Country leadership teams carry significant responsibility for both regional sales achievement and in-country operations in support of the local customer base. But the pandemic has sparked massive disruption to regional markets.
Country managers are now increasingly concerned about customer churn. At headquarters, global executive teams share the same worry: 50% of C-suite execs in companies with more than $100 million in revenue are very concerned about customer churn caused by the economic disruption related to COVID-19, according to the Gartner 2020 Technology Marketing Benchmarks Survey.
“ Market conditions and depressed demand make it imperative to focus on retaining the business you have in hand”
However, the 2020 Tech Marketing Benchmarks survey did not find that technology marketers share this level of concern. In fact, only 29% of technology marketers reported they are “very concerned” with customer churn.
The disconnect is because marketing teams are still held accountable for driving new business leads into the sales pipeline. The metrics by which marketing is measured lag behind reality — the same survey revealed that only 33% of respondents had changed their marketing KPIs in response to COVID-19.
And metrics drive behavior. Only 42% of respondents had taken steps to increase resources for customer retention and expansion as a result of COVID-19 between April and July of 2020.
Although country leadership teams should have goals that focus on new customer acquisition, market conditions and depressed demand make it imperative to focus on retaining the business you have in hand as well.
“ Drive customer touchpoints at scale through “tech touch” — a programmatic cadence of content, programs and events offered through digital channels”
Beyond just churn prevention, country leadership teams must seize the opportunity to shift attention and resources to focus on expansion within the customer base — which may offer the biggest revenue “opportunity” right now — especially as new prospect acquisition slows.
To do this, country leadership teams should encourage partnership between technology marketers and customer success teams. Marketing should collaborate closely with customer success to design digital outreach throughout the customers’ owning journey to accelerate adoption and customer time to value, both of which will head off churn risk. In times of uncertainty, customer success resources are stretched thin and struggle to scale across the entire customer base.
Marketing can drive customer touchpoints at scale through “tech touch” — a programmatic cadence of content, programs and events offered through digital channels that proactively guide them to success and complement human-powered interactions.
Country leadership must recognize that marketing has a crucial role to play with existing customer retention and growth and enable adjustments to marketing KPIs based on the fact that business conditions have changed drastically.
Not making this shift is a missed opportunity to help protect and generate revenue growth by driving expansion within current accounts. If country managers are depending on a global/corporate marketing organization, it is vital they make the case for customer-focused marketing resources for their region.
Maria Marino is a Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner Product Marketing group. She focuses on B2B customer experience, customer success and marketing for technology service providers and writes research and advises clients on how to improve the effectiveness of their customer experience (CX) strategy.