well, it’s been an enormous asset to cloud app so far because of digging into the customer experiences to where we’re at, you know, being Ah, you, uh, start up. And with cloud app, we do have three and 1/2 1,000,000 users Were you have tens of thousands of new registered users coming in the door every day and new customers every day and understanding their pains and their needs and being able to build software and solutions that address those needs. But you’re not always going to get that from some sort of metric, right? Um, the feedback that we’ve been able to get from our customers success team has been so important as that, how we’re driving our road map and you getting other people involved around the organization and helping to solve problems or or, um, just even just thinking customers for their feedback and because been super helpful for us, right? Just interacting there. It’s you. Not only do you make customers for life, but you also start making some friends, you know, which is great.



Yeah, It’s really interesting that you kind of went hard on customer success. I think to your point the self serve model that we kind of live in with a lot of products and no cloud apps in the freemium kind of model, like slack or Graham early or Dropbox or like any number of businesses nowadays where, you know, I could just sign up for a count. And the automation on the back end is pretty good to the point that, um I can kind of, you know, choose to engage with someone or not, um, that privet providing those reps for people that need a little bit more help or need some on boarding. Maybe, maybe in the case where they’re only using one of your features. That isn’t probably one that could help them the most. You know, someone like customer success manager can really jump in and make sure they’re using it properly, and that ultimately leads to you no more revenue for the company and obviously higher satisfaction of loyalty.



Oh, absolutely, . We’re definitely letting her foot off off the pedal there. When it comes to customer experience and customer overall customer voice customer voices very important to T. Howard. We’re kind of building out the program here at cloud app. So yeah, it’s like you always hear the old adage like customers always first, um or, you know, Burger King said. I have it your way or whatever, but it feels like it’s definitely even more important now to really be customer feedback loop focused with businesses.



So if you’re you know, having one of these 3 to 6 month business cycles where you’re kind of you know, I came from Adobe, your let’s say you’re grinding it out with Adobe and kind of having to keep in touch with them. How can really visuals and videos enhance that experience both for yourself, for your customer, Um, along the way?



That’s a good question. Like I guess where my mind goes first is there is, like from a customer perspective like and just like a human perspective, I guess, is the more sense is that, like that could be triggered from a new experience with the product or service, the more I’m probably gonna be interested in if I hear something and see something, you know, I love to eat. So if you taste something right, like someone buys me food, that’s one thing you like that, uh, you’re sent you a gift basket or whatever it is like just the more like of ours. You know, of a human’s senses that are involved. I think it’s just going to naturally create ah, greater affinity towards, you know, whatever product. Oh, our solution in our company that you’re kind of working with right visuals in particular, like with that being said visuals in particular like, yeah, same old, you know, it might be tried kind of thing, but a picture is worth 1000 words, you know? And yeah, you know, if if that’s what a picture is worth like, what’s a video or a Gif or an it like or like a, um, like infographic, right. You can get so much more across so much more quickly to so much larger of an audience with a quick image, then you can with you know, two paragraphs are a really long email or, uh, something like that. So I think it only all I can do is help, right? And to get your point across, it’s I don’t think it’s gonna hurt, you know?



Yeah. Yeah, like, uh, you know, enhancing the senses. Um, for me, kind of first exposure with, like, video and visuals was actually, um, I put out this daily kind of, uh, metrics update for one of one of my V. P’s at Adobe. And I knew that she was kind of getting crushed with email every morning. But this this report was important to her. She wanted, you know, to be able to see what happened that night in the day before and things. And so I started kind of recording the top bullet points in like, audio format and then later on, turned it into, like, a quick video. And that way she could kind of, um, turn it on in her car or listen to it on the way into the office. And it was one less kind of email she had to read. And I feel like that’s kind of where a lot of people might be where, you know, if I come into, like, a two hour meeting, I come back to my desk and I’m just crushed by email and slack and text messages and everything. Uh, so anyway, that I can kind of consume that differently. You know, at lunch we’re talking about ah, you know, crushing through email and how hard that can be sometimes. So be nice to just build a, um, listen to something or watch something while you’re maybe doing something else or whatever finding different ways to consume things. Um, kind of on the lines of how other brands or cos they’re doing things well, to really learn from a Zen experience business. Uh, what’s what’s the recent experience you’ve had that’s really made you, um I kind of have an ah ha moment. Or like, Hey, that’s that’s really cool how they responded to me. I’d love to incorporate that type of experience in my own business.



Yeah, So I think, uh, one of the initial mistakes I made here was letting letting our CEO know that I enjoy, like, woodworking because the next thing I know is we’re moving it, as were preparing to move to expand into a larger office as well as we’ve been kind of rapidly scaling here. Um hey, he said it would be really cool, like some kind of custom piece. Uh, you know, whether it was, like a nice phone booth or some piece of furniture or whatever. Um, you know, he started going over some of some designs he was looking, and I said, I could probably do that, you know? And so then we we found. So then I got tasked with it, so it was good, but But then But then we start reaching out to different people, especially the designs in which he kind of really liked. And so I reached out to a couple different companies. I didn’t really hear anything back. You know, the only way I could get, like, pricing or quote on, like maybe there’s a design or blueprint or even their entire product get to fill out a form and then, you know, some of them I still haven’t heard back from what it’s been like over a month, So it just gets lost in the sauce somewhere. And, um but I have to get credit there’s this company called. Um um, it’s called the fellow. I think I think there are in Manhattan. They, uh, did a great job. Like they sent an email back immediately. Although I did have to fill out a form and e mail back immediately and asking what I wanted and how I wanted it, which had basically alive e mail conversation over, like, two minutes. And then, um, we asked for a product or design that it’s major tweaks and they said, Oh, yeah, we don’t have that right now, but we do have an awesome design staff on hand. You know, let me get you a couple sketches, basically that you could kind of go off of, and we could see if we could custom design something. And so I was like, Okay, no going back from this guy for, like, two weeks. Well, it was like two hours later. They had custom designs, kind of sketched up, and, uh, wanted some feedback on it. It was just great, like so basically, they ended up turning, you know, one of a piece of customer feedback that we had, and then they said, Hey, because we didn’t have this already, and we think this is gonna be a great product as well. These great ideas, right? You’re gonna make this one of our other products. We’re going to provide the other customers. So not only are we gonna do this, like, for you, but, uh, we’re basically give you hooking up like the friends and family discount, and basically charge just a fraction of the cost for what we initially ordered And then another kind of custom, Uh, instead of design designs and plants. And so it’s just awesome. And it all took place and literally, like, not even half a day. And I still like I said, haven’t heard back from a lot of these guys. So undefined that’s really funny, that contrast there because we definitely live in a world where, like, you feel out of form.



I know that I have this other day like Cameron what it was. But there was a form there, and I was like, Oh, man, I’m gonna fill this out. I was like the furniture company, and I was like, I’m not gonna hear from these guys for ever. Right, right. I mean, I need to find, like, a phone number or I need to find, like, a Twitter account or something that just blow up. And, yeah, well, we live where customers want the experience, but also it’s really glaring if you don’t provide it. Which is kind of the example you brought up.



Yeah, I think, I think kind of all in all. Like what makes it great customer experiences is really there has been a like, a recognizable Well, it’s a feeling or whatever, but you have to be able to recognize Is the customer some level of concern from the company or from the representative or whatever? Whoever you’re talking to are there to be some sort of recognizable form of concern. Whether it’s like just a concerned or like interest in me is the consumer or as the customer right and me, my problems and the solutions I’m looking to find way all have bad experiences. We’ll have bad customer experiences like I think we all kind of boils down to like they just don’t care, and it’s very evident right that I get tons of calls a day or I get, you know, tons of people I talked to turn into people or you know, whether I got the car lot and like, Hey, if you’re not gonna buy right now, I got more people. I gotta go talk to him. Right? Right. Um, rather than being more concerned with helping me find the right vehicle, Right. Um and, uh and, uh, you know, the people who care the mostly coming from the sales perspective, the best sales reps I’ve ever seen along with the best sales leaders, too. Uh, the best ones I’ve ever seen or worked with. It worked around, Um, they they have the ability to really care about not just the customer or the phone call or the deal or themselves or their commission, but whatever it is, but they have the ability to care for, you know, the individual, you know, whoever they’re over there talking to talk about, whatever problem, it’s still their problem. And if you have the ability to to put yourself aside for a minute and and, uh, even if it’s just for while you’re on the phone call, put yourself aside and be able to show that you care. And, um, the way you do that is by active listening, asking questions, try and understand how you can solve solve their problem. What would their perfect world look like? But really digging into it And then, like these fellows guys that gave you an example of they immediately kind of turned around. They hustled and they said, Hey, what about this? Hey, what about this? They’re trying to solve my problem. And whereas I couldn’t even get anybody else to answer me so to me that there was just such a stark contrast that just like you said that still haven’t had people answer me, Um, and these guys immediately turning something around they won the sale, right? Like anyone and I went with them within a matter of, like, a couple of hours, and it would have been sooner than that if I didn’t ask him to draw up, like, you know, custom plans with the different changes on it. So, um, I just can’t stress that enough, like having having, like, the intensity in, like the emotional care come across the line or through video or in person or whatever. They gotta be able to see it in your eyes and you can’t see your eyes that they have to be able to like hearing your voice, you know, And, um and you also show that you care with your time. So, yeah, there were some other things that you like later in there that at least that I’ve seen. So I think I think what we take away from this from as we close up is one show up to begin with, right? Yeah. Don’t blow people off because you’re tired or you got other meetings.



Exactly. And it’s, I think SAS or B to B companies. Maze Think. Well, we have an automated email replies to people, right. It’s like, No, you need to have a sales rep like within 24 hours for the further right, you know, contact us type of deal. So one show up to bring that personalization that tone, that connection on that really comes through through training and through hiring the right people on. And I think those are kind of really short term keys, toe leading an experience business. Any parting words, Cody?



Absolutely, Like, people are still people, right? And, uh, in the world of automation, you can automate just about anything when it comes to especially sales or customer experience, you know, communication lines. But nothing’s gonna nothing’s gonna trump. Um, you know, hiring the right people and training the right people the right way so that they said they they can’t identify with the customer they can care and that they’re, you know, correctly incentivized to solve problems for the customer and, uh, to ensure a great customer experience and have that be your focus. If that’s your focus and that comes across really clearly to the rest of your team, then Ah, and that’s related to the customer than I think. Only good things can happen.



Awesome. Great stuff today, Cody. Thanks for coming. And those of you listening. Definitely check out last episode with Nir Eyal. And we’re looking forward to having you on for the next episode. Have a good day. Thank you. Thanks for joining the DNA of an Experienced podcast. We hope you learn something that will help improve your collaboration and enhance the experience you create for customers. Join the collaboration 2.0, movement today by getting CloudApp the instant business communication tool used to create instantly share videos, screenshots, and Gifs. Perfect for both internal and external communication get started for free at www dot get cloud at dot com. Thank you we look forward to seeing next time.

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