Corporate budgets are tightening and marketing spend will be an easy target for cost cutting in 2023. If you’re one of the many marketing leaders trying to get more out of a smaller budget, you’re not alone. We’ll all have to work smarter to continue to deliver the same results as budgets shrink.
The best way to get more from less: find higher quality prospects and customers. If you’re spending the same (or less), ensuring that your dollars are spent on the people who are likely to stick around, spend more, and expand their buying is critical.
This is why the Customer Success team is Marketing’s new bestie. Modern marketing teams have become a hub of collaboration, but partnership with Customer Success is usually limited to being a handoff point for grumpy customers who bubble up to marketing managers or spout off on social media.
A deeper collaboration is better. Customer Success teams hold priceless information for marketing. And marketing can amplify the work of the Customer Success team. In the era of doing more with less, this is a collaboration that will yield real results.
Here are five simple ways to get started.
Nail Your Target Customer
As marketing resources tighten, it only pays to deliver advertising and incentives to customers that are going to retain over time. The era of “growth” at all costs is over. Customer retention metrics show the true health of a business over time. Customer Success teams typically think about preventing customer churn at all times, so often they are an excellent source of information on a company’s best customers.
There may be attributes that loyal customers have that haven’t yet been integrated into the go-to-market strategy, like use of a related technology tool, particular industries, or even psychographic profiles. Customer Success teams can provide data and anecdotal observations that form the best views of ideal customers, which can then be used by Marketing to target lookalike audiences that mirror the attributes that align to your customers that stick.
Focus on Critical Journey Moments
Customer Success teams know where customers are most challenged when they’re using your product or service, and can offer insight that will meaningfully focus Marketing and other teams on the top issues. Getting the larger company aligned in this understanding of customer challenges based on this perspective will enable faster problem solving and easier prioritization.
Interviewing Customer Success teams is an excellent way to learn more about customers’ frustrations and they can offer valuable insights as a jumping off point for more in-depth customer research. Their instinctive knowledge about where and when customers are challenged is valuable insight on where to focus when facing what can seem like overwhelming complexity.
Customer marketing typically “lives” on Marketing teams, while the broader journey is “owned” by many teams – Customer Success or Product. Too often, Marketing is unaware of the larger customer context so is at risk of sending emails, offers or other forms of communication that are unlikely to resonate because they’re not reflective of where a customer is on their specific journey.
At Keap, we’ve created a new team to oversee customer experience strategy to address this. The team sits in the Marketing organization, but works closely with teams across the business. They’re in place to ensure that we’re orchestrating the communications we send out with intention using segmentation and product usage data to drive our approach.
The collaboration with Customer Success and Onboarding teams has transformed how we think about our own journey and what’s relevant to our customers. This has resulted in a focus on optimizing our communications to reflect each customers’ next best action vs sending them too much communication and distracting them from what we want them to do. In our case, that’s to continue down the path of setting up their software applications and becoming confident marketers so they can get the most value from it.
Train Customers to Self-Serve
Customer Success teams are always looking for ways to expedite resolution of customer issues and marketing teams own many of the digital channels customers go to first for help. Using data from customer success calls to inform content production covering help topics, how tos, and inspirational content can create easier avenues for customers to find the information they need to move forward when they’re experiencing issues versus tying up expensive people resources.
This will in turn offer new avenues to cut down phone queues, train customers on where to go for helpful information, and, ideally, also offer customers who aren’t frustrated to find content that will also inspire them.
Feed Your Content Engine
Customer Success teams are probably already the go-to for surfacing customer stories to mine for testimonials and referrals. They know who is doing well with your product and who to call when it comes to producing testimonials and ask for referrals.
Working closely with Customer Success can also help you access data and stories to fuel your content needs beyond that, including: common ways that customers reach success, advice for customers that can be worked into ebooks and blogs, and data about the attributes of successful versus less successful customers that may be used in content meant to train and inspire.
If your organization is working to become more customer-centric and effective at both acquisition and retention, making the connection between Marketing and Customer Success will be a critical step in aligning the organization around customer needs.
Customer Success teams are also often the most passionate and knowledgeable about customer issues. Marketing needs content to train and inspire, and data to drive a communications strategy. Customer Success is an untapped resource that can answer questions about customers, and help align all teams to deeply understand where customers struggle so that everyone can work together to remove obstacles, and keep growing.