Time to End Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success Silos

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Marketers love the thrill of the chase. We pursue prospects with reckless abandon. MQLs are B2B digital hunting trophies.


But when marketers catch prospects, the game’s over. They quickly forget about these newly-minted customers….because prospects are sexier.

It shouldn’t be this way. 

Prospects shouldn’t be engaged separately by sales, marketing, and customer success. The three groups should be working together to attract, capture, and serve customers.

John McTigue argues that silos create friction, which drives customer unhappiness and churn. 

He believes a unified approach is a win for B2B companies and customers. 

I'm Mark Evans and welcome to Marketings Park, the podcast that delivers insight from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches in twenty five minutes or less. Marketers spend a lot of time, money and effort attracting and engaging prospects. We love the thrill of the kill, but once a prospect turns into a customer, we seemingly lose interest. This is despite the fact that it's so much easier to keep an existing customer than win a new one. Today I'm talking with John mcteae, a customer journey strategist, on how to keep customers happy and loyal. Welcome to Marketings Park. Thank you. Glad to be here. Let's start off with the initial premise that, and I could be wrong here, that marketers love to attract and engage prospects and turn them into, or help turn them into, customers, but we often forget customers after they're part of the fold, their thought and happy. We've done our job. Now it's up to other people in customers success and customer service to keep them there. Is that an a correct depiction of what's going on out there generally? Yeah, I think so. I think historically, sales and marketing and customers success, or really customer success as a thing, hasn't hasn't been there for you know, for many years it was just customer service or customers support. So yeah, I think they've they've been siloed for a long, long time, maybe forever, doing their own job and you know, as you said, marketing and sales are really focused on bringing in new customers and then it's somebody else's problem after that. So I think where we're at is is changing that mindset and it's it's not fully implemented yet, let's say that, but it is changing. One of the things that I read a lot about these days is the silos between sales marketing into customer success. They all have their different mandates, they all operate differently. In many cases they don't communicate that well, don't share resources, don't share feedback and, as a result, they're march into the beat of their own drummer. A lot of people are starting to suggest that they should be morphed together, that there should be an amalgamation, that there shouldn't be any delineation between sales marketing and customer success. Do you subscribe to that view? And if so, how do you make that a reality? How do you merge all these different job functions together so you can move forward and lockstep? Well, I do subscribe to that idea, that strategy. It makes perfect sense if you think about it from the customers point of view. They don't want to deal with silos. They don't want to have to be handed off from one department to the next. They don't want to deal with multiple people who don't know what they're you know, what they're all about, what they're interests are and things like that. So there's a lot of friction that builds up in these handoffs between the initial marketing and sales and and then finally customers, customer support, which I think statistically shows that a lot you lose a lot of business this way. There you know, those those fences between the silos, so to speak, are are high friction and they do cause problems. They do cause customers to get, you know, unhappy with your brand and your products and so on. So there are lots of good reasons to merge them. Your question is more about how hard is that to do and what are you know, maybe what are...

...some of the barriers? But I think if you can do it. It's certainly a great idea to have the three operations meeting as a team, focusing on what the customer wants, exchanging ideas and staying in communication so that that messaging back and forth is always consistent. People are always aware of what the customer you know where they are in their journey and what their interests are and whether challenges are and they're working together to solve them. So I mean it makes sense from a sort of a logical point of view, but because it's so organizationally siload and leaders have their little ye know, as especially true with leaders, that they have their fifeedoms and then you know they're defending their territory that you have big problems in breaking down those walls. So that's kind of the the first step is is maybe putting in someone above them, you know chief revenue officer, who says, okay, guys, the walls are coming down and you guys have to figure out how to work together. Lots of different ways that we can go from here. But one of the issues, I believe, is the idea of compensation. So right now, if your sales wrap, you get base plus commission in many cases, if you're the marketing person, you get rewarded based on mql's or SQL's and if your customer success, I guess there's rewards around retention. Maybe it's about upsals. But if everything's going to be amalgamated, the whole compensation system is going to have to be reimagined because everyone's going to have to be in the same boat be rewarded in the same kind of ways, and so that's going to be really interesting challenge, both from an organizational structure point of view but also in terms of compensation, you know, and a sort of a modern day analogy would be a car dealer where you now you have sales reps that aren't on commission anymore. They're paid salaries and everybody salary goes up and down based on revenue, based on performance and and profitability. So why not do that with sales and marketing and customer success in any organization? You know, I don't know why that wouldn't be true, because they're all working together to attract and convert people into customers, they're all working to keep those customers through retention and they're all working together to upsell and cross sell and expand accounts. The only thing that I can think of that would be better than that possibly is having smaller teams focused on specific accounts. So you have like an account based team with a marketer, a sales rep, maybe couple sales reps, a customer success person, all focused on, you know, half a dozen, maybe ten or fifteen accounts and there are they are directly responsible for performance, revenue, performance, retention, upsale, a cross cell, working as a team, and their reward it through a bonus system or however you want to handle that. The advantages. It's much simpler that way and you're either you're either doing well or you're not, you know, across the board, and you're more focused on individuals, you know, with individual customers and customer accounts, trying to help them be successful, because that's how you're successful. Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense in the BB enterprise space where you've got big, high value customers that take a long time to come on board. So what usually happens is the marketing people will attract them, the salespeople will...

...develop the relationship, nurture the deal, close the deal and then customer success will make sure the customer is on boarded and happy. But if you had them working together post sale, the salesperson has a relationship so they can stay involved, the marketer can use their skills to effectively communicate to the customer and the customer success person can then do whatever it takes to expand the client, to serve the client in different ways, and that could be a very effective way to do post acquisition sales and marketing. Absolutely, and it is working. There are plenty of companies doing this. But the challenge, I think that you're hinting at is in, you know, midsize companies. It's SMB's. What's the equivalent? You know, yes, you often don't have enough people to go a round even to staff up these teams. Or maybe you have a small ACV, you know product and you have thousands, even hundreds of thousands of customers. What's the deal there? So that's a slightly different way of looking at it. But instead of maybe grouping together and working so closely with the counts, those teams instead work on things like product led growth. They work on using more of a technology approach to staying, you know, closely tied in with the customers on their journeys throughout the process and, you know, helping them succeed. So I mean they're different ways of approaching that and they do depend on the size of the company and the product that you're selling. But you know, there are still ways of doing that without going back to the old ways. In the SMB space, I find the one of the shortcomings of post acquisition activities is the fact that marketing seeems to wash their hands of customers and that they're not communicating as effectively as they should. So in many cases it's a monthly newsletter or a quarterly newsletter, and these newsletters are pretty lame. I mean there's probably not a lot of time and effort that goes into them. I think a lot of them are simply going through the motions to stay in touch with the customer. But for SMB's marketing that's creative, engaging, proactive, prescriptive and really tied to making the customer more successful and making them smarter so that they can use the product in better and different ways. That's a that's just a starting point. That's a fundamental way to really keep your customers engaged and keep marketing as important. Engage with your customers too. I mean, if you think about it. The customer is constantly changing, you know, they have new challenges, new products of their own, new markets. You know, things are happening at that company, and then you're changing, you know. So your products are changing, your markets are changing. So marketing can be really good at sort of bridging that gap between what happened before and what's happening now, you know, kind of keeping people and not through sort of a stale newsletter, but more like customer stories, you know, doing doing what marketing does well, interviewing customers, writing up their stories, doing great videos and podcasts, you know, designing up or, you know, capturing results from their customers and creating really effective content out of that. And then one of the things that we often miss is involving our customers in our own marketing and US in there's so both sharing brands, doing things together, like we're doing a podcast now. I could be your customer and we could be sharing, you know, ideas back and forth across our brands and then distributing them to our audiences, which,...

...you know, it's a win win. So why not do that? You know, why not have marketing more involved in co branding and, you know, initiatives to get the word out on both side try to help all of our customers out at the same time. Yeah, I think you're right. I think there are many win, win win propositions that marketing taste fails take advantage of when it comes to their customers, because customers have tremendous domain expertise and thought leadership that is untapped. What I've found is if you reach out to customers and if you try to engage them, they are in many cases extremely enthusiastic because they see the upside in two ways. One, they can demonstrate I made a smart decision by doing business with you, which is great. I'm seeing as somebody who is savvy and knows what they're doing. And second, they can promote their own company by leveraging your marketing. There's absolutely no reason why this shouldn't be done more often. But we leave we leave a lot of this, these opportunities on the table because we just don't think about it as market as. We ignore it. It's not as not a priority, not seen as effective and there's lots of ways that we just fail our customers when it comes to customer success and marketing it. Well, if you consider, like fifty hundred year old company that's not really digitally transformed yet. A lot of times, and there's still many, many of those out there, they don't have that kind of marketing. They don't they're not really doing much digital marketing. They're not really involved in social media and and podcasting and all that. So we can help them with that and and it's a win again. It's a win win because they have a big audience that's probably not aware of what you do. You can get business quite easily referral business this way. It's sort of, I guess you'd call it a hybrid of sort of direct and referral business. So you know they're it can't hurt you to do this to sort of get the word out, and marketing is uniquely qualified to do this kind of work. Let's shift gears a little bit. On linkedin. Recently you wrote an interesting post looking at friction and the idea of that. Many companies struggle with their websites because it's just not aligned with what customers want to know, need to know or align with their expectations. Can you walk through some of the biggest mistakes that companies make when it comes to their websites, because this is the digital doorway. This is the most important portal to educate, engage and entertain your customers. Yet a lot of companies fail. What are they doing wrong and what should be be doing instead? Well, the root cause of this is looking at it from your perspective, not your customers perspective. So you a lot of companies, think of their website. Is it? Well, this is, this is my brochure, this is my brand, this is what I'm putting out there and if everybody likes it, they're going to come and do business with us. The only problem is that's not what your customers want. They couldn't care less about your brand. You know, they probably never heard of you and and maybe they just run across you through a Google search or a friend tells them about you and so you go check out their website. That's the first thing you do. And so they don't know anything about you. They don't have this warm fuzzy feeling about your company or your employees or your awards. They just want to know what you do first. You know who you are. What do you do? Why should I be interested in how is this relevant to me? It's almost like a website needs to read my mind and tell me why I should be there and then make it as easy as possible to...

...find out exactly what I want to know. So they really the key thing is answering my questions and the rest it could be on the website somewhere, but it shouldn't be up front. It shouldn't be the first thing that they run into. So a lot of people bounce because they go what is this? I don't this is not this is not something I'm interested in, and they'll see it is a gigantic picture of people working and you know, stuff like that, and it's like, well, I'm not interested in that. We got that, we got people working at desks. I'm here for, you know, to make more revenue or fix things faster or you know, something like that. That's the key is you've got to think through what your customers journey is like early on in the process and what are what are they interested in? What are their questions? And the easiest way to do that is to ask. I find it fascinating and troubling at the same time that when you see websites and your first impression is I don't understand what you do. I don't understand why I should care, and it's marketing, one, O one. It really is trying to position yourself in a very simple, accessible way what you do and why anyone should care. And I'm doing a lot of positioning work these days to try to simplify a company's corporate narrative. And the first thing that I tell people, once you develop your positioning is take that and repurpose it for your website, because it'll go a long way. But I guess companies are very product focus or feature focused or price focused, and reality is they're not customer focused. That's the thing, even higher up in the pecking order than positioning, in my opinion. You have to you have to understand the why. You know, why would someone want your product? You know what is it about them? What is it about their their needs or their their wants or whatever that would drive them towards I guess that is positioning. Really. You know what is it? What's a connection between you and them? And and you got to get that across right away because if you don't, you lose them. Nobody's going to watch it. And even a sixty two video product demonstration or a blog post you wrote about this and that you know. I mean, yeah, maybe later, but right now we're just we're just meeting in a cut at a cocktail party and and I'm not telling you my life history yet. We haven't gotten there yet. Let's assume that you're positioning is good, your website works, a conversion happens and a prospect turns into a customer. And all a lot of what you write about on Linkedin has to do it on boarding and the magic of onboarding that turns a customer into an engage customer. What do you see is the biggest mistakes when it comes to on boarding and what are the must do? Is, what are the things that a company must do right from the onset to make sure that onboarding is almost like a launch tool into something bigger and better? The biggest problem people have an onboarding is not knowing what their customers actually want. During the sales process, there's not a back and forth about what your goals are. You know, if you sign up with us, what do you hope to accomplish, and so the onboarding process doesn't reflect that at all. It's generic. It's like this, these are the steps we want you to go through to be our customer, which is not what customers want. They want to solve their problems right out of the gate. You know that, plus, to the extent that you can make it personal,...

...like have a work you know, it could be an online workshop or or some live training. You know, and the to the extent that you actually have someone assigned as either an account manager or or definitely assigned as an account team, that's even better, because then they know they're being taken care of. Otherwise you just get a stream of emails. You know, do this and Oh, I noticed you didn't do that, and you know it's like, okay, leave me alone, I'm trying to get things done here. It's that lack of personalization, that lack of customization. You know. That, I think, is is typically what drives people away, even during a free trial, and I think it's one of the negatives when it comes to marketing automation as that we put people into buckets or big giant groups and we assume that they have the same experiences in the same needs, and the reality is that people buy solutions for lots of different reasons and I think you're right when it comes to on boarding, it really is about we know you have or we think you have these specific problems and here's how to solve them using our product. Here's what you do, and then, based on people's activity, then you can personalize the onboarding experience. Your emails are a lot more relevant, a lot more personal, lot more effective. We don't do that. We just hit the button and hit play and let it go from there. And I think again, as marketers, we we leave a lot on the table. We leave a lot of opportunities untapped. Yeah, and the the worst thing I've seen is people actually drive forcing you into some sort of tutorial program that you have to go through these steps and sort of get certified, as you know this and that I mean, and that's the last thing people want, you know, they want to skip right to the thing that they were most interested in and dive in, you know, show some dashboards and move on, you know. And so you just can't assume that. You can't assume anything. You have to ask a couple of question. One has to do with the future of marketing, and this is obviously a loaded question, but you know, as we move forward and as companies reset or recalibrate their marketing activities, there's going to be some back and forth when it comes to actually how to structure their marketing organizations. Do you do things in house or do you use freelancers, contractors, agencies and fractional executive the mix could be completely different from what we saw a year or eighteen months ago, when a lot of companies had big, fully staffed marketing teams. Do you have any thoughts on how things manfoold and how marketing organizations may be structured going forward? Well, I think it depends on a couple of trends. So one of them you mentioned already, the automation trend. If that continues. So the the idea there is that more and more stuff that marketers do gets automated, up to an even including creating content, maybe even creating strategy from for Seo and things like that. I mean, if that really continues unabated, that will have a fairly significant impact, not only on the size of marketing teams, but you know who works on a marketing team? You're going to have a bunch of tech people basically, and a strategist. But it could go another direction, and I think it actually is heading in this direction. It's just a little slower than I would have liked and that is in the opposite direction. More human to human, more personal, more brand forward and less about conversion and Ottoman automn automation. So those are two sort of competing trends and I think if that trend starts to win out more,...

...you're going to see more hiring of content marketers and designers and brand marketers and even customer marketers and product marketers, because there's there's going to be more of this sort of human to human element where you really need expertise at the at the daily level. That's hard, really hard, to automate, and you're kind of seeing that too. You're seeing it that it's harder and harder to find talent out there. So it's not quite clear which directions were going in and whether or not that's outsourced. That could go either way too, because you know, there are specialty agencies. More and more agencies are sort of you know, they focus on one or two things and less sort of, you know, agency of record. And then consultants sort of the same way. You see more specialized consultants and things like product led growth or abm or something, and then the fractional CMO of or see, see whatever. I think that's going to increase because there's more and more change in the marketplace all the time and you see companies coming and going, you see people coming and going, so you need leadership. Having people available for a short period of time is is at least one good solution to that. So I'm I agree with you. I see the brand content trend gaining more momentum because as companies look to differentiate, everyone's doing automation. It's table stakes. But if you can carve out a unique and interesting brand through different kinds of marketing activities, I think that's going to be more and more important. And I think fractional. You and I are obviously biased because of real fractional marketers, but get the strategic firepower that you need when you need it. One final question. Recommendations on a good book that you've you've read recently and when we can travel internationally, where would you like to go? Well, I'll I'll have a sort of anti commercial against sales and marketing books. I don't I don't read very many of them because a lot of them are just kind of methodologies or retreads, but I have I have some exceptions. I recently read product led growth by West Bush. That's it's really good if you're really interested in how SASS companies can drive revenue growth through kind of just making making their products more friendly. It's a very interesting read. Of course, there's never lose a customer again, by Joey Coleman. That's that's kind of a classic read on Retention and Growth through customer service customer journey. And then the third one I like is marketing rebellion by Mark Shaffer, which is all about the sort of human to human trend. That's that's been coming on. And so your last questions easy one for me because we actually had our vacation canceled in two thousand and twenty two two Portugal and Spain. So we haven't rescheduled, but we're planning to. We really want to get to those two places and you never know, I'm game to actually move somewhere like that one of these days, so we'll see. Yeah, I think a lot of us are looking for an escape of any kind, whether it's Portugal and Spain or it's going to the cottage up north or or simply visiting friends again. Doing something different would be would be a great change of pace. One final final question is if people want to learn more about what you do and and the services that you provide, where can they find that out? Well, I'm on Les as you know. I'm on Linkedin every day, so if you really want to get my attend unch, it's just j mctigue is the last part of my...

...linkedin profile. And then www dot journey maestro maestr rocom is us where I hang out on the web. Look forward to connecting up with with anyone and everyone. Well, thanks to on. This has been a great conversation. Your insight into the customer journey and all things marketing has been refreshing. It's another example of someone that I met on Linkedin, reached out to, developed a relationship and had jump onto my podcast. So it's finally good to do something professional together after all our conversations. Same to you, mark, and thanks for having me. Enjoyed it. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by Itunes, spotify or your favorite podcast APP for show. Notes of today's conversation and information about John is it. Marketing Spark dotcom blog if you'd like to learn more about how I held BDB SASS companies as a fractional CMO FOR GG, advisor and coach. Send an email to mark at Mark Evans Dot Sea. I'll talk to you next time.

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