Together, Customer Success And Customer Marketing Can Create A Better Customer Experience

customer marketingHow would you rate the customer experience at your organization? Better yet, how would your customers rate their experience with you?

If you’re feeling a bit stressed by those questions, you’re not alone. Most B2B organizations have yet to fully map out the customer experience. Let’s focus on small steps you can take today to make improvements in this crucial area to your business.

It was very appropriate that Megan Heuer and Jay Gaines of SiriusDecisions started off their talk at the recent SiriusDecisions conference hula-hooping and juggling to symbolize how companies are trying to tackle the customer experience within their organizations.

It’s a bit of a mess. In fact 75% of the conference attendees see the customer experience as important to invest in but their internal teams are not very co-ordinated to make this a reality. In addition, there isn’t a large focus on the customer experience post-sale. This needs to change right now – especially for companies that sell their products on a subscription basis. You can be part of the solution. Marketing and customer success need to work more closely together to improve the overall customer experience.

How can customer success and customer marketing help each other?

In order for marketing and customer success to get along, they need to be helping each other reach their respective goals and they need to be focused on a common objective of improving the overall customer experience. Both groups need to establish common ground on how they can help each other. Let’s break this down by outlining how each department can assist one another:

CS can help marketing by:

  • Identifying potential advocates and referencable customers. The customer success team works with your customers day in and day out. They know who the top customers are but there may not have been asked by marketing to identify these nor are they incented to do so
  • Providing customer feedback on products, marketing materials and their overall experience
  • Identifying candidates for case studies, testimonials and speaking opportunities
  • Creating blog posts and other company materials that helps educates customers and generate leads for marketing. The customer success team should be your subject matter experts. They have content gold in their heads – they need to put pen to computer and get those ideas out to the masses.

Marketing can help CS by:

  • Organizing customer events. If you want to offer your customers more than just crappy donuts at a customer event, you need to get marketing involved. They have the budget to help you bam up your customer events.
  • Providing access to powerful tools, such as marketing automation. Marketing can help customer success communicate more effectively to customers using these tools that allow for better segmentation and nurturing capabilities.
  • Recognizing your customers. Customer success teams have limited time and it’s mostly focused on assisting customers in need. Marketing can create a more centralized function that recognizes your top customers.

How to get started on aligning CS and marketing

Stop taking your customers for granted. Here are the approaches we recommend to achieve an amazing customer experience by aligning your customer marketing and customer success teams:

customer marketing1. Meet regularly

I’m sure you’re saying, “Oh no, not another meeting!” If you want to improve the customer experience, a simple first step is to open up the lines of communication. This can minimize most issues and generate amazing ideas.

Set up a weekly meeting between the relevant members of your customer success team and customer marketing team. This should be used as way to discuss what each group is focusing on for that week, what’s working and what isn’t. Each department should also discuss how they can assist each other. This will build a stronger relationship between the teams and create a better experience for customers.

2. Clearly define roles

Clearly map out and assign certain tasks to different groups. Here’s an example:

    1. Customer monthly newsletter: Owned by marketing
    2. User groups: Jointly owned by marketing and customer success
    3. References: Owned by marketing
    4. Generating customer stories: Owned by customer success
    5. Updating customer contact data: Owned by customer success
    6. Net Promoter Score surveys: Owned by customer success

By simply meeting and agreeing on roles, you can drastically reduce the confusion that exists.

3. Create a structured advocate marketing program

To get to the next level, you shouldn’t be tracking who your top customers are in a spreadsheet that rarely gets updated. If you’re looking to take your customer experience to the next level, you need a coordinate approach to identifying. mobilizing and recognizing your top customers. You can then tailor a better customer experience for this group. Your customer success teams play an integral role in identifying which customers to invite and customer marketing needs to own and run the program.

4. Align metrics

At the end of the day, what gets measured, gets done. To create a coordinated customer experience, all teams that are involved in supporting these efforts should have some joint metrics that they are measured against. Here are some recommendations:

    1. Marketing: Have a bonus metric based on retention and net MRR (assuming you are a subscription based service)
    2. Customer success: Have a bonus metric based on the number of advocates that have been identified as well as the percentage of customers that are advocating for you.
    3. Both marketing and customer success: Have a bonus metric based on customer satisfaction. Many organizations use NPS, but more companies are starting to use customer advocacy. It’s a more reliable metric as it’s based on tracking if your customers are actually referring you new business.

The time is now. You can’t put off creating a better more co-ordinated customer experience. Start the planning process now by opening up the lines of communication. There is no better place to start then with your customer marketing and customer success teams.

The Rise of the Customer Marketer