Marketing Your Way to Customer Success

By Dana Hall

True customer success requires an educated and engaged customer base. However phenomenal your team, this goal shouldn’t fall entirely on the shoulders of customer success. As a marketer, I’m inclined to think that targeted and well-researched marketing content is the solution to most business woes, and this case is no exception. By incorporating marketing into your customer success strategy you can create advocates for your product and brand. So whether your success team runs its own campaigns, or you’re lucky enough to have a customer-focused marketing team, here are some tips for marketing your way to customer success.

Learn High-Value Behaviors

Learn the behavioral markings of an engaged customer. Successful customers often have notable behavioral patterns such as using a particular product feature, attending deep-dive webinars, or participating in your product’s community forum. By analyzing behaviors common to your best customers, you can create content focused on encouraging these desired actions in your less successful clients. Try designing an email campaign promoting key product features and high value webinars, road-mapping your customers to proven success.

Tweet this: Create happy customers by behavior mapping their way to engagement.

Define the Target Customer

Recent years have highlighted the relationship between sales and marketing. But sales alone, should not define the ideal lead for your marketing team. Sales is focused on closing high-value opportunities (or frankly any opportunity to meet quota!) They are not always focused on the future and recruiting the most successful long-term customer for your business.

While marketing and sales leaders meet regularly to define “Marketing Qualified Leads”, customer success must also get in the game. As you know, the easiest-to-close lead might be a resource-sapping squeaky wheel customer. Be sure that the customer success team becomes part of the conversation and establish your team as thought leaders on the target customer by creating regular reports and analysis of customer health and performance. While account managers and other members of your customer success team might be aware of these statistics, you must share them with others in your organization to earn a seat at the table.

Tweet this: Get involved and set your team up for success by making sure all new customers are the right fit for your business in the long run.

Open Lines of Communication

There is nothing worse than receiving a call from a customer about a webinar and having your CSM say, “What webinar? That’s probably a marketing thing.” In order to avoid confusion and embarrassment, the marketing and customer success teams should be aware of the promotions, campaigns, and snafus of each other's departments. A customer shouldn't need to know which department produced specific discount codes or webinars, therefore both teams should be knowledgeable on all customer-facing marketing.

Marketing campaigns should also be well-timed, and customer success can help in that area. I once ran a Valentine’s campaign featuring a call-to-action to “tell us why you love us” but unfortunately it was the week after a buggy product release. As you can imagine, most customers were not in a loving mood that week. If marketing and success had open communications this could have been avoided.

Tweet this: Demand transparency and open communication between marketing and customer success!

Set the Right Expectations

Customer success should also manage customer expectations by evaluating the promises of the marketing team. Marketers aren’t always the product experts they should be. To make sure marketing (and sales for that matter) isn’t over-promising, establish a content advisory board to make sure that product and service-related content is true, relevant, and helpful to the customer.

Tweet this: Don’t let sales and marketing set your team up for failure by over-promising to get the sale.

Any business will run better if departments work together and communicate clearly. The key is to establish this sort of environment without creating bottlenecks and roadblocks. It can take time to figure out, but a collaborative relationship is necessary for long-term growth and customer success.

Need ideas on how to incorporate retention marketing into your Customer Success efforts? The Success League is a consulting firm that works with executives who want to unlock the retention and revenue a top performing customer success team will bring to their business.

Dana Hall - Dana is a writer and marketer living in San Francisco. She specializes in B2B customer retention marketing and demand generation. She is also currently working on a book for young adults that may or may not ever be published. She received her BA from Brandeis University. You can reach out to her on twitter at @TheDanaHall.