Some of the research that SBI has done this year highlights a trend of sales cycles getting longer and deal sizes getting smaller. This can be attributed partially to customers and prospects having more stakeholders involved in any buying decision—combined with tendencies for more conservative buying behaviors in 2023. With the rising difficulty in pursuing new logo acquisitions, many CEOs are choosing to go back to their existing customer base in 2024.
But for any company to successfully convert cross-sell and upsell opportunities with existing customers, it is necessary to have an effective customer marketing strategy. A customer’s journey does not end with a closed deal. Customer marketing needs to be a purposeful, ongoing effort to continually improve customer relationships by helping them realize incremental value through your products and services, which helps drive loyalty, retention, advocacy, and growth.
Therefore, customer marketing needs to be more than something that’s “nice to have”. Your organization needs to know how existing customers engage with your organization. You need people dedicated to customer marketing roles with specific responsibilities aimed at improving customer relationships. If your organization has not planned a customer marketing strategy with this level of rigor, SBI has 5 suggestions to get you started.
5 tips to drive growth with customer marketing
- Understand how, where, and with whom customer engagement happens at your organization.
Designing an effective customer marketing strategy starts with having visibility on all the different touchpoints between your customers and your organization. Identify all customer engagement activities and initiatives by functions outside of marketing—including strategic accounts programs, onboarding and training, as well as upsell and cross-sell plays.
- Use customer data to identify areas where customers are getting stuck or dropping off.
After carrying out customer research, you can analyze the data to find friction points in the customer journey—especially ones that customer marketing can address. The data analysis may also highlight leading indicators of positive outcomes that could be achieved through customer marketing.
- Define a customer marketing strategy that prioritizes specific areas of the customer journey.
Customers have different needs at different stages in the customer journey, and the way you add value at each stage could vastly improve customer experience. For example, new customers would benefit more from a comprehensive onboarding experience, while mature customers would appreciate engagements that help them increase the value they get out of your product.
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities for customer engagement across departments.
Your sales, marketing, and customer success teams all have important parts to play in customer marketing, but you must be clear from the get-go about who does what. Seamless coordination in cross-functional teamwork is necessary for the efficient execution of initiatives defined in any customer marketing strategy, which drives the desired results.
- Commit to regular cross-functional interlocks to share insights and be responsive to change.
The different functions working together should regularly share with each other information on the progress and results of customer marketing initiatives. This data-driven approach enables your execution teams to have visibility and be responsive to market conditions and customer changes, enabling you to optimize your customer marketing efforts over time.
To summarize, as with any outbound sales motion, customer marketing needs to be treated as its own discipline with a rigorous and deliberate strategy to engage your existing customer base. By paying close attention to customer data and changing customer attitudes, your organization will be able to make informed decisions on how to continuously deliver value to customers—building a loyal customer base from which you can drive growth in line with your goals.
If you’re ready to take the first step towards effective customer marketing, SBI has a concise yet detailed guide on the essential components to building a customer marketing strategy. Click here to read the guide now.