Who Owns Your Customer Communication? Marketing or Customer Success?

June 4, 2019

Marley Wagner

Category: Customer Adoption, Customer Experience, Customer Onboarding, Customer Retention, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Marketing, Customer Success Resources, Customer Success Strategy

Fact: keeping customers is more cost effective than adding new ones. The numbers vary depending on industry, time scale, and who you ask, but the consensus is that it’s five to ten times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Furthermore, existing customers are more likely to become advocates for your brand to help attract new customers, more likely to spend on new products, and more likely to spend more on cross-sells and upsells.

That’s why customer communication is so important. You need to keep in touch with your customers, making sure that they’re satisfied with their experience and that they’re getting everything they need out of your product. So who’s in charge of communicating with customers, marketing or Customer Success?

The short answer is both. Customer Success and marketing teams need to work together to optimize the customer experience and turn customers into brand advocates. Here’s how they can do it.

Capture and Share Customer Success Stories

Marketers spend their time crafting narratives to convince prospects that the product they’re selling will meet their needs, solve their problems, and make their lives easier. Then Customer Success teams take over, making sure the customer is successful, the product or service is meeting (and exceeding) expectations, and that the customer’s problems are being taken care of.

When the goal of getting a customer to try a product aligns with the goal of making sure they get the most out of it, this can become a powerful force for creating brand advocates. Customer Success Managers can capture stories from happy customers, then marketers can craft their messaging around the success stories that the Customer Success teams have encountered and helped to create.

There’s no one better in touch with how your customers are using your product to solve problems in real life than your Customer Success team. With that knowledge in their back pocket, marketers can craft very specific messages and campaigns around helping prospects solve those same problems.

To take advantage of this collaboration, make it a priority to capture customer stories. You can solicit quotes or use brief questionnaires to get bite-sized success stories. For larger clients, it’s a good idea to conduct interviews and build a case study around exactly what you did to help them. Some clients might even be willing to make a video, helping you share their success.

These assets are doubly useful. Not only do they make compelling marketing material for prospects looking to solve similar problems, but they also show existing customers that their feedback is valued and worth showing to the world. Making customers feel heard will make them stronger advocates for your brand going forward.

Create Events Where Prospects and Customers Can Mingle

Any platform where your existing “delighted” customers can mingle with prospective customers is a win for you. Events like this create an environment where best practices can be shared — people are passionate about solving the same problems and your existing customers have a platform to tell others how helpful you’ve been.

These events don’t have to be built from the ground up — encouraging discussion at existing industry events, hosting webinars, or even just enabling comment sections in your blog are all good ways to get people talking.

Remember, the focus in these events isn’t selling or expanding — people don’t like sales pitches, especially when they’re disguised as informative seminars or simple networking events. Instead, put the focus on pure content, value, and communication. Sales and expansion will come naturally.

Customer Success Can Borrow From Marketing

A marketer’s main job is to turn a stranger into a customer — but that doesn’t mean that a marketer’s skills aren’t useful going forward. Customer Success teams can take a few cues from marketers when it comes to ensuring that the customer sees the value of the product they’re paying for.

After all, marketers specialize in messaging. Take advantage of those messaging abilities when it comes to managing the customer lifecycle.

For example, marketing best practices can be extremely useful when it comes to encouraging usage, sharing learning resources or product updates, or gathering survey feedback. You’ll also want to employ the messaging expertise of marketers when renewal time comes around — after all, closing a renewal isn’t all that different from closing the initial sale. And if you organize a meetup or event like we mentioned above, you’ll want help from marketers to spread the word.

With the product knowledge and advanced analytics of your CSMs, combined with the messaging and branding expertise of your marketers, you can keep customers delighted and turn them into powerful brand advocates going forward. There’s no magic formula for the perfect combination of Customer Success and marketing in your customer communication, but we know that when Customer Success and marketing teams work together, they can create amazing things!