3 Reasons Why Marketing Needs a Seat at Customer Success Strategy Planning

Burke Alder

Customer Success Strategist

Departmental strategy planning: a necessary evil of any high-growth company. Although these meetings may take a full day (or even multiple days), they are fundamental processes that must be acknowledged. While it’s clear why Customer Success should be involved in executive initiatives and C-Suite planning, the reasoning behind including other departments in customer success strategy planning may take a little explanation.

Let’s start with the most obvious: sales. It’s important for the existing business customer success and new business sales teams to be in lockstep to ensure complete transparency between the two teams. More often than not, these departments fall within the same broader department, often managed by a Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales who is in charge of all revenue streams. The synergy between the teams must exist to make sure Sales isn’t ‘overselling their boundaries’ which happens when sales sells something that isn’t actually in the product, or hasn’t yet been released to the roadmap. This mishap can often lead to customer complaints and issues during implementation periods, which is why it’s crucial for the two teams to always be in sync.

Three Reasons Why Marketing Needs a Seat at Your Customer Success Strategy Meetings

But marketing can be an entirely different story. While this department is often rolled up under the sales umbrella, it’s important that marketing have an individual voice outside of Sales— especially when it comes to customer success. Marketing professionals bring different strengths and talents to the table than those in revenue generating positions, and the change of perspective can be refreshing and transformative. Marketing can also help develop more transactional campaigns and bring a hands-on approach to customer success initiatives. Here are three reasons marketing needs a seat customer success strategy meetings:

1. Customer Stories from the Source

This is a combined focus of both marketing and customer success, and as such it makes sense to have this be a joint priority of both departments. Marketing teams are constantly looking for new customer success stories, personas, and use cases and who better to work with to gather these learnings than the customer success team members themselves?

During your strategy planning session, consider taking the time to map out the exact workflow of gathering customer stories, creating public-facing use cases and marketing content, and then sharing these stories with prospects and other customers. You should consider which team is responsible for which part of the process. You can also use this time to determine when to introduce marketing team members to potential customer speakers or advocates.

Customers also greatly appreciate this streamlined approach to what’s often called ‘Customer Marketing’ which occurs when customer success and marketing teams are aligned. It means fewer duplicate calls, minimal repetition, and greater efficiency for all involved.

2. Customer-Focused Campaigns

Another reason marketing should be involved in customer success planning is to develop long-term customer-focused campaigns. The marketing team and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can work in tandem to determine what solutions are providing the most value to current customers and how to translate this success into upsells, cross-sells and revenue generation opportunities.

Marketing should be looking to customer success to make sure solution-focused messaging is on par with what current customers are experiencing. CSMs can help marketing determine the best channels through which to reach current customers, as they may be different than traditional marketing channels. At a high-level, involving marketing in customer success upsell and cross-sell strategy can bring a creative aspect to conversations and discussions around renewals with customers.

3. Aligned Messaging

When marketing and customer success teams are aligned on a high-level basis, it means that messaging and content can be consistent throughout the entire customer journey. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that customers engage with both of these teams throughout their entire lifecycle with a company. The cohesiveness of the customer journey depends on consistent messaging and clear goals throughout the entire process.

Another benefit of including marketing in customer success strategy planning is that together, marketing and customer success departments can actually determine new content needs for both current customers and prospects. CSMs know better than anyone what customers are looking for and marketing knows how to translate these content opportunities into new revenue. Together the two teams can impact an organization on a higher level.

Does Your Organization Include Marketing in Customer Success Strategy Planning?

There are multiple benefits for including marketing in your strategy sessions, the least of which is for a fresh perspective on your tried-and-true workflows. Oftentimes gaining the feedback of another colleague, especially one in a traditionally creative role, can bring new ideas and themes to the table that your team may have been unaware of. What do you think of including other teams in customer success planning? Have you seen success with this method?


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