The evolution of buyer enablement and its parallels with customer success

Viktor Kessler
June 6, 2024
min. read

The success story of Customer Success

Business has always been so dynamic and each era brings its own challenges and solutions, too. One of the most significant shifts we've seen in recent years is the rise of Customer Success (CS). From its humble beginnings in the '390s to the tectonic shift in 1996-1997 triggered by Vantive, CS has come a long way. By the early 2000s, everyone knew that retaining customers for the long run was crucial for business success, especially because market competition became tougher and tougher. 

The growing pains of buyer enablement

I believe the evolution of buyer enablement will mirror what we saw with CS tools. In the beginning, CS teams used individual tools to perform their tasks. These tools were not connected and teams faced huge data silos. This is a killer problem because it relies on understanding the customer journey end-to-end without any gaps.

According to a 2017 Constellation Research report, an organization was using an average of 27 to 29 CX tools, but companies were only utilizing a fraction of the functionality provided by each solution. This is a massive waste because when companies use multiple solutions, tools, and platforms that operate independently they spend more, things get more complicated, and, worst of all, customer data is siloed.

Gainsight is the one who recognized this challenge and created a whole new software category for CS, by eliminating complexity for its customers by consolidating different solutions in one platform that catered to more customer needs. They paved the way for future innovations in the Customer Success industry.

Sales tech is still broken

The story is repeating itself. Today, if you take a real, close look at sales processes, you’ll see that sales teams hack together a mix of point solutions like Google Docs, Sheets, shared Slack channels, and other general project management tools to accomplish sales process management. But, adoption is incredibly low and none of those tools are integrated into the customer relationship management software. So, you can’t build prescriptive workflows and all of the customer engagement data is lost.

Why is this? Because navigating the phase between sales calls and deal closing falls between CRM and CMS, where real multitasking with prospects happens. For a post-discovery call, a simple CRM isn't enough. CRMs are transactional and not customer-facing. This is why teams are turning to platforms like Notion and Drive to enable buyers and consolidate memorable, customer-facing touchpoints.

I know that internal team collaboration isn't a new challenge (that’s why platforms like Asana exist), but collaborating with external stakeholders is still a huge headache and anyone in a customer-related field knows what I mean. This hits home even more in the digital age.

You wouldn't invite a buyer from another company to your access your CRM or project management board. Because that’s for you and your team to use. So, what happens then? You try to improvise testing and using tools like Notion and Drive. But, they still aren’t the perfect solutions because they were never designed specifically for easy vendor-customer interaction.

I see buyer enablement becoming a very distinct category almost ready to go through a ‘’Big Bang’’ moment, just like CS did. Why? The signs are super clear: Teams are still using solutions that are disconnected and tools that lack real engagement levers for their customers.

Teams are still using solutions that are disconnected and tools that lack real engagement levers for their customers.

This means buyer enablement is sure to emerge as a new 'Unicorn Category,' producing its unicorns in the next five years, just like CS did. The solution isn't another all-in-one tool, but a centralized hub that integrates these tools, a lot like Gainsight did for CS.

Introducing Notch, the next-gen platform for boosted buyer enablement!

This is why we created Notch. Notch is a natural customer-facing front to each CRM, addressing the inherent transactional nature of CRMs and their lack of customer-facing capabilities. By doing so, Notch is simplifying the landscape, (again think of how Gainsight did it for CS), ensuring that businesses can effectively engage with their customers without the complexities of using so many disjointed tools.

We're at an exciting time for a new category to be born and the current market conditions and external factors are accelerating this process like never before! Buyers are more informed than ever, meaning vendors and sellers must evolve and assist buyers in their purchasing decisions using efficient tools that actually work while not breaking the bank in the process.

If you’re a leader in sales, CS, onboarding, or any customer-facing role, I’d love to continue this conversation with you. In the meantime, definitely check out Notch. You can get a free trial and request a founder-given demo for your team. It’s time to enhance your buyer enablement by streamlining and centralizing the way you work with your customers!

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