John Rossman, author of The Amazon Way on IoT: 10 Principles for Every Leader from the World’s Leading Internet of Things Strategies, and The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company, joins me on this episode.
John says the single biggest challenge that sales professionals face today relates to increased buyer sophistication and awareness. The challenge is to understand how to set the case for implementing your product or tool.
The Amazon Way books come from John’s experience at Amazon. John coached with stories from Amazon, and a friend urged him to write them. The first book was Amazon’s 14 principles. The second was on IoT strategies used by Amazon.
The books are about principles. “The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” — Harrington Emerson. Principles have durability.
Sales is too obsessed with methodologies. Principles have vision, clarity, and adaptability. They are tactical. When people buy into the principles there is less debate on tactics.
Amazon is obsessed with the customer. “We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help the customer make a purchase decision.” — Jeff Bezos. ‘Search Inside the Book’ is an example of this obsession.
“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards.” — Jeff Bezos. Build true customer empathy and understand all about the customer, broader than just their need for your product. Design new products with this understanding.
Danny Meyer, restaurateur, is completely obsessed with customers, and he won Andy’s return business. John recommends using detailed metrics to measure the customer experience, and driving to improve them.
John shares an example of how metrics were built and applied in a B2B company over specific details on complex products. He explains the process they built to find issues, including the pre-sale experience, to prevent change orders.
In the B2B example, they also work to define what the pre-sale experience should be, and how to improve it, including how to prevent the need for change orders.
Jeff Bezos said he can’t imagine a world where customers want fewer selections, higher prices, and slower delivery. John discusses durable strategies for a business. Know your brand promise. John explains Amazon’s brand.
Amazon has a cascade of metric reviews of the customer experience, where they shoot for perfection at each level. Observe the actual customer experience — not through surveys. Happy stories do not lead to improvements.
Talking to a customer in the field shows you what is happening in their business, to build true customer empathy. Understand personal motivations and pressures involved. Thei means, build relationships, face-to-face.