The customer experience has shifted dramatically in recent years. Starting in the consumer space and then moving into the B2B market, we are now firmly in the age of “customer empowerment”. Customers have more ways than ever to voice their feedback and opinions of your brand, and marketers have almost no control over many of those channels. The introduction of software as a service (SaaS) companies has also led to a shift in expectations from customers. In order to keep a customer happy - especially a subscription-based customer - part of our job as marketers is to help customers meet their goals and objectives (not just our goals!).
Companies that will succeed long-term in this new era put the needs, wants, and interests of their customers above their own company objectives. It means communicating in a way that provides value at each step of the customer journey (yes, even after the sale). This focus on providing value to your customers - and in turn increasing the value they provide to you - is something we think about for every project and engagement we work on. It’s a trendy marketing phrase now to say “customer-first” marketing, but at Byrnes we’ve been using this approach for almost two decades. We learned early on when implementing customer reference programs that most customers are much more likely to participate when we tailored our asks to their specific needs and interests.
Here’s an example. The CEO at your company wants high profile win press releases announcing new top tier, brand name customers. This is a challenging request for most marketers - many of your customers will have policies that prohibit them from participating, and most of those who could participate want to see results before they endorse publicly, which means they need to implement first. Instead of hiding the press release request into their contract, which in most cases gets deleted, you can start the discussion early on in the sales process about the marketing opportunities available to customers. These opportunities can focus on letting the customer promote their brand and story - focusing on how the solution they have with you will help them serve their customers better.
Some customers will want to do press releases and be on customer advisory boards, while others will prefer to do a case study and speak at a conference. If you spend the time to find out what your customers want and create a plan specifically for them, you'll see participation rates go up.
That's just one example, but you can apply this same concept of increasing the value you provide to your customers before, during and after the sale. If you'd like to see how this approach could help your company, contact us - we'd love to talk!