Just so that we’re on the same page, let’s define the terms. “Martech” refers to all initiatives and tools used to help companies achieve their marketing goals. When we look at the landscape for Martech since 2011, we’ve gone from 3 categories with about 150 vendors to 6 categories with over 5000 providers. It is a vast landscape, indeed.
Martech-ers represent a large portion of the SaaS industry, and are, themselves, at the forefront of adopting customer retention strategies. Since effective customer marketing is essential to Customer Success, it’s no surprise that Martech companies “get” the need to keep existing customers engaged, and are leading the SaaS space in chartering their CS teams.
Consider these 5 tips from the Martech masters of CS:
1. Use your marketing expertise to retain and grow existing customers – (duh).
This may be a no-brainer for Martech folks, but for the rest of the SaaS world, it may need some reminding. Marketing should not be running parallel to account management. It should be integrally woven into the organization. Regardless of how you structure your customer growth and retention approach, remember these customer marketing golden rules:
- Know your customers: Which products of yours do they have? i.e. Don’t send them marketing information on why they should consider a solution they already own, and don’t send them product update notices on products they don’t have.
- Personalize your communications: What are their unique interests? Customize educational pieces to their specific needs and interests.
- Be agile: Give them a feedback loop so they can help you deliver the content they desire the most. This will change over time, and you need to position yourself to adapt as their desires evolve.
2. Don’t skimp on these three basics.
If you want to really engage with your customers, and get them to become your advocates for continued growth, you cannot skimp on:
- Data integrity: without a single and reliable source of customer data, you will just be running circles around each other, and your efforts will be ad hoc, at best.
- Unicorns: Unfortunately, great customer success teams can’t be comprised of mediocre talent. Whether your team consists of different people managing implementation, adoption, and retention, or a single resource for all, they do all need to have the emotional intelligence to be able to know and anticipate their customers’ needs.
- Automation: even in high-touch environments, well-designed and fine-tuned automation creates efficiencies. Taking the time to assess processes and determine which of them can be automated and triggered is worth it.
3. Align the team(s).
There are plenty of thoughts on how to charter and organize Customer Success teams. One model to consider recognizes the equal value of Sales, CS, and Marketing as part of a larger umbrella of Business Enablement . Regardless of how you structure the teams, it’s vital that you align all those who are tasked with developing, retaining and growing customers.
4. Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate.
Silos don’t work. Customers can feel when they are being handed off, and when they feel that they are responsible for recapping their story to each team member they deal with. This goes hand in hand with having a single source of account data and true organizational alignment.
This is trickier than it seems. You don’t want your customers to feel as though you are continuing to sell to them, but you should be continuing to demonstrate real value. To do this, you need to always be discovering their needs and future needs so that you see opportunities. They may have reached the bottom of the sales funnel, but they are really at the top of the expansion funnel.
It’s no surprise that Martech is leading the SaaS troops in customer success. Their DNA is wired for engagement, and ongoing customer engagement is the key to retention and growth.