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While CSMs are often tied up in the day-to-day implementation and project plan of managing customers, a few long-term initiatives also require additional attention. Customer marketing is one of these initiatives. While most customer marketing programs are a cross-function of CSMs and marketing teams, many marketing departments will look to CSMs for direction and guidance when selecting and working with customers directly.
If you don’t know if your customers are ready to participate in a customer marketing initiative yet, it’s okay to open that conversation and ask them if they are ready. Typically, you want to look for a customer that has seen value with your solution, met at least one or more of their project goals, and has expressed satisfaction during your conversations.
There are three different types of marketing programs that can help support customer advocacy:
1.Reference & Referral Programs: Your current customers can be a secret weapon for your marketing initiatives because they’re using and working with your platform. Customer references are essential for supporting growth and expansion with existing customers and in sales discussions with prospects. Depending on the reference you require, you should be able to reach out to different types of customers (as well as different contacts, i.e., executives, decision-makers, and end-users). In addition, customers can refer new prospects to your team to help build your pipeline.
2.Case Studies & Success Stories: Case studies are the most efficient ways to document use cases and highlight how customers leverage your technology and solutions to drive meaningful impact and outcomes. Depending on how you promote and share your case studies, they can be a way for your customers to promote their organization and success. Your success story library should be diverse (both in different types of customers and the solutions they use) to address any question a customer or prospect would bring to the table.
3.Customer Appreciation: A final critical element of customer advocacy is the simple act of appreciation. From project kick-off gifts to holiday gifts to saying ‘thank you for being a reference, showing your appreciation for an engaged customer can go a long way. Showing your appreciation, focusing on gratitude, and not losing sight of what your customers bring to the table. Implementing a customer appreciation program can also help increase the success of your other customer marketing initiatives – such as customer references – by putting your team in good graces with customers and adding to your good reputation in your industry.
As a CSM, you should constantly look for new ways to engage and support customer marketing initiatives. Work directly with your marketing team to identify what a ‘marketing-ready’ customer looks like so you can facilitate customer advocacy programs as soon as they are viable.
You can learn new ways to creatively work with your customers and support customer marketing programs across your organization with these additional resources from ClientSuccess: