How to leverage customer marketing and impact the revenue cycle meaningfully?
Revenue projections and commits come in many shapes and sizes. From Opportunities sourced to won and from pipeline influenced to captured and sometimes simply qualified leads.
Taking on a revenue goal will almost always guarantee a seat at the table and more importantly have a direct tie to understanding the success behind marketing programs. So how do meaningfully impact revenue and where do you start? Here’s a simple strategy to meaningfully build a program that focuses on a stellar customer experience without feeling too transactional.
- Pick your top 3 upsell and cross-sell scenarios that will land expansion opportunities — these could be reliable, tried and tested ways that your Sales team pitches your product. Codified through the human touch but, translated to meet the requirements of the marketing funnel. Let’s use some of the Microsoft SaaS products to play out this example. Azure is a leading product line to land for SMB and Enterprise customers. The universal use cases such as cloud storage, ease of deployments, cross-OS support, and low costs make building for the Azure cloud fast, secure, and easy to manage. In this case, Azure storage and Azure backup have separate pricing, and a simple upsell scenario would include exposure to both services. On the other hand, a cross-sell scenario could be as varied as going from Azure to Bing. Let’s assume, you’re building a mapping solution and want to access Bing APIs, in this case, you’ve purchased Azure storage and then looking to integrate Bing APIs into your solution. Either scenario would need to be rooted in data and existing affinity from customers. Purchase and customer activity can help validate these scenarios.
- Next, pick your top 3 customer cohorts that are ripe for disruption. This assumes you have segmentation, demographic, commercial, and product usage data for these cohorts. Meaningfully applying a marketing lens, determine if you can truly influence these cohorts. In our prior example, if you’re looking to upsell Azure backup, customer cohorts that don’t already have a storage solution may be a good fit. Chances are in this scenario you’re almost always selling both these services together and so your customer cohort could include accounts that don’t already have a service or that have a competitive service that isn’t as robust. Picking a cohort for cross-selling however is an interesting approach. In this case, you’re evaluating the target customer base that has purchased Azure storage for affinity to Bing first. From there you’re designing cohorts that may have a use case. Land a core product and expansion from there may work well but, without a target beachhead to go after, expansion via cross-selling is often hit or miss.
- Finally, plan your content strategy carefully to unlock the value prop in a way that resonates with your cohorts across the two dimensions of adoption and expansion. Done right, you can expect a minimum 15–20% conversion to a qualified lead. Often, brand-building content is great at catching eyes and helps improve click-thru and open rates. Sustained customer nurture involves telling strong value prop stories with technical deep-dive demos. Customers who are in the product, want to get better at their job, be perceived as influencers, or simply get to the business outcome they’re working towards. How can the features that you’re cross-selling unlock this value? Going back to our example, to cross-sell Bing APIs, you’d need to understand what the customer cohorts care about and who the decision-makers are. Digitally influencing these decision-makers means more than just a single campaign or webinar. It’s a concerted program across sharing the value prop of Bing APIs likely in the context of their current Azure storage purchase, incentives to trial some APIs, and then a combination of 1. many and 1. few educational and demo events. Follow that up with a personalized human-touch effort.
- After you have your cohorts and content, the last thing you’d need is estimates on what you can impact w.r.t revenue. In this case, let’s assume each cohort represents a certain upsell or cross-sell value or a downgrade value in the case of high-risk customers. Considering the absolute Base ARR will often lead to inflated projections. What you really need here is something along the lines of,
Total revenue impact =
(Average_Base_ARR + Expected_Expansion_Revenue + Expected_Winback_Revenue)
In the formula above, we’re asserting that a projected increase in the base will be relative to the average Base ARR per license. You’re welcome to tweak this based on Total Base ARR as well.
And there you have it, three simple steps to get started with your customer marketing strategy.