The service marketing leader is someone who can rally colleagues and customers to think creatively about your company’s service offerings and brand. They collaborate with your services portfolio or services product leader to craft and execute launches, and create content to promote the service offers. The position focuses on understanding the service portfolio, its aspects and competitive advantages, and how it creates business benefits and improved outcomes for your customers. They then translate this into valuable internal and external assets.
In a time of economic downturn, marketing the benefits and outcomes of the services that accelerate the technology’s ROI is extremely important to mitigate churn rates. In one of TSIAs recent community exchanges, there was a clear theme and focus on helping existing customers accelerate time to value and strengthen these relationships. Part of this effort results in doubling down on marketing activities to support the customer success and/or renewals team.
Of companies surveyed, 68% have a documented cadence of sales and marketing activities for renewals. But only 22% have communications within the renewal invoice.
Source: TSIA Gold Standards Benchmark H12020
Building a Marketing Strategy
How do you quickly build a marketing strategy to support the renewal motions and protect your recurring revenue? TSIA has 3 essential strategic wins:
1. Know Your Customer(s)
Understanding your customers’ evolving needs and expectations in the context of COVID-19, in addition to being empathic with their situation, places you in a position to serve them more effectively.
- Customer Industry Vertical - Not all segments experience a crisis similarly, and your communication strategy must adapt to the emerging requirements. Travel, transportation, hospitality, food and beverage are currently in a different situation than logistics, healthcare or e-commerce. What does each vertical need today? What will they need tomorrow? This is an opportunity to take inventory and help customers with new services capabilities.
- Customer Location - Local policies and governmental practices will vary. Current hotspots of COVID-19 are in New York, Italy, and Spain with many other regions rapidly increasing cases. Services should be positioned to help unique locations achieve valued outcomes.
- Customer Size of Business – SMB customers or partners may be looking at some forthcoming financial distress.Your marketing strategy should consider exceptions or exemptions to terms or free services such as online training or trial licenses to bridge the gap to “normalcy.”2.
2. Demonstrate Value and Build a Retention Strategy
Make the intangible tangible. Customers want to know what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and what outcomes they can expect.
- Build valuable content that supports and can expand your customers' usage of the technology and services. Content and information such as adoption or usage monitoring dashboards, account success plans, or best practice guides.
- Establish and maintain a community exchange that serves as a hub for knowledge and information. This will provide a means of connecting your customers across the globe so they can learn from like-minded peers about actions they are taking in time of crisis.
- Create demand through experiences that provide a glimpse into the service offers you provide. Consider low cost, high effect opportunities such as: virtual tech talks, scaled service engagements, or virtual training sessions. This may be a period in which employees may take a “pit stop” and retool their skills in idle periods.
3. Manage a Communication Plan
Building a communication plan provides a structured approach and cadence for disseminating information. But a plan is only as good as its execution. Through social media, professional partners, content syndication, and blogging, you can spread your expertise to a range of audiences. However, it’s equally important to communicate during all the touchpoints your renewals team has to support customer retention.
TSIA has found that customer attrition rate decreases 6 points when someone from your company directly interacts with customers on a monthly basis to encourage them to utilize services they are entitled to.
Source: TSIA Gold Standards Benchmark H12020
To simplify this process, build a message strategy that incorporates the audience, the problem your service offering solves, the channel to deliver this message, and which calls to action or content to include.
In today’s economic environment, the same well-worn messaging and sales enablement strategies may not be as effective. By enabling your customer success/ renewals team about what business challenges key customers have, you will build credibility and visibility that will mitigate churn and prepare you for new business and growth.
TSIA is Here for You
We understand that our member companies, the technology industry, and the world at large have been impacted by COVID-19. Now, more than ever, we need to work together to get through these challenging times. TSIA is committed to providing visibility as quickly as possible into the changing industry trends and practices that come as a result of COVID-19. Visit our Rapid Research Response Initiative resource page for more information.
If you have any questions related to how COVID-19 is impacting your organization, we’re here to help.