This is an excellent time for customer advocacy professionals! We are now in the age of the customer experience, and customer engagement is hot in the minds of both marketing and sales.  It’s what now differentiates your company from the competition.

So what does all that mean for you?  It means CMOs are now adapting to these changes in both their marketing strategies and their reporting.

CMOs rank the importance of creating or enhancing the customer engagement function as #1 and #2 relative to their other goals. -SiriusDecisions

Account-Based Marketing (ABM), Customer Marketing, and Customer Advocacy are becoming typical roles within the Marketing organization in more and more companies.  These teams align their customer engagement strategies with each other as well as the Sales and Customer Success teams. Together, they are the main drivers of the customer experience.

CX: The Hot New Metric on the CMO Dashboard

The newest CMO dashboards now incorporate metrics beyond just demand generation and brand health.  CMOs are aligning their teams more with Sales and revenue-based metrics to monitor Marketing’s business impact. If your company is investing in account-based marketing, customer marketing, and customer advocacy programs, you must track the value of those efforts and make sure those metrics align with the CMO’s marketing and revenue goals.

Revenue Influence + Program Growth Metrics

As a Senior Director managing a global reference program for a large software company, our team delivered quarterly metrics, and we landed a spot on the CMO’s dashboard.  Our customer advocacy goals aligned to the CMO’s brand goals and tied in with the revenue goals of the GM of Sales.  We measured not just the number of net new customers to our reference program but, more specifically, what types of advocacy the customers agreed to engage with us and our solutions, like co-advertising, thought-leadership stories, and press.

For sales, I provided a monthly view of the revenue impact of references used in the sales cycle – both closed/won and active opportunities and new customer references and customer marketing content newly available to sales.  We leveraged technology to enable us to deliver these metrics.  So how did this happen?

Journey to the CMO Dashboard

Our team took a bottoms-up approach establishing our own goals and measuring them.  Our goals focused on supporting both marketing campaigns with customer marketing content and sales requests for customer references on active sales opportunities.

I began with bi-weekly status reports to my direct management.  At the end of the first fiscal year, our team gathered our metrics and put together an annual report of our accomplishments, which we called “A Year in Review.” I sent this report to marketing management and sales leaders.

In our second fiscal year, marketing management took a top-down approach and established goals for our team.  We were now a line item on the CMO’s dashboard.

We continued regular reporting on our progress and expanded our impact on customer marketing content by exploring new media to showcase the customers’ success stories.  We collaborated more with Field Marketing, Product Marketing, Event Marketing, and began teaming with the Customer Success organization to more readily identify ‘happy customers’ and introduce them to our reference program.  We also created a quarterly newsletter that went out to marketing and sales, highlighting new customer marketing content and new customer references.

We took a hybrid approach in our third fiscal year and combined the top-down goals with our bottom-up goals. We provided our metrics against these goals on a quarterly basis.  Our Year in Review morphed to an infographic, both desktops, and mobile-friendly.

How to Get the Metrics You Need

The better the collaboration and the integration of tools used between the Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams, the easier it becomes to facilitate powerful end-to-end reporting data. As a result, customer advocacy programs receive greater visibility as a valuable part of the overall customer engagement strategy. However, your metrics need to offer TRUST.  To do this, you need the synergy of your customer reference application along with the sales CRM system to enable tracking reference use and participation.

First and foremost, having the right tools in place will allow you to track and report on the most important customer advocacy metrics you need to showcase at an executive level. For those who use the RO Innovation reference management tool, the solution goes beyond integrating with just the sales CRM.

The RO Platform also integrates with the full range of Marketing and Customer Success tech stacks, including tools like Marketo, Influitive, Gainsight, and many others. Programs that excel today are ones with this best practice tech stack alignment.

As a customer advocacy professional with the right tech stack, you can provide even more metrics that impact your business, such as leads and opportunities from customer-created content.  Promoting the customer content via social media leads to even more opportunity to support your company’s brand and attract prospects early in the buyer’s journey.

The most successful customer advocacy programs are those that align their goals with those of the CMO.  And today’s CMOs are aligning their goals to metrics that impact the business.  Focus on some customer advocacy metrics that ensure C-level visibility and earn a spot on the CMO dashboard.