Think Like a CMO: Building Authority as a CS Team

Episodes of the Success/ful Podcast are available on:

As Customer Success evolves into a strategic driver of growth, CS leaders must also evolve their communication strategies if they want to build authority. In the latest episode of Success/ful: Winning Ideas From the World of CS and Beyond, we bring in a fresh perspective on the communication challenges CS teams face internally and with customers.

Neil Wu Becker, an experienced marketing leader and CEO of NextBound, shares his battled-tested techniques to amplify Customer Success efforts and build greater influence. His insights are a roadmap for CS leaders to overcome cross-functional barriers, foster collaboration with marketing, and elevate their strategic impact within the executive ranks.

Listen now to hear:

  • How to be proactive and declarative in your leadership style
  • How to bridge the communications gap between CS and Marketing
  • The benefits of utilizing an Integrated Marketing model
  • And much more…

Guest Quotes

Neil on the importance of business acumen

“I tell everyone, and it applies to the CS teams too, business first, practitioner second, always. If you know the business and have an acumen for the business, then you're going to be a much more strategic and effective practitioner. If you don't, you’ll be transactional at best and miss a lot. You're going to live a lie because you don’t know what you don't know. So business first, practitioner second.”

Neil on taking ownership and personal responsibility in your role

“A mentor, a CEO of a startup in Texas, once told me to act like an owner. Pretend you put your own money into this regardless of what your role is, and pretend you're the owner whether you're CEO or not. If you apply that, you're going to have a different type of conversation with your customers versus ‘I could just walk away tomorrow’.”

Neil on CS leaders becoming more proactive and assertive

“On the offense side, I think that [CS Leaders] need to speak up more. They oftentimes are quieter in the room and more reactive in terms of inbound inquiries from whoever's asking questions. They have the opportunity to project, command, and be declarative in their tone instead of being on their back heels because they talk less than sales, marketing, finance, and even engineering in many cases. To their defense, I think everyone not wearing a CS uniform should be bringing CS in on the front end of conversations, on go-to-market discussions around persona identification, the product fit, and the market fit… So the challenge is how do you get CS to reinvent its persona and brand image within their organizations and to be more proactive versus just waiting for the inquiries to come in and then transactionally working with customers.”

Taylor’s Takeaways

  • I am excited about the significant commonalities between marketing and customer success that are often overlooked, but hold great potential! There’s immense value that CS teams can gain from marketing, particularly by understanding the market deeply.

  • Marketing professionals spend their lives understanding the marketplace at both macro and micro levels, and CS teams can learn a lot from this approach. One example is the integrated campaign Neil mentioned to drive customer engagement.

  • I believe that CS Leaders have a genuine opportunity to drive high-level conversations, whether in executive or board meetings, by presenting data and having a strong point of view.

  • It's crucial for CS Leaders to assertively ask for what they need from sales, marketing, and product teams to support the broader customer base effectively.

Links and Resources

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Episodes of the Success/ful Podcast are available to listen on:

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