This article comes from the expert panel, ‘Beyond the funnel: Customer marketing in the post-acquisition lifecycle’, at our 2023 Las Vegas Customer Marketing Summit, check out the discussion in full here

How well do you really support your customers after the sale? 

In customer marketing, so much effort goes into building lead awareness, driving conversions, and closing coveted deals that it’s easy to feel a huge sense of accomplishment once targets hit.

High fives all around, crisis averted - let’s move on to bigger deals!

But then a few months later the data comes trickling in… customer satisfaction seems stagnant, expansion revenue is lagging forecasts, and - wait, what’s this uptick in early cancellation notices?

If this hits close to home, you’re not alone. Many leading B2B brands pour resources into getting customers in the door, only to realize they overlooked nurturing success beyond day one.

Luckily, customer marketing experts, Virginia Bryant, Director of Customer and Content Marketing, and Robb Mapp, Senior Director of Customer and Insights Marketing at GitHub, joined us to discuss innovative tactics to inspire loyalty and growth.

Curious to learn more? Read on for insights into customer marketing’s exciting untapped potential in the post-sale lifecycle ...

Leverage advocacy as post-purchase care

Virginia introduced the session by commending customer marketing’s vital role in generating awareness and interest to feed the top of the sales funnel. 

However, she argued there are gaps in “how customer advocacy comes into play in the post-acquisition funnel.”

While customer success teams guide some high-touch accounts, most users lack concierge treatment to help them navigate products. Virginia said this leads many customers to feel “frustrated,” fail to see promised value, and elevates churn risk early on.

“Adoption is the beginning of the journey for customers - the sales process is not top of mind. They're thinking, how do we realize value from this solution?”

Rather than leaving users to muddle through alone, Virginia advocated for using advocacy to “nurture customers and reinfuse the experience.” 

Customer marketing can craft guided pathways toward finding ROI that “help new users maximize the solution they purchased.”

“We leave people to their own devices… this means friction points where they don't see value and churn becomes very real. We need to change this narrative.”

Proactive guidance drives perception of the provider as an invested partner. It also accelerates value realization and revenue by inspiring extension into new features and applications.

Drive customer-validated learning

Robb added context to GitHub’s customer-centric approach to nurture adoption, explaining:

“We found a community of customers highly adept at using our products. They want more visible profiles and to showcase work publicly.”

By identifying the most common “heat map” of customer difficulties and information needs, they develop comprehensive learning programs directly from users already excelling with GitHub tools.

“There's an opportunity to harness where concerns are to build pathways from novice to intermediate and advanced usage.”

Robb explained GitHub maps content to user maturity, from 100-level introductions to 200-level integration guides and 300-level mastery. This creates stepping stones matching the real customer journey.

Importantly, these pathways differ from generic documentation or whitepapers. They offer actionable, real-world guidance on executing specific solutions from the lens of a proven peer use case.

"It's scenario-based - how to onboard 15 users and get savvy with a certain feature. Showing how another customer used the product inspires ideas to take action."