Customer Advocate Management Solves Top B2B Marketing Concerns
What’s the marketing buzz for 2017? What issues and challenges are top of mind for marketing executives? Well, at least according to Gleanster Research, a lot of the same things that were bothering them last year and the year before. The research firm polled 750 marketers from mid-size B2B companies about the role of marketing and CRMs in the customer lifecycle. The survey reveals that synergy between marketing and sales and the associated technologies used by these two functions is still elusive. The top concerns were reported by an astonishing percentage of respondents.
- Access to existing customer data – 95%
- Marketing alignment with sales – 90%
- Fragmented marketing systems – 83%
- Limitations with current technologies – 80%
- Internal skills and expertise – 73%
- We don’t collect the right customer data – 60%
- Our processes are inefficient – 58%
There is one cross-functional program, supported by the right technology, can in large part address these problems.
With the increased focus on the full customer lifecycle comes a greater need for consolidated data and cross-functional MarTech solutions. Customer Advocate/Reference programs cannot be run from a glorified spreadsheet of customer names. Purpose-built applications are sophisticated extensions of the companies CRM that enables both marketers and sales representatives to leverage customer data, streamline processes and win more opportunities.
Customers and customer data are essential to both marketing and sales organizations. Marketing is taking on a greater role/stake in the complete customer lifecycle because not only are they using existing customers to gain new customers, Marketing is also now marketing to current customers. Maximizing the lifetime value of existing customers is a top organizational objective for progressive companies, so more emphasis—and budget—is being allocated to decrease churn, improve satisfaction, up-sell, and cross-sell all while leveraging customer advocates in the process.
Access to existing customer data
– Both Sales and Marketing teams need access to customer information (advocate information in particular), and both organizations need to see the real-time data from the same view: CRM.
Alignment between sales and marketing
– These two departments work hand-in-hand, and need clear shared measures of their respective goals. Alignment and cooperation requires a single view into customer data and activity with easy to understand reports.
We do not collect the right customer data
– The information gathered during the sales process or for billing may not be the information Sales, Customer Success and Marketing need to develop case studies, involve customers in user groups or advisory boards, or contact as references. The CRM data most likely won’t include information like pending or historical reference activity (e.g., media interview, site visit). That is what a customer reference application that lives within the CRM platform does so well: provides actionable, advocate intelligence to both Sales and Marketing.
Fragmented Systems, Limited Technology, and Inefficient Processes
– Nothing ignites frustration like inefficiency. Limited technology, cumbersome processes, and siloed systems create redundancy, inaccuracy, and bottlenecks. Automation with program-specific applications streamlines the processes and delivers cross-organization access to up-to-date customer information.
Make 2017 the year you knock off many of the concerns exposed in this report. Include customer advocate management technology to your MarTech stack and a formal approach for harnessing the power of your customers’ stories. Arm Sales and Marketing with essential information, create synergy between the functions and influence the top of the sales funnel in a measurable way. Make it a great year!