When customers succeed, a marketer’s job becomes much easier. If you have a great product or service, your customers are likely to talk about it and make recommendations to their peers. They’re also likely to stick around as customers for the long-haul, share your content, and remain open to new products and services. It’s a feedback loop that builds upon itself, allowing marketing and customer success teams to focus on growth rather than plugging a leaky bucket.
Because of this, both teams are stronger when they work closely together and share knowledge. When there’s a shift in customer sentiment or needs and requirements, customer success teams are generally the first to hear about it. Meanwhile, marketers, who have a broader view of the market, are often looking for patterns and trends that could impact strategy as well as customer stories to help improve sales and marketing efforts. The faster a marketing team can react with relevant content and programs based on what the customer success teams are observing, the greater the benefit will be in terms of new customer acquisition and existing customer engagement and retention.
But this idea is often hard to put into practice. What marketing and customer success teams share is that they’re often strapped for time and forced to make the most out of limited resources. As a result, planning and collaboration often take a back seat. But it need not! It is possible to tackle inter-team communication and collaboration challenges with a few low-touch workflows. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.
1. Send Regular Summaries with Customer Stories
Once or twice a month, ask your customer success team to nominate their most interesting customer experiences or interactions. Collect anecdotes and bundle them into a newsletter or digest that can be deployed to relevant internal audiences.
Marketing, product, sales, and technical teams can all benefit from this information. Focus on telling stories that are representative of all customer interactions. Explain what customer success team members learned from their experiences. Describe whether observed situations are common or anomalies, and tell your stories accurately and in a compelling way so that your internal audiences stay engaged can internalize the information.
2. Ensure that Data Is Centrally Managed and Easy to Access
Customer success and marketing teams should always have visibility into one another’s key systems, such as CRM and analytics tools. In addition to helping consult on each others’ roles, this data will be valuable in helping each team excel in their own jobs. Rather than waiting for information, marketers and customer success reps can independently access the information that they need. Each team’s job begins where the others’ stops, and it’s important to have this full context to connect the dots.
The best way to establish a structured workflow is to create a centrally managed set of reports. Share and discuss this data during interdepartmental meetings so that everyone gets into a routine of communicating in the same quantitative language. The easier that data is to access and interpret, the more aligned that both teams will be.
3. Consult on One Another’s Campaigns
While marketers have the benefit of a bird’s-eye view of their companies’ audiences and customer bases, customer success teams have a deep understanding of the customers from the conversations they’re having every day.
Used together, these complementary perspectives have the potential to make business initiatives stronger. For instance, marketers can invite customer success teams to review segments, messages, and strategies for key campaigns. Meanwhile, marketers can share advice on messaging for engagement and upsell opportunities based on data from web analytics and A/B testing data.
Both teams play a critical role in developing personalization and in-app messaging strategies. Customer support and marketing teams need to be in sync on these campaigns to drive better engagement, ensure that your messaging is spot-on, and iterate based on your results. You need the bird's-eye view and the individual-level perspective.
4. Use Content to Enhance Customer Outreach
Customer success conversations should go beyond troubleshooting and contract discussions. The best business relationships are ones built on interesting conversations, valuable feedback and shared respect. If your customer success team is only talking about problems or sales pursuits, they will miss out on valuable opportunities to get to know your customers’ needs and perspectives.
On the flip side, marketers need to build an audience for their content – and building an audience is hard. Attention spans are spread thin, and digital channels are flooded with resources for readers to access. Why not share your content with your customer success team so they can use it to start conversations with your existing customer base?
Customer success team members will benefit from having an instant, interesting conversation-starter. Marketers will gain access to a new audience and distribution channel. Customers get valuable information delivered straight to them. It’s a powerful success formula in which all parties become more empowered in their roles.
5. Monitor Collaborative Successes and Wins
To help make collaboration a priority, identify areas of opportunity, and ensure continued discussion, marketing and customer success leaders should quantify how the two teams are benefiting from working together. Based on the tips above, here are some example metrics worth tracking:
- Internal engagement with and action taken from customer story newsletters/digests
- Frequency at which team members are accessing data and running shared reports
- ROI derived from mutual consulting on initiatives and campaigns
- Incremental engagement and conversions driven from content that customer success teams are distributing
While your day-to-day tasks are very different, marketing and customer success teams ultimately share the same goals. As you implement these steps and get into the habit of working closer and closer together, over time your shared goals will become more refined and it will become easier to spot opportunities to work closer together going forward.
Don’t worry about being perfect – if you’re time-strapped, pick one or two ways to work together in focused, measurable ways. Scale up your efforts as you start to see the benefits – just as you would a marketing campaign.