According to Forrester, only 3-6% of B2B organizations are truly “customer-obsessed” in that they embody the right amount of leadership commitment, internal culture and many other key attributes. So, for the vast majority of B2B firms, what’s missing?
To answer that question, we sat down with Amy Bills, the Vice President and Principal Analyst over at Forrester, to unpack the missing ingredients to true customer obsession.
Spoiler: customer marketing is a critical ingredient.
As our very own Dan Cote – the CMO at Influitive – put it, “I don’t know how you can be customer-obsessed without having a formal customer marketing program.”
In this webinar, our guest speaker Amy Bills showed us why a strong investment in customer marketing is key to building a level of customer-obsession that drives growth.
Catch the webinar recording here to get all of Amy’s insights. But to give you a quick start, here are a few of our takeaways straight from the webinar:
Why You Can’t be Customer-Obsessed Without Customer Marketing
Amy: If you have been paying attention, and you probably have, you know that customer marketers are in the spotlight. This is the team that contributes to expansion of the customer base that manages and engages with your customer community, that drives loyalty, that nurtures and activates customer advocates, people who are telling your story.
Customer marketing has a unique and really important role in the way that the organization expresses being customer-obsessed. And that’s what we want to dig into today.
What is Customer Obsession?
Amy: Customer obsession is not just making a good product that works for your customers. That stuff is table stakes. Of course you have to do that.
But the keywords here are “pervasive” and “perpetual.”
This is a perpetual business orientation. It’s not a checklist. You’re not going to start today and be finished by Saturday. In terms of pervasiveness, customer-obsessed organizations put the customer at the center of leadership, strategy and operations.
What does ‘leadership,’ ‘strategy,’ and ‘operations’ mean here?
Leadership is about influencing the organization, providing that purpose, providing motivation and being consistent about the way that the company enables customer obsession. That’s a really nice way of saying if it’s just lip service, it’s not customer obsession.
Strategy, of course, is shaping the plan for how the organization is going to manifest whatever customer obsession looks like for the company. And in operations, resources, functions, people, and technology are harnessed to deliver outcomes.
Operationally, customer marketers have to think about how you can function or contribute to customer obsession in your company.
There are many organizations in which leadership, strategy, and operations aren’t quite aligned yet, but are going in that direction. And that counts. You get credit for that.
What Makes Customer-Obsessed Organizations Stand Out From Non-Customer-Obsessed Ones?
Amy: When we look at customer-obsessed companies and compare them to all the non-customer-obsessed companies, we see customer-obsessed organizations are:
- More likely to have revenue growth
- More likely to have profitability
- More likely to improve retention
Moreover, their employee engagement is stronger and it’s worth noting that that has an impact on finding and keeping employees. We’re not going to go too deeply into it here, but there is a big employee engagement component of being customer-obsessed.
Customer-obsessed companies uniformly and consistently score high in a few areas that are very, very relevant to customer marketing.
First of all, they understand customer needs. We’re talking about a true understanding of what customers want and need to be successful.
Customer-obsessed organizations spend time on the post-sale experience. This can look like a lot of different things, such as:
- A really smart and mindful welcome and onboarding experience
- Compelling communities that customers can be involved in
- Online communities events
- Offline communities
- Paying a lot of attention to the milestones that customers hit
To see the complete picture of how to properly use customer marketing to elevate your level of customer obsession, check out the full webinar here. And also take a look at our webinars page for our upcoming insights on how to drive customer-generated growth.