A Director at a successful SaaS company recently approached me about the role of marketing in customer success. This leader understood that the marketing team was a valuable resource when developing customer-facing communications but wanted more.
As we discussed possible options for the “future state” of a marketing + customer success partnership, it became apparent that there was no one-size-fits-all solution. So, in an effort to educate myself (and help my friend build a business case to reallocate marketing resources), I posted a question to the members of the Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn.
The question wasn’t complicated. I merely asked if anyone was willing to share what worked/didn’t work when building an alliance between customer success and marketing. I was expecting maybe one or two responses. What I got was a string of thoughtful and creative ways CS leaders are using marketing to their advantage.
There were A LOT of really good ideas, but three stood out. Here’s what caught my eye and why it’s worth considering for your organization. Note: I’ve tagged the concepts with the names of their creator, in case you’re interested in following these folks on LinkedIn.
1) Marketing as a sales enablement function for CS teams
Why I love this: All too often, marketing’s responsibility to internal customers, (e.g. sales, customer success, etc.) is overshadowed by the pursuit for new business. If we know that personalized attention from CSMs drives deeper and more valuable customer relationships, then why wouldn’t marketing supply assets to CSMs for better 1-to-1 customer conversations? The answer is likely due to resource strains in the marketing and customer success teams. However, the concept is still important to recognize. CSMs need the right collateral to have informed, value-centric conversations. Marketing can help.
2) Customer marketing should live in the customer success organization
Why I love this: This may or may not make sense depending on the depth of your organizational chart. But, aligning post-sale marketing resources to an organization devoted to customer engagement post-sale just makes sense. As Bill mentioned, “the CSMs have a much better handle on where each of their customers are within the lifecycle…” Understanding your audience leads to better content development and more meaningful campaigns that produce positive results.
3) The content delivered matters more than the role
Why I love this: It’s true! Don’t get so caught up in org charts that you lose sight of what’s valuable. Customers expect proactive engagement from the point of sale forward. This means certain plays need to be run, regardless of who’s running them. As Robert shared, “…The proven low hanging fruit of Customer Marketing tactics: Newsletters, Case Studies, Blog Posts, Videos (educational – how to use), Meet-ups. It matters less who does these things than it does they get done…”
It’s probably worth mentioning that all these ideas seem to hint at hiring additional headcount. Keep in mind that hiring isn’t the only option. Consider partnering with a service provider who has expertise in customer marketing (AKA account-based marketing) strategy and execution. These service partners often have access to a deeper pool of qualified talent and can offer you more for your money when compared to hiring a full-time employee.