When we saw the importance of advocacy in the technology customer lifecycle (discussed in part 1 and part 2 of this series), we joked that it was just like that ’80s Fabergé Organics Shampoo commercial:
“When I first tried Fabergé Organics Shampoo with pure wheat germ oil and honey, it was so good that I told two friends about it, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on …”
And it is just like that. Our research shows that for B2B technology buyers, peer recommendations drive much of the demand. In other words: Happy customers make more customers.
You know this already. That’s why we all work hard to find success stories that we can convert into testimonials and evidence.
But those who are willing to speak publicly are not as common as private recommenders. And although case studies are preferred over other types of marketing content, they don’t hold as much weight as peer or third-party recommendations. With 82% of respondents saying that they have recommended against a technology in private, marketers need to do what they can to ensure customer satisfaction across the board.
So, let me ask you this: Do you know how happy your customers are? Is this measure on your marketing scorecard?
Infusing advocacy across the lifecycle, from Awareness to Attrition
For marketing in B2B tech, customer experience really means making Advocacy foundational across all stages of the customer lifecycle. It means that marketing’s job doesn’t end at the sale, and it doesn’t just focus on those prospects and customers who engage with your company directly. It also takes into account “organic advocacy”—the peer network doing its thing.
It means asking: What is my team doing to ensure that our brand and service promises are actualized during adoption? And how about at Attrition, when a company decides your solution no longer fits their needs?
It means working with product and implementation teams to make sure engagement after the sale lives up to those promises. This could include marketing content that supports customers and offers avenues for feedback, working with product teams to create materials that document real-world difficulties with implementation so that customers can prepare to handle them, or creating a customer advisory board.
It also means tailoring content to prospect and customer preferences at Awareness, Assessment, Adoption, and yes, again, Attrition. (Download our 5As brief for an explanation of how we derived the stages.)
And it means putting a happy customer measure on your scorecard so that you can account for advocacy—private, public, third-party—across the entire customer lifecycle, from Awareness to Attrition.
Understand that Advocacy underpins everything and begin to ask how your current activities support creating happy customers. Here are few practical things you can try at each stage:
Awareness: Talk about problems and the specific product features and innovations that solve them.
Assessment: Make product roadmaps and demos available, along with third-party recommendations and customer testimonials.
Adoption: Offer regular tips and guidance to end users to help adoption go smoothly.
Attrition: Send regular customer satisfaction surveys; create an engagement and remediation plan if satisfaction has flagged.
Never too soon to advocate
We’re super excited to release this research and bring it into our conversations and our work with other marketers. Check back here as we continue to publish more in this series.
We’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and questions about the 5A Framework or what it takes to make customer experience the focus across the entire B2B tech customer lifecycle.