Why We Killed Customer Success at Metadata

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Logan Neveau

Any time a customer buys your product, they’re looking for specific business outcomes and ROI. But, somehow, customer success is measured on customer retention, not customer outcomes. We call it Customer Success but, in reality, it ends up being all about the company’s success. If we can help the customer along the way, great—but it’s not a prerequisite. 

Since customers moved from buying perpetual licenses to buying subscriptions a couple of decades back, it is now on us, the SaaS companies, to ensure our customers use the software in the most effective way to generate clear ROI, and ultimately – revenue. Some of that might be great onboarding and support, but a lot of it can actually be marketing best practices (gates or ungated?), strategic thinking (offer / audience / channel) and tactical chops (gift card campaigns, sales acceleration playbook)

That’s why we decided to remove CS from our org altogether, and create a top 1% marketing services team, made exclusively for our customers, and formed by top b2b performance marketing talent. 

But let me back up. 

My name is Logan Neveau. I just celebrated my 6 year anniversary. I started as an SDR back in 2017.

I’ve worn almost every hat on Metadata’s go-to-market (GTM) side of the house. Sales. Demand generation. Rev Ops. Sales engineering and enablement. You name it, I’ve done it. Recently, I stepped into a new role—this time as the VP of Marketing Services. 

I can hear your questions already. Logan, what does that even mean? And what’s the big deal with this move?

This starts a whole new chapter for Metadata that doesn’t include a Customer Success (CS) team. Shocking, I know, so let me explain why we moved away from CS and what it means for our current and future customers. 

Why Metadata is moving away from CS

I won’t beat around the bush: traditional CS often falls flat. 

Why? 

Because the customer journey at almost every SaaS company looks something like this:

I’m generalizing quite a bit, but those are the broad strokes. Theoretically, these steps keep customers happy and retention rates high. 

In reality, they don’t keep customers happy, and retention drops. Worst off – you know about when it’s too late.

This journey doesn’t make sense for most companies anymore and certainly doesn’t cut it for Metadata customers. For all intents and purposes, companies—Metadata included—work hard to get new customers up and running with their products and then let them control their marketing destinies. 

Eventually it’s our vision to make every b2b marketing org a profit unit in the company, powered by our optimizer AI.

For the duration of the contract, it’s on the customer (or agency) to make things work (aka generate positive results). 

For our customers, that means creating compelling offers (content, incentives etc), building a solid paid strategy, executing on the strategy using Metadata and optimizing daily towards their goals. 

So, we were at a fork in the road: 

  • Path #1: Keep things the same and risk losing customers who weren’t seeing value because they applied a failed strategy (eg spent $dollars on ebook leads when what they needed are prospects who raised their hand for a demo) or didn’t utilize the product well (didn’t take advantage of the audiences, intent signals, automation or optimizer)
  • Path #2: Own our digital zones of excellence (demand generation and Metadata) and actively guide our customers to successful paid advertising outcomes – showing them how to bypass the psychological limitations of experimenting, fine tuning to profitable campaigns, adhering to a scientific methodology with predictable outcomes etc).  

We chose the latter option and built and tasked our Marketing Services team with leading our customers down this new path rich in revenue and pipeline. To the extent that every metadata customer will have a profitable marketing function.

The better path: Metadata’s new approach as a platform and strategic partner 

Metadata’s only goal is to help our customers achieve theirs. If something isn’t working—be it a tactic or Metadata feature—we do everything possible to fix it. 

Here’s a prime example: We cut display advertising from our platform. Why? Abdallah Al-Hakim, Metadata’s Head of Growth, said it well: “Our platform supports display, but the return on investment (ROI) has been playing hard to get.” An alarming number of clicks on display ads are accidental or fraudulent and never seen by a human. Display ads are also the opposite of engaging. This is something we, and the rest of the industry knows for years – but we have taken a strong position and removed that. 

Abdallah continued, “We’ve given display ads a fair shot, but building an entire strategy around them? That’s a road we’re a bit skeptical about…We’d rather see our customers get actual ROI than try to justify a channel that doesn’t quite hit the mark for us.”

That’s why we’re going all in on social and search—because we know these channels work—and we’re introducing Strategic Marketing Services that guide our customers to B2B marketing success. Metadata is no longer just a tool our customers use independently. We’re a platform and strategic partner driving our customers down a proven path to success. 

If you’re still reading this, you’re either a Metadata customer, thinking about becoming one, or just genuinely curious why the heck we’re getting rid of our CS team. In any case, I want to dive into what our Marketing Services team does so you know what to expect.  

Here’s how I explain our Marketing Services team to anyone who asks: The team gives marketers (our customers) the ability to talk to other marketers (this new team at Metadata, some of the members are actually former customers) about b2b marketing. 

And the best part? These other marketers, aka Marketing Service Directors (MSDs), know the ins and outs of Metadata and have access to the playbooks our customers need to maximize their budgets in good times and not-so-good ones. They understand the lives of our customers. They’ve walked 10 miles in their shoes—they understand all of the pressures, demands, and internal obstacles marketers need to overcome in order to run best-in-class campaigns. 

What our customers can expect from Marketing Service Directors

Our MSDs represent a fundamental shift in how we work with Metadata customers. The new team also signals a change in how we ask our customers to think about their strategies, and how we keep them accountable for executing that strategy.

Those changes start when our customers and MSDs zoom out to get a bird’s eye view of their current strategy and where they want to take it in the short and long term. And no, I don’t mean more leads or demo requests from qualified prospects (although those are solid underlying objectives)

I’m talking about understanding their strategies, campaign objectives, and how they roll into their company’s overall goals. More importantly, our MSDs will use some good old-fashioned math to help our customers understand if their goals are even realistic given their current budget.

How? By asking questions like: 

  • What’s their current annual recurring revenue (ARR) and ARR target for the year? 
  • How much ARR is their team responsible for this year? What about the Sales team?
  • What’s their current cost per lead (CPL)? 
  • What’s the Lead to ClosedWon conversion rate by content type and channel?

We will understand all the controllables so we can form a plan to hit or exceed those – trickling down to the interesting board-level KPIs like pipeline, CAC and ARR impact. Then, we’ll do the math to figure out if it’s possible to hit their pipeline and revenue goals with their current strategy and budget. If the answer is yes, we’re on the right track. If the answer is no, we need to figure out what’s not working—and then set a realistic goalpost.  

From there, we can plot a path to success by asking questions like:

  • Are their current campaigns aligned with their company’s greater objectives? For example, if they want to expand their total addressable market (TAM) by entering a new region, do their current audiences, ads, and assets reflect that? Or are they carbon copies of assets from campaigns targeting other areas?  
  • Are they investing in the right channels based on their ideal customer profile (ICP), goals, and budget? 
  • Are they targeting high-intent audiences in the market for their product or service? 
  • Is their messaging what their target audience wants to hear? Does the ad creative resonate with their needs and pain points? 
  • Are the ads promoting an offer their audience gives a sh*t about?

Our MSDs will ask these questions (and more) until every marketer they work with has an airtight strategy that can realistically help them reach their marketing goals—and see the value of Metadata. 

Maximize Metadata’s value with your MSD

I get it; Metadata is a Ferrari, and the learning curve can be steep. That’s why MSDs not only help our customers set realistic goals and craft a strategy but also make sure they’re unlocking Metadata’s full potential.

If you copy and paste the exact approach you’ve been running natively into Metadata you’re going to miss out on the massive performance lift our patented features provide. If you fill the gas tank with corn-based ethanol, your Ferrari isn’t going to get you there very fast. Similarly, if you scale and automate a bad marketing strategy, no amount of experimentation or AI will prevent you from wasting your budget—you’ll just do it faster.

That means helping our customers with: 

  • Building multivariate experiments to give them insight into the impact of their audiences, ads, and assets
  • Understanding what it means to budget at the ad group level—and how to do it correctly
  • Setting auto-pause rules based on custom key performance indicators (KPIs) 
  • Configuring the artificial intelligence (AI) to make manual marketing a thing of the past
  • Enabling pipeline optimization to make sure they’re delivering real business value
  • Optimizing campaigns based on what’s generating revenue (Metadata automatically optimizes campaigns in the background, too) 

MSDs can even help build engaging ad creative and copy to make sure the core elements of paid advertising—the actual ads—aren’t holding our customers back from realizing the ROI of Metadata.

Recap: What does this change to MSDs mean for Metadata customers? 

I just threw a lot on the table and understand you probably still have some questions (or maybe even concerns). I welcome those. 

For existing customers, you may be going through some account handoffs or having conversations with your new MSD about taking your strategy and budget to uncharted waters. I know that can be tough. 

For newer customers or prospects, you might be wondering why we’re moving away from a model almost universally adopted by SaaS companies. I understand that potential confusion, too. 

In short, we’re trying something new, and we’re confident it’ll be good for you. By turning the page on CS and introducing Strategic Marketing Services, everyone using Metadata will have the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to maximize the technology’s value and drive the most pipeline and revenue. 

As I said earlier, this change is all about giving our customer base — demand gen marketers — the ability to talk to marketing experts about marketing. It just makes more sense than status-quo CS. 

Want to learn more about Metadata’s Strategic Marketing Services team and how it can help you drive more pipeline and revenue? Let’s talk.

P.S. Want to do all the fun parts of marketing and skip the downsides? Are you excited about experimentation and want to help forward-thinking B2B marketers hit their goals? Join us as a Marketing Strategy Director

Know Thy Audience: Why Segmentation, Experimentation, and Empathy Will Never Go Out of Style
Measure This, Not That: Your Guide to the Demand Gen Metrics That Matter

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