At Salesforce, we’ve built a business around helping our customers find success. This is based on a simple principle: If we don’t have successful customers, we can’t have a successful business. We’ve integrated this principle into our very structure, establishing the Salesforce Customer Success Group to ensure that our customers get the value they expect from our products and services as quickly as possible.
In my own experience as a product and campaign marketer, I’ve noticed something interesting: Marketers usually make excellent customer success managers. This has become a guiding idea for us, and here are four reasons why:
Both have product and industry expertise.
We’ve all dealt with company representatives who were pleasant and professional, but couldn’t understand our problem or help us with what we needed. A customer success manager is more than a cheerleader or advocate for your customers. Their role is to help new and existing customers get the value they expect from the products and services they buy as quickly as possible.
To do this, customer success managers must have nuanced knowledge of both the product their customer is using and the industry they’re using it in. Customer success managers with marketing backgrounds already understand the ins and outs of the products their customers use. They’ve dedicated years to learning their customers’ language and developing campaigns that speak directly to their needs and pain points. This knowledge is invaluable when it comes to solving problems and delivering value for your customers.
Both understand the customer experience and why it is important.
In the last decade, the marketing industry has seen a major shift toward personalization and the importance of the customer experience. We have seen through our company’s “State of the Connected Customer” research that the demand for personalized experiences continues to rise. Our 2019 edition of that report, which surveyed 8,022 people, found that 84% of customers today say the experience a company provides is as important as the product it sells. Marketers understand this.
Customer success management is the continuation of a thoughtful, personalized marketing journey. Customer success is all about extending a fantastic buying experience beyond the sale, cultivating an active relationship with your customers and ensuring that they have the resources and support they need to achieve the value they expected when they bought your product.
Think of customer success as a step beyond content marketing, which is about giving your audience helpful content and resources they can use to make informed buying decisions. Your customer success management should give them the tools and support they need to be successful once they’ve made a purchase. Customer-centric marketing and success management must come together to give customers a single, seamless and exceptional experience with your brand as a whole.
Both build and maintain customer relationships.
The rise of the internet and online shopping has opened the door for businesses of all sizes to connect with customers everywhere. Businesses today are more accessible, and in turn, customer expectations are often high. In today’s hyperconnected world, where seemingly any product is available to anyone at any time, I believe customer loyalty is one of the most important metrics a business can measure.
In many ways, the roles of marketers and customer success managers are similar. Both are responsible for building and maintaining loyal customer relationships. Both recognize the importance of listening to their customers and understand how to speak their language. And both understand how important personalized experiences are for building authentic relationships.
Most importantly, both have the expertise needed to understand their customers’ challenges and offer actionable solutions. Marketers must get to know their customers at every touch point using data, and then build connected, personalized journeys and relationships that inspire customers to return again and again. Customer success managers must continue to strengthen these relationships beyond each purchase.
Both find creative solutions to complex challenges and lead transformation.
Marketing has seen more than its fair share of transformation in the last few decades. It has adapted to the rise of e-commerce and embraced advances in data science, artificial intelligence and personalization. Marketers have had to entirely rethink their roles and how they connect to and engage with customers. Responses to this transformation have led to some of the most creative solutions the industry has ever seen, a shift toward customer-centric marketing and overall better, more delightful experiences for people.
Customer success management is part of the same transformation. It also focuses on keeping the customer — and their success — at the center of everything. Customer success managers can use many of the same skills as marketers to listen to their customers and offer meaningful solutions for their unique needs.
For example, a marketer might notice a certain “how to” blog is driving an unusually high amount of search traffic. This can tell them that potential customers face this particular problem and are looking for a solution. The marketer may then create an email nurture campaign and e-book on the same topic to drive new views. A customer success manager could use these same skills to observe an issue their customers commonly encounter in launching a new product and create a resource or toolkit to help new customers avoid similar speedbumps.
Many businesses today understand how important customer success is for building brand loyalty and long-lasting relationships, and I am seeing more of them dedicating resources and talent to making it a core component of a larger experience. When you’re searching for a talented customer success manager, your marketing team is a great place to start.
This blog was originally published here.
Jamie is a passionate, out of the box thinker and established strategic leader with a proven track record of building high-performing teams. Experience launching products from conception to positioning to GTM. Driven by building customer centric marketing organizations and using storytelling to bring campaigns to life.