What’s the objective of marketing? Stop reading and think of your answer. Especially if you’re a marketer—think about what you and your team are working towards.
The goal of marketing is actually pretty simple: to create and retain customers.
From there it expands, of course. You want to attract the right customer and make them happy. There are marketing qualified leads (MQLs), sales approved leads (SALs), and more acronyms than I care to remember.
Yet, in one word, marketing is about customers. Make their experience count to make your marketing team successful.
And that requires being involved long after the initial contact. Not only that, it involves the entire company working together to create a cohesive experience that serves customers. The secret to great customer experience isn’t just one person or even one department, it’s everyone—marketing, sales, customer success, even your product and services teams.
There Is No Handoff
As a marketer, it’s easy to think that you brought a customer into the funnel, you empowered sales with stellar content, and now, your part is over. Sales will take it from there and then transition them to customer success. In the meantime, you’re back to the grind and bringing in more rockstar customers.
Not so fast.
This isn’t track, where you can pass a baton to your teammate and watch the rest of the race from the sidelines. It’s a team sport—think soccer.
As teams take to the field in the World Cup, each player has their own role, but they all have to coordinate and move down the field in unison, communicating with one another and sharing the common goal of moving the ball forward.
Think of the team as your company—you’re working together to generate revenue (and keep your jobs) by creating and retaining customers.
The different departments are the individual players on the field, and together, you’re moving your customer through the funnel and down the field. Marketing is the first customer touchpoint and to score a goal, or in this case to reach your company goal, you have to work with sales, customer success, and other internal teams.
Warning: Unlike a ball, do not kick your customer down the funnel. Also unlike a ball, remember that your customer is empowered with content and resources—they’re working their own way down the funnel. This adds variables and means it’s crucial that you’re prepared to overcome obstacles as a team.
To be successful in this environment, you must strategize, practice, and communicate with one another. We call this alignment.
Inconsistent Messaging Hurts the Whole Team
It’s no secret that inconsistent messaging across the buyer’s journey creates a negative customer experience—check out our survey results below. It’s imperative to have your entire team playing from the same playbook. (Ahem—you must be aligned).
“Prospects should know what your company is all about from the first blog post they read or webinar they watch. Their understanding should deepen, not change, as they engage with sales.” (Kapost Benchmark)
As customers move down the funnel, the content should deepen their understanding of your company—not make them question it. If there is a shift in narrative between marketing and sales—and even customer success, for that matter—customers can become confused and take a permanent time out.
That means wasted time for the sales team and lost revenue for the company.
To be successful, your company must not only have strong messaging; the narrative must be consistent across channels and across all internal company stakeholders.
You Need Weekly Practices, A.K.A., Meetings
One way to keep messaging consistent is by staying connected weekly.
When I played soccer in elementary school, teamwork looked like weekly games, featuring snacks as the highlight. Now that my team is customer advocacy at Kapost, I don’t exactly have a field to show up to every Saturday. Instead, I attend cross-departmental meetings where the flow of ideas and collaboration are my favorite part. Company snacks at the meetings are just a fun perk!
Fortunately, I’m not alone in my love for snacking and attending meetings outside of my department. Our Director of Marketing attends the sales meeting every week. She’s able to share our latest content, make sure sales understands it, and get feedback on what the sales team needs.
Yet, this cross-company collaboration is an anomaly. Our recent benchmark found that 33% of marketing and sales don’t have a regular standing meeting.
France didn’t win the World Cup without communication, and you won’t win—and keep—your customers without ensuring the message you’re working hard to curate is the same one that’s being shared by the sales team and rest of the company.
If you’re not having weekly meetings, you’re missing the opportunity to connect. Set them up now.
We’re All on the Same Team
Cross-departmental meetings are crucial, because we are all on the same team. It can be easy lose sight of that as we sit in our own department silos, dedicated to contributing our piece to the larger game.
On our marketing team we have two positions, mine and a customer marketer, who regularly (weekly) attend customer success meetings. We all engage with the sales team often—I run content by them while it’s in process to ensure we in marketing are doing everything right.
Not only that, the marketing team has optional Lunch and Learns for every major pillar launch open to the entire company. That way, we can ensure everybody knows what content is being distributed and feels enabled to get it to the customers who will benefit the most.
Depending on your company size, this might not be exactly what scaling collaboration, but get creative! Send out a newsletter or record a two- to three-minute video reviewing new content and how it should be distributed.
Prepare with a Scrimmage
How do you know if other departments are using the correct messaging? If the sales team read the content you’ve been sharing? Or if customer use cases are distributed by the customer success team?
A lot of it is trust—trust built by having the cross functional meetings and getting to know your peers.
Beyond that, create a measurable method of learning and testing the message delivery. Kapost has made several changes this year as we transition to be a comprehensive content marketing platform and provide expert consulting to set customers up for success.
Therefore, the entire company, marketing included, is being trained and certified to deliver our values and our narrative, so customers receive the same, accurate information regardless of who they talk to. By practicing the message with each other, we can confidently share it with the customer.
About the Bystanders
If you think customers are bystanders, you’re mistaken. Although I didn’t address the customer experience from the actual customer’s perspective in this article, be aware that customers are more empowered than ever, and they’re the ones truly in charge.
That said, it’s a team effort to guide customers and provide them the information they require at the right time in their buyer’s journey. Give them a good game to watch—and good content to read.
Provide content for the entire length of the funnel—including to customers who have been with you for five years.
Customer experience drives customer retention and upsells. Customers are willing to pay up to 16% more for a positive customer experience, which can mean numbers in the millions.
Future of Customer Experience
We’ve already established that the goal of marketing is to create and keep customers. We can’t stop there. What’s the goal of sales? Customer success? Engineers? The C-suite?
The entire company is working to create and keep customers while driving revenue. Each player is doing their part, and each individual needs to be aligned with one another to create a great, cohesive customer experience.
Customer experience is no longer owned by marketing, sales, or customer success—it’s owned by all of them. The future of customer experience is recognizing that each individual in the company affects the customer experience—and they must all work together to share the same narrative. Get the 2018 Marketing-Sales Alignment Benchmark to see exactly where B2B organizations are in actually owning the customer experience.