Christine Crandell writes on Forbes that CX ownership is a hot potato between marketing, finance and sales:
It’s never been clear who should take a leadership role in this new sector of customer experience. Customer experience leads to revenue, but it’s intensely cross-departmental and crosses a wide spectrum of roles and responsibilities. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that increasingly Sales is taking a leadership role in the customer’s lifetime experience.
Not sure I agree that “increasingly” Sales is taking a leadership role. According to a recent Forrester report, “Chief Customer Officer” is the most popular term for the “executive leading customer experience (CX) efforts across a business unit or an entire company.” And just 21% of CCOs are from Sales backgrounds, a negligible increase from 20% in 2011.
In the past, I would have argued for Marketing to own the CX, because theoretically this should be the organization that understands strategic issues like what drives customer loyalty (CX being one driver of course) along with tactics like lead generation. As buyers self-educate, it increases the responsibility of marketing to engage earlier with the right content, and nurture prospects before turning over to sales.
But the reality is the Sales organization has more power in most B2B organizations. The VP of Sales or Chief Sales Officer is used to owning quota and revenue goals. Why not also own the CX?
In my comment on Christine’s post, I wrote (slightly edited):
There’s no question that CX is becoming more important to B2B organizations. On a recent CustomerThink webinar devoted to B2B CX (see http://bit.ly/XH5NYA), 79% of attendees said CX was critical or very important to their company leaders.
A recent Forrester report on Chief Customer Officers (bit.ly/10q49Qx) found that CCOs are most likely to come from prior jobs in operations/process/quality (31%), LOB management (29%) or marketing (26%). Less commonly, from sales (21%) and customer service (16%).
I’m starting to like the idea of Sales ownership a bit more for a couple of reasons:
1. It plays to the existing power structure of most B2B organizations. Less political in-fighting than if marketing or service owns the job.
2. It will force sales to take a more strategic view of the customer relationship. For this to happen, the CEO would need to set appropriate metrics and reward for more than achieving quota
3. It might even motivate sales to work more collaboratively with the rest of the organization (especially marketing and service) to fulfill the larger CX mission.
I like this better than Chief Revenue Officer because if the CCO really does his/her job, they’ll realize that maximizing revenue is not just about optimizing marketing/sales processes (which is how CRO proponents tend to position the job), but also includes delivering a great buying experience (bit.ly/SctS6I) and providing outstanding service/support.
So what do you think? Is Sales the best owner of the Customer Experience in B2B organizations? And if not Sales, what function do you recommend?