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Rudy Dillenseger, Worldwide Director of Sales Effectiveness, explains how Microsoft Corp. was able to take its Catalyst approach virtually with the help of Klaxoon. Find out how to understand the needs of your clients 100% remotely! Rudy shares his hands-on experience on how his teams were able to run effective envisioning workshops with clients all around the world using Design Thinking templates and keep driving sales effectiveness in a remote work context.
Understanding the needs of your clients 100%-remotely is no small task, but Rudy Dillenseger, Worldwide Director of Sales Effectiveness at Microsoft Corp., has had to learn fast.
When the pandemic hit, offices closed and travel shut down, so it was essential for him to work out how to take the Microsoft Catalyst approach fully virtual in order to run effective envisioning workshops with clients all around the world.
You might be wondering whether effective virtual workshops are really a possibility, so read on to find out how with the help of Klaxoon and using Design Thinking templates, Rudy and his team have set the bar high for driving sales effectiveness in a remote work context.
As a Microsoft Catalyst “Inspire” Lead, Dillenseger has long sought to transform customer experience and inspire the co-creation of their digital transformation journey. His focus is always on value – “what is the tangible business value that our customers are looking for?”.
For his clients, this means taking an empathetic approach and leveraging design-led thinking to work out what the future of their business could look like.
Dillenseger believes that by better understanding what his customers do, he is in the strongest possible position to help them: utilizing the full range of Microsoft technologies and making the not insignificant conversational shift from product to business (and digital) outcomes.
Customers’ needs and the desire to create a solution as an answer to these needs are at the heart of the Microsoft Catalyst approach, rather than simply pushing a product and then trying to understand how to leverage it.
Dillenseger points out that what he and his team do in a Design Thinking workshop is actually not that complicated – they just try not to jump to conclusions! Their methodology is bound up in returning to the root cause – identifying the problem statement their customers are trying to fix and then figuring out what to do next.
By looking at solutions that can be implemented before jumping straight to the product, this approach removes the potential block of a fixed mindset and allows the creativity to flow. And in a room with multiple people, creativity levels are usually pretty high.
But how does this work when you can’t rely on people flying to be in the room?
In the old world, Rudy Dillenseger and his team used physical whiteboards and sticky notes. But he says, they’ve had to re-think absolutely everything.
It was like flicking a switch – from one day to the next, the very basics of how they operated had to change, including recruitment and training processes.
Not surprisingly, there was some concern about how to make virtual engagements interactive-enough so that participants wouldn’t drop out, while still providing the same value to customers they would have if they had flown to one of Microsoft’s offices.
Of course, there was an intention from the outset to use Microsoft Teams, but Dillenseger knew they would need something else, and started looking at different solutions.
The criteria were simple – they needed whiteboard functionality, but also the capability to create interaction with customers. Gamification to support engagement and multiple tools to encourage active participation were the things that made Klaxoon stand out.
According to Dillenseger, Klaxoon has been super helpful in finding that engagement, allowing participants to vote, ask questions, even annotate ideas in real time. And it’s so simple that you can ask questions as you go, you don’t need to prepare in advance.
Another one of the key benefits of using Klaxoon is that everything is incredibly well-documented. You can export all the results, colleagues can create their own reports, and everything that’s on the board remains available.
You can wave goodbye to trying to decipher a photograph of multiple sticky notes once the workshop is over and everything is sharable - so team members who weren’t participating can still benefit from the envisioning. Better still, there is no need to “write up” the notes after a Klaxoon workshop!
For Dillenseger and his team, it’s vital to be able to define what a project will look like and create a roadmap for success. Being able to use Klaxoon to prioritize the results of a workshop, for example ranking ideas in order of business importance and using graphs to help to define complex thinking and provide evidence to support plans, has really enhanced their already established ways of working.
For Microsoft and Rudy Dillenseger, the next question is of course “what do our customers think?” quickly followed by “how has Klaxoon been performing?”.
And you can probably guess the answer! Dillenseger says that in many cases, Klaxoon has been a real eye-opener – proving that it is possible to solve problems remotely through workshops.
Interestingly, he says it’s also encouraged a step change in how team meetings are considered, with many now accepting that the exclusivity of being physically in a room is not always the best way to reach a solution.
He likes to hold an envisioning workshop with his customers as early as possible in the sales process, in order to build trust and create a different kind of customer relationship. This way, he can very quickly qualify the customer, so the sooner the conversation starts the better.
Customers are also beginning to recognize that virtual working or at least a hybrid approach is likely to be sticking around regardless of the pandemic.
For them, a virtual workshop using Klaxoon provides all the benefits of an in-person meeting, but with a broader range of people (and therefore experience and expertise) and less of the complexity. And with that complexity removed, it is possible to simply focus on the scenarios they are trying to solve. This is about getting a return on investment – and the virtual workshops make it easy to demonstrate capabilities and show what you can do.
Dillenseger says his team has definitely seen an increase in their win rate, and he’s pretty sure this new virtual setup has something to do with it!
To learn more about how Rudy Dillenseger and his teams have been collaborating with Klaxoon in order to boost the efficiency and the interactivity when engaging with customers from a full remote perspective, watch the Live available on our Youtube channel: