Next Gen CMO What’s better: spending time and money trying to reach new potential clients, or powering more word of mouth marketing through your happiest customers?

According to LinkedIn, word of mouth influences 92% of all B2B purchases. In addition, four out of five people will tell an average of three others about a positive experience they had with a company.

This means companies that focus on creating a better customer experience will come out on top.

Bill Macaitis, CMO at Slack Technologies (and former CMO of Zendesk, the leading cloud-based customer service software solution), has fueled incredible growth for several well-known tech brands with his customer-centric mentality. Case in point? Slack was named the fastest growing B2B application ever for gaining over 500,000 daily active users and $12 million in ARR within the first year of its launch.

Bill’s customer-focused, data-driven marketing strategy is one of the driving forces behind Slack’s success. “I’m a passionate believer in customer-centric organizations. The next generation of companies should focus on the long-term, customer life-time value, instead of just the short-term sale,” says Bill.

Here, Bill shares four ways organizations can become customer-obsessed, and gain more loyal evangelists in the process.

1. Change your metrics focus.

If you’re focusing on sales metrics, like leads, pipeline and opportunities, instead of customer-centric metrics, like NPS, CSAT and daily active usage, you aren’t putting the customer experience front and center. “When you have financially-based metrics, it creates incentives around maximizing short-term value,” says Bill. “For instance, if your organization has more sales people than your support team, that’s a good data point that you may be focusing too much on the short run.”

Building the infrastructure to measure true customer success metrics, and incentivizing your team around those numbers, is the best way to ensure your brand thinks about the customer first in every decision you make.

Focusing on activity metrics can be misleading. “A lot of companies may use something no one likes—like their expense reporting software—but employees still use it so they can get paid. It doesn’t mean they’re happy with it,” says Bill.

His go-to metric? Your NPS score. “It’s a really simple metric that best sums up your company’s health. It’s an indicator of your long term growth.”

2. Find your advocates.

Bill recommends taking your NPS score to the next level by attaching a simple “Why?” question underneath it and surveying everyone who touches the product (not just the usual 5% sample size). NPS can help identify your brand’s advocates, drive your product roadmap, alert you to customers in danger of churning, and which customers you should approach for stories. “Ask your biggest evangelists for reviews, tweets or customer videos. It’s really easy to reach out and tap into that evangelism.”

The bonus? Shining a light on your advocates will fuel more word of mouth marketing for your brand. “It’s always going to beat out whatever sophisticated, targeted advertising program you have,” says Bill.

3. Encourage employees to create added customer value.

Tapping into employees for content ideas can create unexpected value for customers. As an example, Zendesk published a blog written by the customer support manager about the 10 questions he asked potential customer support candidates in interviews. The post received nearly 100,000 views per month. “It was authentic article because it wasn’t selling Zendesk; it addressed a core pain-point that a lot of customer support managers had,” says Bill.

Running an online community, planning a customer conferences and creating inspiring content for customers will require help from your team, but these activities will pay dividends down the road. “Customers will have a deeper affinity for your brand and recommend you to more people,” says Bill.

4. Infuse your brand’s values into everything you do.

A brand is the sum of every single experience a customer has with all of your touch points, not what fonts you choose or marketing copy you write. This means everything, including your website, contact forms, and billing process, should be designed to make customers happy.

“Everyone in the company is helping to shape your brand,” says Bill. Instilling employees with your brand’s mission will help them articulate the value of your product, and help customers. However, the importance of customer success must trickle down from upper management. “Companies that focus on every customer life-cycle stage, and the metrics that drive customer behavior, get rewarded with long-term growth, low customer acquisition costs, high word of mouth, and tremendous evangelism.”

If you aren’t sure your tactics are customer-focused, Bill recommends asking yourself one question: “Will it really benefit the customers, or will it just boost sales because we need a jump at the end of the month?”

To hear Bill talk more on building a customer centric organization, register for Advocamp now!

Free eBook: The CMO’s Guide to Next Gen Brand Building

This eBook features key insights from forward-thinking CMOs and marketing leaders on:

  • The changing role of the CMO
  • Delivering an exceptional customer experience
  • Cultivating a customer-obsessed company culture
  • Increasing customer retention and loyalty
  • Enlisting the help of advocates to build your brand and generate revenue

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