With that, another Forrester SiriusDecisions Summit is in the books. Influitive was proud to sponsor this virtual summit and connect with marketing, customer success and customer experience professionals from around the world. Looking back, here are a few key learnings that every customer engagement professional should consider as they look to optimize their strategies.
#1. Advocacy Objectives Drive Deeper Relationships Over Time
Forrester’s B2B Tech Talk on Customer Engagement Marketing explored the value of the post-sales customer experience, customer marketing and advocacy. In their 2019 Customer Marketing Survey, 39% of respondents cited “designing holistic programs” as their biggest challenge. Many marketers have designed ad hoc customer programs where advocate development is reactive instead of proactive.
With that said, 89% of respondents did agree that the ultimate goal of customer marketing is to turn happy customers into advocates. When that happens, 79% saw significant increases in up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and 92% saw increased credibility with their customers.
Ultimately, customers spend significantly more with you as a customer than as a buyer, so capitalize on that opportunity strategically. “Because customer marketing addresses post-sales organizational objectives through high-value activities with customers, it needs to be a fully-funded function,” said Laura Ramos, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester.
#2. Customer Engagement Marketing Needs Additional Investment
Traditionally, the tech stack around customer engagement marketing has fallen into two buckets: advocate nurturing, which focuses on loyalty, customer success management and community management, and customer marketing, which includes referrals, references and reviews, as well as testimonial management. Some vendors (like Influitive) are classified as hybrid software as they cover both advocacy and customer marketing.
Forrester’s B2B Customer Engagement Marketing Report found that “most marketing functions operate post-sale programs using their existing martech stack that’s for outbound communication rather than interaction or dialogue.”
To build a customer engagement experience that’s personalized and scalable, additional investment will be required. Forrester highlighted several key features to consider when searching for vendors, which include:
- Reporting and analytics
- Advocate customer management
- Reference management
- Content creation and governance
- Customer community
- Advocate challenge/activity
- Customer loyalty
- Customer recognition/rewards
- Social engagement
- Post-sale marketing
- Customer onboarding
- Third-party management
- Referral management
- Performance management
#3. Customer Obsession is a Key Growth Factor
Forrester highlighted four types of customer strategies:
- Customer Naive: core mission around customers is blurred
- Customer-Aware: clear mission for customer engagement, but the customer experience is not optimal
- Customer-First: good customer experience, but is presented ad hoc and not as a holistic program
- Customer-Obsession: a holistic customer experience that is a competitive differentiator for your company
Likely not a surprise, but 54% of B2B organizations who are customer-obsessed will see double-digit growth. Forrester also believes that “customer-obsessed companies will prioritize customer engagement over net new acquisition to survive the COVID-19-induced downturn and that tech investment will follow to scale those early CX successes.”
#4. B2B Measurement Dashboards are Lacking
Despite striving towards customer-centricity, Forrester has found that too many B2B sales and marketing teams have not evolved the ways they measure success.
Their 2020 SiriusDecisions Metrics Study uncovered that 70% of B2B leadership dashboards focus on organization value metrics and only 30% on customer values. In other words, we overreport the value we receive from customers and underreport how buyers and customers assess the value they receive from us.
Furthermore, 64% of acquisition metrics focus on the buyer journey and only 36% on the customer lifecycle. With customers spending most of their journey with you as a customer, why isn’t that reflected in the data we collect and insights we analyze?
Organizations classified as “high performers” typically use 22% more customer-value metrics, including productivity, cost savings, ease of doing business and more. This strategy pays off, as these organizations are 50% more likely to achieve net retention greater than 80%. Becoming a high performer requires companies to employ customer engagement strategies like voice of the customer programs, attitudinal surveys and advocacy tactics.
In conclusion, customer engagement, customer marketing and advocacy should be a part of your customer strategies especially in unprecedented times like these. Invest in relationships today, and you’ll see long-term success tomorrow.