Another year, another successful Forrester B2B Summit in the books! Influitive was proud to sponsor this live virtual experience and connect with marketers, customer experience experts, and analysts worldwide. Looking back, here are five key learnings that every customer marketing and engagement professional should consider as they look to optimize their strategies.  

#1. Reimagine Retention’s Role in Your Sales Funnel 

In their opening keynote, Forrester’s Kerry Cunningham and Steve Silver unveiled the new B2B Revenue Waterfall, which turns buyers into advocates and fuels demand generation activities such as attracting net new buyers’ attention and accelerating deal closing. 

Most organizations rely on a mix of customer acquisition, retention, cross-sell and up-sell to make their revenue goals, but their Demand Waterfalls contain only some of these opportunities. By planning and managing all opportunities in one Demand Waterfall, organizations can better manage their goals and optimize revenue engine resources. 

Retention is the high-octane fuel of B2B revenue engines. Forrester research shows that high-performing organizations are: 

  • 2X more likely to report a significantly greater investment in customer success
  • 3X more likely to report a significantly greater investment in customer marketing

New customers immediately become retention opportunities, and those convert at much higher rates than net-new acquisition opportunities. According to Forrester, an engaged acquisition opportunity typically converts 2-5% of the time, whereas a retention opportunity should convert 75-85% of the time.

#2. Keep Customers Close Within Your Competitive Strategy

According to Forrester’s Amy Bills and Paul Ferron, “forgetting about existing customers” is a common competitive strategy mistake organizations make. When it comes to customer intelligence, strategic customer advocacy work is crucial! Customer references are key to this but should not be your only tactic; let customers share their stories and observations of market trends. 

Also, consider tapping into your customer advisory board, who can provide rich information like: 

  • Input into and prioritization of the product roadmap to bolster competitive position
  • Insight into vulnerable customer segments
  • Emerging industry trends 
  • Feedback on messaging, offers, and other retention approaches

#3. Invest in Existing Customers to Drive Buyer Trust

Trust in all institutions continues to decline, and B2B companies must invest in activities that consistently foster and reinforce buyer trust to successfully attract, retain, and grow customers. 

Forrester’s Ian Bruce and Isabel Montesdeoca identified seven levers to help companies determine where and how to invest in building and maintaining buyer trust:

  1. Accountability: you account for your activities and accept responsibility for them
  2. Competence: you’re good at what you do, and your offering delivers
  3. Consistency: you consistently deliver quality results and fulfill your duties
  4. Dependability: you follow through on your commitments
  5. Empathy: you understand and care about me and my success
  6. Integrity: you are honest and critical
  7. Transparency: you communicate your activities in an open and straightforward way 

When the stakes are high, trust is imperative and investing in priority trust levers increases competitive advantage by decreasing risks and increasing rewards gained by doing business with you. It’s also where customer advocates can help. 

To decrease buyer risk, companies can increase competence and transparency by facilitating access to subject matter experts, including customer advocates. 

When it comes to increasing buyer reward, be consistent and accountable by demonstrating value realized by similar customers. This could come in the form of customer stories, testimonials or third-party reviews. Companies can also lead with transparency and integrity by providing access to a powerful broader ecosystem such as a customer community. 

#4. Advocacy Content Must be Prioritized

In Conquer The Chaos Of Your Case Study Content, Forrester’s Amy Bills and Lisa Gately explored optimal ways to develop and organize advocacy content. In their 2019 Global Marketing Content Credibility Study, 82% of global tech decision makers identified relevant examples or case studies as “important” or “very important” to their engagement with sales reps. 

When you’re able to develop scalable and compelling customer stories, they can pay dividends throughout your organization. But advocacy is a two-way street, so while it’s important to create a collaborative process to optimize the impact of customer advocacy content, you must maintain a compelling advocate experience. This means playing to your advocates’ strengths, being clear on expectations, and making it as easy as possible for them to participate. 

Delivering these compelling advocacy content assets can be done through a customer community, by email, across social, or through user groups, customer advisory boards and other events. 

#5. Customer Growth is Key to Marketing’s Success Post-Pandemic 

What is B2B marketing’s new destiny in a post-pandemic world? Lead their organizations to success with a relentless focus on delivering value to key stakeholders and existing and future customers. 

Forrester’s Lori Wizdo and Jennifer Ross identified six mindset shifts every B2B marketer must embrace to drive customer-obsessed growth: 

  1. Be a steward of stakeholder relationships to evolve from transactions and privacy to relationships built on trust.
  2. Craft compelling brand experiences that pivot from “our mission” to “our impact” and embrace customer-driven values. 
  3. Extend beyond acquisition to lifecycle and champion current and future customers through operationalizing deep customer insights. 
  4. Become an engineer of experiences that go beyond targeted to personalized and ultimately earn you the right to engage in the customer’s process. 
  5. Be the architect of customer value that encompasses outcomes and is focused on enabling positive change.
  6. Unlock unseen possibilities with insights and technologies and be the orchestrator of future success

Ultimately, B2B marketers can future-proof their organizations and meet societal challenges by stepping up to fulfill this new mandate. 

How Influitive Can Help

Now is the time for customer marketing and advocacy professionals to accelerate growth by being bolder, better and brighter with their strategies. Influitive helps customer-obsessed companies create and deliver tailored customer experiences through personalized onboarding, incentivized learning and intuitive guided journeys. Using content-targeting, gamification and rewards, Influitive enables marketers to engage and mobilize customer advocates to increase referrals, references, reviews, case studies, and more.