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Scale Your Sales



Kia Puhm, CEO of DesiredPath, sat down with Janice Gordon, the Customer Growth Expert and host of Scale Your Sales Podcast to discuss why businesses need to be agile in order to support their clients' desired outcomes. Here is a transcript of the questions posed and Kia's responses.


Tell us what you do that is uniquely different for your buyers, clients or customers, or one aspect of your work you would like highlighted?


I believe companies who organize their business around their customers drive customer revenue more effectively, gain a significant competitive advantage and they future proof their business.


DesiredPath exists because there’s a lack of understanding, or an operational framework to protect and accelerate revenue growth across the entire customer journey.

DesiredPath’s intelligent framework (driven by industry-first metrics and benchmarks) helps organizations accelerate their customers through the total “customer funnel”.


Knowing how to build your business on the patterns of your most successful customers – across their entire journey – helps you grow customer revenue smarter and faster.



Do you have an example of how you or an individual/business/company has adapted to the current pandemic that you can share with this audience?


Without a doubt last year was an exceptional and unusual year. Dealing with change and challenges are by no means anything new to business, however the pandemic certainly forced companies to deal with both very rapidly and differently than normal.


I wrote an article at the end of the year where I outlined my observations of how the pandemic affected companies in 5 key areas - Customer Engagement, Commercials, Employees, Customer Success Team, and Revenue.


Specifically, the pandemic forced organizations to engage better with customers, demonstrate their commitment to partner with customers for mutual commercial benefit, “see” employees holistically, drive more effective cross-functional collaboration and customer success, and use data to identify better solutions for customers and protect revenue for themselves.


Ironically, being customer-centric is what companies should have already been doing to drive successful customer experience, loyalty and revenue growth!


But last year it was glaringly obvious which companies were already customer-centric and which had to adapt very rapidly in order to protect their business.


The pandemic was a forcing function for companies to be more customer-centric.



What is your view on if B2B sales shifted enough to be buyer/customer-centric to create customer success? What is working and what is not?


I don’t think it’s shifted enough. Vendors are still thinking from their product-centric point of view. Yes, they’re trying to help customers leverage their technology but they’re not looking at the bigger, holistic picture of the customer’s business and how their product(s) fits into that.


What is working: aligning to the overarching objectives of the customer’s business. It sets the stage for more strategic conversations and the opportunity to add more value.


What is not working: creating discussions and plans around product use. Can’t get engagement from the C-Suite if the conversations are focused around the technology and how to use it.



What practical strategy could you offer that has enabled buyers to buy or that has built a long-term trusted customer relationship?


Understand the holistic customer journey, from the customer’s point of view so you can lead them to success and earn their trust.


In architecture, there’s a term called the desire path or desire line. The desire path is a path created as a consequence of erosion caused by human foot traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between origin and destination. Land planners employing human-centric design principles wait to see where desire paths form and then incorporate those into their plans.


The analogy works in a business context as well. The successful customer journey is a company’s desired path. Customers want to reach their ultimate objectives in the easiest, most seamless and successful manner. The more a vendor can make that happen, the better the success, relationship and opportunity for expansion occurs.


If you understand the bigger, holistic picture of what your customers are trying to achieve – their desired objectives – you can lead them through the journey proactively and guide them to successful and expanded use of your products and services.


If you already know what the successful journey looks like and can guide customers through that, you become a trusted advisor very quickly.



What's your view/personal experience on how diversity in the B2B selling industry has progressed?


Well it’s progressed but I don’t think enough.


I studied computer engineering so when I started out in industry, I was one of a very few women in a male dominated industry. I had few role models of senior, female leaders to learn from and emulate. I had to be much more assertive in meetings to be heard and even then, would find myself being passed over for opportunities that my male colleagues would benefit from.


But it has improved greatly in the 26 years since I’ve been in industry. I’ve noticed men being much more aware of the historical disparity just in the choice of inclusive language they now use (e.g. using both “he” and “she”). The coolest experience I had was just over a year ago when I had breakfast with two of my former colleagues – a male and female. In passing during our conversation, the male colleague said “just between us gals” (vs us “guys”). It sounded so funny when I heard it but then I realized, why not! We’ve all been saying “us guys” for so long, why not “us gals”.


To deal with diversity, I think we need to understand each other more and open our minds to our differences and celebrate them, so we can eradicate biases and discrimination. When we remain close minded and driven by fear we miss out on so much. We should not be afraid to talk about diversity and the benefits of inclusion. We should create an environment that values opinions and thoughts so we can address any proverbial “elephants in the room”. Once we do that, we naturally become more aware of the need for diversity and can see when we lack it in our organizations.



What one tried and tested strategy would you offer our listeners, on how to scale their sales?


Create an intelligent framework that aligns operations, data analysis and KPIs to the customer desired path. When a company knows what repeatable success looks like it can start to automate things that are repeatable amongst all customers and use the valuable time saved to spend with customers on their truly unique situations. This allows for the building of stronger, better relationships and thus, trust and loyalty.


My website (www.thedesiredpath.com) has a lot of resources to help companies do this. If organizations would like to learn more, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to discuss.



If you were on a desert island alone, what one thing would you take with you? or b. Who is your Hero or Shero and tell us why?


People who exhibit high integrity, a good work ethic, quality knowledge within their area of expertise and are authentic earn my respect quickly. I’m inspired by these individuals who are driven by their passion, work hard and have a good sense of humanity.



Any other question and answer, promotion or mention you would like to share?


Listeners of this podcast interested in learning more about the Intelligent Framework™ and how to implement it to drive smarter, faster revenue growth can receive a free copy of “How to Keep the Revenue Your Company Worked so Hard to Earn” eBook by going to the website – www.thedesiredpath.com – and requesting a copy.




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