Breaking Down Silos: Laura Wheeler’s Approach to Customer Journeys

February 15, 2024
Content Marketing | Marketing Strategy | Taking the Lead

Episode Summary

In this episode of Taking the Lead, Christina Brady engages in a thought-provoking conversation with Laura Wheeler, owner and operator of Renegade Operations. Laura begins by sharing her journey from go-to-market leadership roles to founding her company. Renegade Operations stands out for its bold approach to redefining revenue operations with a human touch. Laura emphasizes humanizing revenue operations, focusing on process change, enablement, and understanding buyers’ evolving behaviors.

Laura dives into her unique professional background, which combines operating, enabling, and being an equity analyst. This diverse experience has given her a holistic view of the industry, allowing her to tackle challenges in revenue operations innovatively. Laura’s approach is not just about operational change but also about fostering a fun and understanding environment for clients and their buyers.

The episode explores Laura’s philosophy of breaking down silos and building effective customer journeys. She discusses the importance of empathy and open communication between cross-functional teams. Laura believes in the power of collaboration, where stakeholders contribute to creating efficient processes and, ultimately, a seamless customer journey. This conversation offers valuable insights into modernizing revenue operations and enhancing customer experiences.

Featured Guest

Name: Laura Wheeler

What she does: Owner and Operator

Company: Renegade Operations

Noteworthy: After 16 years in go-to-market leadership roles, Laura founded Renegade Operations.

Key Insights

The Critical Evaluation Stage in the Sales Funnel

Laura emphasizes the importance of the evaluation and validation stage at the front of the sales funnel, where buyers make crucial decisions. It’s essential for sales teams to recognize this as a pivotal moment to connect with the right customers who will not only make a purchase but also become lifelong advocates. She highlights the need for sales teams to focus on creating lasting customer relationships, even in the absence of a structured process​​.

Empowering Teams Through Enabling Technology and Skills

Laura stresses the significance of equipping teams not just with the right technology but also with the skills to excel in their roles. She points out the value of a synergetic relationship between enablement and operations teams and their stakeholders. This approach fosters a collaborative environment where stakeholders contribute ideas and identify efficiencies, enhancing overall operational effectiveness. Open communication and mutual support are key to this strategy.

The Importance of Revisiting and Adapting Strategies

Laura discusses the common pitfall of failing to revisit and adapt strategies. She notes that in the dynamic world of startups and enterprise companies, new products can introduce new ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buyer journeys. Understanding how these changes affect customers is crucial. Companies must continuously engage with their buyers, understand their needs and feelings, and adapt their strategies to ensure customer retention and advocacy​​.

Episode Highlights

Attribution and Its Impact on the Sales Process 

Laura and Christina discuss the intricacies of attribution in the marketing and sales process. Christina explains that it’s a vital part of the customer journey, which includes the sales process, contracting, and the post-purchase experience. Understanding and managing these aspects effectively is crucial to maintaining a smooth customer journey and impacting revenue positively.

“We’re marketing and sales fight over who is it attributed to? And then there’s the actual sales process which is a part of the customer journey. And then there’s the contracting portion of the journey. What is it like to actually buy? And with the contracting, it’s what happens one minute, one hour, one day, one week, one month after they sign.”​​

The Start of the Customer Journey in Startups 

Laura highlights the importance of the customer journey’s initial stages, especially in startups. She emphasizes the role of the product in the customer journey, including factors like user interface, customer reviews, and referrals. Ensuring a positive perception from the outset is vital for a successful customer journey.

“Early age in a startup, you can have one customer journey, but it’s how your customers are coming into the funnel. […] If you’re a product-led growth company, you need your product in that customer journey. You need to have a good UI. You need to have good reviews on G2. You need to be able to have a ton of referrals.”​​

Targeting and Selling to the Right Customers 

Laura stresses the importance of targeting and selling to the right customers. She points out that customer churn can be more costly than acquiring new revenue. Selling to the right people ensures they are bought in, reducing churn and enhancing brand reputation.

“You want to make sure that you are targeting and selling to the right people up front because then what happens on the backend and we all know what happens […] churn is going to cost you more in the long run than it is going to for that new revenue coming in the door.”​​

The Hidden Costs of Misalignment in Revenue Operations 

Laura discusses the hidden costs of not aligning your product features and operations with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer personas. She warns that this misalignment can lead to stagnated revenue, internal blame games, loss of trust within teams, and a vicious cycle of inefficiency.

“Those are the hidden costs that are going to hinder your success and stagnate revenue. And then, when you are not successful, because you didn’t think about that, the finger-pointing into departments starts to happen and that will break down your teams.”​​

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