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What they are and why marketers should care



Intercom introduces new customer service and insights products

Great customer service helps you retain customers, attract new business, and increase customer lifetime value. In other words, it’s essential to success. Customers who feel supported — and seen — are more likely to stick around. On the flip side, if your customers feel neglected or have a poor service experience, they’ll leave — and probably won’t come back. 

In B2B marketing, caring for customers is often referred to as “customer success.” We’ll look more closely at the terms “service,” “support” and “success” below.

In a 2021 Qualtrics/ServiceNow study, 43% of respondents said they’d likely switch brands after only one negative customer service experience. Another study by Statista revealed that between 2016 and 2020, 40% of U.S. customers said they stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service.

Technology, as is often the case, is helping companies meet customer expectations around customer service and success, bridging communications across multiple channels and devices, and setting customers up for better buying experiences.  

Several important trends are driving the adoption and reinvention of the enterprise customer service stack.  They include the need to future-proof the customer service tech stack, a drive toward more asynchronous text-based communication, and a push toward unifying channels and communications to enhance customer experience.

It’s clear that customer service and success — and the tools that enable and facilitate them — are essential for any business, no matter the size or product. 

In this post we’ll cover:

What are customer service and success?

Customer service and success are two sides of the same customer experience coin, but there are slight differences. 

Customer service and support (CSS) is focused on handling customer inquiries and complaints in real time. It’s reactive, satisfying customer problems and addressing issues quickly in a way that benefits both the customer and the company. 

Customer success is about anticipating your customers’ needs and creating an ideal experience throughout the entire buying journey. Its proactive, employing tools and systems that help meet changing customer expectations (and behaviors) in an agile, scalable way. 

While customer service is important for all businesses, customer success has been traditionally associated with companies that rely on recurring revenue, such as subscription-based businesses and B2B organizations with long sales, onboarding, and implementation cycles. 

But these days, all companies — including B2C and retail businesses — need to prioritize customer success. It’s an essential marketing and future proofing strategy. 

Why marketers should care about customer service and support

Customer service can make a brand or it can break it. Companies that excel at it get customers for life, ones who become the kind of word-of-mouth brand ambassadors that marketers’ dreams are made of. 

Mess it up, though, and you can make brand-enemies for life. To really succeed, customer service has to be an enterprise-wide value and not just part of a business unit. 

Who uses or works with customer service and success tools?

Customer service and success teams keep customers happy which helps ensure continued business from existing and new customers. Both teams serve customers and help make their experience with the company a good one. To achieve this, they each have a slightly different focus.

The customer service representative (CSR) team is responsible for handling customer inquiries, complaints, and problems. They help resolve issues in real time. 

Some examples of CSR roles include:

  • Agent/representative:  A customer’s main point of contact with your company – fields customer inquiries, handles complaints, and resolves problems.
  • Supervisor: A management role that oversees support team operations, assigns tasks to agents, and makes sure goals are met.
  • Quality assurance (QA): QA monitors and evaluates CSR team activity (e.g., calls, emails, chats) and makes sure the CSR team provides high-quality customer service. 

The customer success management (CSM) team advocates for customers, prioritizing their needs and providing a big-picture overview of the customer experience for other teams (including marketing, sales, and CSR teams). 

CMS teams tend to have a longer view of customer success which includes identifying and addressing issues that might cause customer churn. Their primary goal is to help customers get the most from a product or service. 

Some examples of CSM roles include:

  • Customer success manager/advocate:  Another key point of contact between the customer and organization, the CSM addresses issues (e.g., long wait times, inconsistent communication) that might cause customer dissatisfaction and/or churn.
  • Implementation specialist: A specialized role focused on helping customers set up and use the company’s products or services.
  • Product specialist: An expert who provides detailed guidance and answers to product/service-specific questions. 
  • Tech support engineer: A technical expert who helps customers resolve more complex technical issues or problems.

The market for helping companies better serve their customers is vast. The U.S. contact center software market alone was valued at nearly $24 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow 23% by 2030. 

Several trends are fueling this growth, including the rapid adoption of cloud and virtual contact centers, chatbots, and prescriptive AI that automates previously manual tasks like case routing and problem resolution. There’s also a very real need to streamline customer interactions across multiple channels (otherwise known as customer experience).

Gartner identified four components needed for CSS tools. They are:

  • Call management – log and manage incoming calls and transactions.
  • eService suites – self-service tools that empower customers to communicate with an organization using email, chat, and social media.
  • Field service and dispatch (FS/D) – assign and track work orders for field service technicians.
  • Contact center – a centralized location where CSRs handle customer contact across all channels and communication types (voice, web, fax, mobile, etc.).

There are four main types of software associated with CSS including:

  1. Call center: enables CSRs to manage phone calls, track call activity, and measure performance. Examples include Five9, Ringover, and Twilio. Features typically include inbound call center capabilities like call automated call routing, call recording, and call queueing, interactive voice response (IVR), and call analytics.
  1. Live chat: Can be a standalone tool or integrated with all-in-one customer service platforms. Llive chat software helps customer service reps communicate with customers in real-time via chat. Examples include Tidio, Qualified, and MobileMonkey. Key features include AI-enabled and 24/7 chatbot availability, co-browsing, conversation archiving, and a shared team inbox.
  1. Help desk: provides a centralized place for customer support reps to track, manage, and resolve customer inquiries and issues. Examples include Zendesk Support Suite, Zoho Desk, and Intercom. Common features include tracking/ticketing systems, knowledge base management, and self-service portals.
  1. Knowledge management (KM): provides a central repository for storing and organizing customer service and support-related information (FAQs, training materials, product documentation, etc.) Examples include Guru, Notion, and Zendesk. Focus is on facilitating knowledge dissemination with features like versioning, history, collaboration/feedback, permissions, knowledge sharing, templates, etc.

Gartner defines customer success as an approach versus a category of software:

“Customer success is a method for ensuring customers reach their desired outcomes when using an organization’s product or service. A relationship-focused customer success strategy includes involvement in the purchase decision, implementation and use of products or services and customer support.”

Customer success teams get a slightly different flavor of software tools compared with their CSR counterparts. These include:

  1. Customer success platforms: These help CSM teams track customer health, advocate for the customer internally, and prevent churn. Examples include HubSpot Service Hub, ChurnZero, and Gainsight. Key features include customer health scoring (by analyzing historical customer behavior data), customer profile creation, journey mapping, and playbooks. These platforms focus on improving the lifetime value of a customer by identifying when and where support is needed the most.
  1. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools:  CRMs store customer profile information (contact information, interaction history, customer notes) and manage sales and marketing processes. CRM tools help build and support customer relationships, improving the entire process of customer data gathering and organizing. HubSpot and Salesforce are two of the most well-known CRMs, but there are many others including Zoho CRM, Pipedrive, and 
  1. Product analytics (PA): PA helps CSM teams see which features customers are using (or not using) and how they’re using them. PA tools get marketing and product teams on the same page, with data that informs customer health scoring and can be used to prevent churn. Pendo is one example of a product usage data tracking tool as is Amplitude Analytics (for digital products).
  1. Customer journey orchestration: This is used to visualize the customer’s journey across touchpoints and own the end-to-end customer experience. Mapping customer journeys can help teams identify gaps and optimize the experience. Examples of tools that facilitate this include Treasure Data, a customer data platform (CDP) and Qualtrics, a customer experience platform (CXP).

How prioritizing customer service and success helps marketers succeed

Getting customer service and success right translates to more sales, more customers, and a better bottom line. Good experience is often the biggest priority a customer has when doing business with a company—trumping price, product, and brand. 

Nearly 60% of 1000 consumers in a recent Forbes survey said they would pay more for good service. The same survey found that convenience is valued over price, with 70% of respondents saying they’d pay more for convenience.

A strong customer service and success strategy can be a powerful marketing tool by:

  • Providing valuable customer insights that inform marketing campaigns. 
  • Reducing customer churn.
  • Facilitating communication between customers and businesses.
  • Motivating positive customer reviews and testimonials.
  • Increasing customer loyalty and customer lifetime value.
  • Being more competitive. 

A study by Deloitte revealed that companies who prioritize customer experience (e.g., “customer-centric” companies) were 60% more profitable than those who don’t. These companies spend time getting to know their customers and focus on using tools and processes that solve customer problems and deliver better customer experiences.

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A strong (and deliberate) customer service and success process supports marketers by improving   customer experience. It creates happy customers which leads to more sales, improved customer lifetime value, and much more successful marketing campaigns. It’s also the best way to futureproof your organization by keeping up with changing trends in customer expectations and behaviors while staying one (or ten) steps ahead of the competition.

Read next: What is CRM and how does it support marketing?

About The Author

Jacqueline Dooley is a freelance B2B content writer and journalist covering martech industry news and trends. Since 2018, she’s worked with B2B-focused agencies, publications, and direct clients to create articles, blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks. Prior to that, Dooley founded Twelve Thousand, LLC where she worked with clients to create, manage, and optimize paid search and social campaigns.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists



Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.


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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots



A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)



Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.



To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.

Disruptive Design Raising the Bar of Content Marketing with Graphic

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