According to the Customer Experience Professionals Association, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as key brand differentiators. And, Bain & Company says it’s 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one.
Many of the best SaaS companies understand these costs and are making the shift from a pure customer acquisition focus to customer success strategies that build brand advocates.
As we know, the most valued SaaS companies have strong retention and expansion rates. As you analyze these SaaS leaders, you will find strategies and execution around making the customer successful. The results of these outcomes lengthen SaaS runways, allows for investment back into product and people, and drives toward profitability.
How Do You Align Customer Success & Marketing?
So how do you make the shift to align both customer acquisition and customer success? And how does your customer success and marketing teams work together to build brand advocates?
First, Define the Customer Experience
Start by defining what the customer experience is for your brand. One of our favorite definitions is from Forrester, which defines this as “Every interaction, or touch point, your customer has with your brand. It not only includes the whats (the interactions), but also the hows (perceptions, feelings) the customer experiences.”
This isn’t just a marketing and customer success exercise. It’s an exercise for the entire organization, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll discuss it from the angle of alignment of marketing and customer success.
So how can your customer success and marketing departments work together to build brand advocates?
Here are three simple strategies:
1. Share and Capture Customer Success Stories
Marketers are tasked with building messages and experiences that resonate with their target audience. Customer success teams are tasked with making customers successful. If you can align this two goals, you find powerful ways to work together to build brand advocates. First, create a process between marketing and customer success to capture and share customer success stories to both internal and external audiences.
From our recent research and ebook, we found that customers are at the center of creating a message that drives value and ROI. Unless you’re in tune with how your customers are using your product to solve real daily problems, there will be a lack of clear direction and focus to your marketing strategies and campaigns. Of course, you’ll also want to spend time collaborating on messages and experiences with your product/product marketing teams as they gather insight and messaging from non customers (prospects) in the contextual inquiry processes. I’ll discuss this in another blog post.
As you capture customer success stories, it will be important that you capture the story as it relates to personal and business impact/value. The story should showcase the dragon your customer slayed with your product or service.
Here are a few examples of different customer success stories formats you can capture:
- Small Stories
- Case Studies
- Q&A Interviews
- Success Story Videos
Once you have captured the stories, get approval, and start sharing to both internal and external audiences. Also, develop a simple process to share this stories with your current customers. Customers enjoy learning how others are solving similar problems.
2. Develop Customer Centered Events and Meetups
The best SaaS brands create event platforms for both customers and prospects to mingle. These events create an environment where best practices and advice can be shared. When done right, you can feel the energy and passion around a brand and it’s value.
Your marketing and customer success teams should work together to develop an event schedule that aligns to customer needs, location, and opportunity growth.
Here are few examples of events SaaS companies use for brand advocacy:
- Annual Conferences
- User Conferences
- Industry Conferences
Focus your events on content and value, not sales or expansion. Sales and expansion will be the automatic result of creating an event with great content and great customer value.
3. Dedicate a Marketing Resource to Customer Success
Dedicating a marketing resource to customer success is a new strategy that is catching on. The goal of this marketing resource is to help ensure brand touchpoints are focused around messages and experiences that provide value during the entire customer lifecycle, not just the acquisition process.
Here are a few focuses of a dedicated customer success marketer that enable customer success:
- Post Sales Communication Plan Aligned to Customer Journey
- Product Communication Plan (product updates, best practices)
- Reference Customer Development by Customer Segment
- Renewal Sales Cycle Communication Plan
- Customer Meet Up and Events
- Success Story/Case Study Creation and Promotion
- Measurement & Optimization of the Post Sales Customer Journey
- Surveys and NPS scores
The above three strategies will help you get started in developing brand advocates in your business. When customer success and marketing work together, amazing things can happen – both for your company as well as for your customers. You will create a constant pulse of success. It will bring energy to every department in your SaaS business.
Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your Customer Success and Marketing teams can work together:
Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.