During my freshman year of college, I took a required seminar on Western civilization. Having only attended public school with traditional instruction formats, I was confused and then deeply concerned by sitting around a table with 12 classmates and the professor, discussing the classic books assigned. The whole experience was so foreign because, to me, my role and the professor’s role were ill-defined. I’m thinking “Hey, shouldn’t YOU be telling me what Socrates meant?”

That experience makes me more than a bit empathetic to customer success (CS) and customer marketing teams that often suffer under poorly defined roles. Ambiguity makes it difficult to prioritize proactive customer engagement and provide valuable postsale experiences. To learn if customer success and customer marketing roles are standardizing, Forrester surveyed 91 postsale professionals about their roles/responsibilities and how they deliver value to the business. Our results show that, while each contributes unique strengths, ongoing collaboration multiplies their impact (subscription required).

For example, survey respondents were almost equally split about which team should hold the responsibility for identifying (and communicating) the non-economic value that customers get from working with their company/business. Both customer success managers (CSMs) and customer marketers play a vital, but equal, role in ensuring that customers receive value — experiences that demonstrate definitively how you differ from the competition.

Greater coordination between customer success and customer marketing helps take a B2B company from wanting to improve its CX to making this improvement a reality. To keep existing customers loyal and profitable, top-performing customer marketing and success teams:

  1. Share data and insights that deepen their customer understanding. Understanding how customers buy, adopt, and gain value from your offerings requires the right data to help interpret what they really do with what they buy. Top teams work together on rounding out customer profiles, formalizing voice-of-the-customer activity, and using stories and narratives to make customer results come alive.
  2. Deliver programs that customers find both engaging and valuable. These jointly run programs focus on helping customers identify and accomplish key milestones, participate actively as customer advocates, and gain insights and best practices from a vibrant community of peers.
  3. Use existing marketing technology investments to scale CS interactions. Modern martech can address CS team needs for customer data and analytics, personalized communications, content/asset management, or conversational intelligence, to name a few. While customer success platforms offer unique capabilities for customer health monitoring and renewal forecasting, customer marketing teams scale CS activity by automating routine postsale actions — such as communicating key onboarding or training steps — or by developing on-demand digital experiences for customers to self-direct their postsale journey.
  4. Improve customer experience by helping CSMs adopt proven marketing discipline. Marketing’s forte is communication, and great marketers know how to creatively share information that gets customers to act. CSMs benefit when they work with customer marketing to personalize content for specific accounts, deliver that communication in a more brand-consistent manner, and do this with the type of empathy that builds trust and increases loyalty.

Forrester sees customer marketing and customer success joining forces as the main power couple helping your organization pivot from extracting value from customers to ensuring that customers achieve the value they were promised. Take a look at the research and then let us know if we can help you make this happen for your team.