Hero image for blog on building a customer-led growth strategy

Welcome to the final post in our multi-part series covering the latest Customer Marketing Summit. Catch up on parts 1 (aligning with customer success), 2 (measuring success and ROI), and 3 (building a successful CAB)

Throughout the day, speakers and attendees expressed their focus on driving customer-led growth. Defining what exactly that means and how to implement it at an organization was top of mind. Luckily, we had Tessa Barron from ON24 to share exactly what it means in practice!

If you don’t know, ON24 helps marketers create engaging webinars and virtual events that deliver insights that drive revenue. 

They see incredible use cases for engaging customers in all new ways, and ways they never imagined as they build GTM strategies. It is exactly that point which they lean into. 

At ON24, they can tangibly see how customers are using their platform through their insights, and this deep knowledge informs their product use cases.

Image from CMA Summit in NYC

Rather than settling for their predefined GTM strategy, they listen and watch how their customers are actually using their technology and adjust, improve and iterate accordingly.

For example, a pharmaceutical customer initially purchased ON24’s solution to engage doctors. 

But, after the COVID-19 pandemic, ON24 noticed the customer also used it to engage patients. ON24 didn’t know their customers would use their platform for B2C, but by watching how customers used the platform, they were able to build new features to support this use case. 

Now, they offer a more integrated solution and, in turn, grew their market share by responding to the needs of their customers.

To get feedback from customers, the ON24 customer marketing team leveraged the community and tapped into verticals/use cases. They also have a customer insights team responsible for collecting feedback at scale. A product team member is also included to ensure that customer feedback informs the product strategy.

To get buy-in for this customer-led approach, ON24 has top-down support from its CEO and CRO. Rather than go-to-market, they have a “go-to-customer” strategy that allows them to differentiate from competitors by understanding how customers use their product.

To work with leadership and get customers on board with their vision, ON24 uses a two-way approach. They have open channels for customers to share their stories, and they also actively hunt down great stories that align with their verticals and use cases. An inbound and outboard approach as Tessa says. This shapes how they engage with customers and what stories they want to highlight.

ON24 also works closely with their sales and field teams to ensure that customer stories are effectively used in the sales process. By weaponizing customer stories, the sales team is able to give examples and paint a vision of what is possible with ON24’s platform. This leads to higher conversion rates and a better customer experience. 

Tessa and team create more than 25 stories per quarter, and while that is an absolutely and incredible number of stories, they take the time to ensure that each story is satisfying a need. 

Oftentimes, we in CMA focus on just getting as many stories as we can. Instead, Tessa makes a point for her team to consider what areas of the business are most in need of stories, where they’re growing most, and what is needed by the sales team to most effectively support their success in the coming quarters.

Building customer stories doesn’t stop with publishing. In fact, that’s probably only the start line. From there it’s all about enabling and educating your teams on how to use them in sales calls and conversations to drive understanding and excitement for what is possible with prospects and customers alike. 

To drive results and communicate their success, ON24 focuses on metrics that matter to their business, such as contract value and product mix penetration. They also track the velocity of deals and how customer stories are being leveraged in demand generation campaigns.

ON24’s customer-led approach has allowed them to differentiate from competitors and grow their customer base. By understanding how customers use their product and working closely with their sales and leadership teams, they are able to deliver value and drive results.

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