Customer Success Execs Outline Their Priorities. How Are They Aligned With Marketing?

September 19, 2019

Although marketers think they own the customer, is this really the case? In a recent study [download page] of customer success professionals from Totango, respondents said they collaborated with marketing less often than other departments such as sales, product management and service/support.

While the study found that customer success is far less isolated than it was in the past, the role marketing plays in the eyes of customer success professionals is less than what marketers might think. While virtually all (99%) of the customer success professionals surveyed for Totango’s reported that they do work with other teams, this is overwhelmingly with sales (90%), product management (87%) or service and support (82%). By contrast, only two-thirds (68%) said they work with marketing teams.

Given that the top priorities for customer success teams are sales related, with three-quarters (75%) citing churn reduction and 70% citing renewals, it may be worth putting this collaboration in the context of marketing and sales alignment.

A study by Walker Sands noted that virtually all marketers and salespeople feel that these departments could be made less siloed, but that a culture change was needed to drive this. Assessing the background of customer success professionals in Totango’s report, for those that came into the field from another business area, more than twice as many came from sales (16%) as did marketing (8%).

It appears the function of customer success is growing rapidly, with 79% of departments having added headcount in the past year. A total of 30% had grown by more than 50%, with around 1 in 8 teams (12%) more than doubling in size.

While the report doesn’t specifically address the issue of marketing’s alignment with customer success teams, marketers keen to build relationships here might be well-placed to see if they can help with common challenges. Some 44% of the respondents cited the reactive approach to customers that is present in their organization as a challenge, while 39% noted an issue of visibility into customer adoption and health. As a suggestion, marketing automation is one tool that could help ease these challenges – and one that also helps improve alignment across teams.

Read Totango’s report online here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of close to 500 customer success professionals, half of whom are from the US.

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