In episode #61 of CMAweekly, the focus was on revenue planning and customer-centric strategies for 2024.
Key takeaways included understanding deeper goals beyond metrics, aligning strategies with revenue goals, leveraging customer insights, and measuring the impact of marketing efforts.
Hosts and guests highlighted the importance of setting realistic goals, focusing on customer needs, and leveraging existing materials for quick wins.
Transcription & Topic
Focus on customer value, revenue, optimization, and strategic upsells for analytics feature.
Mary Green [00:01:21]:
That does sound nice. Okay. So today’s topic was supposed to be about Caitlin was going to be sharing on reviews and onboarding, but she’s on a flight right now. It had been rescheduled from later in the day, and we are recording. So we’ll give people a few more minutes because I usually start about 205 just to give them some time. I will say I have several ideas and thoughts about my own experience with driving, events, and customer marketing. But this is definitely an open discussion for others to share, and I hope others will jump in. How’s everyone else’s week? Dwight, you’re all quiet.
Mary Green [00:02:32]:
Busy. Yeah. We Gary and I were just saying ours were fast. Yours was busy. Was it work busy or home busy?
Cristina Levenetz [00:02:44]:
It’s definitely work busy.
Mary Green [00:02:49]:
Nice. Where are you again? What company are you with?
Cristina Levenetz [00:02:53]:
So right now, I, just recently joined a company called AirSlate. Oh, okay. And, yeah, they are in the workflow automation esignature space, so I’m focused on expansion. So very excited for today’s topic.
Mary Green [00:03:11]:
Oh, boy. Okay. People coming in with high expectations. Daniel here. Fiscal year ends next Wednesday. Nice. Okay. Well, we’ll let you work.
Mary Green [00:03:30]:
Okay. Alright. So we are going to talk about expansion, revenue, Customer marketing and all of that together. I’ve been looking around to find some Relevant resources to be more helpful to the people in our space and to share it more. And The first thing I came up with was that it’s often called revenue marketing, which I had not known and obviously opens up a different world of resources available for us. On top of that, I think there are several SaaS companies that Focus on retention and helping that renewal part of, of revenue. So I think that’s where most of us are is with that expansion part because, like you said, I think, Christina, the you know, that’s part of our customer marketing and what we’re doing. So, we’re primarily focused on just customers instead of, prospects and things like that.
Mary Green [00:04:42]:
Although we are supportive for sales, so there’s a bit of that in there. I think though that they’re more responsible about that. Okay. I I may be repeating things you already know. Welcome, Allison and Allison and April and, everybody else who just jumped on. This is the topic I wanted to talk about this week is revenue planning for 2024. This is gonna be an open discussion just so you all know. So If you have certain questions you wanna ask or think about with everybody else in brainstorming here, please get on, Please go ahead and ask those questions in chat or interrupt me.
Mary Green [00:05:26]:
I’m very open to it. So give me just a moment here. I’m gonna bring up some notes that I had. I had a graphic come up that I wanted to share, but now I can’t seem to find it. Okay. Alright. First of all, How were any of you planning on expansion and focusing on revenue for 2024? Does anybody wanna share that?
Cristina Levenetz [00:06:18]:
I can kinda speak to what I’m doing at at airSlate at a high level because it’s something that I’ve than at 2 previous, at previous companies. So what I something that I’m emphasizing in my organization is that It’s gonna be a lot easier to get an additional dollar from existing customers if we see if they see value in what they’re already giving us money for. And so I’m I’m starting a bit there, But also, knowing that it it I have to drive revenue. I also have to have programs that are, like, specifically, you know, Pushing, cross selling. But, I think the the first piece of the, of the retention And the 1st piece of showing customers value is, improving things like our how we approach onboarding. So we we use email sequences to, you know, point customers in The the direction of resources of our academy, etcetera. So, you know, in this company that I joined, The it’s very it was very rudimentary how you know, what that looked like. So that was a that’s been an easy spot to begin to to optimize.
Mary Green [00:07:50]:
Yeah. I I agree with that. I think what you’re saying is Very similar to the notes that I took previously and, in preparation for talking today. So How long ago did you start at AirSlate?
Cristina Levenetz [00:08:06]:
I joined, Halloween. So October October 31st. And It’s, yeah. It’s a community that moves very, very quickly, but not very strategically. So it’s like They they do a lot we do a lot of stuff, but, it’s like random acts of marketing, you know, sometimes. And so there’s been, like, some little low hanging fruit that I’ve been able to to pick off and and start to to optimize. So that’s been good. That’s been, you know, fortunate.
Cristina Levenetz [00:08:42]:
It’s not a mature tech stack, you know, and all of those, kinda luxuries.
Mary Green [00:08:51]:
Yeah. Okay. Was somebody just going to say something before I keep talking?
Jennifer Blanco [00:08:59]:
I was gonna chime in. I’m working on a campaign right now that’s gonna be specifically on upsells For an analytics feature that we launched, like, kind of q 3, q 4 of last year. And we saw some people Kind of accepted and adopted, but we haven’t seen as much as we would like. And so knowing that we obviously have And tying back to events, knowing that we have goals that we’re trying to hit, I’m trying to help the team hit those goals as much as possible. And so I think, Christina, you just mentioned, like, you have a lot of, educational content, it sounds like, which is I’m I’m jealous of. We don’t necessarily have a ton of that, but, trying to get really strategic and really personalized in some of our, Upsell approaches. So, you know, we’re we’re almost at in February, Valentine’s Day is is gonna be coming up, and That’s always fun to kind of, like, share the love. So we’re gonna do some outreach to customers that are renewing in q 2, to give them unlimited access to this new feature, like, until their renewal.
Jennifer Blanco [00:10:21]:
And part of that is to obviously drive awareness, but part of it is gonna be handholding. And we are going to commit to going in and building Customer dashboards for each one of those customers as well to to just try to prove the value, and then hopefully get get the upsell. But I think the piece there I I love this conversation. I try to tie try to tie everything that I do back to revenue. Marketing and customer marketing, in particular, can Always be a little bit challenging to measure, so I try to align stuff that I’m doing to dollars since that’s what people look at. But also trying to use multiple resources within the company and partnering with some of your strategic partners throughout the company To help you achieve those goals as well.
Mary Green [00:11:17]:
Yeah. I think a lot of that, It’s it’s really smart, and it’s one of the things so what I’ve been working on this week is I’m I’m working on, trying to systematize and create my workflow ideas for how I build out road maps for programs like advocacy programs, customer marketing programs, community. And writing it down Sounds very similar to what you’re both saying, so I’m gonna share what I have on that really quick. But first of all, from feverbee.com. They walk you through building a community marketing. Well, basically a community strategy. And the first thing is, is getting your goals in place. So your company, your department goals, your individual goals to really see what are your priorities.
Mary Green [00:12:13]:
That’s really what it is, is identifying those priorities. From there, it’s listening. What so what are your limitations within those priorities? Are they certain resources that you can and cannot use internally, monetarily, all of that customer wise, even partners and things like that. Talking to your customer, specifically when it It comes to retention and revenue. I really think it’s important to talk to your customers and Find out where they struggle, where they’re struggling with adoption, where they’re struggling with, you know, staying successful with the product. And I think this is kinda where sometimes customer success can fail is that They put together road maps that are the same for almost all customers, and We’re not all the same. We’re also very different. I’ve said this a couple of times this week to Diana yesterday.
Customer onboarding experience killing customer success
Mary Green [00:13:23]:
If I join a new company, a new software, I’m helping a customer onboard with them. And the person that Is my CSM has 2 years of references, and I have 14 years of experience. And they keep telling me I need to go through all of these Hoops and kind of directions through their content and all of that to learn about The rudimentary things like community, engagement or something like that, like very low level things that I’ve learned so many times and helped so many other people with it’s very easy to get off to customer off to a bad start and not wanna Pay and just feel like, okay. I’m on my own. I can’t deal with these people. That’s one of, you know, one of the first fails is that onboarding the onboarding, with your customer success. So obviously, there’s You get that software. You get some onboarding with the company as far as these are the tools.
Mary Green [00:14:28]:
This is how you use it. These were all the features are. Thank you for joining us, and then you’re set over to your customer success. And I feel like a lot of people are kinda lost there because 8 years ago when customer success started, I promise I’m on track to where I’m going, people. 8 years ago when customer success started, it was, you know, a lot of people were a lot earlier in their careers. Now several years later, More of us are so far advanced that having somebody with a lot less references, it it does feel insulting to those who Have egos, maybe myself. Set in when you just wanna hit, like, some goals. So one of those things you you said, Christina, about What you’re working on made me think about short term goals when we are doing all of this because We’re just our industry is less patient now with accepting that it takes a while to get results.
Mary Green [00:15:40]:
And when it comes to customer marketing, they want results now. So you’re 3 months in at your company. They might be expecting something. I don’t know. Like you said, it’s a fast moving company. But in a lot of times, it does seem like they want something now. So you have to build out the short term and long term, approach. So back to listening.
Mary Green [00:16:06]:
Go and talk to some customers. Ask your support team and success what’s going on. Where are their failures? And I like to go to the data as well to to see who are the customers that are successful. They’ve been around for a while. What what do their users do on a regular basis? How much time do they spend in my platform? What do their LinkedIn profiles look like? How much experience do they have? Because this helps me build out that ICP of who my successful customer is. And a lot of times, your marketing team would already have this, but, generally, they don’t always share it because they don’t always know what you’re specifically working on. Bye, Daniel. And then I look for, like you said, Christina, the the low hanging fruit.
Improving customer success to increase retention with better self-serve options for customers.
Mary Green [00:17:02]:
So I wanna get these customers onboarded and have some adoption and have So that retention increase by finding out what are the low hanging fruits, what are the gaps that they can’t Manage right now and how can I quickly fill those groups? And that’s where I think there’s, a lot of overlap with what we’re already doing as customer marketers because we are getting stories, testimonials, user cases, case studies from successful customers, and we can use those to distribute back to other customers, not just Beyond and in sales, but to these other customers to say, This is what you’re missing. This is what fills that gap. And, 1, it shows that we are listening, so it builds up more of that loyalty. 2, it helps to take care of that low hanging fruit. It shows that you’re making those quick connections and helping them where they are. And that’s important for a lot of people because they feel like they just kind of get lost in as a number. So that’s just, like, distributing the, the that content that we’re getting from our customers. And, I mean, we are getting content across the Zoom calls we do, any roundtables, webinars, from our own internal SMEs.
Mary Green [00:18:37]:
I think companies really lack the ability to get that back to customers, and help them be successful with it because there’s so much of it and it can often be not categorized well. And then I like to build something out that is more self serve. So as we’ve evolved as SaaS users, We’ve come a long way. We don’t want introductory customer success. We want to be able to choose our own journeys, know that somebody else is listening when we have a question, And get the content we need right now. And so building out that self serve is really helpful because, one, we don’t wanna wait around. We don’t wanna have to send an email and ask and things like that. And I think when we are going back to the data and looking at what these customers Marketing what they’re complaining about, where their gaps are, who the successful customers are so we can draw lines be and make, like, see those groups, and we can easily start to take some of the content that might already exist and share that back out to customers to help them get through that adoption.
Mary Green [00:20:00]:
That’s what I’ve done with a lot of customers in the past, specifically within a community and how I found that, like a community for advocacy. And I found that, it those community members are more successful with our product that We get higher retention. We get more revenue and expansion. So I’m just gonna stop there, and read a couple of these comments. Yeah. I definitely agree with you. Alison Bukowski sales, I’d like to lay out short and long term goals based on what results can be seen. It’s helped me throughout my career.
Mary Green [00:20:42]:
Quick wins buy me credibility, but also allow me to go after the long term wins and metrics more carefully and strategically. Yeah. And as you’re looking at all of that data, I mean, you’re not just saying, okay. We’re going to help revenue. We’re going to help expansion. There are numbers beneath that. There are metrics there that you can pull apart and say, okay. If we help adoption, this helps revenue by 3% or however, 3 times and things like that.
Mary Green [00:21:18]:
Totally, the more personalization, the better. It is, and it doesn’t to be it doesn’t have to be as time consuming as we think it can be because once we start to show that There’s a place people can go to get the support they want to get now and to Find it quickly and easily, and they know that it’s constantly being added to based on other customers and their own References and needs and those groups. They start to believe and trust that the company cares more and that Somebody is making sure or trying to help them be successful in the way that they want to be successful because, I think just a lot of people want to we wanna have it a certain way, and we don’t wanna wait around. We’re very now Culture, and I I know myself. I am like that too. I’d rather go read your documentation instead of having to reach out and ask a specific question. Allison says my low hanging fruit typically starts with existing materials. What voices of customer, content, and materials exist, and how can it be repurposed to create a quick win? Absolutely.
Mary Green [00:22:36]:
Do you have a written story? Could you perhaps work with that customer to grab a quick video? Yeah. I mean, from the very beginning, and you can see by being a part of CMA weekly, a lot of what I do is sharing imperfect content. It’s getting people To hop on a call on Friday and share some things that they’re working on and being able to share it back into the community, usually in direct message or something like that to help them be successful. And I think that it’s One, that’s a very community manager type of approach to things because for so long as a community manager, you become this concierge. But it’s also this idea that we as customer marketers really are community speakers. Whether we are Helping our customers connect with each other or not. We are still facilitating all of these references, getting to the right customers. And for most of us, it is the advocates or the to be advocates that we can get.
Mary Green [00:23:44]:
But When you start to open up a customer, community or something like that, it opens it up more to You’re seeing this content. You’re seeing the request, and you can make more of that, more of those connections. And that’s where with communities, it’s so great to see everyone sharing stories because I reach out to People based on those stories or those, experiences that they’ve had all the time and say, I’ve heard from this other person. They’re really trying to work on this. Would you be open to a call with them? It helps them out. People love meeting other people for a specific reason. They like to expand their networks in most cases, and they like to know that somebody cares. Christina says, we’re taking our existing case studies and turning them into playbooks by adding more how to type information from our solution engineering team and sharing those assets with customers.
Mary Green [00:24:50]:
Yeah. It’s distribution. I mean, a lot of times we already have the content. People don’t know either where to find it, what exactly they’re looking for. So if it’s a playbook, Now I know what type of content to look for. And when you’re doing these things, Obviously, you wanna start looking at okay. So I’m getting this content out there more. Are we getting more views? What are all those touches, Daniel Pele talked about last week, when you wanna show that your team, your customer marketing team is capable and making an impact with results.
Capture and measure customer journey, track progress, impact, and engagement.
Mary Green [00:25:30]:
Don’t just listen to sales, take all of that glory, but go back and grab screenshots of what customer, the touches they’re actually having in that journey before they become customer. So you can show improve in, you know, city hall not city halls, but what are they? Open halls or something like that that Your team is there and it’s making a difference. Town hall. Thank you, Gary. Okay. So There’s a lot of numbers that obviously are going to be part of this approach. I know like giving a broad overview of, You know, look at your goals, listen, fill the gaps, distribute, and then offer sales serve can sound a lot like You’re not being able to create that flow to show your impact on revenue, but you can and will, Alison, I’d love to hear if you have had more Expertise or experience in showing that impact from what your you know, these numbers are, the, the things you’re looking into when you first join and all of that.
Alison Bukowski [00:26:53]:
As in what metrics I want to track or what is delivering what’s delivering?
Mary Green [00:27:01]:
Yeah. What What metrics you’re tracking to show your story that this is making that short term impact?
Alison Bukowski [00:27:12]:
On the short term, like I was saying in the chat, I kind of break it down. What are the things that I want to achieve? I’m old Cool. There’s literally a notebook. Short term, long term and sometimes there’s there’s overlap. Short term Sales, I’m kinda looking at what content and I was just about to type, but I’ll I’ll say it. Finding out what content events, but then also what’s needed and where the gap is. I was in a company and they’re like, we need all the case studies. I realize, probably plenty of people who have heard that, we need like 20 new ones quick, can you churn those out? The answer is simply no, I cannot because I don’t have any relationship yet with these customer, but then you’ll talk to a stakeholder.
Alison Bukowski [00:27:59]:
They don’t actually want that. Sales wanted slides. That’s what they were so hungry for. So, then, I’m looking at how do I track like content output, right? So, that’s the first thing. I found out what was wanted, We just went to existing content, we created slides that, you know, sales could insert with testimonials and things like that. They loved it. They just were grabbing, they were inserting into their 1st meeting deck. You know, how much of that did we create? And then if you’re fortunate enough to have a mechanism to then track how much of that content is used if you have some sort of mechanism.
Alison Bukowski [00:28:35]:
That’s the 2nd part of that goal, right? What did I create and then was it being actually user? So there’s that. Then if you’re sophisticated enough long term goal, tie it to events, right? Sophisticated enough long term goal, tie it to revenue. Right? Okay. Now, I’ve created the content, and now I’m tracking usage of that Content within opportunities, like that’s kind of the gold standard. I know content is tricky, that’s why I’m calling that one out because that’s kind of what we’re marketing about here. But being able to do that with anything, whether it’s the content or it’s references or it’s marketing activities. 1st, it’s what do you need? Okay. How much of that did I produce? That’s a metric.
Alison Bukowski [00:29:14]:
And then how useful was it? That’s your secondary metric. And then tying it to You know, the opportunities, the revenue, and and things like that. I think that that’s huge, so I’m looking at doing that. Some of the other things that I’m looking at just from a customer experience perspective, and this will resonate, I hope, with people in advocacy, how engaged Are the customer, whether they’re advocates or not, but what are you creating? So my low hanging fruit is, okay, we don’t have a lot of, we could do more With networking, and thought leadership, and engagement opportunities. Cool. What should that look like? So right now, I’m talking to a lot of customers because I reviews to create that in a vacuum, Then I figure out what I need. Now, I’m tracking how much of that did I create and then how am I measuring its impact? Well, who comes to our user groups? Right? How many people are showing up? Which topics are resonating? And then same thing, then moving in and tracking it, And tying it to opportunities and things like that. So it’s not always just events.
Alison Bukowski [00:30:19]:
There’s like a step in between, and I think executives miss that.
Mary Green [00:30:23]:
Yeah. Absolutely. And the way you just Sorry.
Alison Bukowski [00:30:26]:
It’s still box moment. Very
Mary Green [00:30:28]:
That was beautiful. You you say the things the way that I think them. And I’m like, oh, if I could just articulate it in that way. The only thing I would add is that coming in When you’re brand new to a company, you can go back and a lot of times look at the content that’s already being successful and becoming part of the opportunities that exist today and, How it’s, you know, how it’s making an impact. So even more kind of data because you wanna just look at everything. You wanna Soak it all up. You have a new perspective on a community, and
Curiosity and pushback are valuable in work. Help CS & Sales with objections.
Alison Bukowski [00:31:12]:
And ask why. I mean I would say that as well. Always be curious, why are you guys using this compared to this? You know, and you get to do that when you come in, right? You get to play that newbie card, like all you want for a while. Why is this impactful and why isn’t this impactful? I think also I think it’s important not to be, not come in and be like a stick in the mud, like you’re not looking to just jump in because of course you are, but to have kinda your pushback ready, so when I you know, you come in and somebody says, okay, In your 1st 90 days, you need to do 15 case studies. What’s the argument for why you can’t or won’t? I mean, maybe you can, which is great, but should you? And so, I like to make sure that I have that talk track as well, which is, hey, I’m gonna focus on finding out what we actually Need, and building the relationships. You hired me to do these things, and then we’ll get to that place and I think that that is perfectly acceptable. I always like to say be a welcome mat, not a doormat. I That kind of helps establish that.
Mary Green [00:32:21]:
Yeah. I find that coming in and being that curious person and trying to come from a point of learning instead of a point of what can I get out of this? Or especially with cross collaboration because it can be so difficult with customer success or sales, that you want to, you know, be really open to what they have to say and, curious about what they’re doing. And I think that’s important too because a lot of us are not new to the positions that we’re in. We’ve been around for a while. So coming in and, You know, saying, I’d love to talk to you about this. What access do you have or what do you what’s your team working on to for this and, Whatever the topic is. For me, a lot of times, I I wanna reach out to education because so many of those people that complete those Courses, in my experience, about 60% will turn into advocates if nurtured well. But, yeah, going back to that revenue, it it’s really breaking down that big number of This is my goal for the year, and how can I what strategies can I use to impact that goal? And my biggest suggestion is your existing customers and advocates.
Mary Green [00:33:50]:
I found that about 50% of my advocates in the past were educators, not that they’re teachers, but that They’re that type of advocate. So giving them the opportunity to help other customers be successful It’s huge. Thank you so much, Allison. Have a good day. It’s yeah. So it’s a huge Helpful thing to fill those gaps, fill them quickly, distribute out that content, and really marketing impact and show that you’re trying to help your customers be successful. And of course, all of this is Secondary to the conversation and the idea that why are we having to be customer success at scale? And all I can say is more and more As I’m a part of this community and space, I’m seeing customer marketers become the Swiss army knives of post sales. Alright.
Mary Green [00:34:51]:
So we have so many really smart, intelligent, experienced people on this call. Hop in. Share your thoughts, please. I’d love to, pick some brains here.
Cristina Levenetz [00:35:07]:
Mary. I just wanted to say really quickly. That was such a great idea of looking at customers that took courses And completed them and then going and asking if they’d be interested in doing a case study. I’m literally gonna go in. We have someone that like Right. It’s the case studies, and that that she was looking to fill up the the pipeline, For, you know, potential people to reach out to. I’m gonna go and, like, find this list for her to, to start, you know, reaching out.
Mary Green [00:35:42]:
Good. Yeah, no problem.
Kaily Baskett [00:35:46]:
And on that same note, we, a customer of ours, cash Walker, talked about doing that same approach, Christina, of, you know, going to the CSMs after kind of Seeing what all customers have done. And he talked about recently on a webinar that we hosted, I’ll post the link to in the chat, How it really helped him to overcome like a lot of the objections that the CX team or the sales team would have around Like him reaching out directly to those customers when they were able to see, you know, all of the good things that they had already been doing. Because I think a lot of times the, You know, account owners or CS folks get really overprotective of the customers, but by showing them, Hey, look, they’ve already Done all of these great things. It can really just help, like, them to realize all of a sudden like, oh, yeah, you’re right. They are basically Already advocating for us in a way. And like, it is very logical for us to reach out to them about, you know, joining our program. And so he found that to be a really successful, you know, way to do that is just provide that visibility out to the business of what all That individual has, you know, participated in and completed. And he specifically was talking about the, that certifications piece.
Kaily Baskett [00:37:12]:
Mary Green [00:37:13]:
Oh, that’s really smart too. The to go back and look at what customers are already doing to bring that to Sales, that’s another way to work on that collaboration relationship. That can be difficult. I often come into it and wanna Focus on, you know, what can I do to add value to customer success so that they trust where I’m coming from or show that I’m adding value to sales, which we are? They just don’t always know. But I like that idea to go backwards, look and see what are these people already doing and use that. Yeah.
Kaily Baskett [00:37:54]:
And another my number one recommendation for bridging the gap with sales reps is always To ask them what are the objections they’re having a hard time overcoming today in the sales cycle? This is something they all like Are going to be very intimately familiar with because it’s, you know, the barrier for them to get a deal done. But if you start from there and work backwards into content, Then you know that it’s gonna help align to the challenges that that rep is having. And so, You know, maybe one example would be the CISOs that we are selling to in our space don’t recognize us as, You know, a big player in this certain arena. And maybe we need to like, you know, educate those CISOs that are out there about that So that we can get out of that pigeonhole. And so by going back, you know, so maybe that’s one of the objections, right? It’s like, you know, when we are selling up the chain, and and to this higher level stakeholders. They just don’t really see the power of our solution as being, you know, worthy of a conversation. And so, like, the advice that I would give to somebody in that situation is, okay. Well, what you know, do you have a handful of CSOs, it was like 3 or 4 that, you know, really get it and that are, are good champions of your product.
Kaily Baskett [00:39:18]:
And going back to them and marketing, what was the moment that helped you realize that this wasn’t just The point solution for ABC where everybody pigeonholes us. But in fact, that, you know, we were a broader platform solution for what you’re trying to solve. And then using that, you know, whatever the those customers respond with, handing that back to those sales groups. And all of a sudden, They don’t even have to, like, they can play that clip if it’s, if you have the audio during a call. So the sales rep themselves doesn’t even have to be the one to Try to overcome that objection. Let the customer actually say those things in that real moment. And and that Just by asking them about those objections that can really help you hone in and focus on the areas that Of content that will be impactful. And you already know that they’re going to help drive business because those are, you know, the specific friction points.
Kaily Baskett [00:40:21]:
So I would not underestimate, you know, the going to them and asking those questions. I think it can really just help I realized, oh, wow. You guys really are on my, like, team. You know, you’re on my side here. You’re trying to to do something to benefit me, and just brings that trust.
Utilize customer content for effective revenue marketing. Foundations of what drives revenue before pushing revenue.
Mary Green [00:40:42]:
Yeah, I think that’s really good as well because not only can you do that with those salespeople that Are trying to get prospects in the right place for a sales, but now you can go back and say, what are the issues that we’re having with expansion? What are the gaps that are there and why aren’t people going through with their expansion? And then go back and use some of the ideas that Alison Bukowski shared where you’re just Using your customers to find that content and get it out there because it probably exists, especially if you already have a lot of case studies. Hi, Melissa. Thank you for joining, especially if I already have the case studies and your documentation. You know, people are overwhelmed by content too at the same time. So making it very self serve and helping them get to the right place is helpful. And this Does go back to some of the revenue marketing that we’re going to be doing. If you look up revenue marketing, a lot of The results on Google talk about marketing automation, which is, you know, sending out a lot of emails, but it’s what’s in those emails and how you get that attention and consistently showing value in those emails instead of just, You know, we wanna reach out and make sure that we can sell to you again, which is an approach that a lot of companies do. They’ll Reach out 30 days before sales before a renewal is due to start that conversation.
Mary Green [00:42:25]:
And by then, it’s a little too late for A lot of opportunities. But talking to sales or account managers and saying, what’s what’s the problem? Why are people not continuing to stay with us or even expand with us. Now we can better that relationship with sales. We can better the relationship with the customers and improve that retention and expansion more quickly.
Kaily Baskett [00:43:00]:
Agreed. And I think that’s a good call out in terms of the customer insights piece is like, if you don’t Have a model customer to help knock down whatever that objection is, then, then you have a customer experience or like some other type of issue. You know, at that point, it’s like, okay, well, we need to maybe talk to the product team and see why we don’t have a good example of this today. But yeah, I totally agree with that approach. And 1 other tidbit that I think I’ve mentioned this Before might’ve been somewhat recent, but I just love this because it’s it is easy to remember. At customer ex con, One of the we had a session with a couple of VPs of customer marketing and this woman from SmartBear, Maureen Plowman. She said that, you know, throughout her career, one of the most impactful kind of mindsets that She has when building relationships across her company is to find out and she’s the sales team is an an example, but, like, find out what their favorite Donuts are, which is more of just an analogy to say, like, find out what it is that is gonna motivate that specific team. Like, What what do they want? What what are their donuts? Yeah.
Kaily Baskett [00:44:25]:
And how can I, you know, It, is it reasonable for me in all of the efforts that I’m already taking to, you know, in my program to Try and pivot something so that I can also provide that those folks what they need all in the same, you know, fell swoop? And I just thought that was a nice, like, memorable way of putting it, but it’s basically just to say, you know, go out and find out what exactly That they are struggling with. What is the CS team in particular struggling with? And you may very well have, as you mentioned, Mary, like there might already be Some existing customer stories that would help them overcome those challenges that they either haven’t been able to find, or, you know, just weren’t aware of, at all. And so I think that was a nice little, nice, memorable way to put, But that, you know, whole idea. Yeah. I got their donuts.
Mary Green [00:45:21]:
Yeah. I think that’s so back to the strategy approach or this, Yeah. The strategy approach that I learned from fever B was come in, do a lot of interviews Internally talking to people to see, you know, what are the goals, align those things and Really make it part of what you’re doing. So like you said, find out what their donuts are. What do they really need? One from you And your programs that you’re marketing, and that helps a lot with those relationships because you’re asking, What are you working on today? What’s important for you right now? And to know that it’s a way to bring some value back into What they’re doing, it really helps with the cross collaboration. When you have teams like product where they don’t wanna share Pendo Or you have sales, they don’t wanna share their existing advocates because they don’t wanna lose them. So These are great suggestions you’re marketing, Kaylee. Thank you.
Mary Green [00:46:30]:
Andrew, did you have anything that you’d like to share on this planning for Revenue in 2024.
Andru Creighton [00:46:40]:
Did you say my name? I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you.
Mary Green [00:46:43]:
Andru Creighton [00:46:45]:
It was like mid yawn, and I was like, oh, shoot. I think she’s calling my name. It’s like the kid not paying attention in class.
Mary Green [00:46:54]:
Yes. I did.
Andru Creighton [00:46:55]:
No. No. I I was really reflecting on what you started the whole conversation with, you know, minutes ago or whatever, going back to goals. And I think what Kaylee was saying and what Allison was saying, I think so much of that all funnels back into What we really focus on is, a, from my side of, like, the sales cycle, is everybody always ask, oh, how what does implementation look like? And the answer is, well, it looks different for everybody. Right? I could have your solution implemented by the end of the week. We could install on Monday, and I could have it ready by Friday. But Is that realistic? Like, what is what is your what are all the other kind of stakeholders? What are what’s their time? Like, what are their goals? What what is realistic? So I think so much of that feeds into a lot of these conversations too. Like like Allison was talking about, what are the expectations when you start? Like day 1, what are your goals? Like marketing those clear? They can be the low hanging fruit like she was talking about, and then kinda like ping ponging that to what Kaylee was talking about you can take advantage of so much information you already have, but like, What is the goal with that? Like, what are you trying to get out of it? And I think Mary, to your point, and I’m kind of just tying all this all together in my head, but To your point, like, having issues with implementation or not having clear understanding, like, really goes back to, I think, so much of Maybe what sheds bad light on salespeople is they promise things that aren’t realistic.
Andru Creighton [00:48:26]:
They’re promising maybe things that Are stretching the truth a little bit, which then sets up the whole journey to just be a failure. So setting up kind of those, Those conversations from like the wind stories that you already have, I think can be really powerful and really beneficial. So Having realistic goals all the way from when your salesperson is, you know, before signature, through implementation, and then through kind of full launch and launch and expansion, Expansion, is really what we try to focus on and just always go back to. What were our goals? Do we need to adjust them? Because I think readjusting goals and And readjusting your focus is totally fine too. Things change, priorities change, all that stuff. But but at least trying to Hold the customer accountable, hold yourselves accountable, hold the rest of your teams and involved parties accountable, in communicating that. So Not probably not anything new that that hasn’t already been said, but I think it’s all just like really, really tangible things that can be Communicated. They can be tracked and and attributed revenue to in some capacities.
Andru Creighton [00:49:37]:
Like, all these things can be done, but It’s hard to do it if you’re if you’re not kind of at least starting with with some goal or some idea in mind and then kind of building from there.
Mary Green [00:49:47]:
Yeah. And I think a lot of people in our space are hired, and they hit the ground running. They’re like they hear that Go get 20 case studies this quarter. Go do this. And they listen. They go, and they’re they’re looking for that. Right Now I need to get this case study. I need to show that I’m getting these case studies before doing some of this deeper work and really understanding what are these goals, what are the priorities, and even what Rebecca Grossman was Talking about either last week or the week before, staying in your lane, finding out where your lane is.
Internal interviews help build relationships and provide value so you can leverage internal champions for sales success.
Mary Green [00:50:24]:
So when I do these interviews with The different teams that I plan to work on or work with in a company when I join them or when I’m starting a contract or something, I’m I reach out. I’m you know, I say this is what I’m gonna be working on. I’d love to see how it ties into what you’re working on. I ask them, What does this mean to you? So what does community mean to you? What does customer marketing and advocacy mean to you? How do you Think it can positively impact our company, your department, and our customer. And what are you working on today? And those questions Almost always start these relationships off in a much better way because now I can come back and say, One, I’m going to offer this value to them because I know it’s going to be helpful. But 2, it It also helps me build that road map of what I’m doing. This is what I can do today. I can work with education today to really, like, Start that alignment of getting those advocates and getting them moving.
Mary Green [00:51:33]:
I can work with customer success to start building on more champions. And then in 3 months, I’m gonna go back to the product team And start working on getting more of that engagement for the product team as far as, you know, beta users and User studies and things like that. And that, again, helps you align your goals, your priorities, and your focus so that you know what you’re doing at each step of the way. And then taking that time, like you said, it Andrew, it’s so important to go back and Say, okay, this is what’s happening. This is what doesn’t work. This is what did work. This is what I need to change. And when you are constantly trying to chase a metric is, I think, ambiguous as Events case studies this quarter.
Mary Green [00:52:31]:
It’s harder to do that because you’re just like, I just need to get this. I need to get a person that says, yes. I need to get them in this funnel to do this without all of the why. As you say, Kaylee, start with the why. So, yes, This revenue conversation does start at a more strategic and goal focused place, but it’s so that you can start building out what impact you can make on revenue and constantly monitor that in a more steady fashion to continuously give back to the company. And as Alison was saying earlier in the call, You’re going to see me and find some low hanging fruit that can immediately make an impact. For me, one of those things is I I talk a lot about the 4 types of advocates, the customers that are status seekers, the advocates that are status seekers. I find that in a lot of cases, they change around a lot in their jobs.
Mary Green [00:53:35]:
They get promotions. They’re always looking for that next bit. So what happens with them is they will disappear as advocates. They’ll come on. They’ll be your advocate. So you can ask quite a bit of them because they want to do a lot of things. And, no, yes, they may burn out, but they’re going away anyways. They’re they’re not it’s not okay to burn them out.
Mary Green [00:54:02]:
I’m not saying that, But I’m saying it’s okay to talk with them more, find out what they want, what their goals are, and how you can help them be successful and use them more to get that early impact for your company.
Andru Creighton [00:54:19]:
Well, then the same goes for internal folks, too. It’s not just extra, right? Like who’s your champion in the CS team? Who’s your champion on sales team that you can leverage for Information or how things are being used or, you know, how can you help the sales team close more deals and make more money? Like, I think a lot of this, Our our world is is the the customer side, but also you have your your internal champions who are sitting at the desk right next To you, in some cases who can help a lot as well. And that’s where we see, I think a lot of really cool ideas come about, you know, just meeting with An AE who gets references or, you know, has requested a lot or whatever the case may be, and it’s like, well, why why are you doing this, and why isn’t your your counterpart who has the exact Same role, not. So I think there’s something to be said about both approaches there.
Mary Green [00:55:12]:
Yeah. Absolutely. When I Like I said, I think a lot of what we do is community management as far as with these customers. And I say that because I want people to realize that it’s normal in this space to get burnout. I’ve talked to a lot of people that are like, I just I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m getting burnout. It’s very common from the community management point of view. But additionally, My experience is I need my internal community to help me create and give the best to my external community, which it doesn’t have to be a community, a forum, but even roundtables or your groups of advocacy, knowing that you have to be that in between to bring so much information from the company back to the Advocates from the advocates back into the company, I think helps you realize so much you can do with getting that content, helping people be successful, and, really focusing on your strategy.
Kaily Baskett [00:56:20]:
Mary Green [00:56:20]:
see. Okay. Lee’s got a long comment here.
Kaily Baskett [00:56:24]:
Yeah. I didn’t wrote the context of the call. Was it all about like the goals and alignment? So I just Figured I would share. We run what we call a customer led growth workshop with all of our customers where we go through this exercise and bring in, you know, folks From their marketing leadership, sales leadership teams, all into a meeting in order to capture, like, the top strategic growth initiatives of the community. And then what we often do with the customer marketing and advocacy teams are finding out, like, what are the biggest Challenges and opportunities to pursuing those each of those things. So that might be the objections that the sales rep is coming running into, or just questions or fears or doubts, or maybe a new competitor in your space or in the market. And then for each of those kind of challenges or potentially opportunities, you know, finding ways to basically mobilize Customers to help knock that down. So that might be, you know, capturing a specific customer Story, which is kinda that example I shared earlier of the, you know, trying to get into the CISOs.
Refocusing customer reviews to align with goals.
Kaily Baskett [00:57:40]:
Right? Or maybe it’s having a customer write reviews that are focused on a specific, you know, element of your platform. Right? So what What the, that mobilization step can be many different things, but it’s all, you know, the idea is that you’re starting with those Top level initiatives and then working your way backwards into, okay, what are the elements of the program? Like what maybe there’s some Parts or, you know, maybe some of these things can be accomplished through your customer advisory board program or through your community program. Right? And then what are the, you know, people who we need to involve internally in order to, you know, Get those things done or accomplished, and which segment of the customers are the best fit For helping to overcome those objections. So, just figured I would share that out. It’s kind of our little bit of our Secret sauce, but I mean, in the end, all we really care about is that everybody is able to, you know, help tie their programs into revenue Groups, whether you’re a client of ours or not. So, this is kind of one of the ways that we help reframe this for our customers and also just help Their executives start to understand that this is not just a program where we are gonna just say, give us Five more case studies. Like, this everything that this team is doing is tying into these big goals that we have at the org. So,
Mary Green [00:59:18]:
yeah, That’s really good. Thank you for sharing that. I think there are so many practitioners and agencies and, People like the vendors, like, we know so much information, and it’s good to get on and share. So next week, I’m planning on going deeper into this revenue topic to really Talk about some of those metrics and what they look like even if they’re not revenue yet or then tying those into opportunities. So It should be an interesting call, and I’ll see everyone in the community. Have a good week weekend.