- Taylor Bogar
- Stephanie Murphy
- Michelle Borman
- Mary Green
- Rachel Ward
- Laura Adams | Locus Robotics
- Kelly Brenneman
- Kaily Baskett
- Heather Quitos
- Becky Susko
- Ana Naus
- Amy Ng
• Kelly is the director of global customer marketing at Malwarebytes and has over 12 years of experience in customer marketing, with a focus on tracking pipeline and campaign performance. She is excited to be on the call and discuss NRR. (12:53)
• Taylor discusses her plan to measure the impact of their advocacy program on net recurring revenue by identifying activated advocates at certain logos and measuring their churn compared to all-up churn (18:30)
• Amy suggests considering other segmentation info when setting up the hypothesis that advocates are less likely to churn, and using customer success software to measure advocacy or community engagement (22:49)
• Kaily suggests breaking down advocacy activities that impact NRR instead of just looking at the NRR statistic, and mentions the importance of advocacy as a cultural thing across the company (30:53)
• Stephanie launched an advocacy program and did a roadshow to explain it to different teams (39:54)
• Stephanie shares her experience with implementing a reference program and dealing with a difficult sales VP (41:38)
• Stephanie notes that customer marketers are in a unique position to advocate for customers and build relationships without actively selling anything (48:39)
• Kaily’s focus is on mapping out the full customer lifecycle and reducing silos between teams, with a diagram to help visualize it (58:39)
Mary Green 00:08
Where do you each work?
Kelly Brenneman 00:14
Sorry, this is Kelly. I actually am based out of Southern California at cybersecurity company named
Mary Green 00:21
Malarbytes. May malwrites.
Kelly Brenneman 00:26
Malware bytes. Sorry?
Mary Green 00:28
Oh, malware bytes.
Kelly Brenneman 00:29
Okay. All right.
Mary Green 00:31
I think. Is there somebody else that you work with that might be in the CMA weekly community? Because I was just talking to someone the other day,
Kelly Brenneman 00:43
probably almost positive. Are you thinking of Angela Kelleher?
Mary Green 00:49
Yep, that’s her.
Kelly Brenneman 00:51
She actually reports to me and she’s located in Ireland.
Mary Green 00:56
Okay, nice. So what is your role called, if you don’t mind me asking?
Kelly Brenneman 01:05
Yep. No, I am the director of global customer marketing or customer lifecycle
Mary Green 01:11
marketing. Nice. Yeah. I figure most people that have someone reporting to them are directors. Welcome. Taylor, you
Taylor Bogar 01:24
can be the. Oh, I will host. That would be, yeah. Hi, everyone. Feel free to keep your cameras off if you’d like. This is more people than I was anticipating, which is really exciting. I know I’m a little bit late by 1 minute. Did we do any type of intros or anything yet, Mary?
Mary Green 01:48
No. And mean. A lot of people that follow any of the calls I set up, they usually take the first few minutes to just hop on. So you’re not late at all and no introduction? Well, actually, I made Kelly introduce herself a little bit, but nobody else.
Taylor Bogar 02:10
No worries. Cool. Great. Well, it’s great to meet all of you. I am Taylor. This planning meeting came out from a post that I posted on LinkedIn about planning, hoping to just meet with some customer marketers and figure out what the priorities are for the next year. I think that we all know that we’re in kind of like a unique realm where customer marketing, I still consider it like a very new function within a lot of organizations. I know that there are some customer marketers that have been doing it for a very long time. I’ve been in customer marketing for about three years now, so it still feels very new. And I have been building out the program at the last couple of organizations I’ve been with. So Chili Piper, and then now I’m at Apollo. Um, this is really the first year we’re doing any type of planning because I was hired last year and it was kind of just like build the foundation for all these programs. And now that we have baseline set, it’s like, hey, what worked, what didn’t and what do we want to pour more resources into in the next year? So a little bit about me. I would love to do intros if anyone else wants to introduce themselves. I don’t have a plan for this. I just thought we could just chat about topics and I’m sure people here have questions and we can all just kind of help each other out.
Mary Green 03:34
Stephanie Murphy 03:38
I’ll introduce myself. I’m Stephanie Murphy. I am currently looking for work, but I thought this would be a great call to join. Just a know of all the different trade groups I’ve been part of, I’ve found the customer marketing group to be like the most social and outgoing and connectable. And so I’m always just looking for what are people planning? Because when I do plan to get my next job, I want to be able to bring more to the table than what I’ve learned in my previous couple of jobs. So I’m happy to be here and I’m based in Portland, Oregon.
Taylor Bogar 04:14
Nice. That’s really smart to join calls like this. I don’t think I would have thought to do that. But I also agree we’re all very social, which is not something I’m used to just being in previous marketing roles. I love that about us though. Pavlina. Pavlina. Is that how you say your.
Yeah. So I’m from the Czech Republic. That’s where the name comes from. I’m based in Minneapolis and Minnesota. I’ve been in customer marketing for past couple of years, but with little break with my son. So really the last year was the full year where I was able to dive in. And same to what you Taylor said, just really setting the foundation of the basics in a company and now we would like to elevate it, go to the next level. They also haven’t had customer marketing before, so it’s new for me, it’s new for them. And for me personally, I am interested in customer marketing because I’m kind of completing my inner circle that I did customer logistics, sales, and now marketing because I would like to kind of move more towards project management for customers. So I want to deep dive also on the customer marketing side to understand that aspect of a collaboration with clients.
Taylor Bogar 05:24
Awesome. Great to meet you. I’m just going to call people Michelle, you’re unmuted. Do you want to introduce yourself?
Michelle Borman 05:30
Yeah, I was going to go, so. I’m Michelle. I’m actually from Sweden. I’m based in Michigan. I work for a company called Tiger Connect. It’s a health tech company similar to you, Taylor. I’ve been in customer marketing for three years. I spearheaded customer marketing at Tiger Connect, where they realized that we needed NRR and not just AR art. And customer marketing has changed. We got bought up by a private equity company a year ago, so a lot has. Change being in their Portco and yeah, right now I am just planning for 2024. So wanted to join this. This is my first time joining any network thing like this. So I wanted to see what other people had in terms of priorities and not so, yeah, that’s a little bit about me.
Taylor Bogar 06:18
Nice. This is actually also my first time joining any type of networking group like this. So if I’m awkward, that’s why I’ve done one to one. Like, I’ve met Heather before, but never anything in a group setting like this. But this is exciting. A lot of interesting roles here. Amy, you’re on camera. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Taylor Bogar 06:44
Mary Green 06:45
think she’s muted.
Taylor Bogar 06:46
Yeah, I think she might be trying to unmute.
Mary Green 06:49
Taylor Bogar 06:49
anyone want to go while Amy is trying to unmute?
Mary Green 06:52
I’ll go. I don’t know if you wanted me to or not.
Taylor Bogar 06:56
Mary Green 06:58
I’m Mary. I started CMA weekly. It’s a slack and newsletter for customer marketing and advocacy people. I saw that Taylor was interested in planning for 2024, which is always a big topic this time of year. So I offered to kind of get it started for her and share it with people. So I am running the community right now and just helping others and looking for my next role. Nice to meet you all.
Taylor Bogar 07:32
Thank you for putting this together, Mary. I really appreciate you taking that on, Anna.
Ana Naus 07:40
Sure. Hi, I’m Anna. I’m in San Antonio, Texas. I work for a company called Parsable that does software for large manufacturing. And I’ve been in customer marketing. Officially, it’s a startup, so I’ve bounced around in marketing, but I’ve been officially as customer marketing for about a year and a half. Unofficially, I want to say close to three years. Doing something in the customer marketing role somewhat, yes.
Taylor Bogar 08:15
Nice. Very nice to meet you.
Ana Naus 08:18
Thank you. I’m here because we want to make it official, like an official program. And so I’m starting off the year with planning and what my goals are for this year. So here I am.
Taylor Bogar 08:33
Big year ahead of you. It’s fun, though.
Ana Naus 08:38
Taylor Bogar 08:39
Heather. I feel like I’m like a teacher calling on people. I hope this isn’t weird, but, Heather, do you want to go?
Heather Quitos 08:44
Yeah. Apologies. I just jumped in a couple minutes late. Hey, everyone, I’m Heather Ketos. I run customer marketing at Tropic. We basically help procurement and finance teams save money and handle their procurement process. I’ve been with. For about a year and simultaneously, this is my first customer marketing focused role prior to that. Did a lot of content and product marketing prior to that. So I’m here to just learn from everyone and I guess share my thoughts as well. Coming into 2024, I feel like it’s like slowly, maybe I’m just biased, but I feel like customer marketing is going to have its moment based on everybody focused on NRR. So I’m excited to be here today.
Taylor Bogar 09:34
Yeah, NRR is a big one, I think. Michelle, you might have mentioned NRR as well. That’s something I’d be interested in digging into in this call. If that’s relevant to other parties. That is something that obviously we’re focusing on and nothing. I’ve never measured advocacy impact on NRR before. Primarily, I don’t work really in the upsell expansion growth world. I’m very focused on advocacy and community. So that’s very interesting to me if other people would like to share about it. Amy, you’re back.
Amy Ng 10:07
Yes, and I figured out how to unmute. So thanks so much for everyone’s. So, yeah, nice to meet everyone. My name is Amy. I work in client strategy at influitive. This is also my first time joining a networking call, so I’m really excited to meet with you all. And I’ve had a lot of folks asking about plans for 2024 and what they want to kind of get organized campaign wise. So I thought this would be a really nice way to kind of share ideas. I am also looking for my next role, so I thought this would also be a good way to stay sharp. So looking forward to chatting with all of you.
Taylor Bogar 10:38
Love it. Nice to meet you, Amy. I think we have Laura, Becky, and Kelly left.
Laura Adams | Locus Robotics 10:44
I’ll go next. Hi, I’m Laura. I run our customer marketing for locust robotics. We are a warehouse automation solution, so instead of someone pushing a cart around a warehouse, our robots will actually do the traveling for the human workers. So they’re there as a tool and a collaborative assistance rather than replacing the humans in the warehouse. I have a team of two under me, and what’s unique about customer marketing in our world is we’re looking to expand within our current customer base rather than sell into new accounts, which is really challenging. Most of my work has been in advocacy, collecting testimonials and case studies, setting up speaking engagements with our customers. But it’s hard to quantify that with hard numbers. So I’m hoping to brainstorm some KPIs to really prove my team’s value and how we’re impacting the bottom line.
Taylor Bogar 11:41
Yeah. Metrics is always a tough one, I think, for us customer marketing folks. So hopefully we can solve some of those problems for you today. Becky, you just unmuted.
Becky Susko 11:51
Yeah. I mean, if we’re going to talk metrics, we might as well set up a couple more
Taylor Bogar 11:54
Becky Susko 11:56
Basically what it comes down to, right? We all have those same questions. I’m marketing program manager over at trust. Radius. We’re at a b two b business review software review site. My day job is awards and running awards programs and my passion project is helping our customer marketing get off the ground. So we currently have like an executive cab and we are working on setting up our customer cab. So that has been something I’ve been spearheading. I’ve been doing a lot of surveying and trying to figure out what motivates our advocates and trying to work off of building a model in that. So yeah, excited to be here. Nice
Taylor Bogar 12:38
to meet you, Becky. I have a lot of cab experience so I don’t know if that’s relevant to the rest of the group. But if there are like one, like we can always have meetings later on if that’s. Did you. I know you introduced yourself with Mary.
Kelly Brenneman 12:53
Yeah, I can expand on that and I know a lot of people have jumped on since then so. Hi, I’m Kelly. I actually am the director of global customer marketing at a cybersecurity company named Malwarebytes. Been there a little over three years. I’ve actually done customer marketing for a little over twelve years now. So in some ways I’ve really seen it grown and in other ways I have really seen it suffer, especially when it comes to reporting and trying to figure out what your worth is as far as the company wants to know and knowing NRR and whatnot. So yes, I would love to have a discussion on NRR. We are in the process of refocusing and relaunching our cab as well as along with tracking, just campaign tracking. In general we can track mqls but beyond that pipeline is very difficult to track. Of course we use Salesforce so beyond that, twelve years in customer marketing. I’ve done marketing for over 20 years. So I’m excited. I’m excited to be on this call. This is my first time doing something like this. So thank you.
Taylor Bogar 14:14
Great. So since it’s everyone’s first time, we’re all going to learn together and it won’t be awkward. Kelly, you’re an OG. That’s awesome. I think that you probably have the equivalent amount of experience to all of us added together, which is really cool. That’s just a yes. Great. So it sounds like NRR is a pretty hot topic. I am in the early stages of planning for us next year. I’m happy to dive into some of the programs. I am really focused on growing our sales community, which we use Slack for that we’re using the free version of Slack, focused on launching a customer awards program, formally launching our advocacy program. And then I also run, ah, which has three groups. It will be expanding to six groups, about ten. People per group. And those are our just key customers that we test messaging with. We have them involved in the product development lifecycle. We try to activate them as brand advocates for us. So those are really the programs I’m focused on. It’s hard to know how that lines up with all of your programs without going through one by one. But since NRR is the hot topic, maybe you. We just start there. I’m curious. I have thought of ways that I could possibly measure the impact that all up advocacy has on NRR. But if anyone is doing that right now, whether it’s like a duct tape version of what you want it to be, whether it’s like you feel like you’ve really got a good handle on measuring customer marketing’s impact on NRR, does anyone want to talk about how they currently measure it and how that journey has looked?
Laura Adams | Locus Robotics 16:02
So one thing for me is we’re sponsoring or we’re not sponsoring. We’re supporting a lot of our customer events. And what we’re looking at as the metric afterwards is how many new opportunities have been created after the fact. And then as we continue through that sales cycle, we’re comparing how much money was invested against what was the business closed. And what we’re finding is 70% of any customer events that we are supporting are resulting in closed deals. So, super cool. That’s like blowing all of our new business out of the water. But again, in our industry, it’s very much about getting into an account and then expanding within that account.
Taylor Bogar 16:46
Right? So just for clarification, when you say customer events, these are events you’re hosting just for customers, or are you getting customers to existing events and then those customers are turning into opportunities.
Laura Adams | Locus Robotics 16:57
It’s actually neither. They’re customer events that they themselves are sponsoring. So whether it’s a cab themselves, for example, one of my customers is a large apparel retailer. And what they’re doing is they’re bringing other distribution centers into a leadership meeting. So if we bring our robots, we can show them how our system works
Taylor Bogar 17:21
Laura Adams | Locus Robotics 17:21
we’re getting in front of more people within their networks. So that’s been huge. Or we’re doing trade show support. So if we can get a robot into one of our customers booths, we’re now getting that additional exposure. But we’re also showing that we’re a great collaborative partner. We’re trying to position ourselves as a partner, not a vendor. And that has really helped a lot. The more that we can do for our customers, the more they’re willing to do for us.
Taylor Bogar 17:50
Yeah, that’s really interesting. So I think you’re very uniquely positioned to be able to do that, and I think it’s so smart. One thing I’m trying to focus on, I’m a team of one right now. We definitely could have, like, five people on my team, but I’m a team of one. And so with that comes like, okay, we could do all these cool stuff, all this cool stuff. But what already exists that customer marketing can piggyback onto, and I think you’ve nailed it by finding events that your customers themselves are hosting that you can come in and add value to and it’s resulting in business. That’s so cool.
Taylor Bogar 18:26
Anyone else measuring NRR currently? Or is it kind of something all trying to figure out how to do? Because I can talk about what I think I could do. Hopefully it will make sense. Okay, what was
Mary Green 18:43
with NRR? You mean net recurring revenue?
Taylor Bogar 18:48
Yeah, net recurring revenue. So basically you sign a deal with your customer at $100 at the end of the year. Are they worth $100? If they are worth $100, you’ve obviously retained 100% of that customer. People are nodding. So I explained that correctly. Right. Okay.
Mary Green 19:08
Taylor Bogar 19:08
you. Yeah, no, it’s okay. So the way I am thinking about trying to measure this in the coming year, and I think I explained that I don’t really focus on upsell expansion. I don’t really focus on impacting dollars in the customer lifecycle. I’m really focused on just activating them from a brand perspective. My thought is identifying. So we went from like zero to 100 with our advocacy program.
Taylor Bogar 19:42
We probably have one advocate at, I would say, 2000 logos. Like we have 50,000 paying customers understanding what advocates maybe in 2023 were activated at which logos and measuring that group’s churn versus all up churn. Does that make sense? And then that discrepancy, I can say, okay, among our group of logos that have advocates identified, like maybe 10% of those logos churned in 2023 or in this quarter compared to all up, the organization’s churn was 15%. That to me is like a clear impact that having an advocate add a logo leads to you’re less likely to churn.
Michelle Borman 20:35
And just to clarify, what is the criteria for an advocate?
Taylor Bogar 20:42
Someone, this is a good question. I would say it’s someone who has raised their hand to advocate for you. So to me, having someone sign up to be a reference partner is different than them acting as a reference. Because I could have hundred sign ups and only two AE’s need references, right? So I’m nurturing these relationships, the 100 relationships. I’m not nurturing the two relationships. So the list of 100 people have raised their hand and said, you’ve given me an opportunity to lean in. Like, I’m on your list now. I’m interested in growing this relationship with you. And then that list also gets called on for other advocacy actions. But I see anyone as like a sign up or hand raiser. And then obviously we need to go through and make sure the lists are up to date. Like someone could opt out later on. And that’s something that I’m thinking through this year is like, how do we do re engagement campaigns for people who signed up last year? But to, that’s, that’s an advocate is someone who has raised their hand to advocate for you.
Michelle Borman 21:45
Yeah. Okay. So someone wanting to do any type of advocacy opportunities practically. Okay, cool.
Taylor Bogar 21:51
Stephanie Murphy 21:52
Taylor, quick question on that. Kind of looking at that pool of 100, do you incentivize them right out of the gate just for signing up? It’s just strictly out of goodwill.
Taylor Bogar 22:04
Yeah, it’s strictly out of goodwill. I think every advocate is so different that different things are important to different types of advocates. I feel like that’s like Advocacy 101 for references. I’ve always found that a gift card after the call has been completed is the most impactful way for me to drive interest in the advocacy program. And then you just ask them how often they want to participate and then they can basically just have these gift cards coming in. But you have to obviously build the interest on the AE side to request advocates for, don’t I? Typically until someone performs the action, they don’t get the incentive.
Stephanie Murphy 22:46
Okay, great. Thanks.
Amy Ng 22:49
One thing that might be interesting to consider, I was reading a rich Millington article that was talking about how advocates tend to be folks that are already happy with you. Like, usually a grumpy customer is not going to be like, I’m going to advocate for you. So what might be helpful when you’re setting up the kind of hypothesis that advocates are less likely to churn is to also look at other segmentation info. Like maybe you’re saying if we’re going to have a control group, we have to also consider the other factors of which segment they’re in, which vertical they’re in. So you can have a comparable comparison because I think there is sometimes that bias of like happy customers, less likely to churn, more likely to do advocacy. But if we say in our group of 100, these 25 people are both enterprise of a certain size,
Taylor Bogar 23:31
Amy Ng 23:31
this thing and the control is the same, I think you can make a bit more of a compelling argument because it’ll be comparing more apples with apples. And then from there, if that correlation works, and I know sometimes there’s like customer success software that can help to measure advocacy or community engagement as well, you could go on to the next step of the kind of experiment to say not only do advocates potentially stay longer, but does the number of advocates I have at each account also impact that NRR? Because maybe the magic number where it’s like, okay, if three people are in. Then if someone leaves or gets promoted, that account still stays sticky. So that could be an interesting way to kind of position that experiment. As
Taylor Bogar 24:13
I would everything you just said, I would be
Amy Ng 24:16
delighted to be
Taylor Bogar 24:18
able to understand all of those things. Absolutely.
Becky Susko 24:21
I think on that point, too, another thing that we are looking at on top of the NRR, the churn versus the advocate churn, is when an advocate moves. So when an
Taylor Bogar 24:33
Becky Susko 24:33
accounts. Right, like what impact that has. So is it net new? Is it now that account staying longer? So it’s kind of like a more intricate, granular view into basically the churn versus advocate churn. But there’s that aspect of once you have an advocate, wherever they’re going, they’re usually going with you. Right. They’re taking you with
Taylor Bogar 24:59
you. Yeah. What do you all use for job alert changes or job change alerts? Do you guys have tools that you use for that, for your advocates?
Kaily Baskett 25:10
Becky, what’s that one that you guys had? A webinar. Hold on, I have it written down.
Becky Susko 25:17
Sorry, I’m blanking on the name of it right now.
Mary Green 25:19
Becky Susko 25:19
Kaily Baskett 25:19
people, champify is
Becky Susko 25:23
Kaily Baskett 25:23
a lightweight tracking tool that just sits on top of your existing tools, tracks those changes. But on all of this note, these notes, if you haven’t already read, there’s this article from Harvard Business Review called NPS 3.0 that talks about earned growth rate, where it’s incorporating all of the things that people are saying. So it’s incorporating people who leave and bring you on at a new company. And so it kind of talks about basically NPS was originally designed to be a measure of how much your customers love you, but it ended up just being really butchered and kind of misused. But earned growth rate was created by the same folks, Fred Reicheld, who created NPS. And it’s a much more all encompassing sort of formula for calculating what it sounds like you’re trying to measure internally. But I totally agree with what Amy was saying earlier about establishing your baseline with existing deals, how they close and then starting to see, are there ways that we can track and see what is the impact of customers? Do deals close faster when they are started from a referral? Are we seeing more revenue when there is some form of customer advocacy involved with a, during a purchasing process? Whether that’s an existing customer growing their footprint in that account or a net new prospect who’s making that purchase, but tracking how things like are they viewing customer content during their purchasing process? Are they participating in reference calls and then based on those activities being conducted on certain, with four certain opportunities, comparing those opportunities and the outcomes of those to that baseline, which is those who don’t have any form of customer influence, which is kind of how we conceptualize the attribution, right? It’s not true like a one for one attribution, it’s more of defining that influence that’s occurring across the opportunity.
Mary Green 28:01
Kaily Baskett 28:02
ask that article in the chat as well?
Mary Green 28:06
Thank you, Kaylee. Can I ask when you’re focusing, for all of you who are focusing on NRR, are you focused on NRR just for your advocates and the groups, the accounts that they represent or NRR for all customers?
Taylor Bogar 28:25
Ideally all customers? I think what I at least was trying to explain was how of our customers that have advocates, can we prove that having an advocate at a logo makes it more likely to be sticky than a logo without an advocate there? But ideally we would be influencing all customers at
Mary Green 28:49
our. So I’m wondering know specifically with you, Taylor, because you do community as well and I come from a background with you, or have you thought about comparing the different programs as far as some customers are in community, some customers are in advocacy, some are very active in your webinars or even educational programs. Is there anything there that you’ve seen?
Taylor Bogar 29:21
Yeah. So that is actually a really good point. Our community is about 2500 members and it also launched last June. And so basically doing the same exercise that I would with advocates is like we have this many active community members, what is the impact on their logos versus the logos without community members? So the same exact exercise, just splitting it out by program essentially. And then we could probably combine it all and say customer marketing has impacted NRR this way based on these programs.
Mary Green 29:56
Kaily Baskett 29:57
Mary Green 29:58
I would assume that advocacy would have a bit of a higher NRR or. Value there and then community a little bit less. But I’ve also seen, as I’ve talked to different companies for the last couple of years, just how, if they’re tracking the. Sorry, I forgot what I was going to say. Go ahead,
Taylor Bogar 30:23
no worries. I think to your point, it will be different because as Amy said earlier, like the satisfaction that someone, that a customer is feeling might be different if they’re joining our community because it’s more of like a channel they can get support or help versus an advocacy program is like all they want to do is say good things about your brand. I definitely think the sentiment could vary much more in the community. So I expect there to be a little bit of a difference. And we would definitely want to delineate that.
Mary Green 30:52
Kaily Baskett 30:53
I think one way to kind of build in some, mitigate some risk in terms of people interpreting the data in the wrong way is instead of just thinking about this from the single lens of the advocate and their NRR, I think it can be helpful to break it down into acts of advocacy that impact NRR in addition to that statistic. Because as Amy mentioned, it’s definitely a little bit of like a kind of chicken and egg scenario where it’s like, do they love us so much that they were already going to be renewing and all of this and spending more money? So there’s a lot of room for interpretation there. Whereas if you
Taylor Bogar 31:42
Kaily Baskett 31:43
stick to the activities that these advocates, people in the community, whoever they are to you in your program, but the actual activities that they are performing and how those activities at aggregate impact opportunities compared to the baseline, when there isn’t any form of active advocacy involved, I think it’ll paint a much richer picture for your leadership than just providing that kind of single piece of the pie. And that way it’s also, I think, in a way, because every company defines an advocate and advocacy as different. But if you break it down to the activities that you want to be driving people towards, that, you know, make a really big difference and an impact on revenue, then it doesn’t matter if it’s somebody who’s in the community who hasn’t technically raised their hand and signed up to be an advocate. That way you’re kind of democratizing across the entire customer base and saying any activity performed by a customer that is something measurable for us, where we can see the impact that it has on revenue is what tracking as opposed to, you know, just the fact that they are in map again, Kits. I don’t know if that made
Taylor Bogar 33:06
sense. Yeah, no, I agree. I think that the way you’re describing the tracking is like our future, future state. I think the problem I’m facing right now is that we don’t have a tool. And with 50,000 paying customers and millions of users that are non paying, it’s very difficult to track those actions. And there’s a lot of it happening organically where like, I didn’t do anything to encourage them to post about us on LinkedIn. So for us, the source of truth really is, like, people who have kind of taken the action of opting in versus people who have done the activity. Because the people who have done the activity, customer marketing, probably at 80% of those instances, did not influence that action at all. And so to me, that number, just for us, would not be very truthful. If that makes sense. I
Kaily Baskett 33:57
Mary Green 33:58
Kaily Baskett 33:58
makes sense. I think a lot of the ways that folks are trying to. My company did a lot of research with ceos about what they want to see out of these programs in terms of these metrics. And one of the really big pieces is just that customer influence versus your team’s particular influence. Because at the end of the day, I’m a big believer that advocacy should not be necessarily just owned by one person. It should be more of like, the culture of the company. Right. So as we’re able to reduce silos among customer success, sales and marketing, with a focus on driving customers to participate in forms of advocacy that help drive revenue, regardless of whether they’re in the purchasing process, pre customer, post customer, or they’ve been a client for a very long time, I think just having that little bit of a mindset shift around advocacy as a cultural thing can be helpful. And then I have another recommendation for you, which is that Christina Garnett, who just started her own consultant or fractional CCO services, essentially, but she’s a very open person to chat with. So she was managing the program at HubSpot for many years and was in a very similar position to you are right now, where they had this great problem of, we have all these champions who are out on LinkedIn posting about us. And so she had a pretty well defined and well oiled process for doing, on a daily basis, doing a search to find all of the recent posts that could be considered advocacy related. And I think a chat with her would be really helpful for you, just because I think the business models are relatively similar and the scale and size of. The customer bases as well. So highly recommend that. And I did some work with her on basically creating some automation so that there are ways to basically listen on LinkedIn for those types of things and have it kind of filter into a list so that every day you can just come in and see, okay, where are my new advocates kit posts? And then take action and have others post or what have you based on what comes into that feed. But highly recommend reaching out to Christina about how she
Taylor Bogar 36:43
was. Yeah, no, that’s a good point. Obviously, I think someone else said, I will always take help where I can get it. I think all very valid points. We actually do have someone that’s like mining through LinkedIn and pulls in all of the posts. So yeah, conversation I probably will have to have with leadership, because the direction to measure what customer marketing directly has impacted it was coming from them. Obviously, I agree with you. Advocacy is something that should be wide and wide focus, and there are absolutely other teams that are influencing advocacy that we could be measuring. So that’s a good point. Well, we have 20 minutes left. I want to make sure we cover other topics. Did anyone have anything else on NRR? Stephanie? Yeah,
Stephanie Murphy 37:35
I was just trying to unmute myself. Just a quick question on that. I love the mentality of customer advocacy is an.org wide mission. Like, everyone should be customer, everyone that works there should be a brand ambassador, and everyone should be looking for customer advocates. I’m curious, in this group,
Mary Green 37:54
Stephanie Murphy 37:55
Mary Green 37:55
Stephanie Murphy 37:55
us are new ish or have been building programs from zero, when you moved into this role or when it became like a real role, did you roll it out publicly, company wide? Like, did the whole company know that this is a company initiative? I was able to roll it out. We had a whole team, company wide meeting about the customer advocacy program. And I’m just curious if anyone else had that opportunity as well.
Mary Green 38:27
I’ve done this in the past where I’ve worked with a company and we rolled out a new advocacy program. So one, there’s the difference, obviously, between having a reference program, a reviews program, and then there’s the ultimate advocacy program where all the people can join. For me, I’ve rolled it out to where I’ve worked with multiple other teams, say sales demand gen or content marketing or sales enablement or something, or education. Just a couple to start with. I would let the entire company know that. That this has rolled out. But a few teams would know ahead of time and because I thought that it would most align with some of their goals. And then over time, I worked in adding additional teams to build up that wide advocacy approach and kind of made a roadmap these teams over time so that we could get that wide advocacy approach in place for everyone because it’s very difficult to get it out there and have a huge amount of support right away without working with each of the teams to build that in.
Stephanie Murphy 39:54
Yeah, I totally agree. And I launched it as part of an all hands, and then I kind of did, like my little roadshow in each team to explain how they, it’s more obvious to some teams. Like, of course, sales are like, they totally get it. But like other teams, I did my roadshow and answered questions of specifically how does this relate to the dev team, for example, or the accounting team? But I went around and made sure, and I worked for a small company, so it was a little easier to make the rounds. But, yeah, I just thought it went a long way in selling the concept into everyone to be thinking about advocacy, which just ultimately helps me because I’m guessing most of us are a bunch of team of one. The more. The more help get, the better
Michelle Borman 40:43
I was going to say on that point. Stephanie, have you found, at least I found at Tiger Connect, that we’re having a lot of issues with change management, and especially with advocacy and references. We’re still kind of struggling where sales reps will just go to the buddy buddy system and get references from another colleague, and we can’t really track because we didn’t know that the reference took place or we don’t have people submitting into our system. So one big hurdle I am, although we did have, like, our sales kickoff, we had a big rollout of our reference and advocacy programs. But I think it’s the change management that’s taking a big toll, being a person of one, to continue to have people commit to it. So I would love to hear others if they’re having similar
Stephanie Murphy 41:35
Michelle Borman 41:35
as with being a one person.
Stephanie Murphy 41:38
Yeah. And for me, our process was such a dumpster fire, so that for me to show up with any solution, everyone’s like, yay, we have a solution. And so what I found specifically from the reference, and I also had a really angry customer base. Like, super angry. Like, our NPS was negative 35 and, yeah, up from negative 40. So yay. And so they’re like, here, here’s a dumpster fire. Go find the happy people in this fire. But it was a good challenge. My sales team was super excited for me to be their helper because it used to take us like three days to find a happy customer when a prospect would say, I want to meet with somebody, and then you have to drop everything and it’s just a disaster. And so from the advocacy or finding the happy customer and connecting them with the prospect, my favorite tool by far is Dito. I don’t know if anyone else on the call, but they’ve been great to work with. They helped me build the program immediately. Got profitable right away. But then we hired a new sales vp who was adamant about letting customers talk to prospects, which he was terrified of what they were going to say. And he didn’t trust that I had cultivated the right people to talk. And so he basically shut it down, which to me is insane, because we finally had happy customers. And so in my case, it was a matter of they had nothing. So anything I brought was 100% bonus. But then their boss didn’t like the idea of, which was insane to me. But that’s a different story. It’s not helpful for this group.
I also wanted to share that we have a very similar experience, or I have very similar experience, Michelle, to what you are currently experiencing. On top of that, most of the business is done in different countries. So it’s outside of us, it’s mostly in Europe. It’s also in Asia. So that comes a lot of, like, the new cultural aspects, and a lot of the business as such with the salespeople and csms is done one to one, and they don’t want to really share it with the rest of the group. And that’s something that I’m struggling with, how to overcome this barrier of one to one relationship and see that if we share, we all will benefit from it. On top of all these cultural differences that come with that, when the company is running in different countries,
Laura Adams | Locus Robotics 44:19
that’s actually been one of our biggest challenges as well. We’re completely global. So we have a second headquarters in Amsterdam, and we have sales representatives in seven countries in Europe, and then one in the APAC region as well. And overcoming some of those cultural changes and differences has been really difficult where they want to kind of keep me at bay, but I’m sort of like, hey, guess what? I can collect all these great case studies for you and help you sell more. But they want to control the relationships, and that has definitely hurt their numbers. Whereas if you compare them to our north american sales guys, they’re like, yeah, let me make introductions, kind of proving out my worth and developing the relationship. Directly with the sales rep has been exceptionally helpful, almost even more than with my customers, because if my team can get me in touch with the right people, then it’s my job to develop the relationship. But if I don’t have that trust internally, I’m getting nowhere.
Taylor Bogar 45:29
What I’ve done to combat this is by not like, okay, so my first question is, when you say they’re trying to keep it one to one, are there any types of slas in place for your teams for when you’re allowed to reach out to a customer, are you just allowed to do outreach? Do you have to ask permission first? What does that look like with your cs or salespeople?
So I don’t think if there is any official policy, I don’t know if anyone knows it, but the reality is that really depends on who the salesperson is. So when I look at who the salesperson is, sometimes I’m like, yeah, so we can totally do that. And some I’m like, no, this would backfire in big time. So even if we had the process, there are some very strong figures who want to control the relationship with the clients and who want to control anything we send to the client. Any marketing emails, anything needs to go through them.
Taylor Bogar 46:31
Yeah. Okay, then I have two. I don’t know if they’re pieces of advice, but two ways that I’ve combated this in the past. The first way is ultimately you need to have customers to be able to get your job done. So figuring out a way to set up some sort of SLA with specifically the customer success team. If you’re trying to work with customers more directly, going to leadership and saying, hey, if I provide a list of customers I want to invite to this event or ask to be in this case study, and I deliver it to your team, they have three business days to go through the list and pull people out that they don’t want you to reach out to. Then if they don’t meet that SLA, the list is yours to reach out to. And then that kind of puts it on the CSM to be able to go in and pull all their people out if they don’t want you to reach out to any of them. But that’s a way that I’ve been able to kind of combat at least asks that require a large volume of customers. The other way, which is kind of more
Taylor Bogar 47:23
a long play, is by finding customers that you can tell are in your ICP or the type of customer that you think you would want to work with pretty often to help you meet your goals, find ten of those people that are already kind of leaning in and just build a one on one relationship outside of the relationship that they have with sales and cs. Try to find ways to add value to their job, them personally, their use of the product, and just build those relationships as your own little mini case studies. And then when a CSM or a salesperson needs someone, you’re going to have ten people at the drop of the hat and you can ah, oh, I have someone for this. Like, I built this relationship and that will organically, like. Those relationships will bleed into the CS team and they’re going to be like, oh, she actually made friends with this person that didn’t have a great relationship with me and now I have a really great relationship with them. And like I said, it’s more of a long play. But I have found
Taylor Bogar 48:21
the last two organizations I’ve started in. Just go in and start building relationships with your customers and use them to win sales and cs over and then they’re going to want your.
Okay, cool. Great strategy. Make all the. Thank you, Taylor.
Stephanie Murphy 48:39
To Taylor’s point, I think that going in as trying to build this other relationship, I think we as customer marketers are in a unique position because we’re not really selling anything. I always position myself as I’m another advocate for you in the company and I had enough close relationships with the support team. If they, on the off chance were upset, they could call me and then I could gently bring it to support to get them. We’re in that nice spot of we’re not trying to actively, we’re not calling to upsell, we’re calling to see how they’re doing. And so it’s a lot easier to build that relationship with that in mind as opposed to trying to get them to renew or buy
Taylor Bogar 49:22
more. And you would be so surprised. I think someone here mentioned they’re building a cab. This is like the ground level of building a good cab is having a servant attitude for your cab members outside of trying to sell to them and trying to get them to give you product feedback. Like if you have a group of ten people that know that they can come to you and you will help them with whatever they ask, I mean, obviously within reason. Like you’re not going to take their kid to a birthday party or something, but if you help them get an intro to someone within your organization, if you give them direct access to an executive, if they need advice on something you have expertise in that has nothing to do with your role or the job you’re doing, always answer those requests and then they will come to you before they even cab members come to me for help with their account before they even go to their CSM because they know I’m going to send them to the right person and they’re going to get an answer right away. So those are the ways to her point that you really start to show your value and it’s going to come through your customers and their actions and the way they speak about you to cs and sales for sure. And it’s all free. Like just doing favors for people
Kaily Baskett 50:37
on the token of change management and just building relationships across all of these different teams. I think that one of the important lenses to take when you have these conversations is really trying to get folks to understand that your job is actually protecting the customer’s time as much as possible. I think that there’s this stigma and this totally incorrect view of customer marketing as. Csms literally think like you just want access to my customer to use them. But in reality, all of these programs are the reason that they’re built to be proactive and that all of the tracking that everyone wants to be able to do about their customers, what they’ve participated in, what they want to participate in, all of that is so important because it enables you to only reach out to the people who are available, who have a high health score, who are happy in that moment. And so I feel like in the process of socializing the program across the organization, you’re going to have to deliver the bad news to sales that, yes, you have this slightly new process and you may have to document something, right? As opposed to just always using those back pocket references. But if you sandwich it, as they say, with some good news, the front and the back end around, my role is to protect your customers time. And the only way that I can accomplish that is if we are all working together. Because if product is reaching out to people ad hoc all the time, if marketing is if sales is demand gen like, if all of these teams are bombarding customers with these asks and there is no central visibility, then at the end of the day it’s the customer that suffers. And so I
Taylor Bogar 52:40
Kaily Baskett 52:40
the vision that, yes, I am asking your approval to reach out to your customer, but I’m doing it in a very strategic way that makes it so that I’m aware that we’re not going to be burning out your buddy who you work with and have worked with for five years because you’re their CSM. I think that also goes a long way. So much of advocacy is about framing. It’s like not only to the customers, but actually at customer XCon in October, 1 of the most interesting talks that I attended was a couple of vps of customer marketing, and one of them, she was from smart Bear, Maureen Ploughman. She had this really memorable anecdote that I feel applies to really anything regarding change management when it comes to business, which is, she said in one of her first roles, she learned to find out what sales favorite donuts are, but she said that applies to every other part of the organization. What is marketing’s donut? What is the product team’s donut? What are they trying to accomplish in their roles that customers might be able to support? And if you’re starting with that lens of so a, I’m looking to help you, you’re going to need to do a little bit of process change. In order for us all to help the customers. But in the end we’re all going to be better for
Taylor Bogar 54:13
Kaily Baskett 54:13
I just loved that anecdote of the doughnut. I thought that was so memorable and clever. Find out everybody’s favorite donuts and then frame any ask that you have or any change around. Find a way to loop that in. Right of.
Taylor Bogar 54:32
I love any analogy involving a sweet treat. So yeah, I want a donut too. Cool. Well, we have six minutes left. I thought if we could do like rapid fire, maybe 30 seconds, we could all go through and say what one to two of our big focuses are for the coming year, just to kind of give everyone a chance to bring their ideas to the table. And then maybe if it feels right, we could have another call like this where we talk about more than, I mean, change management and obviously metrics and impact of customer marketing is all very important. But I feel like there were multiple topics that came up that we could probably keep talking about. Yeah, if you have to hop, not a big deal at all. But does anyone want to start and talk a little bit about what they’re planning? Just like 30 seconds for the next year? I
Heather Quitos 55:24
can jump in quick. We are very still in our infancy of customer marketing at tropics. So big focus for me one is actually like tracking in a place outside of a Google sheet where things are with all of our customers. So really working with our revenue operations team to set up those systems and then two for me would actually be formalizing our advocacy program, like actually mapping our customers to different stages and different levels of engagement. What I’m finding is that to Keeley’s point about burnout, I’m finding there’s a lot of customers that we lean on heavily and I think there are more that would be willing to talk about or engage with us in maybe smaller like snack size ways. So those are the two big things until something else comes up
for our company. I forgot to mention in the beginning. So we are elearning company and we do corporate language learning. That’s been kind of the bread and butter of the company. And last year, 2023. Yeah, so last year the company also introduced business coaching. So now the big focus will be to kind of use all the good learnings from this well oiled machine with language training and move it to business coaching.
Taylor Bogar 56:44
That’s a big transition.
Taylor Bogar 56:49
I’ll go really quick. I think I kind of mentioned this at the top of the call, but we worked last year to really build the foundation for all of our programs. I’m really excited to introduce customer awards, which someone here said that they run customer awards. I can’t remember who it was. Maybe it was
Kaily Baskett 57:06
Taylor Bogar 57:06
Becky? Becky. Yeah, I was thinking it was Becky. Lucky. Yeah. At g two. Yeah. So that’s interesting to me. We have a great name for it, and we know that we want to do customer awards. That’s about it. And then the other focus for me is we’re developing a ton of products, and so I’m working with product, and we have a pretty strong research team to identify where in the product development lifecycle there could be a need for customer. Her involvement and then building a pipeline of people to participate in research panels is new and exciting for me. This coming year also kind of gives me an ulcer, but that is the life of a customer marketer.
Becky Susko 57:51
Well, I’m here if you need any help, please don’t
Taylor Bogar 57:54
Becky Susko 57:54
Taylor Bogar 57:55
Becky Susko 57:56
Running awards here for six years. But outside of that, we’re going to be starting a customer cab and doing some of that change management as a first time, finally drinking our own champagne, and then probably grow some community engagement because we started a slack community, but we just kind of push our own narrative at them, and that’s really not what we want to do. Right. So doesn’t build community at all. So we’re kind of working on a lot of different things while still running my day job. Maybe a new job, who knows? We’ll see.
Taylor Bogar 58:31
Get Becky a headcount over here.
Kaily Baskett 58:34
We’ve been saying that for so
Taylor Bogar 58:36
Kaily Baskett 58:39
carrying the team on her shoulders. We just partnered together.
Taylor Bogar 58:44
Kaily Baskett 58:46
weeklies. I’m working on partnership stuff this year. So excited for that. But also, even though I’m in a small organization, one of our big focuses is just really reducing silos, even at small companies, I feel like it’s just natural for silos to happen between sales and marketing and customer success. And so I actually do have a diagram. We probably don’t have enough time for me to show it, but we kind of did a workshop internally to map out the phases of the full customer lifecycle, including the pre customer lifecycle. So, like, when people are inquiring but haven’t raised a hand yet and really mapped, how can we either use customer voice to help support customers or prospects during those different phases, or when they’re in onboarding, how can we be at scale, capturing stories of best practices from customers about that onboarding experience and then making sure that we are putting those stories and best practices into the hands of customers when they reach that phase? The customer lifecycle. So lots of focus around the whole, I guess, like, customer lifecycle advocacy flywheel. So would be happy to show that at another time if we had more time. I
Taylor Bogar 1:00:25
want to see it.
Kaily Baskett 1:00:29
Yeah, I feel like it needs talking through, but
Taylor Bogar 1:00:33
Kaily Baskett 1:00:33
might have a hard stop. But if we wanted to cover it on a different session. Happy to do that.
Taylor Bogar 1:00:39
Yeah. For mean. Mary, I know that you are the owner of this call. If you wanted to set up another one and we could all come back and talk through some other stuff, I’d be happy to join. This was really helpful for me, so hopefully it was helpful for others as well. I think there are so many things to talk about that it’s hard to stay on one thing. But
Mary Green 1:01:01
would you want that to be the small group, like the same people here or just anybody in the community? I
Taylor Bogar 1:01:10
think we could open it up to
Mary Green 1:01:11
Taylor Bogar 1:01:12
I’m happy to moderate. I just feel like there’s a depth of expertise here that I don’t have. So I’m happy to moderate it, but I would definitely want to open it up to more people to bring ideas and stuff. Kaylee’s charts. Cool.
Kaily Baskett 1:01:26
I will. Maybe you can give me some design feedback.
Taylor Bogar 1:01:29
Kaily Baskett 1:01:30
one thing I struggle with is making really complex things look simple and nice.
Taylor Bogar 1:01:35
Kaily Baskett 1:01:36
That part is not figured out, which is why it requires explanation. Trying to get it to the point where that’s unnecessary.
Taylor Bogar 1:01:44
You’re not a designer. I thought you were in marketing. No, I’m just
Kaily Baskett 1:01:46
Taylor Bogar 1:01:49
Kaily Baskett 1:01:50
my toes are in many things.
Taylor Bogar 1:01:54
Cool. Well, we can end here, but it was really great to see everyone, and hopefully I’ll see your shining faces on another call at some point. Nice to meet you guys.
Heather Quitos 1:02:03
Taylor Bogar 1:02:03
Thank you so
Mary Green 1:02:04
Taylor Bogar 1:02:06
Thank you. Bye.