Amit Sinha Roy
Global Head of Marketing & Communications, Tata Communications

Continuing our blog series on Customer Success Teams, here we focus on the essential role of marketing.

According to Gartner’s recent marketing predictions, by 2023, 25% of organisations will integrate marketing, sales and customer experience (CX) into a single function. COVID-19 has definitely had a major role to play and intensified the demand for cross-functional working of marketing executives, to deeply understand customers in a rapidly changing environment. Indeed, the definition of Customer Success now extends to marketing.

“Customer Success is the integration of functions and activities of marketing, sales, professional services, and training & support in a new profession.”

As a result, gone are the days when marketing appeared at the beginning and end of the customer engagement. Today, enterprises need to harness deep customer understanding to deliver a complete engagement model throughout their lifecycle. There are four essential steps in how this is successfully achieved.

#1. Educate and inform at every stage:

From pre-sales to taking potential customers through the delivery cycle, ensuring that they have been kept informed at every stage is key. This includes:

  • making sure that they are happy with their investment and completely understand how to unlock the functionality of the product/service – maximising the value of their chosen solution.
  • understanding what the customer experience is like throughout the lifecycle and how it can be improved. Word of mouth is key, and the aim should always be to create customer advocates; and
  • finally, as the product matures, helping them understand the roadmap of opportunities and choices.

Through this entire process it is key to utilise customer insight and automation to create a seamless customer experience.

#2. Articulate business value:

It is important for customers to be able to articulate the business value of their solutions back to the internal stakeholders who have been involved in the purchase. For example, we know that on average a tech purchase involves between 14 and 23 people. It is not always apparent to those who are not close to a solution what the value is – to them it could appear to be a commodity solution. Communicating this value is an imperative for the marketing function. For instance, stopping a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack may seem like an everyday event, and the value underestimated. Marketing needs to communicate it in such a way, however, that the customer stakeholders all understand that if this attack had not been stopped, the business impact would have been significant – taking down the online bank and affecting thousands of their customers. So, something that seemed simple protected share price and customer retention.

#3. Make it personal:

72% of buyers expect B2B companies to personalise communications; and to deliver this level of service the Customer Success Team needs a 360-degree understanding of their customers. By gaining this level of understanding they can, by working with the marketing team, really understand what matters to each customer and provide meaningful content/information. For example, with regards to retail businesses it is clear that consumers’ buying behaviour has changed drastically over the last 12 months. As the CSM is working side by side with the customer every day, they build up a deep understanding of this change and the impact it has on the customers. Using this insight, they can then work with marketing to develop insight/use cases/roadmaps, which help the customers react and respond, for example, creating a hybrid instore/at-home shopping experience that not only addresses consumers’ needs but also helps the retailer differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

#4. Amplify digital brand recognition:

Shouting to the market about digital investment and business transformation can transform a brand’s perception. In fact, we know that an organisation which increases funding of digital innovation is 2.7 times more likely to be a top performer than a trailing one. With this in mind, a key focus for the CST in collaboration with marketing is to help amplify the positive impact of their customers’ digital investments out into the market. For example, the DDOS example mentioned earlier, if communicated appropriately to the bank’s end customers, would build trust and credibility by highlighting that they are protecting their customers’ money and data.

These four steps result in customers who feel educated, informed, and able to articulate value of the solution in their own language, which they can amplify out to their end consumers. They also feel that they have ongoing support to help them innovate and gain a market edge.

Marketing’s role in the evolution of Customer Success is fundamental.