30th March 2023

Bridging the gap between customer success and marketing teams

Claudia Ariano
Integrated Comms Director

Does customer success equal business success? Well, in some cases, it does, with mounting pressure on B2B tech companies to retain customers, and end-users with increasingly higher expectations.

But this equation is more complex than it seems on paper. The responsibility doesn’t just fall on the customer success team’s shoulders. In practice, it’s down to customer success and marketing teams working together to deliver a cohesive experience to their clients. 

And while the recipe for success resides in merging your customer success and marketing agendas, the front-runners are not only making a daily conscious effort — they’re doing it at scale. 

But what are the risks of not getting this right? Failing to connect these two work streams means your business is losing out on significant opportunities to improve customer experience, retention, and ultimately, revenue. Here are a few ways you can prevent this.

#1 Create content that meets customer needs

It’s well known that technology buyers want to work with vendors who understand and can solve their problems. Once a sale is done and dusted, content is essential to enhance customer relationships. When 68% of B2B tech buyers say that they will not extend a contract if they don’t receive helpful content, it’s clear that marketers have a duty to create content that engages them throughout the lifecycle. Otherwise, they risk losing them. 

#2 Use content to upsell and cross-sell

Historically, marketing teams are pushing prospects through the front door, sales teams are closing the deals, and customer success folks work to keep clients happy. However, the journey doesn’t end when the sale has been closed. New opportunities for revenue growth powered by upselling and cross-selling are opening. That’s when your customer success and marketing teams need to work together to drive those conversations. 

Picture this: if your customer success team learns several of your customers use the same selection of products, they can work with the marketing team to create collateral (sales decks, one-pagers, brochures, nurture emails) to upsell the same combined offering to other customers. Extra revenue, here we come.

Three quarters of businesses said that upselling and cross-selling can increase revenue by 30%. So, if your customer success team is solely focused on putting out fires (like resolving customer issues), you may be leaving money on the table. 

#3 Create cohesive brand and customer experiences

Perhaps the most significant risk of not bridging the gap between customer success and marketing teams is the potential of delivering poor, disjointed customer interactions. If your customer success team is prioritising addressing immediate concerns and not actively working to improve the overall experience, you may struggle to retain those customers.

A recent report showed that 89% of companies with ‘significantly above average’ customer experiences perform better financially than competitors. This means that regularly collecting feedback from customers, identifying pain points, and actively working to address those pain points is crucial. 

For example, your customer success team finds out that, since the last product update, many of customers are struggling to integrate one of your solutions with another software they use; and you know that, in less than six months, most of your clients will experience the same issue. After working with you product team to find a solution, you can task the marketing team with creating some useful resources — think FAQs, a step-by-step guide or an explainer video — so you can actively help your customers address the challenge.

Delivering content that hits the mark, finding growth opportunities through cross-selling while creating a seamless experience for your customers are indeed complex goals. But not impossible. You should consider investing in a strong CRM tool that can gather and analyse customer data from all channels. There are a multitude of tools out there, but we’ve selected the top three, based on efficiency and ability to integrate with other tools.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is an excellent CRM platform that gives you a unified view of all customer interactions by combining all its products, or “Hubs” — Marketing, Sales, and Service Hubs. 

That means marketing, sales, and customer success teams all work off the same shared view of each customer. For instance, when the team creates email journeys, they have full visibility and access to all previous customer communications logged by customer success teams. HubSpot can therefore speed up team efficiency by combining efforts into one intuitive user experience.  

As an example, the mortgage broker, Better.co.uk, achieved a 50% increase in meaningful customer conversations after implementing HubSpot through improving cross-team collaboration and creating a consistent customer journey, before and after the sale. 

By adopting an integrated system designed for a multi-touchpoint strategy, sales, marketing, and customer success teams were able to pick up communications without creating continuity issues for their customers. 

Having a full view of all customer interactions in one place, allows us to tailor and personalise all communications to existing customers. For example, when a Customer Success teams conducts a customer feedback survey via HubSpot Service Hub, it allows the Marketing team to leverage this data for email workflows as well as other marketing campaigns done via HubSpot Marketing Hub.”

Nataly Guryanova, Head of Marketing Ops, Branch Road

2. Salesforce

Salesforce Service Cloud is another effective tool that gives your commercial teams the full picture of every customer, from their first interactions to purchasing history — all on one screen. Salesforce Service Cloud can be integrated with Marketing Cloud to enable more streamlined insights and data-informed actions.  Since the announcement of new innovations across Salesforce Customer 360, the focus has been on putting the customer at the core of every business activity. In other words, Salesforce has been very busy pulling together interactions within different departments to generate actionable insights and consolidate workflows. 

“The beauty of Salesforce and it’s suite of products is the ability to cohesively connect different department processes. Automation within the Salesforce platform can underpin these processes, by making sure users are proactively notified to get in touch with a customer, with the right message, at the right time.”

Ben McCarthy, Founder, SalesforceBen.com

3. Marketo Engage 

Adobe’s Marketo Engage is a marketing automation platform that combines the power of lead development and account-based marketing. With advanced segmentation and personalisation capabilities, it uses rich behavioural data and complex journey flows to identify what works best for your customers and how to improve their experience.  It’s also great at syncing up marketing and sales teams to create more coordinated journeys by running data directly into your CRM. Marketo Engage can be easily integrated with Salesforce as well as other tools that might serve your sales and marketing goals. 

It allows marketers to target their messages to specific audiences based on demographics, behaviors, and interests. Once it’s set up, Marketo Engage is good for rapid-fire content creation (emails, landing pages, and campaigns) that is tailored and optimised for digital marketing.

Final words

Getting your marketing and customer success folks aligned on one mission is no easy feat, the resources and logistic effort required are considerable — so it’s not something that can happen overnight. That’s why you should start to encourage these departments to join forces, with a share-first mindset to drive the best results for your business. And there are plenty of tools that can automate some of the most tedious or complex processes. 

With the right approach, the challenges we discussed can turn into real opportunities. When your content provides value to your customers, helps you upsell and cross-sell, and creates cohesive brand experiences, you’ll crack the code for retaining customers long-term. 

Want to learn more about creating content that will serve both your marketing and customer success objectives? Drop us a line at info@branchroad.media.

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