For most customer success departments, the internal department you work closest with and most often is definitely sales. And, for as much as you work to make customer success an organization-wide effort, your department leaders and/or executives are most likely the ones spearheading this initiative, leaving CSMs themselves free to deal with customer-focused tasks.
This is all to say that while working closely with sales departments comes naturally to most CSMs, bringing in other departments – such as marketing – can sometimes leave both customers and internal teams wanting more.
Why is customer marketing important?
The old adage that ‘your current customers are your best marketing tool’ still holds true, even in the age of digital marketing and SaaS vendors. Your current customers know your product inside and out and, hopefully, have seen firsthand the value your solution provides and the support of your account management team. These current customers are the perfect resource for prospective customers to learn exactly why doing business with your organization is a good idea.
Additionally, asking a customer to participate in customer marketing initiatives can provide an additional personal touch for customers who may be feeling a little down about their service levels. Approaching a customer about a marketing opportunity shows them that you trust their opinion, that you value the business they’re bringing to the table, and that you are serious about providing exceptional service to take their account to the next level.
Actionable ways to bridge the gap between customer success and marketing
Bringing in customers to help out with marketing initiatives is no new task, which is why being creative and customer-focused in your customer marketing strategy is key.
Here are a few ways to bridge the gap between customer success and marketing to help improve retention and potentially even provide more satisfaction to customers:
1. Case Studies
Case studies are one of the most common types of customer marketing initiatives, but there are a few things to remember before passing a customer contact over to marketing. Your customers should be in the right ‘stage’ for a case study or else they may feel overwhelmed and put-upon. And the results need to be there as well. Increasing transparency into the customer journey for your marketing team so they aren’t constantly asking if a customer is ready for a case study can help streamline this process on both sides.
2. Product Enhancements
Who better than the people currently using your product to give feedback on new features? This initiative can work as a joint project between customer success, product, and marketing where a customer can have access to beta features and then give feedback which is then passed to marketing to develop content and material to take the new functionality to market.
3. Conferences and Webinars
Vendors have been asking customers to speak for them at conferences or on webinars for decades, so this one isn’t new. But taking a creative approach here – aka having a customer and CSM co-present on the value of support during an onboarding exercise – can take your events to the next level. And, of course, your team should treat your customer speaker as the VIP they are once the conference (or virtual event) arrives.
4. Digital Marketing
Asking your customers to provide a quote for your website, a blog post for an expert’s series, or to co-produce a whitepaper with your team can be a great way to get your customer’s names and logos on your website quickly. These kinds of digital marketing efforts are also key for boosting your customer’s image and giving them content to take back and use as marketing materials on their side.
You can learn more about bridging the gap between customer success and marketing to increase retention with these resources from ClientSuccess: