You’ve perhaps heard of the LAMP stack, the standard web-service building blocks of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Now there’s a new superstar technology stack on the rise: MSG.
That’s right, when it comes to building a robust customer lifecycle management program – from generating and nurturing leads, to closing deals, to managing long-term customer relationships – take a cue from your local Chinese restaurant and use MSG to make your customers happy. (And no, it won’t make you hungry again in an hour.)
What is MSG? It’s an acronym for a customer-lifecycle management software stack comprised of products from Marketo*, Salesforce.com, and Gainsight*. Companies big and small across a wide range of verticals are now adopting the MSG stack to find and keep customers. They use marketing- automation software Marketo to generate leads and nurture these prospects. Then, they deploy Salesforce.com to follow up on these leads and turn them into paying customers. Finally, they tap Gainsight, which makes “customer-success management software” to understand how their end-customers are using their products and help drive renewals and upsells over the long-term.
As an investor, I see many companies deploying the MSG stack. Why? Because companies are finally realizing that customer success is company success. Helping your customers be successful on an ongoing basis — and not just selling them a product once and forgetting about them — delivers ever-increasing revenue and long-term growth. From the moment a sales rep first interacts with a potential customer, to 10 years later when you’re still working hand-in-hand with that customer to make sure they’re happy, customer success is a long journey.
In my view, the MSG stack is the best way to manage that journey. Marketo and Gainsight are tightly integrated into Salesforce.com, functioning as tabs within the Salesforce.com interface. The tight integration between the three products means employees in different departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer success, can work together to serve customers. MSG is really just an elegant way to empower employees across the organization to interact with customers in one central place. Since the MSG products work seamlessly together, employees use the stack as a hub to access all information about a particular customer, making it easy to spot potential issues, see where upsell is possible, and find ways to better serve that customer over time.
SaaS company Lotame* uses MSG to manage the full customer lifecycle. As prospects interact with Lotame’s marketing campaigns over time, Lotame tracks all of these interactions in Marketo and captures leads in Salesforce. Once the prospect becomes a customer, Lotame uses Gainsight to track the “health” of the client at any given moment, says Andy Monfried, founder and CEO of Lotame. A customer’s “health score” is calculated from within the MSG stack. Marketo tracks how customers interact with marketing campaigns; Salesforce tracks client support and transactions; and Gainsight tracks surveys and client interactions to measure ongoing satisfaction.
Digital advertising company Boost Media* also uses MSG. The company says its marketing team uses Marketo to engage prospective customers and educate them during each stage of the buying cycle. After a prospect becomes a client, the customer success team takes over responsibility for customer engagement, using both Gainsight and Marketo. That team uses Gainsight to develop a 360-degree view of customer health, responding to both risks and opportunities for each client. The customer success team uses Marketo to engage customers at different stages of the lifecycle, providing them with the information they need to get the most value from Boost.
Multiple teams use Salesforce.com as a “source of truth” about customers, says Jeff McCarthy, VP of customer success at Boost. “Because Marketo and Gainsight work seamlessly with Salesforce, we are able to build robust profiles of our customers that span the entire lead-to-support lifecycle.”
The MSG stack may not yet be common parlance, but it will be soon as more companies adopt this product trifecta to better serve their customers. In today’s highly competitive market, companies that treat customers as their number-one asset will take the lead. Adopting the MSG stack lets companies nurture, capture, and service customers in a seamless arc, attracting more new customers and losing fewer over time.
A version of this post first ran on Scott Brinker’s chiefmartec.com blog.
* Denotes a Battery investment. For a full list of Battery investments and exits, click here.