How To Make “Demand Generation” A Core Competence Of The Customer Support Team

Customer support teams know their product or service in and out because they use it every day to help customers to solve problems. Because they’re in close contact with users, they’re able to gather information about what kinds of issues a user might have with a given solution and how that problem can be resolved. This is a differentiator that can be used in many verticals, but the most successful implementations we’ve seen have been when customer support teams are responsible for gathering this information and creating/delivering the solution by communicating with internal teams.

There are several areas of the business where customer support teams can play a crucial role in boosting demand generation efforts. They have access to valuable information about existing customers that salespeople don’t always see. They’re already on the front lines dealing with customer problems, their perspectives provide an ideal starting point for expanding your reach to new prospects. And third, when you give them the autonomy to work across different departments and get involved in new initiatives, they can go above and beyond simply distributing knowledge to create actual demand.

The power of customer support teams is in their ability to turn their access to customers into something more valuable for the organization. Here are three examples of what our clients have done with customer support teams’ demand generation capabilities:

     Retention campaigns

Customer retention campaigns are usually heavily reliant on data about past behavior, which means they can be difficult to develop and optimize across multiple user segments. Customer support team members know what problems users run into while using your product or service, what types of content might be useful in resolving those issues, how previous ones were resolved (and by whom), and whether there’s a pattern that emerges when you look at all these data points together. This information can give them a leg up on creating high-performance retentions campaigns.

Customer success teams

Customer support teams know your customers and what they need most from you, so they can be an ideal resource for customer success team members who want to better understand their account value and risk level. If a team member has questions about the best way to reach out to a specific user or how data should be segmented, their teammates in customer support can provide that context and help them use the data more effectively.

Internal collaboration

On some occasions, gathering information about existing customers is as simple as having conversations with other people on your team (especially those inside sales reps selling similar solutions). But effective demand generation requires collaboration between multiple teams, from sales and services to management. So it’s important to establish communication channels that can be used to exchange ideas and plan tactics. Customer support teams should serve as a bridge between their organization’s various demand generation efforts, and if they’re encouraged to help create and run campaigns internally (with all the resources needed), they’ll likely become more invested in the company’s growth and success.

     You can’t be everywhere at once

The demand generation process is an ongoing one that requires significant resources to implement properly. Customer support has access to valuable information about current customers, but simply distributing existing knowledge doesn’t create new demand (a strategy only good for maintaining the status quo). To make your demand generation truly successful, you need people who are passionate about growing your customer base and will go the extra mile to help do it.

The customer support team might not have all the tools and the data they need to be successful demand generators. However, once you invest in a process that enables everyone on your team to work collaboratively, cross-functional teams can find creative ways to take advantage of existing assets. When done right, this process will lead to better results for current customers as well as generate new revenue from prospects who may have been overlooked by other demand generation teams.

The question remains: how much effort does it require?

It’s possible to take advantage of existing assets without investing too much time or money into creating new tools or processes. Instead of viewing customer support as a burden, recognize that they’re already helping to educate your customers and resolve their problems. Think of them as an internal consulting team whose knowledge can help your company develop the skills needed for effective demand generation.

How and where to start?

As with any team-based initiative, expect some challenges when you first try to equip everyone with the tools they need to become demand generators. If customer support is doing a good job serving existing customers, their primary focus will be on processes related to managing those accounts—helping you prioritize which tasks should receive more attention than others.

Don’t expect them to know how these activities relate to growing revenue or achieving other goals that might be outside their current responsibilities. It’s important to create healthy dialogue and convey the bigger picture for demand generation so that everyone can understand what you’re trying to accomplish and why it matters.

Reaching out directly to users is usually the most effective way of acquiring new customers, but in some instances, this is not possible or even an option:

  • When you need more insight than your existing sources can provide
  • When you want to establish a dialogue with your target audience
  • When you need information about the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services

     Because this process will require more collaboration among separate teams, it’s important to establish communication channels that can facilitate collaborative efforts enabling everyone on-board. You can start by asking customer support what types of data they currently have access to, which could help uncover resources previously overlooked. Then ask them how they would use existing assets if demand generation was part of their responsibilities. This should give you an idea about how much time and effort (resources) is required for this change in focus to become successful. Once you’ve figured out where demand generation fits into existing processes, it’s time to build a new one.

The process you implement won’t be the same for every company, but there are some common steps that can help you get started:

    Step 1: Define the goal.

Your first step is to define your end goal for this initiative. What are you trying to accomplish? How will it help customers, your existing customers, or your company as a whole?

For example, let’s say you’re interested in acquiring more leads and getting them qualified earlier in the process so that they can turn into paying customers more quickly. Your goal might be: To increase the number of leads that our sales team qualifies before they even reach out to prospects. This means they’ll spend more time talking with people who are already familiar with our brand and products instead of wasting time on tire-kickers who aren’t likely to pay full price for anything we offer.

Step 2: Identify the current process.

Now that you know what your goal is, it’s time to map out the steps involved in achieving it. Who needs to do what? How often? Why? What happens if there are roadblocks or setbacks along the way? Who owns each step and how could they make it easier (or harder)? Keeping track of different people’s responsibilities helps ensure that everyone knows (and agrees) who has which role and that no one person becomes a bottleneck for progress.

    Step 3: Determine where demand generation fits into this process and why?

Once you’ve mapped out all of your current activities, look for places where demand generation can be inserted without getting in anyone’s way. If you’re not sure, try using a simple process map to visualize how different tasks connect to each other and why they matter.

    Step 4: Change the process.

Now that you have a good idea of where demand generation fits into your current processes and why it’s necessary, it’s time to come up with a new strategy based on what makes sense for your business and customers. For example, maybe now is the right time to start generating more leads from social media or upgrading your blog from a simple web page to a full-fledged content marketing platform. It could also make sense for customer support representatives to offer assistance as part of their service rather than waiting for users to ask directly if they need help with something related to your product.

    Step 5: Measure and communicate results.

As you implement your new process, it’s important to be sure that everyone knows what success looks like and how they can contribute to achieving it. Some of the most common metrics used for measuring demand generation include email click-through rates, lead volume, website traffic, social media engagement numbers, and more. These stats should help everyone feel as if their hard work is paying off. And once you’ve achieved those goals or even before, make sure to update your processes so that the next group of people will have an easier time following in your footsteps.   

    Step 6: Repeat with a new goal.

Once you’ve made your changes and achieved the success you were hoping for, it’s time to plan ahead for the next step in demand generation. What kinds of leads do you want to focus on? Where are they coming from? How will this help everyone in your company achieve their goals?

and more…

Demand generation is a process in which companies use various tactics to generate demand for their products or services by targeting potential customers over time. You can start with your existing customers by customer support teams.

Hope this blog will help you to think out of the box about demand generation and how it can be a core competence for your customer support team.



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