Steve Lucas on Marketo and Customer Success

5 min read

After 100 days as the new CEO of Marketo, Steve Lucas sat down with us to share his path to success, vision at Marketo, and insights into leadership and customer success.

Steve, who is an experienced tech executive running large businesses at SAP and Salesforce, came to Marketo as the new CEO after the company was acquired by Vista Equity Partners

We learned from Steve that Marketo is accelerating marketing innovation by helping people and organizations to be more appealing in an evolved methodology that Steve calls the "engagement economy;" a digitally connected world where people don’t want to be marketed to, but rather be engaged with.

What influenced your decision to join Marketo as the new CEO late last year?

It has been a dream of mine to run a billion dollar company and Marketo is well on its way there with high growth aspirations - I believe we will get there. It is such a well-known brand in the world of marketing that whether or not a company uses Marketo, a CMO will always take your call and that is very meaningful to have a very deep and powerful conversation around the future of marketing. Also, it's an amazing technology. Before I took the job I called over 20 customers and asked them their feedback on Marketo; they were so passionate about the product and solution, they said: “you’ll have to rip it out of my fingers”. That type of customer enthusiasm is difficult to engineer - Marketo just has that magic.

Can you tell our listeners about Marketo and what to expect from you in the coming years with you as CEO?

Unequivocally innovation. Marketo has been known as the innovator in the space since it was born--creating the marketing automation space--and we will continue to lead through innovation.

Nurturing and expanding our “Marketing Nation” online community with tens of thousands of marketers that participate in exchanging ideas and best practices.

We want to help the marketer reduce the noise of the 2,500+ different marketing technologies that are available in the mark-tech spacee today. And finally, they can expect thought leadership in the community, particularly with the notion of an engagement economy and help the marketer lead with their technology.

Customer Success at Marketo

We asked Steve about his thoughts on customer success (CS) and the importance of including CS as an integral part of a company.

How do you think about creating a culture focused on making customers successful?

Especially in the world of the cloud, customer success is do-or-die. We live in a world where people can turn on, or turn off services like we do a lightswitch. For anyone that wants to win in this new world, if you're not engaged with your customers at all times, if you are not delivering to them a sense of a winning relationship for their customer, then it is just too easy for them to turn your service off and go somewhere else. That pronounces the need for customer success in this world that we live in. There is no end to a customer success relationship, just like engaging with a customer never ends.

What are some of your key strategies for scaling a customer success organization?

It begins with alignment; what keeps me awake at night is worrying about making sure that customer success is not just looked at as a group within an organization. Customer success is a mandate of everyone--the developer, the sales person, whoever is taking the support call, and of course the CSM.

I view Marketo's CSM team as a linchpin where they operate and orchestrate the notion of customer success across the entire organization. In our organization, there are customer success metrics in everyone's compensation plan so it isn't just something that one person thinks about.

What are some CS metrics for other departments?

NPS is a metric that can easily be applied across everyone's compensation package. And, for example, developers should be compensated on the success metric of adoption.

You have to build technology such that it engages the customer and that they want to use the product and features you are building.

How do you ensure everyone in the company across different departments work together to deliver great customer experience?

You have to elevate Customer Success to the right level within an organization, so CS reports directly to the COO at Marketo and our COO then ensures that feedback is then directed to not just the CSM organization, but to the entire organization. Listen, learn, and engage is the saying at Marketo.

With a large customer base and new product lines coming, can you tell us about your strategies for growing your accounts, and how customer success plays a part in that?

Account growth comes through adoption; if customers are happy; using your technology; and engaging with your organization--ultimately they will purchase more and expand their footprint. Adoption begets revenue, not the other way around. You have to have an organization that helps a customer adopt and succeed.

What is Steve Lucas's recipe for success in business?

Love what you do. Love your technology. Love your solution, and love your customers.

If you're passionate about your customers winning, if you're passionate about the technology that your company is building and the solution that you have, and if you carry that passion that you have to your customers and take that customer care back to your are going to win.

And if you share the values of your customers for growth and scale, people will gravitate towards your company and your your solution; great people will join your organization and customers will rely on you to ensure their success

So it’s important to be relevant. Relevant to what your customers are building and interested in. I know it’s going to sound cliche, but the customer love is what it's all about. Isn’t it?

Listen to the full interview here

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