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Podcast Recap: LEARN with John Schoenstein

Creating high-performance teams and providing a best-in-class customer experience is a priority for organizations of all types and sizes.

And while it’s crucial to test new initiatives and continuously innovate, there are some tried-and-true strategies to help your teams, customers, and your organization succeed.

In this LEARN podcast episode, John Schoenstein, Chief Revenue Officer, Sprout Social, shares four lessons he’s learned while working for successful organizations like Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, Adobe, and more.

Read on to discover John’s advice on building relationships with customers and his philosophy on leadership and constant, never-ending improvement.

Prioritize customer centricity

John started his career as an SDR at Oracle, an experience he says was like getting an MBA in sales. He learned discipline, structure, and how to organize a sales team and work with customers.

But the biggest learning he has taken throughout his career is focusing on the customers.

“Oracle ingrained the importance of customer centricity and just making sure you’re constantly focused on delighting the customer,” he says. “I’ve taken that with me everywhere I’ve gone. When you focus on delighting the customer, good things happen. You build trust with those customers, and they often can become long-term customers.”

Focusing on customers and equipping them with the necessary support and resources through customer education empowers them to excel in their roles and get the most out of your product or service.

These customers can become loyal brand advocates and not only stay with your company but also refer you to other customers and help you increase your revenue.

Treat your leaders like multipliers

John has worked with many different organizations, including Amazon, Momentive, and Microsoft, among others. Working with different teams and observing other leaders has enabled him to develop his leadership philosophy.

John shares what he learned from Liz Wiseman, a former Oracle colleague and author of the book Multipliers.

“I had the opportunity to work with Liz at Oracle, and she was one of the best leaders I have ever seen,” he says. “Her philosophy was that a leader can have a multiplying effect, essentially bringing out the best in your team, hiring great talent, and helping them reach their potential.”

John explains that to do this, you need clear communication and must challenge team members and push them further than what feels comfortable.

“I try to set my team members up for success,” he says. “I want to create the space to let those folks shine.”

Read more: Proven Strategies to Design Leadership Development Training That Works

Show don’t tell

Coaching and developing team members requires an individual approach because everyone learns differently, and what motivates one person may not work for another.

John’s approach to employee development is to help team members level up by demonstrating rather than just giving instructions.

“I love getting on calls; I probably spend 30 percent of my time on customer calls, reaching out to prospects, and visiting customers,” he says. “I like building those relationships, so I try to demonstrate the best practices I’ve been taught in my career.”

For example, with a junior salesperson, John would show them what he’s talking about and where they might have the opportunity to take a different approach or build a stronger relationship with a customer.

“I try to create a culture where people feel that it’s a place they can learn,” he says. “it’s a place they can grow, and we work together as a team to help develop each other.”

Read more: How to Create a Learning Culture

Be better, never best

John has carried his leadership principles and focus on constant improvement into his current role at Sprout Social.

“We have a philosophy at Sprout Social, we always strive to be better, but we’re never going to say we’re the best or that we’re done,” he says. “There’s going to be constant growth, and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to do more and do better.”

No matter the role or industry, there’s always room for improvement and ways to learn and develop. Implementing these strategies, investing in employees and customers, and promoting continuous learning and development will help your people and your organization thrive.

Check out the full episode to hear more from John. And subscribe to the LEARN podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast-listening apps for more expert tips and insights from industry leaders.

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