How to Reposition Your Marketing Strategy for Customer Success

Customer retention and expansion starts with communicating value. Here’s how your marketing team can tell better stories and boost customer success. 

Written by James De Roche
Published on Jun. 20, 2024
How to Reposition Your Marketing Strategy for Customer Success
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Technology consulting firms often assume customer relationships will grow into strategic partnerships during the engagement. They landed the deal. As long as the work is good and the service impeccable, expansion is pretty much a guarantee.

But that’s the exception, not the rule.

Five years ago, service firms retained around 75 percent of their clients. That’s down to 50 percent. In five years, Harvard Business Review predicts it’ll be as low as 37 percent.

6 Steps Marketers Can Take to Improve Customer Retention

  1. Provide detailed case studies.
  2. Publish articles to showcase your company’s knowledge base
  3. Create bylines and bio pages for every contributing author. 
  4. Create processes for knowledge sharing.
  5. Collect customer insights.
  6. Collect qualitative feedback.

Even though demand for digital solutions is higher than ever, your clients have more options than ever. And they know it. 

What about internal champions? 

They’re great. But that doesn’t mean your next engagement will slide past leadership or procurement looking to save a few dollars. 

Keeping your firm off the chopping block means communicating value, results and strategic insights regularly throughout your contract. That’s not easy. Most firms struggle to share knowledge internally or externally. 

Luckily, you can reposition your marketing team to improve that process.

 

What’s Wrong With Land and Expand?

Tech consulting firms fail to expand accounts because their clients either don’t know their full range of services or they lose out on price because they failed to communicate value early on.

The firm will finish the project without taking the time to identify new opportunities and highlight major wins on the account. The best time to do this is during the project, not at the end as clients tend to evaluate other vendors while projects are in motion to keep momentum going.

Even worse, service teams don’t collect baseline data on systems and workflows at the start of an engagement. When the project wraps up, they lack the concrete data to show value. Clients may be happy with the sprint, but they don’t fully understand the overall benefit.

All it takes is a shift in budget, new leadership or a procurement review and your firm is back on the chopping block. That puts your firm in a defensive position, leaving you scrambling to validate your services in the face of much cheaper options.

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Redefining Marketing’s Role

Marketing is ineffective at technology consulting firms because teams are small, if they exist at all, and siloed. Data is sparse. And they spend most of their time trying to validate their existence by staying busy through endless ad hoc tasks.

Some firms ask their marketing teams to create thought leadership content. Given the siloed nature of the organization, the outputs are often generic and uninteresting. 

It’s ineffective because decision-makers don’t want to read content created by marketers. GPT can generate this bland, surface-level information in seconds. Instead, they want stories and advice from the people doing the real work: engineers, developers, CIOs, etc. They want to hear from people in the trenches who do the work all day, every day.

Landing and expanding accounts in the technology consulting space is all about relationships and trust. Do they like you? Can you do the job? Are you worth the cost? You need to communicate this before the relationship starts and then regularly throughout the engagement.

Enter your marketing team.

Instead of relying on your marketers to create content from scratch to serve prospective buyers, they need to interview your practitioners and use those insights to tell powerful stories that highlight your firm’s value.

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How to Reposition Your Marketing for Success 

Think of marketing as a bridge between your services, sales and leadership teams. Their main goal is to facilitate knowledge transfer between teams. Lead generation is a secondary goal.

Your marketing team should create smooth processes for capturing customer stories and sharing expertise within the organization. When you share these stories within your organization, you break down these information silos. From there, you can share those insights with current and potential customers. 

Think of it this way: Your practitioners are your company's voice. Your marketing team creates the stage, edits the speech and hands them the bullhorn. 

Where can your marketing team start?

  • Detailed case studies: Interview your project leads to create in-depth reviews of client engagements that tell the full story.
  • Knowledge base: Refine your technical team’s expertise by publishing articles showing potential clients how you solve real challenges.
  • Answer “What’s in it for me?”: Create bio pages for every contributing author and give them a byline in every article they publish to build their portfolio. 
  • Remove friction: Create processes for knowledge sharing with examples of what good looks like and feedback in the form of questions on assets.
  • Collect customer insights: Work with teams to create systems for collecting detailed customer insights in the CRM or through recorded sales calls.
  • Collect qualitative feedback: Ask everyone to rate published content and processes, so teams can reflect and refine.

Your best content comes from your practitioners, not your marketing team. Marketers create processes, draft outlines, conduct interviews, refine stories and distribute assets. But the real value comes from your team. 

This goes nowhere without leadership support. Content creation must be a requirement for advancement in the organization. Teams should be given time to reflect on projects. And they should be incentivized to share their expertise.

It requires a shift in mindset. 

But this is how your firm stays off the chopping block.

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