The Unexpected C-Suite Collaboration You Need for Success

Martech Podcast: Part 1

What do these four pairs have in common?

  • Apple and IBM
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg
  • Marketing and Customer Success

They are all unexpected — yet incredibly successful — partnerships. Bitter tech rivals put aside their differences to create world-changing innovations. A salty spread and a sweet topping form a beloved sandwich. A lifestyle maven and a gangster rapper turn an unexpected friendship into lucrative television shows and brand deals. And a team focused on customer acquisition partners with a function focused on retention to maximize customer lifetime value and foster growth.   

Totango’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Karen Budell recently joined an episode of the MarTech podcast to discuss the importance of the partnership between marketing and customer success and explain why Chief Customer Officers (CCOs) should have a seat next to CMOs at the C-suite table. From the key responsibilities of each role to activating and deploying the flywheel to the most important metrics to measure, Karen discusses all the hottest topics about this compelling collaboration. Here are three key takeaways from the podcast. Check out the full episode to hear all of her hot takes.



Use a customer-centric approach for a successful collaboration

Traditionally, the CMO focuses on customer acquisition, answering questions like who is coming into the funnel, which prospects close, and which cohorts convert better at different stages. On the other hand, the CCO focuses on what happens after the sale, overseeing onboarding, customer support, driving retention, and minimizing churn. Both roles, however, have one major thing in common: their knowledge of the customer. 

“A Chief Marketing Officer and a Chief Customer Officer are hardwired at knowing their audience and knowing their customer really well, so that automatically gives them an opportunity to form a partnership around knowing the customer and what makes them tick,” Karen explained. “When you think about the opportunity for partnership between marketing and CS, it’s how you can retain that customer and increase their lifetime value. Marketers are increasingly targeted at driving pipeline and impact on revenue, but [the job] doesn’t end there. You want that customer to stay with you a long time and potentially become a repeat buyer or an advocate to bring more prospects into the top of your funnel.”

When CMOs and CCOs form a partnership around their customer knowledge, marketing can focus on customer acquisition while CS focuses on retention, increasing customer lifetime value, and brand advocates who refer more prospects. This partnership helps to activate the flywheel and propel growth from the existing customer base.


Make your customer’s business outcomes your North Star

To foster cross-functional collaboration and ensure smooth handoffs throughout the entire customer journey, make customer centricity your guiding principle. Both your pre- and post-sale teams should know the answer to: “What is my customer’s business outcome?”

“If we think about the flywheel from a people and process perspective, what I think works really well is having your teams focused on their customer’s desired outcome, business goal, and strategic achievement. These results should be the North Star that brings your marketing, customer success, and even your sales team together,” Karen explained. “Orienting all teams around that level of customer centricity gives you a shared language and a common way to approach the collaboration and handoff that inherently happens across all those functions throughout the customer journey.”

The key to ongoing success is to demonstrate the value of your product or service and reiterate this value at every step of the customer’s journey. Growth results from retaining, renewing, and expanding your existing customer base by helping your customers grow their own businesses.


Track and measure the metrics that matter to your customers

Gaining a comprehensive view of your customers’ health, improving cross-functional collaboration, and elevating your flywheel requires data visibility and a shared source of truth from a CS platform that integrates with your CRM. 

“Here’s where the real magic comes into play,” Karen said. “If your customer success software integrates with your CRM where your marketing and sales teams already look, now you’ve got a full picture of your customer portfolio and its health. I can look at the profile of our best customers, who’s been with us the longest, who’s buying additional products or increasing their seats and usage. That’s a whole level of data and visibility that marketers maybe weren’t focused on initially because we’re all about the pipeline and helping sales close those deals.”

It’s also important to remember that the metrics that matter internally to your company aren’t necessarily the same metrics your customers prioritize. The customer is focused on the success of your product or service and its ability to deliver on its promise. You want to demonstrate the value of your product or service to help your customers achieve their business outcomes. Were you able to help them retain, renew, and grow their own customer base? 

“We work with customers like Aruba (part of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise) that successfully increased its NPS by 30 points. The bigger benefit Aruba realized was its ability to support almost 95% of its customer base through a digital and scaled motion. This support ensured the company’s customers achieved their outcomes as a result of purchasing Aruba’s services,” Karen said. “If a customer invests in your product or services, you have to be able to show them the value, and that’s tying it back to why they bought you in the first place and how they are hoping to move the needle at their own company.”


Grow your business by helping your customers grow theirs 

“If you look at how the CMO and CCO can partner, you can see the deep insights from your customers and what they want you to build, and you also have a good eye on the market and your potential customers. So, hopefully, you can pull the best insights forward and innovate on top of them, telling [your customers] what they might need moving forward [to drive success], and lead the way,” Karen said.

The CMO/CCO partnership presents an incredible opportunity to improve retention, maximize customer lifetime value, and foster growth within your existing customer pool. Acquisition will always be important, but growth through expansion is critical — especially in today’s economy. By promoting a customer-centric mindset within your organization and focusing on the metrics that matter most to your customers, your business can drive its results while also driving results for your customers. Learn how Totango’s customer success software can help promote cross-functional collaboration and customer-centricity within your organization.

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