Marketing + Customer Success Teams = Align Them Corretcly!
Attracting prospects and converting them into leads and regular buyers is a process that requires time and effort. Building up the engagement and relationship, only to be foiled by inconsistent service or misinformation, is a situation that is all too familiar to numerous businesses. The customer’s perspective and expectations are to experience a consistent level of conduct in pre-agreement and post-sale status.
The alignment of marketing and customer teams is generally an overlooked strategy for many businesses. Rare moments of team communication, information sharing, or acting on performance feedback are not enough to generate an ongoing positive customer experience.
Both groups’ interlinked nature is not evident initially, but apart from sales, they are both more engaged with an end-user than any other department in a business. Strengthening the association towards the common goal can represent a significant increase in customer’s trust and retention and discarding the cost that would otherwise occur.
In between sales, customer success starts with marketing and ends with customer services. Marketing serves the purpose of introducing the company and its products and the customer service team (CS), handles the on-boarding process, and all-encompassing assistance, such as technical and warranty support.
To outline the elevation of these two teams to a more aligned and harmonious relationship, we first have to define the concept of a Customer experience.
Definition of the Customer Experience
Imagine for a minute a customer’s experience as a journey.
The worth of that journey stands and falls on the customer’s involvement, interest, and perception. A complete outcome can be positive, negative, or neutral.
By definition, customer experience represents either direct or indirect contact customers have with a company. We can look at both direct and indirect contact in more detail:
Sale trade, most commonly, starts with an intention to purchase. In most cases, the customer is the initiator. The opposite situation is when a merchant directly advertises products or services to the potential buyer, for example, an In-person sales pitch, telephone sales call, or targeted email marketing campaign, such as Virgin experience days.
It is an unexpected event introduced in the customer’s world. A chance encounter with a company and its products. It can be manifested in different forms, such as review, advertising, recommendation, marketing campaign, etc.
For example, a blog post advertising individual companies that are selling Eco-Friendly & Affordable Couches.
The most effective way to understand the customer success journey is to define it as a map, with various touchpoints and phases along the way. The map’s character is distinguished by segments, depending on the customer’s behavioral, demographical, or geographical attributes.
Consumers are individuals with distinctive traits and quirks. The map serves as the blueprint, but it is the customers that shape it.
Most valuable data comes from observing customer and company interaction. The highest level of understanding this participation provides is only realized by surveying the whole process from the customer’s point of view and paying attention to touchpoints that sum up the complete journey.
Customers are no longer limited to spend their money at traditional shops. The increasing number of companies that are shifting their attention online is only proof that being alert to customer’s needs should be at the highest position of any business’s agenda.
Excellent customer experience is the best marketing tool every company has in their toolkit. The challenge is to guide customers through the marketing funnel and simultaneously revise and innovate business methods.
Tips for customer marketing alignment
For the most commercially profitable companies, having cross-departmental, customer-centric management as their working system is invaluable for their achievements.
However, this mutual coordination doesn’t happen overnight.
The successful alignment depends on several crucial factors.
- Careful planning
- Communication and information sharing
- Cultivation of the engagement culture
- Customers’ segmentation list
- Active feedback collecting
- Reflective analysis.
Let’s look at them in more detail.
Establish a long term strategic plan
Every strategy starts with a plan. Completing a cohesive system of content and commitment across all customer’s journey touchpoints is a critical step in creating a successful alignment.
The plan of action rests on a cross-collaboration by way of information sharing, content creating, and determining the customer-centric approach.
The goal is to lay the foundation for the shared philosophy and partnership.
Commence and nurture communication and sharing
Even though both teams’ approach and direction are in many ways different, the ultimate objective is mutual customer success. Candid communication and knowledge distribution make the road to reach the proposed target less arduous.
The starting point is a combined understanding of the customer’s journey by accumulating data directly from the client base.
For example, if marketing plans a targeted campaign, the CS team retains the most direct insight into your buyer’s habits, using reviews or testimonials as feedback. After all, they are the ones on the frontline when it comes to direct interaction with customers.
Improving communication is beneficial for the customer retention program as well. The best example of this is personalized content. If there is new, useful content prepared for publishing, marketing can share this with the CS team, who, in turn, can then bring it to the customers’ attention.
Acquiring the proactive mindset will favorably reflect in return on investment.
The coordination of both teams will give customers a better insight into the company and improve their decision on a continuous business relationship.
To help support this effort, the team can also use voice of customer tools to track customer experience. This way, they can get real-time data that can inform their organization’s strategies.
Build mutual marketing and customer service collective
Coordinating such distinctive groups as marketing and customer service brings along difficulties. Marketing’s cause of concern is understanding that its function doesn’t end at the sale, and for the CS team, it is the limited insight into marketing practices and initiatives.
The mission is to regularly balance the teams between lead chasing and a strong focus on customer success.
The crucial part of team cooperation is often overlooked, and that is the on-boarding process. It is an ideal opportunity of sharing each other’s expertise that can set up clear expectations for the customer and the level of service available to them.
Before making a purchase, customers will already have all the information necessary to go ahead with a sale. This can produce a long term success for both teams and reduce the time that would be otherwise spent on training and product demonstrations.
Generally, marketing spends little to no time directly engaging with customers. This can cause dissociation from consumers and the market. Eventually, it can lead to misalignment on delivering the bespoke rewards made by marketing if it is not achievable by customer management. By offering their insight into the customer’s world, the CS team can collaborate with marketing on designing clear and attainable targets.
Implementation of reporting on progress and impact of shared teams KPIs can be a helpful method of accurately measuring the mutual performance.
Detail an exact list of potential customers
No customer-centric teamwork can be complete without an exact list of potential and regular customers. According to Openviewpartners.com: 88% of their respondents stated that understanding customer needs is the most important factor in creating alignment.
The divergent expectations contradict the mission statement for the teams and ultimately fall flat in their strategic planning. Both are blindly working towards the common goal without a full, basic understanding of who their customers are and their needs. This is a counterproductive approach as it can lead to mismanagement, misunderstanding, and failure.
Introduce the concept of Customer’s “Voice”
The most valuable data comes directly from the customer. The success teams can act as mediators between the company and its consumer base. They can genuinely represent the Customer’s Voice (CV) inside the organization.
When applied, CV is an analytically valuable strategy that highlights and reports statements, proclamations, and comments, declared by the consumers. It reflects the genuine perspective of the company’s buyers and prospects.
The CV concept recognizes the input not only as mass feedback but also as an individual one. It spotlights the relevance of acknowledging and reacting to comments and recommendations in the form of service and product improvements.
Actively listening and appropriately responding contributes significantly to customer retention and encourages new leads to sign up or purchase brands goods.
Reflect and analyze
The progress of the alignment is trackable by closer reflection and thorough analysis. Coordinated attention should be on the customer churn and how to reduce it.
The outcome of the analysis might show one of the reasons as a lackluster enrollment process, for example, lack of technical or service support during this period. Combined efforts of marketing and the CS team can considerably cut down on the abandonment rate.
All the necessary and relevant data, processes, or contact details should be easily accessible for both teams via a suitable platform. Instead of chasing the required information or a specific team member, the shared platform servers as a time-saving tool that inspires productivity and support effectiveness.
For customer success, cross-departmental cooperation is more valuable than ever before. The aligned teams can be better prepared for any obstacle and can function more proactively and efficiently. The rapidly evolving diversification of the market and meeting the increasingly elaborate customer expectations show the urgency for thorough restructuring. It is essential, not only in keeping the customers happy but for them to enthusiastically adopt the position of brand ambassadors.
Oliver Stasinszky is a copywriter at LiveAgent, with a background in eCommerce and Customer Service. Passionate about writing, reading, and learning how to play any musical instrument he can get his hands on.