September 4, 2015
Marketing professionals are held accountable to key parts of a company’s business: new sales, existing sales, brand awareness and recognition, product marketing, and much more. Leaders in marketing spearhead new initiatives to scale success, and we were able to speak directly with some of the most forward-thinking marketers in the SaaS space. These marketers found success in fueling their company’s growth with both internal and external programs—all centered around customer success. Below are 5 key strategies for marketers in driving sales and skyrocketing customer wins.
1. Align Your Customer Success and Marketing Teams
You don’t know what you don’t know. As marketers, you’re tasked with building your brand’s message. Part of developing a message for your digital marketing presence is understanding what your prospective audience resonates with and what will drive the most value. From our research, we found that customers are at the center of creating a message that drives value and ROI. Unless you’re in tune with how your customers are using your product, there will be a lack of clear direction and focus to your marketing strategies and campaigns.
Gina Mueller, Director of Marketing at Insightpool, recognized that the alignment between the marketing, sales, and customer success team was off at her company, and it was affecting productivity and focus. Insightpool’s solution was to combine the marketing, sales, and customer success teams into a single, “Revenue Team.” Since this alignment, Insightpool has seen a significant increase in sales and have involved more customers in their marketing initiatives, including: speaking at events, references, webinars, and more.
Other successful marketing leaders we spoke with didn’t have their customer success, marketing and sales teams combined in the same way, but they did have a consistent cadence of meetings to ensure their alignment was always top of mind and at the core of their goals.
2. Create a Customer Advisory Board
No matter what stage the company, a Customer Advisory Board is immensely valuable to strategic growth. While aligning customer success, sales, and marketing is important, it is only one of the many ways marketers should be working to get to know their customers better. Customer Advisory Boards not only strengthen customer relationships, these groups of strategic customers provide companies with messaging, positioning, and product strategy.
Kevin Young, VP of Marketing for Monetate, a digital marketing company that powers multi-channel personalization, describes that his team uses these meetings to put together their digital marketing strategy. “Our digital marketing strategy comes directly from strategic feedback via Customer Advisory Board, executive interaction with sponsored customers, case study interviews, and social events,” Kevin commented.
3. Implement Field Marketing and Involve Your Customers
As you implement your field marketing strategy, your goal is to build a brand within specific areas of focus. A significant part – if not the most significant part – of launching a successful field marketing campaign or event is involving customers. Whether it’s a direct mail piece or live event, customers solidify the value in your brand and message, proving ROI to your prospective audience and market.
Direct mail campaigns can be large or small in quantity of recipients, depending on numerous factors: scope, focus, budget, etc. No matter what the logistics, featuring a customer in these campaigns increases the adoption of your message. For example, if you’re sending a direct mail piece with an insert that has an overview of your product, be sure to include a customer quote and statistic. If you’re in an industry with customers that are unable to provide hard numbers, you can still obtain their use case to demonstrate the value your customers receive from your product or service.
For live events, like dinners or conferences, having a customer champion present is a no-brainer. Whether they’re mingling with guests or on a platform speaking, having an advocate of your product is invaluable to the investment of your event – and helps your prospective customers feel less like they’re witnessing a sales pitch.
4. Educate Your Customers
Field marketing events and conferences are a great way to involve your customers, but the value doesn’t stop with their presence. An important part to continuing customer involvement and enhancing your current marketing strategies is educating your customers. As a SaaS marketing consultant for both startup and enterprise companies and owner of Teresa K. Becker Consulting, I think it’s important to emphasize the ongoing value of customer education. Doing educational events for customers provides VIP privileges for your clients to get immediate access to marketing materials such as event registrations, new research, and other valuable tools.
Not only does market education through field marketing events and conferences empower your customers, but it continues to show them value in your solution. Educate your customers on your own product features and enhancements, too, showing them your solution aligns with industry trends, best practices, and success. Making sure your customers have the latest education about your products and services, as well as industry marketing material, will instantly help ensure that your customers know you’re in it for them.
5. Dedicate a Resource to Customer Success
As a successful company, customers are at the core of your business. Ensuring your marketing team has a resource that keeps that focus top-of-mind ensures the customer-focused philosophy scales and continues to be present even as your team grows. Dedicate these resources to scale, ensuring you’re setting up your team for success. Take a look at what your overall goals are, and build your customer-focused programs and campaigns from there.
Nicole DelMastro is the Director of Marketing for CloudOne, a SaaS solution that brings enterprise applications to the cloud, shares that customers are at the focus of her marketing strategy. She shares that her company recently dedicated a full-time resource to focus passion and attention to developing their Customer Success Program. “This will allow [CloudOne] to elevate our already amazing customer experience to the next level.”
Image Credit: FLickr/Jakob Montrasil
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