When my good friend Alex asked me to run with the bulls at the San Fermin Festival for his bachelor party, I unequivocally said yes (much to the chagrin of my wife). I googled the route, read about being gored and/or trampled at La Curva de la Muerte, and increased my training regimen to include terror-based sprinting. Soon after I found myself jumping up and down next to Alex on a cold, narrow and crowded street in Pamplona.
With the crack of the first cannon, the corral gate was opened and my adrenaline started pumping. With the crash of the second cannon, the bulls were let loosed in the street. Alex and I took off for La Curva de la Muerte. I was determined to be by his side for as long as he wanted to run. We narrowly tucked around the corner as the bulls sliced by. The slippery brick streets sent both man and toro tumbling. We chased the bulls toward the plaza. I found myself dodging razor sharp horns and hurdling people along the route. Finally, we piled into the arena with the other runners – rewarded for our efforts by a throng of applauding fans.
While I don’t recommend everyone apply their audacious advocacy in the streets of Pamplona, I highly recommend this deep commitment to your customers. Your customers must believe CSMs understand their business and be committed to their longterm success. This requires CSMs to do their homework and stay on top of the challenges facing them.
This isn’t just being a cheerleader. This means getting in the ring and committing to the success of your customer come hell or high water. There will constantly be hurdles and obstacles to avoid during the relationship, but each overcame pitfall adds real value to your relationship. This added value will lead to negative churn as your CSMs identify upsells and cross-sells that enhance customer value and company revenue.
Audacious advocacy can be applied to all client sizes and all CSM touch strategies. While the application will change, the outcome does not – customers for life. Just remember to tuck around Dead Man’s Curve and run like hell.