Thursday, April 12, 2018

Planting the Seeds of Growth: Takeaways from the Summit on Customer Engagement

Spring is in the Air
With springtime in full bloom, it's exciting to see signs of growth all around us. I'm not talking about just the flowers and trees, but also the business growth we're witnessing in companies that adopt smart customer advocacy practices! Last month I had the good fortune to explore a wide range of successful strategies with some of the world's leading customer advocacy experts at the Summit on Customer Engagement in Redwood City, Calif. 

Wow Factor
At the summit, I was thrilled to share the stage with Jeanne Talbot, customer marketing manager at CloudBees, a fast-growing DevOps software company based in San Jose. Jeanne and I talked about how customer advocacy organizations could benefit by borrowing techniques from "investor roadshows" to generate excitement around the value of customer success. We call it "Wow-ing" your stakeholders -- both internal and external -- and it really works. (See our presentation, and others, here.)

Creating Unique Experiences
While metrics and KPIs are great ways to communicate value, there's nothing like creating a truly awesome customer experience to solidify your relationship and drive retention and revenue. For example, after learning that one customer was having trouble recruiting IT talent, Jeanne focused on using case studies to reposition the company as a high-tech thought leader. As a result, the company's recruitment challenges eased -- and that sowed the seeds for a multi-million-dollar service upsell. 

And when a senior executive at a leading gaming company wanted to get more visibility, CloudBees' advocacy program stepped in and helped secure his appearance at key industry events. He's now become a key advocate for CloudBees, helping to fertilize future sales.

Key Takeaways from the Summit
·       Lead with customer value first
·       Engage stakeholders early and often
·       Personalize your approach with every client
·       Give credit where it's due (the rest will come)

Tasting the Harvest
If you missed this year's summit, you missed the chance to sample a delightful selection of wines and other potables at a tasting sponsored by Mainstay and Point of Reference. In between the clinking of glasses, you could hear advocacy experts debate the challenges and rewards of a successful customer advocacy program.

A common theme of our chats was the sense that we need to build a strong professional community centered around customer engagement and advocacy -- especially as more and more businesses adopt customer success strategies to sustain growth in today's subscription economy.

Mainstay is looking forward to being part of the conversation as the practice of customer advocacy continues to gain momentum. 

As always, please reach out with any questions.


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