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Learn how Okta has embedded personalization into their digital-led customer success experiences and how AI can drive personalization to the next level.
Alana Stoltzfus - Senior Digital Growth Manager at Okta
This transcript was created by AI. If you see any mistakes, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matik MC: Everyone welcome. Excited to have you here today. Welcome to Matik, AI and customer success summit. You are in the session named how personalization can amplify your digital success program. And really excited for the session. It's going to be great. I'm excited to introduce our speaker. And as I introduce her, I'm gonna ask her an ice breaker question, what would you use AI to automate in your life outside of work? So thank you for being here Alana Stoltzfus senior director, growth manager at Okta. I would love to hear, your response on what you'd like to automate outside of work.
Alana Stoltzfus: Thanks Hannah. Thanks for having me today. So to answer your question, how would I use AI to automate my life outside of work? I have two young kids. They're three years old and five years old. And every morning I spend so much mental energy trying to determine what to make them for lunch. So if somebody could tell me what's in my fridge, what's in my pantry, what cravings my kids have that day, and their preferences, and tell me what to make for lunch, that would save me a whole auto, mental energy to devote to other parts of my day. So that would be ideal.
Matik MC: I could use that with my little ones too. I think I'd save food too. So that's a great answer just before we start the session, reminder to everyone attending, you can add any questions throughout for Alana to answer. In the Q and a section, it should be at the bottom of your screen and she will answer those towards the end. So with that, I'm gonna hand it over.
Alana Stoltzfus: Right. We'll kick us off. So as Hannah mentioned, I'm a senior digital growth manager at Octa. So before I dive in, I tell you a little bit about myself. So I previously mentioned my kiddos, of course, my dog decide is gonna bark for the first time today, right? When I start this session, great timing. I previously mentioned my kiddos, but this is me with my oldest dropping him off at kindergarten for the first time last week. So big life moment professionally. I've been at Octa for just over three years on our digital growth team, more broadly known as digital success. When I first started, we were a very small team of just me and my director. But now we've grown to eight strong. So lots of growth over the past three years. Our team focus is entirely on post sales. So we help our customers onboard adopting renew scale. And the scale piece is really what interests me. In fact that's really what got me into the digital success space in the first place. So if we go back in the time machine about five years ago, I was a customer success manager myself at LinkedIn. I managed a book of very large enterprise customers for a sort of a startup product within the company. And within that role, I realized as we grew and my book grew from five customers to 15 customers. There was so much there that I felt like we could help our customers self serve. So I could focus more so on the strategic conversations with my customers and really where I could have the most impact, the metrics that I cared about in my role like adoption retention, et cetera. So I started kind of taking this 20 percent role where I build some resources to help, our customer self serve and find other areas where we could scale out. And I realized I wanted to do that full time. So that's what led me to at lassie in that role and even in a digital role and then ultimately Octa. But I think the concept of scaling B to B is fairly new. But in the consumer world where I started my career, managing eCommerce website builds for large consumer brands. It's really necessary in the B to C world and you can't drive a consumer to purchase by getting them on the getting on the phone with them. And you have to deliver a highly personalized experience, in a self serve manner. And I think that's where this is the most interesting, right? How do you bring these two worlds together to drive adoption and retention? But while balancing the unique needs of the enterprise environment. So that is where we will focus today. All right. So what we're gonna go through first, why does personalization matter? Why do we expect that we can serve generic content to our customers and expect that they're going to stay with us? Second, we'll walkthrough, how it Octa, we built our digital lead programs around personalization. In fact, about 80 percent of our customers Octa, do not have a customer success manager. They rely heavily on digital programs to understand how to onboard and adopt and ultimately renew our products. And then lastly, we'll walkthrough how we can think about AI in the realm of personalized digital success, and how AI tools can complement what we've built or what we could build and enable scale for your digital customer journey. So let's dive in. So as a little exercise, we're gonna run a quick pull. Do you like olives?
Alana Stoltzfus: I'm gonna give you about 30 seconds to answer this call.
Alana Stoltzfus: All right. I think we're probably about 30 seconds. We see the results… all right. 85 percent of you like lives but a good 15 percent don't which actually that's a pretty high proportion of people who like olives in this group than what I've heard in the past. So the reason I ask this question is because if I told you all that you're going to have olives for lunch, 85 percent of you would be quite content about that. But there's still 15 percent of you that are not gonna like olives in your lunch. So what's important is that we think about everybody has different preferences. Everyone has something else that motivates them depending on what they want in their day. So if we dive into this exercise just a little bit further, keep talking about food here. Hopefully everybody is well fed after lunch on here on the west coast. We just finished our lunch. So hopefully everyone's nice and full and we're not too far from dinner time. But if not try not to get too hungry, think about how we would customize our lunch, right? Do we, how long has it been since we last at let's say we just ate an hour ago? Maybe we're not very hungry or it's been a while. We really want a big meal. Does anybody have dietary restrictions? So if someone's began as an example, I'm not gonna give them a big cheese Burger. Like we asked you like olives, what did you eat yesterday? Maybe you don't want pizza, three days in a row? And other questions to help understand what's their environment, like do they want something depending on if they're outside or inside or you really want to be in a food come after lunch, you want a giant buff or you want something fresh and light that's gonna keep you motivated throughout the afternoon. No judgement. Either way. So as you think about all these questions about food, we all want a personalized experience for food. So why would our motivations to adopt a product be any different? So with that said, I'm gonna ask this other question. We put the next pull up how many of you provide at least two flavors of your adoption recommendations for your customers and either onboarding or adoption emails. It actually doesn't have to be e-mail any experience that is differentiated for your customer, depending on what we know about them specifically. I'd be even better if it was about your data and what, you know, they've done, but customization based on what you know about them. We'll give 30 more seconds for this.
Alana Stoltzfus: All right. I think that's probably been about 30 seconds. You'd see the results… great. It's actually pretty split that's really interesting. So about half of you said yes, about a third of you said no, and the rest of you said, I have no idea. So that's awesome. It's great to see all sorts of experiences across the board. And if you haven't done it or you don't know how to do it great. So we're gonna talk through it. And if you have done it, we'll talk through ways that you can deeply personalize it even more. All right. So let's dive in even further. So as you think about personalization, it all kinda comes together within three different aspects. So you wanna think about do we have the right message to the right people? Because they all matters when we bring it all together? One is the timing matters, just like you don't want to Burger right after you just eight, you might not want to ask if you're aging your customers, you might want to ask if you're engaging your customers at the right touch points at Octa. We actually ran an analysis and found that it can take our customers up to six months to adjust their security settings. So are we presenting them with security adoption recommendations at the right time? If we're surfacing that two weeks after onboarding, maybe some customers already, maybe some customers aren't so we wanna make sure that we surface the message depending on where they are in their journey to the second is, do we understand the customer state? Just like I wouldn't recommend a Burger to a vegetarian unless maybe it's impossible meet Burger or something along those lines. I might want to focus on some basic adoption recommendations for customers who haven't adopted the bare minimum before diving into super advanced functionality, and vice versa. If someone got went really deep, I wouldn't want to recommend something very basic for them. Lastly, are we communicating to the right people in the right place? Our Octa admins are in the product at every day, making changes within the product? Updating policies is one example. But our buyers might never log into the admin console and could care less about how to update policies and settings. So how do we solve for this? And in order to address how we personalize the experience, there may be different metrics to assess depending on where your customer is in your journey. So you can kinda think through. This is kind of a good framework for determining how do I personalize? And what data would I look at in order to help me personalize. So for example, if we dissect the customer journey and the customer life cycle into adoption post adoption might be mid journey where they're kinda wondering what did the adoption do for me? I, and then leading up into the renewal as a separate phase. So let's say we're looking at the adoption piece of the journey. We might be focused on reducing their time to value, meaning we want to get them to value as quickly as possible, but every customer moves at a different pace for whatever reason. So although one customer may have fully launched and deployed after 15 days, another might take two months. And the message we send them might be the same but very different moments in time. We might also ask if they adopted features that lead to what many of you may have heard is kind of this aha moment where they realize the value of the product because they adopted as a particular feature. If you haven't done these things, we may want to make sure that we're sending a targeted message to drive them towards that state. And if they have, we don't want to bother them with suggested actions that they've already taken. And if they are disengaged, then we can serve, that can serve as a red flag to take other methods such as trying to reengage them. And we wanna look at the data slightly differently. If they have already adopted, we wanna know whether they understand the value of what they've received a customer health score might indicate that through measures like engagement with our community or whether they took any training. So demonstrating they adopted some advanced features like in our, or a sentiment survey, we can also surface metrics that demonstrate value and measure their engagement with those metrics. And then lastly, we want to understand before renewal, if the renewal is likely to be a slam dunk before we go in with renewal messaging. If there's a customer who's hesitant, you don't want to go in with a look at all this great stuff that you've seen. We have to convince them first, right? So once we evaluate all these metrics, how do we actually personalize our messaging? All right? So this is what we've done at Octa, hopefully this will serve as inspiration if you haven't been able to implement personalization in your program. So I'll share a few examples for you. But at Octa, we've deeply embedded personalization into our onboarding and adoption experiences. So this is sort of a snapshot of the customer journey. If you think of it that way after a customer purchases, opted, they receive an onboarding e-mail from us and the experience is differentiated. Whether they are a buyer and want to know what to expect in their engagement, or they're an admin, who will be deep in the product importing users, adding applications, creating policies more. And as part of the onboarding, e-mail, they're directed to our customer success tub, which I'll dive deeper into in just a moment. There, they'll watch a personalized video that includes key contacts, a little bit of a play there. You can kinda see what it looks like. They'll include key contacts, adoption recommendations that are specific to them and links directly to their instance of the products. They can immediately take action. And then once they're in the product, we don't abandon them to figure it out and how to figure out how to adopt our recommendations. We guide them through their journey with every step of the way with in app guides that direct them to complete their key adoption steps. And all this is powered by product telemetry and data. We know about the customers. The experience is personalized just for them.
Alana Stoltzfus: All right. Sorry, it's not clicking. Okay. So if I dive a little bit into our customer success hub, the customer success hub acts as a place for us to drive our customers to be able to proactively decide what they wanna do. So if you think about it like e-mail and in that guides, we are meeting them where they are in a sort of reactive point. So the customer took an action because you took that action, we're gonna show you a recommendation. But if the customer wants to go in and understand what are my next steps, I'm ready, like what should I do? Where should I go? The customer success hub is deeply personalized for the customer, so that we can provide them recommendations based on where they are in their journey. So as they arrive on the success hub, which is on our help center, we understand the tasks that they've taken to see. Have they deployed already? If they've already deployed? We're not going to give them onboarding recommendations. We're gonna focus more so on adoption in how they can generate for their value out of the product or we know they're 90 days before their renewal. So it will default them into more of a renewal phase. Additionally within our success hub, we provide links to their value snapshot reports, and we actually use Matik to generate these value snapshot reports. And this reflects back on the value of the customer they receive. So before they adopt more adoption recommendations, but now they've adopted, do they understand the value that we've actually delivered to them? So we provide them a summarized view of the savings that they've received from a productivity standpoint, or some of the security benefits they've gotten out of our product as an example. And we're also thinking about how can we even more deeply personalize this by going on beyond just their data and what they've achieved, but also their use case to understand what the value is based on what they want to achieve, since everybody might not want to achieve the same things. So this type of personalization has been really powerful for us as we've deployed it over the past few years. In fact, in the two years since we launched a lot of our digital programs, we actually doubled a lot of our activation and adoption metrics from a license standpoint. So we're reaping the benefits of getting deeper in personalization, but we know there's still a lot more we can do. So there is a point in which we realize that, you know, we only have so much manpower to be able to power a lot of these digital experiences. So there are certain sacrifices that we do make and that includes with certain scenario development, we have over 40 product skews that Octa, and we have customers who have all sorts of combinations of those product skews. And we might want different recommendations depending on what skews they own. So oftentimes we kinda make a compromise and we say, what are our top products? Let's develop scenarios for just those top products. But what if we could think through all the scenarios so that customers don't get left behind and we can have recommendations depending on the combination that the customer picked. Additionally, we have limits towards edge cases. So for example, certain customers have our primary language is a different language. They have skews that I typically are kind of outlier skews that not many people own. There's other areas where there's certain customers who have different instances that we just don't accommodate because it's too hard to scale those out. Similarly customer needs change. We have different scenarios for different people and oftentimes with macro economic conditions or for their company, their needs change. And we constantly need to adjust, which also takes manpower in order to figure out how we update those adjustments. So that's really where we see AI coming into play in the future. How can we take all these different scenarios that as humans? It would take us so much time to do that. Ultimately, we don't accommodate it right now. But there's so much more we could do if we were to have AI embedded in a lot of these digital programs, that we build. So in full transparency as a security company, we have a lot of challenges with implementing AI. And we're still going through the processes of understanding what are the implications and where does our data goes? Our customers data go within AI. So it's important you kinda think through all those different challenges and we're still in that process. But as we're kind of going through that process, it also is helpful to kinda think through like what could you be doing better? So then we, when we do get there, we're ready and we know how we're going to adopt, how we're going to adapt all of our different programs. So I'll leave you with this as we think about our digital programs or customer success at scale, what are some things that you can do as a next step that are tangible and easy in order to do one is, I would say if you of those that haven't had different flavors of let's say emails or an app programs, just pick one kick one to start with the keys off. One data point, for example, what is the data point that tells you that the customer has started to use your product and provide a different recommendation, whether they haven't started or they have started. It's. Sort of a simple starting point. It sounds easier than it is sometimes, but start there, just think through that one data point second, think about communicating value how your customer sees it. So think about how you can personalize based on what your customer wants rather than what you want. That's another way to think through personalization. And then the last thing as we're starting to think about this new world of AI, where can I fill this gap where you feel like as humans, you've reached that barrier in order to scale so that I can help compliment what you're doing in your role within digital. So I hope that was helpful for everybody and insightful information that you can take into your day to day job. And I think we have about 10 minutes for questions.
Matik MC: Thank you so much Alan. We have a few questions. If you have any questions that you want to answer, just remember to put them in the Q and a chat and we'll get to as many as we can. And if we can't we will get to them after and make sure that alone gets her perspective put on them. The first question when personal, when personalizing onboarding and adoption, what are some of the best practices? One I can think of is if they're setting themselves up for failure, non renewal, creating messaging to help them about how they might want to change their path?
Alana Stoltzfus: Yeah. I mean, I think you kinda hit the nail, hit the nail on the head with how you can think about personalization. So when you think about what is success for them, what is success for your product? So I think that's the first keys. Like if you were to define success for your particular product or products, how would you measure that? And once you know how you measure that, then you can drive your customer towards success within that measurement. So for example, for acta, what we measure as success for deployment is we want them to add applications and we want them to import users. If they haven't done those two things, then that's not a measurement of success. And ultimately, they're not going to be set up for success leading up to the renewal. Similarly with they're let's say post deployment, what are some of those key actions where they're going to get unique value out of your product? So when we think about like us or our competitors, like what do we do uniquely that our customer would never be able to get at a competitor? And can we make sure that they can realize value out of that particular product in a way that also we can measure back to say, hey, we told our customer that they should do XY and Z a NE and we got them to adopt that. But if you don't embed personalization into that, then your recommendations are gonna be or not going to drive the action you want your customer to take. So if you're telling them to do something that they already done, that's just sort of a wasted recommendation for your customer, waste your customers time and you lose that level of engagement that you'll get from them in the future. So hopefully that helped answer your question.
Matik MC: Great. Thank you. Another question. What is something unexpected? You and your team learned while you began implementing personalization?
Alana Stoltzfus: Yeah, good question. Yeah, I think the main challenge we have as I'm sure many of you also have as a challenge is data because you can't personalize without data. So it's not easy to be able to get access to the data that you want. And it took, it was a journey I will say to define the data that we needed to make sure product was tracking that data to be able to take that track data and put it in a consumable manner in the systems that we could use in order to trigger certain messages to our customers. So there's a whole flow that you kinda have to think through and just sort of mentally prepare yourself that sort of table stakes in order to be able to power personalization. But once you get that engine going, it makes it a lot easier and you can be able, you are able to personalize your different messaging through that same engine that you set up in the very beginning. So once we did that initial setup, our data engine coming from our data warehouse, we use Salesforce, a custom object in Salesforce in order to power a lot of that data. And then we feed that in to our e-mail system. We use GainSight journey orchestrator to provide e-mail recommendations and Pendo for our in app recommendations. And then once you have that whole system flowing, it makes it much more easy, to be able to power you recommendations based on data.
Matik MC: Great. And I think you talked just talked to some of this and I know you mentioned some tools during your session, but if you just want to review what technology you use to deliver your customer success?
Alana Stoltzfus: Yeah. So our customer success hub is built on Salesforce experience cloud. And so we work closely with our business technology team and there is, are some custom experiences within it, but it's leveraging some of the out of the box experiences from Salesforce experience cloud. And what that did is I actually made it really easy for us to have data that powers it because a lot of our data already sits in Salesforce. So we were able to basically anything that we had in Salesforce including some of the product telemetry on the custom object that I mentioned earlier, we could take that and power that right into our customer success hub, but I know there's a few other tools out there. I think GainSight just recently came out with a tool that has sort of a success hub experience. So, I know Salesforce isn't the only one.
Matik MC: Great. Thank you. I think that's all of our questions for today. So we are going to end our session. Thank you so much for speaking today, Lana. We really appreciate that this is a great session and I am sure everyone agrees. I can see the chat everyone's saying it was amazing. So just so everyone knows before we head out, all the recordings for today's, sessions will be available in our content hub, and we'll notify you as soon as those are available. Again. Thank you so much, Alan. I really appreciate it. And thanks to everyone for attending.
Alana Stoltzfus: Thanks all.
Matik MC: Bye.
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