Marketing to Customers AFTER They Become Customers: Linda Komisak

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Marketers love chasing, engaging, and nurturing prospects.

Marketers love MQLs and revelling in sexy metrics how about well they are performing.

But once a prospect turns into a customer, marketers move on to the next shiny prospect.

A customer becomes the responsibility of customer success or customer service.

Linda Komisak, CEO of Upturn Consultants, believes this is the wrong approach.

Not marketing to customers, she says, means you're:

- not making enough of an effort to keep them happy and loyal

- not educating to get more value from your product

- not creating opportunities to expand their business with you.

In this Marketing Spark podcast, Linda talks about how marketing to customers matters and why "trusted advisors" play a key role in making sure customers are served properly. 

Hi, I'm Mark Evans and you're listeningto marketing spark the podcast that delivers insight tools and tips frommarkers and entrepreneurs, the trenches and twenty minutes or last here's thething about marketer. We love to focus on attracting engaging and winningprospects, but once prospects become customers, well, we pretty much ignorethem. We assume that they're happy once they're in the cold and destroy thereality is that marketing and sales we to focus on customers as much asprospects on today's show. I'm excited to talk with Linda Commissa, about abetter and different approach. That B DB companies should take to customers.Hey mark thanks for having me on, I'm excited to be here. I have a lot ofpassion around this topic. I'm sure you do and we'll get into that. Like I saidoff the top, the vast majority of marketing is focused on prospects.They're, sexy they're compelling engaging with them, and one of them isvery exciting, but once a prospect turns into a customer, as I said,marketers move on, that's it. We don't pay attention to them. We don't care.My question as a starting point is: Why is that like? Does it have to do withmarketing incentives, metric compensation and what's the danger ofnot marketing to customers? Loaded question? I understand. Let's, let'sbreak that apart, so why don't we start with why our customers for the mostpericord after they become customers? Yeah, that's a great question in agreat place to start, I think there are a few things to consider. First isunderstanding the metrics that are driving your marketing activities andthat is probably a whole separate podcast, but I think it's reallyimportant to understand what you're, measuring and marketing, but even moreimportant than the metrics is really understanding that too few B to b SAScompanies really understand how to turn their existing client base into arevenue driver in terms of expanding the platform and driving new business.There's so much data out there from...

Gartner and Mackenzie around you know, two percent increase in yourretention decrease your operating cause around. I don't know ten to fifteen percent or so, but an even more compelling metric is that it's sixty to seventytime easier to sell into an existing client than it is to sell into a newclient. You have about a five to fifteen percent chance of selling intoa net new client, so making sure that your existing clients are happy and andoptimize. Their investments in your platform is the place to start. But,let's be honest, everybody needs to hit an Ar r number, and the easiest thingto do is to go land a big account. Instead of doing all the work of doingthe up sell and your existing at class accounts. If you could just sell thatone big deal that would take care of your Arr number for the for the rest ofthe year. Have you heard that I see that happening a lot in bt companies? Ihear that and it is a very compelling proposition to go out there andleverage your marketing and and sort of reap the benefits of your marketing tobring new customers into the fold. But at the same time, something that yousaid off the top is that it's easier to win more business from an existingcustomer than it is to attract a new customer. So you would think that therewould be a part of your marketing activities would be focused on not onlymaking your existing customers happy, but getting them to buy more right, andthat should be the easiest thing for you to do. And I love to call thiselevating the order of the client complaint in a typical be to bebusiness. You have the acquired stage, the deploy stage, the stabilize andthen support stage, and what happens is sales sells to a buyer? The user is notthe buyer or the stake holder who needs to get reports out of that platform isnot the buyer, but the conversation with that client becomes around theissues list that develops are during the deployment phase, and here'sexecutives, who bought are going to...

...totally disconnect from a conversationaround the issues list, but then now you're in the support phase, and youwant to have a conversation with that executive who bought your platform andyou can't get to them. You can't get past their gate keeper because theydon't want to hear about the issues list. It's really, you know one of the best things thatmarketers can do in that situation is create value for those executivesthrough each stage of that process. So during the sale stage, we're helpingthem understand what capis are important for them and helping thempaint a picture of what success looks like on the platform and the best thingthat happens as that client moves through their journey with you is thatyou're elevating their order of complaint, they have stoppedcomplaining about the issues list, you've solved their problems and thereasons that they purchased your platform. And now you know that onceyou've solved those problems, they have new things to solve. So when you canbring some proactively insight into those relationships, it's a GAM changer.It's a value, driven optimistic conversation about the platform thatwill bring your executives coming back for more for many organizations, though that's aparadigm shift and how they approach marketing in sales, because aftercustomer comes into the fold once you get them on board Er, then it becomesthe role in the companies that I've worked. For is that you have a customersuccess team and I look at them as they put out fires. If a customer is aproblem, they have an issue. They can't figure out how to use the product andcustomer success will have these know the hold their hand they'll make surethat they that the users know what they're doing and solve any problems,but there's no selling going on there's no marketing going on. So that's onething, and the other thing that you said that resonant with me is assumingthe role of the trust to guide so you're, not doing customer service,which is really what customer success does is you're actually nurturing arelationship. You're you're discovering your providing insight, you'recontinuing to build trust and build...

...that relationship, and then, when youask for the UP, sell or the asks for a longer contract, you're in a betterposition is that makes sense. Is that is that the way it should work?Theoretically Yeah? So I guess my suggestion is to retool your clientsuccess and account management teams and really understand the differencebetween your hunters and farmers. And then, of course, you mentionedearlier that that compensation can be a part of this conversation as well as itshould be. What you're really doing in in thisaped up C S M account management model. Is your introducing the trusted adviserin the sale cycle during discovery and demo? So you have this trusted adviser,who is not only a platform expert, but an industry expert as well who'slistening to what the clients, complaints or opportunities are forproblems to solve, suggesting that they are thinking about it correctly ormaybe they haven't thought about something and then going into a demo tospecifically address that clients concerns and demonstrate how theproduct solves that. But then that relationship slips away when thatproject goes through deployment and stabilization, but that trusted adviseris coming back. Forty five days after go live on the platform to say great:Let's have our first B R and let's talk about what you bought the platform for andthe Kapi that we set during the sale cycle. Here's how you're performingagainst those are these still important to you or have you thought about thesethings that we know are coming down the Pike and the way that marketing playsinto that is, first of all, creating content. That is very insight driven. Isee a lot of B to be content thats about this feature or this product, butit doesn't include a lot of things that executives should be thinking aboutthat are coming down the pike, so...

...marketing plays a very tight role withthese customer success managers or account managers, whatever you callthem. These are really your trusted advisers who are bringing insights andthings that the client hasn't yet thought about, because they were sobusy solving x problem, but that's where marketing can really partnertight ne tightly with those groups to help bring that together. The otherthing that I think has I've seen to be incredibly powerful is when a companyoffers a a monthly lunch, an learn type of thing, and this is not, for your endusers to get on and talk about their issues. This is for executives, get onand and get some insights at into how. Similarly sized organizations areperforming on the system. What problems, they're, solving and and marketing canhelp drive that as well through here's. Why? This is why you jumping in thislunch call on a Thursday or a Friday, is importantand here's what you're going to learn from it and then having somebody on thecall who's actually talking about optimize the value of the investmentthat they've made with that platform sure to a sit back into the trust ofadvisor. So who is that person? Are they a marketer? Are they saleth hybridrole, and how do you make sure that they're always there throughout thewhole bias journey, so from awareness to consideration to decision topurchase and then afterward put some more sort of color around that persontheir roles, their skills? First of all, sales is introducing them as a valueadd to the partnership. So, during this sale cycle, this trusted advisor isadded as a value ad to the client. So this person, this type of person, isgoing to be available through to you through us throughout your journey andthey'll be helping you optimize, so that's number one is setting it up forsuccess. The second thing is who's sitting in those seats are people whoare platform experts, so they know the platform better than the client doesand we'll talk about that in a second...

...and why that's important, but they're,also industry leaders they an they're following the industry, they're they're,paying attention to what the competition is doing and theyunderstand what regulations or what changes or they have insights intowhat's coming down the road, so these are people who are not just issues listmanagers, they are thought leaders and they are experts on the platform.Here's here's an interesting thing that happens. I see this frequently and beto be SASS once the client gets into that support stage and they're in thesystem, using it every day, understanding how to get the most outof it that they want. They now become experts on your platform, so you can'tsend a customer service manager in or a support person or a sales person, andto talk about the platform, because the client at that point very likely knowsmore than you do I've seen that repeatedly. So it's important to putsomebody in there who is aware of all of the cool factor that your platformhas to really help the customer get the most out of it. So that's a prettyspecialized rule. I mean they've got to have product expertise, they've got toknow the product inside out, so that so they can demonstrate the value and theuse ability and how you can use it to move your business for, but they alsohave to be thought leaders. They have to have insight to have to really havethat big picture view of the world. That's if I can find a person like thatand may be super valuable, I mean they could do a lot to attract customers andkeep them for sure and, and it plays out right once you have an existingclient base. That is optimize on your platform and they're innovating withyou. I hear marketers talk a lot about success papers or marketing whitepapers. I like to call them innovation papers and that's how this is how Ileverage those when you partner with your clients, to talk about how they'reinnovating on your platform guess what...

...you by default, are innovative becauseyou're providing them the platform that they're innovating on. So when you canhave those conversations and partner with your customers to innovate, youget to ride the coat tails of that and that's where marketing is incrediblypowerful. The people I like to see put into these rules often come out of theclient delivery organization or out of the Professional Services Organization,because they do understand the configuration in the set up of thesystem, and I think they can pretty easily be taught how to optimize thosefeatures and functions to fit into a thought leadership model. So it's alittle less technical and a little more strategic around how to leverage theplatform, but you can really pull some great resources on to a trusted advisorteam that come out of the delivery organization. The other thing that you mentioned isthis lunch on learned. So just so, I understand it correctly. It's just aluncheon learn with a particular client, or this be a group of clients,collectively discussing what their issues are and the company in turnproviding insight into how customers can get more more value out of theproduct. Your trusting advisers should be having regular client calls, whetherthat's a monthly or a by weekly call with them, depending on where they arein their journey. I wouldn't recommend that these luncheon learns are perclient. I would say it's a quarterly event or a monthly event, and you knowyour client base better than anybody else. However, it's an invitation forthose buying executives to come and understand how they're doing with theseinvestments that they've made so they'd be listening to other executives, talkabout how they are optimize and and leveraging the platform that they'vepurchased and it's a opportunity for the executives to share in that venue.If you will yeah, it's really talking about benchmarks. So what are thethings you should be measuring? What are the things you are measuring andhow are your peers and competitors...

...measuring? That's really importantinsight for an executive that makes a lot of sense. I have a client who haswhat they call these pure reviews, where they pull in customers andprospects, and it's a group learning session. It's about it's about insight,that's practices, and what happens is that the clients get lots of ideasabout how they can use the platform better and prospects be had excitedbecause they see right in front of them success stories and people who areactually working together to solve issues. That's that's reallyinteresting to me and I think that's something that a lot of B executivescan can use it as a dentally important take away. The other thing that Iwanted to talk to about his compensation. Marketers in manyrespects, get paid. You know they get pay a flat fee, there's not in some.Maybe they get performance bonuses, sales guys are or sales people areobviously compensated that way, but how should marketers be compensateddifferently for doing a good job of marketing to existing customers? Idon't know what the mechanisms might be, but how do you change the rules so thata marketer is incentive ized to pay attention to people once they come intothe fold? Well, I think there's two ways to look at that. The first is when the company does better, theirbonuses will be better. So when the company has more money, if the companyis selling more and expanding more they'll have more money for bonuses. Sothat's that's the first way to look at it, but the other thing that I'vestarted to work on with customers is allocating a certain amount of thecontract value, the annual contract value. So for for purposes of thisconversation, let's say your annual contract value is a hundred thousanddollars, allocating a half a percent, or even one percent to marketingactivities on that account can be powerful and here's how so the customercomes and says. I need a custom report and you so that, let'ssay that comes into into the customer success team, then they have to go tothe product team and see if there's somebody who can build a report if it'sin the pipeline, at whatever it is and then somebody'll have to figure out howmuch it costs to give this custom...

...report back to the to the client, evenif ten other customers are asking for it, that's the way it works today, I'msuggesting that we give marketing a budget for existing accounts. That'sbased on the annual contract value. That's sitting out there so that ifthey want to invite a customer to an event and they want to pay for thehotel, the travel, they have a budget to do that. So if you want a customerto come and speak on your behalf at an event and in the ovid world, Iunderstand this is a little more complicated, but you have money to dothat. You're, not running around the company, trying to figure out howyou're going to get this client to this event. To speak on your behalf, I Iwould say in terms of compensation for marketing if the company is doingbetter, they should be doing better but give them more budget to work onexisting accounts, and I recommend allocating a portion of the ACB or theAR R to those existing accounts. One of the other things that I want totalk to about is your stories. You've got a very interesting journey frombeing a sales consultant to where you are now from where your started so talkto me a little bit about where you started, and how did you come to whereyou're at right now and maybe talk about the business that you're runningright now, the consulting business in the services that you're offering andthe approach that or the methodology that you're using to to help companies,sell more and really pay attentions to their customers? Oh, this could beanother three months at five minutes, so I'm a registered verse by background.I worked FAUMA for years in in major metropolitan areas and as an end userof health care technology found it incredibly cumbersome to use the thepeople who were buying the technology for me to use we're looking foraccountability, but they certainly weren't addressing efficiency, andthere was a lot of disconnect between...

...what the buyers bought and what theusers were using and over time. I had an opportunity to go work with some ofthese large vendors and and really work on closing that gap of experiencebetween what the buyers experiencing and what the user is experiencing andreally creating a better customer journey across all of the personaswithin a client. This, the idea of a consultant has been rattling around inmy head for a long time, because I think it's easier to make some of thesechanges from the outside than it is from the inside. I think, when you'retrying to make these kinds of changes to sales and marketing and deliveryteams, it can feel a little bit political, whereas if you're coming infrom the outside, it's a lot easier to say here your opportunities, and hereis what I've seen work. Where do you want to start and I get a lot moreengagement coming at it from that perspective than being on the inside ofit? So it's been kind of a convoluted journey, but we're seeing great resultswith our customers that are implementing this trusted adviserapproach earlier in the sale cycle and continuing it through the entire clientlife cycle. How Long Ha you been running your consulting business? I hada consulting business from two thousand and four to two thousand and sixteen.It was kind of a side hustle if you will, but I went all in in two thousandand twenty, so my current consultant has been up for about four months andhow's that going because you're very active on linked in which is great, ifyou're looking to have conversations and engage with people. But overall,what's it been like to operate amid this strange time in which we'reoperating? It's been great. I, my first poor clients were all word of mouthcustomers, so people who had seen the results that I was able to deliver werereferring me to their friends, which is the best marketing. I didn't have topay a dime for that marketing. That was just brilliant, but the lesson in thatis that B to b companies can have that as well. You can have your happyeclients out there telling their peers...

...and colleagues how great it would befor them to work with you as well. So that's the lesson I've learned is whenyou deliver really well and you are able to demonstrate optimistic andvalue, people will sing your praises all day long and that's how it's workedfor me. That's awesome advice for any marketer or any sales person so Linda.Where can people find you and learn more about what you do, so you cancheck me out it up turn Nouo and there's a wealth of information on thatpage. I have a service services, brow shore, that you can download in themenu bar at the top and, if you're interested in having a conversation, tolearn more about how I might be able to help you, you can schedule thirtyminutes for free right on my calendar at a time, that's convenient for you byjust clicking the link in the contact page. We has marketers, obviously arefascinated with prospects, but I think the lesson here is that your customers,people who you've already sold to successfully, are as good a material asan anything else. I mean, I think, there's value in paying attention toyour customers and really serving them properly and keeping them for a longlong time. Well, thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark,if you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by, I tunes oryour favorite podcast op, if you like, put you herd, please rate it for shownotes of today's conversation and information about Linda. Is it marketerdo cos last block? If you have questions feed back like to suggest aguess, I want to learn more about how I help TB companies in the fractional SMOon Sultan adviser send an email to mark at marketing spark com, a.

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