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Good morning, Marketers, and how touchy-feely can B2B get?
Maybe I am being controversial here, but I think there’s every opportunity for B2B to get very touchy-feely indeed. “Touchy-feely” can often be a derogatory term, but we’re in a professional environment where a personal touch and a little bit of human feeling can go a long way.
The most hard-headed B2B sellers and buyers have had their lives turned upside down, have missed out on human connections, and are likely thinking beyond transactional relationships to something of more value. Replace “touchy-feely” with empathetic and you can see where I’m going.
We’ve already written about community in B2B and in the story below we hear about the evolution from account management, via customer success, to customer love, from someone who has worked through it in practice. This is a developing trend and there’s more to come.
Customer success gets passionate
We spoke to Gemma Cipriani-Espineira about the reason she re-branded her support team as the department of Customer Love. Cipriani-Espineira was last week promoted from VP Customer Success to Chief Customer Officer at B2B scheduling software vendor Chili Piper.
She had previously spent time as an account manager at businesses like Cision and Medallia. We asked her about the evolution from account management to customer success. “I think it’s the whole subscription model taking over the way that we do business now. Account management is an extension of sales — how much more money can you get out of customers? The focus is on the here and now, the deal, the renewal, the expansion. Customer success is more a notion that you’re not going to lose your customer just at that point of the contract; you can lose them at any point, because there’s more ability to move to different vendors.”
At Chili Piper, she’s taken the step from customer success to customer love. “It’s about defining your purpose as a business,” she said, “something that makes people want to work with you beyond just the product and services side of things.”
The new approach demanded new metrics. “We look at how many hours customers like to spend with the team. Often what they call in for help with is not what we end up resolving for them. Having that space to show that we love them by giving them time is another reason we decided to go with the re-brand.”
How the pandemic affected marketing technology replacements
One key insight from the MarTech Replacement Survey was that the pandemic affected how teams staffed up to manage these new technologies. When asked whether new staff were hired in conjunction with the replacement, no fewer than 43% of the respondents in the 2019 survey reported hiring a new team. Only 26% retrained existing staff, while 24% took a mixed approach.
But In this latest survey, the answer was dramatically different. 55% retrained the existing team. Only 18% hired a new team. 24% reported a mix of new hires and retraining while relying on an outside agency was down from 8% to 3%. We didn’t ask whether this decision was related to the pandemic, but it’s easy to imagine that this was a period to avoid casting people adrift or adding headcount in uncertain economic weather.
When we asked respondents whether conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic factored into marketing technology replacement decisions, the audience was split, with the slight majority (52%) favoring no. That’s close enough to be a virtual tie.
It’s surprising because the general perception is that the events of the last year to 15 months created an environment where brands needed to vastly accelerate a digital transformation which, for many of them, was already underway.
What marketers should know about customer journey analytics
Data analysis goes hand in hand with customer experience in the modern marketing landscape. Marketers should examine audience data from each touchpoint in the sales cycle, a process professionals call “customer journey analytics.”
“As marketers, we know that nothing happens in a silo,” said Amber Toro-Keech, Marketing Data Scientist at Disruptive Advertising, a recent MarTech session. “Customer journey analytics helps us look at how everything is working together.”
Having access to customer data, however, never guarantees success. Steve Petersen, Marketing Technology Operations Manager at Zuora, pointed out the need for a holistic approach to customer journey analysis in the same MarTech presentation: “These days we have access to so much data and we can be very granular with it. And our stakeholders know it. They know that we can gather this, so they expect us to make important decisions.”
Quote of the day
“We have an immediate need for a marketing ops ninja rock star who isn’t afraid of getting their hands dirty and hacking growth! You’ll be responsible for our entire martech ecosystem with little to no support or budget.” Darrell Alfonso, Marketing Operations Manager, AWS