It’s no secret that a deep understanding of your customer is vital in marketing. We talked about the value of creating an ideal customer profile. The more you learn about your customers, the better you can market them and build lasting customer relationships.
But for us marketers, that’s easier said than done. Marketers rarely speak directly to a lead, prospect, or customer. Instead, we rely on customer data collected across the company.
How can you better access, understand and use customer data? Start by working closely with your customer success team.
Why you should balance customer success with marketing
We talk a lot about aligning marketing and sales teams. Marketing efforts should keep pace with the sales cycle. However, we rarely talk about what happens after the sale is complete. At this point the account will be moved to a dedicated account or customer success manager.
It is in the best interests of marketers to build relationships with customer success managers. Your close customer communication offers unique insights that lead to better marketing.
Some of the valuable insights that customer success can provide are:
Increased visibility for customers
Customer data can show you trends and patterns, but sometimes you need to know more. Customer success managers can answer qualitative questions about customers to improve your data. Customer success managers have conversations that provide insight into the user’s behavior and changes over time. These customer relationship details can help marketers tell a more complete customer story.
Share customer reactions
Robust customer data is great, but only historical. We don’t know what the customer experience is like at any given point in time. Customer success managers can tell you in near real time how your customers are feeling about a product feature, a price change, or even a world event.
Build a stronger customer profile
With this qualitative and real-time information you can improve your customer profiles. Customer success managers can also provide feedback on these profiles to make them more accurate.
Measurement of marketing programs based on customer success data
We usually measure marketing by sales. When marketing programs are successful, they result in higher monthly or yearly recurring income, or MRR and ARR, respectively.
Customer success is measured similarly. When customer success is flourishing, MRR and ARR rise due to the lack of customer churn.
Consider measuring your marketing programs that can help drive growth for key performance indicators (KPIs) for customer success. For example, customers who come through a webinar are less likely to churn. By investing in more webinars, you will increase the long-term value of your customers.
Using customer success documentation for content marketing
Customer success managers are content marketers. You develop resources for customers to make better use of your product. Usually these are “Help” or “Support” articles, but sometimes videos, walkthroughs, or webinars. You also have access to great customer profiles and stories.
The problem? Rarely do these pieces live on a company’s main marketing site. At best, they are in a help or support subdomain. In the worst case scenario, these are PDFs that are privately shared with customers.
Why should this valuable content be hidden under a bushel basket? They offer customers a resource and often have high SEO value.
Consider using this content again on the blog or marketing website. If the content doesn’t meet your marketing guidelines, revise and rewrite it.
How customer success can improve customer marketing
Most marketing efforts are aimed at attracting customers. However, once you have team alignment with your customer success and marketing teams, you can focus on customer marketing.
What is customer marketing?
Customer marketing is marketing that is geared towards customer loyalty, not acquisition. This means that you are creating marketing programs for current customers, not future customers. It includes reducing churn, but also upgrading and upselling.
For customer marketing to be successful, the marketing, sales, account management and customer success teams need to be in step.
If there is a dedicated role i.e. a customer marketing manager, that person reports on both marketing and customer success.
3 Ways Customer Success Can Improve Customer Marketing
You can uncover new ideas
If a customer needs a resource, they’ll likely ask their dedicated success manager. Customers may request a new tutorial, video, or support document. When marketers have a close relationship with customer success, they have a direct pipeline to useful content ideas.
You can collect qualitative feedback on the customer experience
Was your new email campaign helpful or annoying? A customer success manager can call a customer and immediately ask about the customer experience. Marketers don’t have to work in a black box or wait for survey results to understand the impact of their efforts.
You can identify client advocates
Having a lawyer beat for you is a great way to attract and retain clients. Client success can identify and nurture attorneys so that marketing will best put them in a position to attract new and old clients.
Should you have a customer marketing team?
How do you know when it is time to focus your efforts on customer marketing? Keep this checklist in mind when deciding whether to hire a customer marketing team.
- You have a complete team for acquisition marketing and customer success
- You have achieved your goals for new MRR or ARR
- Customer churn is a big problem
- There’s a lot of potential for upgrades and upsells
How to communicate and collaborate with customer success
When aligning teams, the biggest challenge is aligning communication and collaboration channels.
Marketing teams typically use project management tools geared towards getting things done. Often, customer success is based on a ticket system that can be used to resolve urgent problems.
Consider the following collaboration tools and techniques to help your teams integrate smoothly:
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool
Your CRM should serve both customer success and marketing functions. A unified CRM should have project management functions, organize and centralize customer data, and provide insights into the effects of marketing on customer metrics.
Casual or internal chat
Chatting is crucial for developing team rapport, especially in remote or hybrid environments. Start a special marketing / CS channel to openly exchange thoughts and ideas. This will help your team members feel comfortable working together.
Nobody wants to add another zoom to their calendar. However, through weekly stand-ups or report-outs, we understand what is happening in the company. Consider assigning an “ambassador” from each team to attend each other’s weekly meeting. This gives the teams insight into each other without increasing fatigue.
Better collaboration and alignment between teams has no disadvantage. As a cross-industry marketer, my relationships with customer success teams have both expanded my personal knowledge and resulted in better business results. When customer success and marketing work closely together, customer loyalty and sales are sure to grow.
Want a better customer experience – Align customer success and marketing. Philipp Wolf. Care.
Why customer success should have customer marketing. Will Robins. Gainsight.