I often describe Customer Success Journeys as being very much like a boat travelling down river. A river that has many stages, fast currents over rapids, slow straights, random boulders, changes in direction (from little meanders to u-turns) and with occasional choices in paths to take. The traveller understandably wants to get on in their journey as quickly as possible. However some aspects will take time, some will need to be done cautiously, some done alone, some will need a bigger crew and some might need the help of expert guides. You are probably wondering right now, did I read the title of this blog post right? “How does marketing support Customer Success?”
You certainly did! What would our travellers chances be on completing their journey if they did not know the precautions, actions and paths of previous travellers. What if they weren’t made aware of the rapids around the corner, or by going left at the junction would take them over a waterfall. Being made aware of options, paths and experiences of others is vital to securing a successful journey.
On the Mississippi River in Mark Twain’s time, there were riverboat pilots who only knew a few miles of the river. The conditions changed so much you couldn’t know the whole trip. Floods, sandbars, rapids, fallen logs… It was all a riverboat pilot could do is know their little piece of the puzzle.
How does marketing support Customer Success?
Marketing can support the Customer Success functions in a number of ways. This can either be by producing direct marketing assets for existing customers, or by creating assets that can used for both existing customers and lead generation. These assets can help strengthen the guidance given by CSM’s, Playbooks and success planning to deliver successful outcomes.
Customer Case Studies
Good quality case studies are brilliant for both pre-sale and post-sale clients. Case studies can highlight to potential customers how existing customers have solved their business problem with your solution. Case studies also show existing customers how other clients are using the product or service to get their desired outcome. It’s a great method for sharing best practices straight from the customers voice. Back to our river analogy, this might help with altering the course of our traveller from a route that would have included rapids and boulders, down a calmer and direct route with additional opportunities.
Newsletters and Feedback Loops
Collecting email addresses and sending newsletters to interested parties is likely a process already in your business for nurturing leads. But don’t forget to include your existing customers in your distribution list.
Newsletters are a great tool for keeping customers informed on what’s coming as well as showing how customer feedback is listened too. If a new feature, UX improvement or other addition to your product is a result of client feedback, don’t hold back in sharing this was the reason for the development.
Remember time is precious so try and keep your newsletter short, no more than the equivalent of 2 A4 sheets. Additionally make it accessible. Share it in PDF format, web format and don’t forget to share it across your social channels.
Note: If you include offers for new customers in your newsletter you may want to switch this with something different for existing customers.
Market Research is highly valuable and I personally don’t think a lot of businesses allocate enough time to it. If you do undertake Market Research, do you just share your learnings internally? Or do you share some of your learnings with your customers? If you are providing them with a product or service it is likely you share similar views and interests. Your Market Research data can usually be repackaged into a research paper to share with existing customers.
As an example; say you undertake some research into your user persona’s. As part of this research you identify that a key persona value is a strong preference to learning through doing. This is highly valuable both to your business as the product owner but also to your customers.
Subsequently, knowing this a, ‘Walk Me Through’ task could be presented in the product to new users to help them get familiar with the product.
Additionally, the company might respond by including more tasks within their internal training and onboarding programs.
It has not cost any extra but you have delivered some awesome extra value to your clients. Not only that we have made a step towards aligning our clients internal training with our in product training. BONUS!
One of the biggest benefits of doing this is that your client feels included in what your company are doing. It’s another opportunity to engage, develop and strengthen the relationship.
In conclusion, the Customer Success Journey a client goes on might be owned by the CSM, but it will require all departments. Like the riverboat pilots, a CSM may need to bring in experts to get the best outcome for the client. Marketing can truely support Customer Success, but they are not mind readers. It is imperative CSM’s build a strong relationship with all departments but especially Sales, Support and Marketing.
Marketing often have their eyes on the prize of converted sales. However, like sales will also focus on renewals, Marketing should have client growth very much as part of their KPI’s.