In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I’m doing a solo show, and I’m gonna talk about something that I’ve been talking a lot about lately called the Customer Success Track.
After working with tons of small businesses and clients for the last 30+ years, I’ve realized that there are five stages of marketing that many businesses go through. I’ve been able to identify the milestones that businesses need to move customers or clients through and consequently the tasks associated with each of those milestones.
I’ve mapped this out in what I’m calling the Customer Success Track – a concept I talk about deeply in my latest book – The Ultimate Marketing Engine. In this episode, I’m diving into the five stages of the customer success track – Foundation, Level Up, Organize, Stabilize, and Scale – and how to advance a customer or client through all five stages over the course of a long-term business relationship.
Topics I Cover:
- [1:28] What the Customer Success Track is
- [1:41] Stage 1: Foundation
- [7:46] Stage 2: Level up
- [11:36] Stage 3: Organize
- [14:23] Stage 4: Stabilize
- [18:36] Stage 5: Scale
Resources I Mention:
- Get the Kindle version of The Ultimate Marketing Engine for just $2.99
- Learn more about my book The Ultimate Marketing Engine
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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Nudge, hosted by Phil Agnew. It's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. You can learn the science behind great marketing with bite size 20 minute episodes, packed with practical advice from world-class marketers and behavioral scientists. And it's not always about marketing. Great episode. Recently you learned the surprising truths about and tips for beating, stress and anxiety. Sounds like a great program, doesn't it? Listen to Nudge wherever you get your s
(00:48): Hey, hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and I am doing another solo show, just you and me in the radio, as they say. I guess somebody probably said, I'm gonna talk about something that I've been talking a lot about lately called the Customer Success Track, little plug for my latest book, the Ultimate Marketing Engine. I talk about it in depth in there, and there's all kinds of resources. And if you're listening to this show in August of 2022, you can pick up the Kindle version for 2 99. Okay, there's a commercial today, but if this topic resonates, go get the book because I go so deep in into it. So here's the basis premise behind this customer success track. Over the years, I started to recognize, and again, I didn't wake up on day one and say, this is how the world is over tons and tons of experience, years
(01:46): I've started to realize that there are about five stages of marketing that many businesses go through, and some of them rush through them. Some of 'em hang out in one stage or the another for a long time. But I've been able to recognize the characteristics of a business in that stage based a lot on what's going on in their marketing or what's going on in, you know, increasingly in their online presence. I know what challenges they're probably facing at that point because of where they are, but I also know have been able to identify the milestones that we need to move them through, and consequently the tasks associated to each of those milestones. And if we do that, I mean, it's basically a task list of things that need to be accomplished. If we do that, we can also say, but here's the promise of moving through that stage.
(02:38): I'm gonna go into some depth from a marketing standpoint. So if you're a business owner out there thinking, okay, he's talking about me right now,
(03:20): Well, what I'm gonna share today is that's not always the challenge. Uh, there is sort of a linear order
(04:08): And I think sometimes that's what trips people up. There are a lot of people that, that they love tinkering. They love DIYing, they love getting in and digging under the hood and figuring things out, even if it takes 'em all day long to do it. And that has to change if in fact you wanna move through these stages. So that's a little bit of what, what I'm gonna talk about today. All right, so let's talk about the stages. I've given 'em names. There are five of them. I'm gonna go through the characteristics, and I'm hopeful that you'll listen and go, oh, wait a minute. That's some of what I'm experiencing. So that must be where I am. All right. The stages are foundation, level up, organize, stabilize, and scale. Now, those are arbitrary names. That's just a name that we pinned to each of the stages.
(04:54): If you're thinking about developing something like this for your own practice or for your own offerings that you go out there, obviously five's even an arbitrary number, but we just found that who we worked with, that was a good way to delineate. All right, so what are the characteristics of that foundation business? Quite often, sometimes, but not always. They're in a startup mode. They're very founder-driven. All the sales are typically happening from the founder going out there and knocking on doors almost. There's no website leads coming in. They've maybe built a website, it's kind of a brochure, but no leads coming in. They're talking about their company, they're talking about their products in most of their marketing, the, there's not a consistent online presence. I mean, we see this all the time. Maybe they've got a LinkedIn profile, they've got a a, you know, Google business profile page, and there's off branding, off names off what they call it. I mean, there's just, it's a lot of inconsistencies. And typically it's because they've not attached any value to participating in social media. They're not using email in a consistent manner. Even if they're getting, getting clients, they're not using email to nurture those leads, to nurture those clients to actually get repeat business.
(06:06): Part of the reason, some of the challenges
(06:38): Any of that sound like you
(07:40): Now, obviously, that may not make the phone ring, that may not actually take you from a revenue standpoint where you want to go. So what's the next level of maturity? The next stage, we actually call that one level up. A lot of times people will get that website built, they work with a marketer. I mean, they're starting to produce content, they're starting to optimize some of their assets out there, but they're not really converting any of that web traffic. I mean, I guess the first trick is to get some traffic there,
(08:26): You're not getting into page one. You know, search engine results are on maps in for local businesses. They're, they're still okay, you've bought into social media, but there's no engagement, which is really the only thing that matters. Leads are coming in, but you don't have any real systematic way to follow up on them. You're starting to think about online advertising, but not really sure what to do. And then this is what another thing we commonly run into at this stage. There's no sales process, not one that's repeatable anyway. Everything just kind of happens as it happens. Now, again, part of the challenges of being in this stage is maybe you've got customers, maybe you're fulfilling orders, but you don't have enough time to produce content that, or at least the volume of content that marketers say you need Today. You're not really sure what content to produce.
(09:16): Online advertising seems both complex and expensive. You're not converting enough leads. You're starting to have those conversations, but you're not really converting them into customers. And unfortunately, at this stage, in many cases, because there aren't systems built for fulfillment, you're not retaining those clients. So at this stage, what we're working on doing now is creating landing pages, creating and narrowing the focus of an ideal customer, creating ways in which we can make content really for all stages of the customer journey. Creating trust on the website, creating an actual journey with calls to action, and maybe some free downloads so you can start capturing those leads that are, or that traffic that's coming to your website because they're interested in something you're putting out there. So if we can get that, now we've got the foundation built, and now we're starting to layer on conversion. I mean, we're starting to layer on, okay, we've got people coming now, what's gonna turn them into customers?
(10:17): Or what's gonna at least put them into our pipeline? So the promise there is that, that now first off, you're gonna start attracting higher quality traffic and leads, because that's one of the real challenges in that foundation mode is you might be attracting some leads, but they're the wrong leads. So you're gonna get more ideal client interactions at this phase. Search engines and maps are gonna start noticing you, you all, you will create, because at this stage, you're now ready to create some automatic lead capture and follow up. You're going to create a solid sales process at this stage so that you can start to consistently converting leads that in, in those sales conversations that you're having. Are you an agency owner, consultant or coach that works with business owners? Then I want to talk to you about adding a new revenue stream to your business that will completely change how you work with clients.
(11:08): For the first time ever, you can license and use the Duct Tape Marketing System and methodology in your business through an upcoming three day virtual workshop. Give us three days and you'll walk away with a complete system that changes how you think about your agency's growth. The Duct Tape Marketing System is a turnkey set of processes for installing a marketing system that starts with strategy and moves to long-term retainer implementation engagements. We've developed a system by successfully working with thousands of businesses. Now you can bring it to your agency and benefit from all the tools, templates, systems, and processes we've developed to find out when our next workshop is being held, visit dtm.world/workshop. That's DTM world slash workshop. All right, now we've got somebody up and running. So, so you can see we're kind of building on this. So once we're up and running, we're gonna move into organized.
(12:06): Now what's happening here is, okay, now I'm starting to get leads. I'm starting to have sales conversations, but now I'm kind of a mess
(13:01): Client acquisition seems really hard, or maybe expensive. Sales processes still at this point are very manual and customer service. Now,
(13:52): We are certainly at this point, can take advantage of some of the online advertising, but we also have to really focus on what happens when somebody becomes a customer. This is the stage where we certainly could go to work earlier on this, but we find that this is where it becomes so crucial that we can make it a priority. And that's the customer experience, the onboarding, the follow up, the communication, the orientation. I mean, all those as set intentions that we can repeat, you know, time and time again. So we do this in this stage, and now we're gonna see a consistent lead flow. We're not gonna be wasting money on advertising because we're gonna understand what works, what doesn't. We're gonna automate some of the lead nurturing, not as a way to shield ourselves from having to talk to customers, but as a way to actually create a frictionless, better experience for prospects and customers.
(14:44): We're gonna be converting the right customers and we're gonna have much higher retention and referral. This is the place where a lot of businesses, I mean, getting to this space is really the goal. Many businesses don't even reach this stage, but also this is a place where now all of a sudden, if we're gonna go beyond this, we can't just add more revenue, we just can't add more sales because we're not gonna be able to handle it. We have to add team, we have to add delegate delegation. This is the place at which, quite frankly, the marketer, the doer, the task doer who has maybe moved to being task manager,
(15:37): Obviously that's an arbitrary figure because types of businesses are different, but this is the one to 10 to 50 million range where short of a leadership team, short of, uh, you being a CEO and no longer being the marketing manager or the marketing doer,
(16:34): Profitability starts to vary. At this stage, we maybe we're really pumping in expenses cause we're buying advertising, we're adding team. So expenses are increasing rapidly. It's tough to maintain marketing momentum with the growth that's coming and even harder to maintain fulfillment, it's time to actually probably bring on a strategic marketing hire as well. And this is the point where a lot of founders actually have to start analyzing, am I the right person
(17:33): This is where we'll make significant talk about making significant investments in both marketing spend, team spend, and then I guess a third one, operations spend. If in some cases this is the place, you know, for many of our consultants, for example, this is a place where they need to start adding account managers. They need to ac actually start adding managerial levels in, in, you know, several places because business is there, but if it's going out the back door as fast as it's coming in the front door, you're not really gonna gain any traction. But the promise here, if we can get this done, if we can build systems for both marketing and for fulfillment here, we can start replicating what we're doing. We start replicating what you used to be doing, maybe as the founder and the startup. And this is gonna actually lead to consist lead conversion, which certainly is going to lead to consistent growth.
(18:27): This is where word of mouth and referral generation just starts happening steadily. Your business really becomes start starting at this point to become an asset to the owner of the business because it's not as dependent on you. And frankly, if you ever want to talk about, uh, exiting your business or selling your business, I mean, that's certainly one of the criteria. Somebody has to be able to see how this would run without you. You know, there are many businesses that get found by an individual, get grown by an individual, and really a lot of the relationships are with that individual as opposed to the systems and the framework of the business. All right, the last one is we call scale. And really this one, probably this stage, you know, probably fits somebody that is maybe, maybe thinking in terms of exiting the business or certainly of maybe exiting their role as a, you know, day-to-day CEO or something, you know, kind of moving to a board type of role.
(19:24): So what's going on here typically is that, again, more positive characteristics, but still same challenges. So lead flow is pretty consistent and predictable, starting to build an internal marketing team. You're sales management driven, not just a couple salespeople out there, right? There's an entire selling system starting to become recognized as a leader or in your industry or in your town. There's a bit of financial mastery. So at this stage, while again, some people who are more financial oriented, you know, maybe start this in the first stage, but this is where profit and your cost of acquisition of new business, this is where you're starting to have capital needs. I mean, so financial mastery is, has become a much bigger piece of the puzzle for success here. And you've really almost built and established, uh, uh, an internal org chart of roles of management roles. Now, the challenges here, of course, is anybody who's grown to this, I mean, we might be talking about 20, 30 people or more here.
(20:27): We might be talking about 10, 20, $30 million or more here. And so all of a sudden culture, the thing that maybe was a great thing, not only for those people that work there, but for your customers, um, rapid growth sometimes really comes with a deterioration of culture. There's staff turnover, there's no emphasis on employee branding. There's a challenge to innovate, to continue to grow that bring new products and service offering can add a lot of stress at this stage. So in terms of many of the things that, that I talked about as characteristics, I mean now you're gonna go to work on you, you absolutely are gonna build team, you're gonna build leadership team here. You're going to formalize structure around people, operations. You're going to need to give more and more focus to fulfillment and more and more focus to innovation. In fact, a lot of leaders in this stage of business, actually, their primary job is to innovate, becomes the, you know, you've got that operations higher in place that is, that are managing the people, that you've got somebody that's focused on culture.
(21:35): You've got somebody that's focused on sales. You've got the finance piece figured out. So in many cases, uh, the role of the leader at this stage is ideas.
(22:26): So all of that to say, you know, many companies, many businesses come to us say, I wanna grow, I want more business, I want more leads. And what we've discovered is certainly that's, we're gonna get there
(23:19): So while I just went through kind of our customer stages and I could do a whole nother show on every milestone
(24:11): So that's it for today. Hopefully we'll run into one of these days out there on the road. Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co.
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