A marketer’s job isn’t done when a lead converts. Today, the most successful companies focus their resources and strategy not just on winning the customer, but also on post-sale priorities like keeping customers engaged and turning them into advocates. However, there’s plenty of room for improvement—according to Gallup, just 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged with the organizations they work with.
A recent report published by Forrester examines the growing need for a full-lifecycle approach to marketing and shortlists a number of technologies that help marketers in their Customer Engagement Marketing efforts, from retaining buyers to building customer advocates and creating a satisfactory customer experience. Read on for some of the key findings from the report.
Don't pass up the opportunity to engage and leverage your customer base for marketing activities
Once a lead becomes a customer, marketers often miss out on a valuable opportunity to activate their customer base for loyalty-boosting marketing initiatives—such as championing your customers’ successes via case studies and testimonials, partnering on campaigns, or highlighting the customer perspective to add value to thought leadership pieces.
From a lack of resources to a limited budget, there are a number of reasons many marketers fall short of their customer engagement goals. Despite these challenges, a survey by Forrester found that 74% of B2B marketers already use some form of customer engagement marketing (CEM) to engage their customer advocates. To avoid losing customers to the competition, brands now need to empower their customers to spend more time in the “retention” and “loyalty” stages of the customer lifecycle. By calling on customer advocates, marketers can deepen their customer relationships while they validate their marketing claims.
Activate your customer advocates to create case studies
Even if the term “customer engagement marketing” is new to you, you may already be using CEM tactics in your marketing campaigns. In fact, Forrester found that 40% of marketers have run a customer reference, advisory board, or case study program in their departments for at least five years. Many marketers already understand the value of activating customer advocates for marketing purposes across the buyer lifecycle.
In the past, you might have chosen the subjects of your case studies based on factors like the volume of business you do with that customer or even just the customer’s willingness to go on record. Today, new technology like TechValidate by SurveyMonkey helps you identify and manage all the customers who are willing to participate in marketing activities, from acting as a reference to providing a case study or testimonial, while also protecting the anonymity of individuals who want to be advocates, but aren’t authorized to speak on behalf of their companies.
Sometimes it isn’t about finding the right customer for your case study, it’s about creating the right customer for your case study. When marketers embed advocacy into every stage of the customer journey, they get the highest ROI from their CEM. By focusing on the retention and loyalty stages of the customer lifecycle, these marketers treat every customer as a potential brand advocate—and the result is more happy customers who are willing to advocate on behalf of your brand.
Accelerate sales with customer engagement marketing
When happy customers share their success stories with your potential buyers, marketing wins. According to Marketing Charts, case studies convert and accelerate more B2B leads than any other type of marketing content. Buyers are more likely to trust marketing claims backed by social proof, especially if you can demonstrate the value of your product or service with ROI statistics.
Marketers who don’t use software to manage their CEM often struggle to demonstrate the ROI of their marketing campaigns to higher ups. According to Forrester, 77% of marketers don’t have a way to measure the ROI of their CEM. The marketers who can measure ROI are the ones who use a platform to manage their efforts. The vast majority of the marketers who can measure ROI see a positive return on CEM and nearly a third see a return of five times or more.
To manage advocates, Forrester picks TechValidate
Today, marketers can identify, manage, and nurture any number of customer advocates with powerful software. Forrester points to TechValidate as a leader in customer-marketing focused software, noting its ability to generate case studies and other social proof from small and large groups of advocates. TechValidate puts sales and marketing on the same page, so they can work together to create credible content that converts leads and accelerates sales.
Marketers can use new technology to overcome many of the challenges that once plagued CEM. For example, company policy sometimes bars employees from speaking up for your brand on behalf of their companies. With TechValidate, these employees can advocate for your brand anonymously, enabling you to tap into a bigger pool of advocates than you’d ordinarily be able to. The software verifies the employee and company information privately, but makes enough information public for leads to see that the testimonial or case study is credible. You can also show prospects how your average customer uses or benefits from your products by using the software to aggregate feedback into proof points, such as: “x percent of our customers say they’ve boosted productivity with x product.”
By integrating CEM into your brand’s customer lifecycle, you’ll be able to turn to your advocates time and time again to verify your marketing claims with social proof. According to Forrester, marketers should strive to make every customer an advocate by seeking out marketing content that puts the success of individual customers before other business outcomes. TechValidate can help you get there.