Home Friday Recording #63 Katlin Hess: Customer Onboarding At Scale

#63 Katlin Hess: Customer Onboarding At Scale

by Katlin Hess
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In episode #63 of CMAweekly, Katlin detailed her approach to building a customer journey map, involving various teams and adjusting touchpoints based on gathered information.

Real customers were spot-checked to validate findings and improve the onboarding experience, leading to positive results in customer engagement and potential for automation.

Transcription & Topics

04:57 Frontline sales and CS workshop approach summary.

07:35 Sales enablement, sharing, and customer-centric approach.

13:10 Improving customer onboarding process and sales templates.

14:49 Automated processes faced unexpected challenges but successful.

20:29 Realistic approach to sales and marketing operations.

21:48 Emphasizing value of multiple admins, customer success.

24:53 Analyzing customer data to track product usage.

29:03 Engaging customers, standardizing processes, and automating tasks.

32:18 Shared experience of uncovering communication issues.

36:47 Onboarding newsletter for new employees, cohesive communications.

41:24 Marketers can apply insights to customer journey.

42:41 Marketing ops important, customer success evolving.

46:04 Networking led to insights on digital success.

49:58 Develop a scale mindset for community success.

Mary Green [00:00:00]:
5 after. So let me just do a couple of announcements. First of all, community and our weekly calls are sponsored by Champion. They have a new update this week where they’re rolling out the job change notifications. Secondly, next week, I have a friend from the rev ops community, Mark Lerner, coming to talk about How customer success could best work with revenue operations, to, you know, see where we can make an impact, make sure We’re making an impact, understand what our impact is, and all of that. So bring your questions because I think it’s gonna be a really good call. And today, we have Caitlin Hess from G2, and she’s going to talk about her onboarding project.

Katlin Hess [00:00:52]:
Yeah. Thanks so much, Mary, and thanks everybody for joining. I am excited to share kind of Where we started so a little bit of context about me for those of you I don’t know. I have been at g two just about 2 years now. And, at g two customer marketing, we’re really tasked with sort of 3 main Pillars is sort of how I say it. The first is more the advocacy side of things. So our customer stories, Customer awards, anytime a customer is speaking on our behalf. The second is just general customer engagement, how we can create community amongst our Customer, and this includes things like our regular ongoing office hour sessions, our product advisory council, our executive customer advisory board.

Katlin Hess [00:01:42]:
And then the last piece is really where where this fits, and it’s around adoption and education of our customers. And so Prior to me joining, g two did not have a customer marketing function at all. The adoption and education piece was Really a a key priority. And so one of the things I looked at was how, like, How can we help support that at sales? And then also where are the opportunities? Where are the gaps? And so I have A deck that I actually used in my presentation on customer journey mapping, at customer con earlier this year. But I’m gonna share a portion of that today because I really dug into onboarding, but I feel like you can’t really Talk about onboarding without talking about your whole customer journey. So let me share that quickly. Can you all see that okay?

Mary Green [00:02:41]:

Katlin Hess [00:02:43]:
And feel free I’m, like, a fast talker, and I’ve had Three cups of coffee today, so I’m sure it will be more than usual. Feel free to, like, come off mute, interject if you have any questions, or want to know more about anything because this is Pretty high level, but happy to share how we’re approaching it. So one of one of the things I did when I first started Awards I wanted to get a picture of all of the touch events we have with our customers. This is anytime I’ve started a customer Through marketing functions, this is always the first thing I do because I feel like you can’t effectively do customer marketing until you know All of the things that are happening. At my last company when I did this, it was, like, really scary. I found that there were a lot of people reaching out to our customers, Sending mass emails, doing it from all different directions. At g two, I I I didn’t have to do too much of that, but what I found was that we were we’re doing a lot of cool things and it was being communicated one 1 to 1, through our customer success managers or through our relationship managers. And so it was really dependent on the individual person, to do a lot of that work.

Katlin Hess [00:03:56]:
And so when we started with journey mapping, one of the first things I did was get leadership buy in. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do this on my own. I knew I was going to need input from our Customer success team, from our sales team, from our account management team, and from customers. And so I wanted to make sure that I had support from the top down. One of the best parts about this was our CMO was fully bought in on this as an initiative, and so she was really my champion with the sales leadership team. And so, I presented kind of my my vision for this, my plan for this to our CRO, our chief product officer, and then also to the CMO at the same time. They were all fully aligned on this. Our CRO said, you know, take take whatever time you need from our team, and I am committing that my leaders will help you or make recommendations of people on their team who can help you, kinda populate the map.

Frontline Sales & CS Workshop Approach

Katlin Hess [00:04:57]:
And so from there, we had a frontline sales and CS workshop where and I’ll show you kind of how we approach that later here. But we we asked them to think about the customer experience, to think about touch points that they had with their customers, and then we mapped out different milestones and friction events for customers. And then the step 3 was, like, validating. Is this real? Can we can we look at a customer who was recently onboarded or had recently renewed and look at their customer journey? What were all of the touch events they experienced? What were the meetings they had? What were the emails they received? And sort of validate the things that we heard from the customer Success managers and account managers. And then we took it 1 step further and we said, like, let’s talk to actual customers. Let’s make sure that Even though internally, we’re saying, like, this is what CS believes is the customer journey. This is what I can see tactically in my sort of, like, 5 to 10 spot checks. But, like, what are what are actual customers seeing, doing, feeling throughout these touch points? So that was that was sort of how I approached building the map.

Katlin Hess [00:06:07]:
We had a pretty big team when we started to, like, Think about who needed to be involved here. Product marketing were, really key partners in all of this. And so they were coming at it really from a product perspective. What does the onboarding experience look like? What’s happening in during all of these touch points, and they were able to be a connection there. Customer success, obviously, we’re We’re huge partners here. They’re closest to our customers. They’re seeing kind of what the what the stalling points are, and so they were heavily involved in this from the very beginning. Also, our customer support team.

Katlin Hess [00:06:50]:
So really understanding what happens when a customer submits Support ticket, are there themes in the types of tickets that get submitted? Essentially, like, are there places where we can intervene so that Viewer support tickets are created. Are there things we can change there? So we really wanted their perspective. We also had relationship managers as part of this. So at g two, we have customer success managers who are, there to support success. They talk about best practices. They talk about configurations. They make sure Customers are getting the most from products. Relationship managers are responsible for, also customer success, but, Ultimately, they’re the ones responsible for customer renewals, customer upsell, things like that.

Sales enablement, sharing, and customer-centric approach.

Katlin Hess [00:07:35]:
So they also had a perspective on All of the touch points they were having with the customer throughout their journey. And then finally, sales enablement. This one was kind of a like, Once we were done, Carly was able to help us share a lot of this out with our teams. She was really fantastic at helping us document this journey. And then as we are making changes or implementing new things, making sure that it was communicated out to the sales team so that they also had a picture of What was happening here? That was super important to me because in at my last company, I feel like I learned a lot about Building new programs like this and the reaction you can get from salespeople or customer success managers who are very close to their customer, who feel like you might be stepping on their toes or trying to take something away from them. And so I was really intentional with this from the very beginning to make sure that they all also had a seat at the table and understood that My goals were their goals too. I really wanted everything I did to be in service. Well, 1, centered around the customer.

Katlin Hess [00:08:45]:
Like, that’s That’s the easiest way to get by in, especially from this group. But I also wanted them to know. Like, I wasn’t trying to replace their relationship or replace their touch points. I wanted to see where I could help supplement those, or maybe streamline some of them. Like, were multiple teams having the same touch point, And then were there opportunities to get ahead of some of the risks? So this was kind of, like, high level where we started When we were thinking about what our and this is, like, 1 quarter. This is a gigantic Miro awards, so this is just part of it. At the highest, most, like, rudimentary level, what are the touch events or Milestones that customers are having. So you can see this one is, like, they’re entering onboarding.

Katlin Hess [00:09:33]:
They might be thinking, feeling, doing certain things. Then as they’re exiting onboarding, we hope they’re feeling something different when they’re responding to an NPS survey things like this. So we sat down and kinda mapped out, like, here’s what we expect this customer journey to show. This is what we think will be those massive touch points. And then we continued on into, some friction points too. So, at a renewal, what are they thinking, doing, feeling? If a customer churns, what does that look like from a customer experience perspective? If they have a new admin come on, what does their experience look like? If they have low adoption, what does that look like? And so we started to just, like, get it down on paper. I’m super visual. And so for me, it was like, I need to document these things.

Katlin Hess [00:10:23]:
I wanna at least have something to start from. And then as we continue to gather more information, we Sort of adjusted what was in each of these buckets, and what the touch points look like. This one, I’m actually not I can’t remember why I have this slide in here. We had started with this format, and then it felt like it was getting way too big. What we were trying to do was visualize, like, All of these different things are happening at different touch events. And then really get very clear on who owned what part of that. And so this is another format you could use. What what I found was, like, this looked a little bit different depending on The products the customer had, who our key personas were, who we had a relationship with, and then also what segment they were in.

Katlin Hess [00:11:11]:
So From there, when I brought everybody together, I, I asked them to think about these 6 things. So, again, these are either milestones in the customer journey Or they are friction points or opportunities for us. And I broke the group into, small groups. Each group had someone from the support team, someone from account management, someone from customer success, and most of them also had someone from marketing sort of help facilitate the conversation. And we gave them a template and asked them to fill out This. And so it was what is the customer doing, thinking, and feeling at each of these stages? And so you can see for us, What they’re doing is updating their profile, maybe gathering a list of customers for their 1st review campaign, bringing in new Point of contact, learning about profile tools, blah blah blah. So you can see they’re they’re doing a lot of things, And they’re thinking about a lot of things in onboarding. And so from here, we start Start at a high level, like, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our customers.

Katlin Hess [00:12:27]:
We went into, okay, what are the touch events and who are the owners of each of those? And so for us, you know and I think this is probably pretty similar. You start with an AE. You’re having a conversation with the customer. They’re transitioning over to customer success or account management, and then, like, these are all of the things that are happening. What we then uncovered was there are a lot of opportunities here. So, there are a lot of calls that need to be scheduled. Onboarding can sometimes span a lot Longer than we want it to. We had an onboarding survey, but it wasn’t particularly useful or Well responded to, so let’s look at revamping that.

Improving Customer Onboarding Process & Sales Templates

Katlin Hess [00:13:10]:
Building that onboarding nurture stream. So We know that customers who do certain activities are more successful long term. How can we make sure we’re helping Guide them in that direction early on. We also had a, like, a 50 slide kickoff callback That, the sales team was having to go in and and pair it down every single time. And so we sort Sort of regrouped on that and said, what are the things that we want all of our customers to be seeing? Let’s create a more streamlined template That then helps the CSMs move a little bit faster there too. A lot of what was happening was, They would just take the most recent deck that they had done that they had used for a customer call, but we were continuing to update sort of the main template at the source of truth Template with new things that were coming out. But if they’re never going back to that original template, they’re always just using the most recent one they did. So How can we make that easier for our internal teams as well was a big thing for us.

Katlin Hess [00:14:12]:
And then, how can we automate some of these onboarding comms, for SMB. So, again, we know CSMs are having to send specific emails. We know that they’re having to set up specific sales, And we started with our SMB segment as sort of a pilot. Any questions there? I know that was a lot all at once. I’m happy to keep going. How long did the process take this Way too long. No. It So the the mapping exercise took us probably 2 months, I would say.

Automated Processes Faced Unexpected Challenges

Katlin Hess [00:14:49]:
Like, we got it done From start to finish in a quarter, where we captured this, we have these meetings, we started to document it. And then I would say to action on it and build out some of these things, that took another, like, 2 quarters, really. And I I feel like what happens Anytime you try to automate anything or build a new process, you come across, like, unexpected pitfalls. Like, Each segment tracks the primary contact for each account in a different way. And how do you automate emails if it’s Tracked in 3 different ways. And so then it was a, like, change management thing plus an ops thing. So getting, like, some of the automated stuff I’ve been running took a lot longer than I was expecting. But I feel like, for me, the key to that was just being, like, overly communicative with all of The stakeholders and especially with those leadership, people who, like, bought into my vision from the beginning.

Katlin Hess [00:15:47]:
I didn’t want them to think, like, It wasn’t important to me, and that’s why it was taking so long. So trying to keep everybody in the loop was important. And then also the same thing with, like, those customer success managers, managers who took their time to participate in this. Like, I just made sure I was sending regular updates. And then, this is sort of like phase 2 of what happened next is we were like, great. We’ve got onboarding, in a pretty good place. What happens if a customer doesn’t do those activities or falls below? So we have Something called our adoption score that we track in Salesforce. If you’re a 3 plus, that means you’re well adopted.

Katlin Hess [00:16:30]:
If you’re lower than a 2, that means you’re, Kinda yellow in, red, yellow, green. And so we looked at, like, what happens after that. If they’re 3 plus, they get put on a track that sort of our, like, Always on community, our monthly we have a monthly newsletter, a monthly office hour, a monthly progress report that goes out. We have, you know, ongoing webinars and events, so that group kinda gets the the normal flow. If you’re lower than a 2, how can we help intervene? And we don’t have a CS tool today. I’m hoping we can get one so we can get a little more granular. But a lot of what we’re doing here is flagging this in Salesforce for the individual reps. We’re providing them with some email templates, And they’re able to intervene.

Katlin Hess [00:17:17]:
So it’s like a I don’t know what you would call it. It’s like manual, but with Support from marketing, I guess. So we we thought through what that looks like. Then we also looked at okay. So for the 1st 90 days, we have a nurture stream, and I’ll I’ll dig into that a little bit here. But, like, what happens after those 1st 90 days? We know in the 1st year of a customer’s journey, They need a little bit more support. We want them to take specific actions. We know if they do things like set up, track your prospects, which I’ll share with all of you if you’re interested in that.

Katlin Hess [00:17:51]:
That’s like a a really great way to track the attribution of your review gen efforts. We know that if they have more than 1 admin, they’re more successful. If they’re logging in, at least once every 30 days, they’re more successful. Well and so how can we help push customers to take those activities? So we also built out a year 1 comms strategy as well, That we’re actually still in the process of building. So, Leslie, it takes a really long time. But that one should hopefully get up and running next week. So after we did kind of all of the customer journey work internally, as I mentioned before, we spot checked with real customer. Is this really happening? Are there things that we missed, that maybe didn’t come out in these conversations? Were there things that they did or said or felt or received that were not reflected on the map.

Katlin Hess [00:18:46]:
And then we did some customer interviews to validate, what we found. And so sorry. I know this is a little all over the place because it’s 2 separate presentations, but This is kinda what our onboarding app looks like. So we looked at in week 1, you’re having these meetings. You’re receiving these communications. You’re taking these activities. Week 2, you’re doing this. Week 3, doing this.

Katlin Hess [00:19:12]:
And we did that for the 1st 90 days of a customer life cycle. This document is something that we use as we’re thinking about adding new things to the product, as we’re thinking about Building new process sales we’re thinking about community. We look at like, okay, what’s happening and what do we want to happen and where does this fit? A really good example of that is we with our SMB customers, they now have a different onboarding references than our other customers. And so as we were thinking about the comms strategy there, we were able to go back to this map and say, like, okay. They’re also getting all of these emails. Let’s create a new flow for that group specifically. And we were able to sort of reference back and forth to make sure we’re picturing, like, What is the actual experience for those customers too?

Mary Green [00:20:08]:
Caitlin, there’s a few questions in the chat. Gary says, what will you do differently next time? And, do you now tell new customers what you learned, Like, more than 1 admin. I don’t know what he means by that, Gary.

Realistic Approach to Sales & Marketing Operations

Katlin Hess [00:20:29]:
Yeah. No. I I know what he means. I would sales, what would I do differently next time? I would I would be more realistic with myself and with stakeholders on how long this was going to take. And I think it’s something that I learned even in like, as we’re setting up new things, I now know that, like, I can write a 100 emails in a week, but to actually get it sent and segmented and sent to the right people at the right Cadence takes a lot longer to figure that out from, like, a marketing ops perspective And from a, like, making sure we have the right points of contacts identified in Salesforce, making sure that we’re sending to the right user persona. So I I would say if I could do it over again, it would it would more I would be more realistic about what I actually needed In order like, I had a very clear vision for what I wanted the outcome to be, and I didn’t necessarily know exactly what the steps in the middle would be. The do we now tell new customers what we learned, like, more than 1 admin? We do, and we do it in As part of that nurture stream. Right? It’s like you get an email that says, hey.

Emphasizing Value of Multiple Admins, CS

Katlin Hess [00:21:48]:
Did you know you can have as many admins as you’d like to? This is these are the types of things that these different personas do with g two. And so we’re maybe not explicitly saying, like, we know you’ll be more if you have more than 1 admin. We’re trying to sell the value of having more than 1 admin. And then I would say the same thing with, like, Setting up track your prospects and being able to measure your ROI very clearly. We’re being much more prescriptive, in things like the kickoff call, but then Also in in our email stream. The other thing we found in all of this was, like, Your onboarding experience and your success were largely tied to who your customer success manager was And then who you were in terms of a persona. And so what I was trying to do is look at, like, How can I templatize some of this stuff so that every customer, no matter who their CSM is, they’re getting All of this information, and it’s being exposed to the customer on a regular basis? And then on the flip side, it was like, How can I enable these CSMs to make sure they have the right resources that they need so that as they’re having the conversation, they’re touching on these things every time that we know customers do, if that answers your question? DataTool, we’re mostly using Salesforce, and then Looker events. So Looker is tied to our product, and then all of that, like, product activity goes into Looker.

Katlin Hess [00:23:27]:
And then Looker is also tied to Salesforce. So we’re able to see different triggers in Salesforce or different criteria in Salesforce that helps trigger some of these.

Mary Green [00:23:37]:
Is there, like, a Pendo that’s attached to that as well or no?

Katlin Hess [00:23:41]:
Yes. We also we use AppCues. But that piece we actually haven’t done yet. We’re looking at tackling that this quarter.

Mary Green [00:23:49]:
And Christina, has a question.

Cristina Levenetz [00:23:53]:
Yeah. Hi, Caitlin. This is really great. I had a question about, like, you know, attribution. And, And I don’t know if you’re gonna go into this into this next. I can hold off. Yeah. I was just wondering, like, we’re I’m in the process of launching, a a revamped onboarding process as well.

Cristina Levenetz [00:24:15]:
And, I was going to I I don’t have, like, Tools that track it very closely. So I was just gonna do, like, an AB test of I drive, you know, certain customers. I’m driving to The to their, you know, to their instance, to their, No. Portal. And then just saying like, hey. Rough correlation. The ones that got it, like, did we see them poking around in there? Because I can, You know, later on, kinda look at if usage jumped up a little bit. But, yeah, would love to hear how you tackle that.

Analyzing customer data to track product usage

Katlin Hess [00:24:53]:
Yeah. Ours is very fuzzy in the same way. So I I should have started it with this at the beginning. What we looked at was, We started piloting this by segment. So our SMB customer success managers and account managers, their data was in the best shape. Like, they are meticulous about tracking their primary contacts and keeping that cleaned. Mhmm. And so I looked at them and I said, what was the average adoption score before we started this process, and then what is their average monthly user look Like and so what percentage of customers are, you know, log I can’t remember the exact criteria, and I should know this, but it’s like, are logging in regularly to the product.

Katlin Hess [00:25:39]:
And so with that group, after The 1st 90 days of pushing them through, we looked at 1 on, like, a program level. What was the open rate like? What was the click through rate like and then did it positively impact the adoption score, and did it positively impact, monthly average use usage. And so we were able to look at, I actually was pretty happy with this. Our open rate was 78% on these emails, which I was, like, shocked by. Our click through rate was about 22%. I wish that was higher, but still, it’s very high for an email. Monthly active usage went up about 5%, but it was already pretty high. We were at, like, 88%.

Katlin Hess [00:26:31]:
And then, The oh my gosh. I can’t think of the last one that we were talking about looking at. Adoption score Was higher than any other segment with this group too. What I why I did it that way, well, 1, it was necessity because of the data piece. But, 2, I was able to then use them as kind of a, like, case study internally and say, look. We did it with this group. These are the results we saw. All you need to do to get your customers engaged in this or involved in this is help me by cleaning up the data.

Katlin Hess [00:27:05]:
And so it became, Like, they also had an incentive and a a better, stronger motivation for going in and doing that.

Cristina Levenetz [00:27:15]:
Thank you. That’s great. Thank you.

Katlin Hess [00:27:20]:
Gary, I don’t know what my monitor size is, but it’s It’s pretty wide screen, and you can, like, zoom in and zoom out and jump to different places too, which is why I like it. But it’s I don’t know. This why. I don’t know if that helps.

Mary Green [00:27:37]:
And let’s see. We had somebody ask Freeman, were there any Surprises along the way in this project.

Katlin Hess [00:27:47]:
Yeah. I I think the biggest surprise were, some of the templates that people were using, like, obviously and this happens all the time in marketing. We put out new templates or we keep something up to date. And then when you actually get down to it, it’s like they’re just using the most recent one. I think the other thing I was surprised by was that the, like, Sentiment of did you feel like you were successfully onboarded was largely tied to those individual CSMs, which is great. Right? Like, it means that our CSMs are really good at building relationships with customers. They’re really great at hand holding. But as we continue to grow, that’s not super scalable.

Katlin Hess [00:28:34]:
One kind of funny thing that happened is, I was a former g two customer before I joined. So was, my boss who’s the VP of revenue marketing and so was our director of Demand Gen Marketing. And we were all like, we had an awesome experience. It was so great. I, you know, I implemented twice. Robin had once. Michael had once. And then when we started talking, we all had the same customer success manager and account manager at g two.

Engaging customers, standardizing processes, and automating tasks

Katlin Hess [00:29:03]:
And so we actually pulled those people in specifically to this process because it was like, we know you’re really good at this, and we felt that as customers. But I I think the surprise was just, like, how much opportunity there was to sort of standardize some of this stuff. It was not Kim, Leslie. It was Erica Acosta and, Lauren McGrath. But it was just really funny when we were talking about it. What excited all of your internal stakeholders and now drives more projects? I think everyone was really happy with the results that we saw, the fact that customers wanted to engage with us in this way. And I think now we’re looking at, like, are there opportunities to automate even more of this stuff or sort of like What’s the always on drumbeat of comms that we’re sending out? How can we, get people more engaged? I think the other thing too that I didn’t mention in any of this Is as kind of this process was happening, we also launched G2 University, which is our always on learning platform. You can anyone can go into g two u.

Katlin Hess [00:30:20]:
You can get certified on g two. You can take an onboarding course. You can take a reviews gen course. And my team manages and runs that whole program as well, but we saw customers going in there regularly, proactively. And so when our CSMs or our relationship managers were having conversations, if the customer had done some of the that we had prescribed to them before they got to the kickoff call. They were able to have more of a strategic conversation in that 1st call rather than, like, Make sure you upload your logo and it should be 415 pixels by 415 sales, and you’re like, rather than the tactical setting up your Profile, a lot of that work was done ahead of time. And so they’re able to talk about, like, how are you gonna measure this? How can we be So how can we be supporting you rather than, like, that tactical piece? I think that was a big, like, nonmetric win. Cool.

Mary Green [00:31:26]:
Yeah. This is really great. I I love The the way that you use data to find this, I quote you pretty often

Katlin Hess [00:31:35]:
Oh god.

Mary Green [00:31:35]:
From when you said to me Something along the lines of you never realized until you got into customer marketing how much you were going to need customer data. Yeah. I think, oh, with a lot of people I talk to, they don’t really know how to Use that data, what to look for, or how to dig deep into it to understand, oh, these are the customer success people that have more successful customers. This is what we do with that data. So in the future, I hope to be able to Help people more with that. Ashley, just raise your hand.

Katlin Hess [00:32:16]:

Shared experience of uncovering communication issues

Asha [00:32:18]:
Caitlin, this is great. Thanks for sharing all of this. You know, something I wanted to share with the group also that I know I’ve done while, while going through this type of exercise. And and I apologize if you if you highlighted this and I missed it in the beginning, but, you know, we went I I was working with our head of product marketing, and We decided to sort of staple you can’t see me but I’m doing air quotes. Staple ourselves to a $0, community in Salesforce and have that move to have it move to close won And really experiencing what all the automated communications that get generated Once an opportunity moves to closed won. And one of the things we uncovered was there were communications that get triggered just from that action in different tools and that were implemented by different teams That net like, the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. So the Salesforce executed On a certain types certain types of communication that then triggered our product that would execute certain types of information. And then that then touched upon I forget what the 3rd, but there was a 3rd, 3rd as well.

Mary Green [00:33:47]:
But, yeah, each different tech We talked to our customer and in horror, we realized that our customer just right out of the gate was getting Multiple welcome messages, so to speak, in very different tones, with different CTAs. So just an idea

Cristina Levenetz [00:34:09]:

Asha [00:34:10]:
For those who might be embarking on this.

Katlin Hess [00:34:13]:
That’s a great idea. And I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but we we uncovered something similar. And at g two, it’s a it’s a little bit unique because we have we have 2 different audiences who come to g too. Right? We call them buyers and sellers. So the buyers are the people who come to g two to buy software. The sellers are the vendors who have their profiles on there and engage with customers in that way. But when you create an account on g two, it triggers an email to you As if you’re a buyer, and it doesn’t look at there’s no, like, differentiation between you’re a seller or a buy or there wasn’t, I should say. And, actually, shout out to Rebecca Grossman if she’s on this call.

Katlin Hess [00:35:02]:
She’s the one who flagged that for me. She was like, hey. I just created my account, and I got this email. I thought you should know about it. And I was like, thank you. I had no idea this went out. So I I love the idea of sort of attaching yourself to it And going through the flow from start to finish because you might uncover some things you didn’t know were happening.

Mary Green [00:35:25]:
That’s a great suggestion, Asha. Does anyone else have suggestions or ideas that they would add Or questions about how the team went about doing this or Caitlin?

Katlin Hess [00:35:43]:
I do have a couple examples of what the emails look like if anyone’s interested in seeing those. Of course. So What we looked at in our in the 1st 30 days, you now get a welcome email from g two that’s very seller focused, That connects you with resources, that tells you, like, here’s how you can get started on your own. Here’s, How to attend either a virtual onboarding session or schedule a kickoff call. Here is where you can find more resources or you can self serve onboarding, with, g two university. Then we invite them to g two university separately marketing about some of the benefits of taking those courses. We prompt them to run a campaign and take a course if they need more information on how to do that. And then we have a monthly newsletter called our g two insider.

Onboarding newsletter for new employees, cohesive communications

Katlin Hess [00:36:47]:
And in the 1st 90 days, rather than getting our regular monthly newsletter, they get an onboarding version of that newsletter that has all the resources they might need, as you’re getting started. And so As we transition to the, like, 2nd, 3rd of onboarding, we back off a little bit because we know there’s a lot of other Stuff happening, but we have a campaign success story, an intro to support and documentation, another g two insider report, And then finally, a g two reports and content reviews. What does that look like? How to stay connected? And then a final insider report, Like, congratulations. We’re so excited to support your success. And one of the things we worked really hard on was making sure all of this Felt very cohesive. So all of our all of our life cycle comms, all of our sort of, like, learning and engagement comms Have a specific look and feel so that it feels like, okay. You’re going you’re going on this path and and we know what’s happening. The other piece to this that happened kind of in tandem was we, we made Sure.

Katlin Hess [00:38:04]:
All of our other teams were enabled, and we made sure that the customer success managers felt educated and empowered to know what was going out from customer marketing, But that they also knew where to access their templates. So we use Highspot, and it’s our internal sales tool. So this is a, playbook. So customers on our essential plan, here is the kickoff call. Here’s who should be running it. These are all Color coded. If you click into the kickoff call, it says, like, here’s what you should be oh gosh. I can’t remember what she says, but it’s like Seeing, doing, sharing, something like that.

Katlin Hess [00:38:43]:
So it has all of the decks. It has all of the talk tracks. There’s one clear place where everyone can go. And that to me was, like, how we connected the dots because doing doing the work to capture all of this to uncover Where we were finding gaps was really great and important from a marketing perspective, but it was almost even more important To make sure that everybody else knew that this is what we were doing and this is where we were headed, and this is how it all fits together in, like, one Real customer journey. So that was kind of the last of the slides I had, but wanted to share that piece too.

Mary Green [00:39:21]:
Caitlin, can I ask I don’t know if you mentioned this at the beginning of the call? Yeah. I know you had all these messages and different, Sales and things going out to different people when they were first joining and stuff like this. So there’s obviously a need for this. What made it your need to fix your job to fix this over customer success or specifically an onboarding team?

Katlin Hess [00:39:50]:
What did make it my job? I feel like it was pretty clear when I was hired that this was a need that was Had. And so it was part of why I was hired and what G2 defines as customer marketing Is this, like, automation of life cycle comps, if that makes sense? I I don’t know. No one ever said, like, Caitlin, this is your responsibility, but it was kind of understood that it was when I started.

Mary Green [00:40:21]:
Uh-huh. Okay. So, Yeah. I would totally see that as more of a customer success thing. But I guess with a lot of customer success teams, there’s not someone that kind of does this part maybe. Like, they’re more specific about handling x many, customers at a time and, you know, going from 1 call to a to the next and All of that. So it leaves the automation and optimization up to someone else to come in.

Katlin Hess [00:40:58]:
Yeah. I guess, to that point, like, how we differentiate here, like, who who takes on what It’s like if it’s a one to 1 thing, it’s customer success. If it’s a one to many thing, it falls under marketing. So we we usually look at, like if there’s something that every customer is going to receive or see, That becomes a marketing thing.

Marketers can apply insights to customer journey

Asha [00:41:24]:
Yeah. I agree with you, Caitlin, that it is I I think that As marketers, as customer marketers, I feel as though we have some of the insights and the skill set to to apply to a journey mapping exercise and understand kind of where the automation Ken, with the customer experience in mind that I think, First of all, most customer success organizations are so, you know, hamstrung with the kinds of things they have to get after And what their individual CSMs are being tasked with. And, you know, I see some of the commentary that’s yeah. I I’ve Been at an organization where CS ops is trying to take this on as well, but where I’ve seen that effort fall down when it falls under CS ops, If you don’t have customer marketing or someone with a marketing background as part of that effort, you it’s an inside out Outcome rather than the cut outside in outcome, if that makes sense.

Marketing ops important, customer success evolving

Mary Green [00:42:41]:
I agree with what you’re saying, Asha. I I think that you obviously need at least marketing ops would have to play a role with this, but Customer marketing, of course, is more positioned for that, and that’s I think that’s why I say that we often are doing customer success at scale. And I think just the need for that continues to grow as What I’ve seen is, you know, customers and their preferences have changed over the years to where customer success 8, 10 years ago was very, Yes. Hold my hand. I’m still learning all of this, and now we’re a bit further along in our careers and more comfortable. And it’s like, Yeah. Great. Just tell me where I can access what I’m going to need to learn and give me Some kind of personalization, some some ability to decide what I need to go through to make this successful more that self serve approach.

Mary Green [00:43:45]:
And that’s where I think customer marketing has been very helpful. It’s just in my Mynd, and everyone agrees that I’m wrong. I I think, like, I would think why wouldn’t customer success be doing this part. And it is. They’re they are very overwhelmed with, you know, support issues and implementation and strategy and all of those things. But as Caitlin pointed out, the more successful customer success people. We need to see what they’re doing and implement that in the rest of the company because We we need that expertise.

Katlin Hess [00:44:31]:
Yeah. And I will say, like, this piece that’s up on the screen here, That was led by customer success and sales enablement. And, really, my role in all of this was making sure that We had the right templates, that we had the right assets as part of that. But in terms of, like, the rollout of these playbooks, that was on customer success and Sales enablement. That wasn’t necessarily me doing that, if that helps.

Mary Green [00:45:01]:
Oh, no. That I mean, it It definitely takes that cross collaboration, I think. Let’s you know, with sales enablement, there’s such a great team to work with. Like, there’s There’s, like, this cross between sales and education. Customer marketing is often a cross between marketing and education and Success. And I think, you know, again, it just blurs the lines in that post sales world of who’s doing what and how it it changes with almost every company. And I think it’ll continue to as, Customer success is going through a lot of alterations this year. And I loved how you just said that, Asha, that digital CS can often become Open, like, office hours where we just hop on and talk to someone and this is a problem and then figuring that out.

Networking led to insights on digital success

Asha [00:46:04]:
Yeah. I, connected with a couple of There there’s a a group that I connected with who, you know, have calls similar to this. Just and this was probably a year and a half or so ago, And I just wanted to better understand a group that, that has the title of digital success, how is their role Perhaps different than how I’ve incorporated, programs that would fall under that realm as a customer marketer. And so as I listened into some of their conversations, one of the things that struck It struck me as interesting is office open office hours was a pretty consistent tactic that many of them applied, in their role and They weren’t necessarily getting, you know, consistent participation And the metrics that they were talking about on that consistency and the interest For using things like office hours didn’t really demonstrate that it was being effective, but it was still continuing to be A pretty consistent tactic, which I think there are multiple ways to kind of get after The need that I think they were trying to fill with that, and that’s where, Again, it was just an an opportunity for me to kind of better understand this role that I really saw starting to take off sitting in this other part of the organization. And I say that having sat both in marketing and in customer success in my role as a customer marketer. So, I I I did come across A conversation in a podcast, a woman by the name of Lane Holt. I don’t know if, the the knows her name. She’s she’s with Gainsight and she runs their digital CS function.

Mary Green [00:48:30]:
And I was, I I enjoyed listening to her because she absolutely approaches the role from a marketing perspective in terms of applying, I think, a lot of the metrics we would in when we How we would measure success in a program. So I wouldn’t apply my kind of statement across the board to all people who, have a role of digital CS, but I do think there’s an enormous amount of confusion. And for those

Katlin Hess [00:49:00]:
of you on this call that

Mary Green [00:49:01]:
I’ve talked to 1 on 1, you’ve absolutely You heard me say there is this, blurring of the lines, between customer marketing and customer success, Especially as the CS function is trying to reinvent itself.

Mary Green [00:49:19]:
You say that so well. You’re so articulate. I am not. But no. I think that made that makes a lot of sense. I I know You have background or you’ve done work in community as well, and I often think of how would Community play a part. Even small community, like groups, play a part in the way customer success is changing right now. Like, is there a way to, you know, address these groups as a bit of a community in some way if they’re segmented the right way, because there’s more of that.

Develop a scale mindset for community success

Mary Green [00:49:58]:
You you have to have that at scale mindset, when you’re dealing with a community and hundreds and thousands of people or you’re just not gonna be successful with it. But if you join next week, we’ll be talking about rev ops. I was going to say we could talk more about that, and then I realized we’re Talking about something else next week, so, I’ll just move on into that. Thank you everyone for marketing, Caitlin. This was amazing. I kinda came in thinking, I don’t know what’s onboarding gonna look like. Is that how is that gonna work with customer marketing? And It’s right on that line of customer marketing and customer success and, you know, how we can apply that at scale mindset. And, yes, the hour went By Really Fast, Christina said or she said fast.

Mary Green [00:50:50]:
I said really fast. But thank you so much for coming. Thank you everyone who shared their thoughts and questions because it really helps others think through when they listen to the recording. And come back next week with your questions about rev ops and how we can work more closely with those teams to really understand what our impact is and even own that impact across the organization. So I’m so excited for it. Alright. Everyone have a great weekend, and I will see you next week.

Katlin Hess [00:51:23]:
Bye, everyone. Thanks. Bye.

Cristina Levenetz [00:51:25]:
Thank you.


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