We wanted to differentiate our flagship product in a hyper-competitive business environment. To improve retention/renewal rates, streamline installation, and improve customer satisfaction, we developed a Customer Lifecycle campaign to keep a steady of flow of communication with new customers about Maintenance benefits – a key feature of the product available only to current customers that includes updates, support benefits, and more – for the full 365 days of the customer journey.
The campaign includes the following components that were built using Eloqua:
- Onboarding (Welcome) Emails with clear next steps for installation, support, and community engagement for new customers, as well as a primer on their Maintenance benefits. A custom data object sends renewal data into Eloqua to pull the right customers into the campaign when they purchase new products.
- A Customer Portal Eloqua landing page with a large number of useful customer resources intuitively consolidated.
- A Survey email to confirm installation and assess customer satisfaction. The survey form integrates with Eloqua and sends data to Salesforce, so support reps are notified to reach out if a customer submits certain responses (e.g. indicates they haven’t installed).
- Monthly Insider Emails, which offer exclusive insights to customers to make them feel like part of an insider group.
- A Renewal nurture, built the previous year that reminds customers to renew, and automates the renewal process using personalized renewal information incorporated into the emails.
- Addition of a tailored set of services and touchpoints for our strategic customers, which includes live contact and tangible value-add materials provided. We have also collected feedback, identified risk, and significantly improved how easy it is for a customer to navigate our tools and resources.
There were several issues the lifecycle nurture campaign helped overcome, and in doing so added value for the customer and drove retention/loyalty. Here are the most critical issues that were addressed:
- A lack of automated onboarding support. The only notice a customer would receive was a generic installation email and support email. Enterprise customers (not SMBs) would receive a few onboarding phone calls. Now, the Sales team communicates with the customer throughout the entire customer lifecycle in an automated fashion, aligning messaging with key sales touch points over the course of a year, and keeping the company top of mind and framed positively by using consistent communications.
- No means of determining installation for SMBs. While enterprise customers received follow-up phone calls as part of the sales process, SMBs had only two auto-generated emails for direction. If they did not implement and install the product, support teams had no way to confirm. Now, an automated survey email lets users select if they have installed or not. We later optimized the user experience to improve rates on the survey email by implementing a new one-question email with a blind form submit to determine installation and offering a gift card for completing the onboarding satisfaction survey.
- Improved grouping of customers within internal system. The contacts targeted by this campaign required identification of a specific segment within our data. Unfortunately, the data required to identify the segment was scattered across multiple systems. To start with, we needed to know when customers purchased the product so the entry to the campaign could be timed to the purchase date. To accomplish this, we teamed with IT to set up a daily synch to pull in Opportunity information as well as contact data for the opportunity. This was made possible because opportunities are created in SFDC within days of the transaction closing. Furthermore, the synch with SFDC enables us to get real-time status of the opportunity and also to write tasks to the opportunity, alerting the renewal rep when the contact is interested in the notification – one of the main benefits of the program.
Success Metrics and Program Impact
The campaign has been running for over a year now and we have seen a fairly significant climb in renewal rates corresponding with contacts who have been through the nurture entering the renewal period. Year over year, we’ve seen an increase of about 4.5 points in retention where we’ve engaged a customer vs. no engagement. Additionally, we have also had a 26% increase in renewal revenue since the nurture was launched.
Benchmarking was very easy. Since this was a brand new campaign, we simply took a snapshot of all renewal data prior to the campaign launch and then compared that data with the post-launch data one year later.
In regards to the program’s impact on the organization, these are the key highlights:
• Customers are proactively advanced through the journey: The nurture offers tools and resources in a timely and intuitive manner and at the right time for that unique customer, which takes the burden off of our reactive customer facing teams who respond to requests.
• Ease of use: As our reps engage with customers, they are able to refer back to the materials that were provided, predominantly during the onboarding phase, where a customer may need additional guidance on implementation best practices or creating a new account.
• Ensuring Customer Satisfaction: The multiple mid-journey touchpoints are especially helpful to the Renewals team, as they are able to gauge customer satisfaction directly from a conversation with the customer, and recommend steps to improve their configuration and overall security posture.
• Issue Resolution: Additionally, the touchpoints are set at a cadence to allow enough time to resolve issues or challenges the customer may be facing with enough time to avoid jeopardizing the renewal.
• Partnering with customers: Due to the focus on value-add to the customer at each touchpoint, we are better able to predict which customers will renew based on their feedback directly to us, significantly earlier in the opportunity management process.
• Upstream Workflow: With notifications centralized into a single program, resources could turn focus into streamlining the data sources and, just as importantly, data quality.
Future State Improvements and Optimization
• Campaign expansion: We are in the planning stages of a roll out to other geographies, products, and offerings to continue the momentum.
• Advocacy: Develop additional communications to move customers further down the advocacy funnel. As of now, the nurture provides the needed introduction and sustained communications to begin that journey. The next step is identifying advocates and developing targeted campaigns for those contacts.
• Better integration with other customer marketing activities, such as our customer advocacy program.
• Increased personalization based on customer type.
Relevant OMC Courses
Best Practices: Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Best Practices: Advanced Lead Nurturing