Who We Surveyed

20 Industries
#1 Professional Services
#2 IT & Software
Other top 3 include Manufacturing, Healthcare & Telecommunications
52.7% Director to C‑Suite level roles

Who Owns Customer Experience?

Despite emerging roles in customer success and customer experience (CX), many marketing and sales teams still own CX – from creating experiences to measuring success.

Navigating the Customer Lifecycle

Our survey dug into four key areas of the customer lifecycle: Attract, Onboard, Retain & Grow. Each section on this page addresses key milestones and touch points within this lifecycle.


Modern Demand Generation Trends & Challenges

Marketers are embracing the power of SEO and referrals to reach their demand goals.

But many are struggling to turn this demand into pipeline. The data shows why: Poor website and channel conversion and a lack of real-time engagement options on those channels.

Buyers are more independent than ever before. If marketers want to capture the traffic from their top channels, they need to enable buyers to start conversations on their terms.

Top 5 Demand Generation Channels
Organic search and SEO are a low-cost investment with long-term benefits. It’s no surprise then that 40% of marketers chose this as their primary demand channel in our survey.
Greatest Challenges Converting Buyers into Customers
Poor channel conversion and insight into the customer journey means, despite these investments, buyers are slipping through the cracks. (Learn how Drift Audiences can help you get better insight into your site traffic.)
Sales Lead Follow-up Time
Slow sales follow-up can stop good opportunities in their tracks. Today’s B2B buyers expect immediacy. Many businesses said that it takes their sales team 1 day or longer to follow-up. That isn’t cutting it anymore.
Top Buyer Communication Channels
Businesses still rely on static vs. real-time communication to connect with buyers. Companies must prioritize real-time communication to reduce sales follow-up time, increase channel conversion, and get better insight into their customer journey.
B2B buying is BROKEN.
Learn how conversations are defining the way forward.
Get the Book


Mastering the Buyer to Customer Hand-Off

Nailing the customer onboarding experience is critical for two reasons:

  1. Onboarding sets the tone of your customer relationships.
  2. Onboarding lays the groundwork for your customer’s long-term success and retention.

Many respondents said their onboarding process is only somewhat effective in meeting retention goals. In response, B2B businesses are trying to simplify onboarding by limiting touchpoints, increasing communication between customer success managers (CSMs) and customers, and identifying key onboarding metrics.

57% of respondents said their onboarding (sales to CSM hand-off) was only “somewhat effective.” Your team should look at feedback around onboarding to help streamline and improve this experience for customers.
Time Taken to Connect with Customers
Marketing & sales – take a note from CS. Earlier we mentioned that sales follow-up could take a day or longer. For post-purchase follow-up, 54% of companies reported that it takes 24 hours or less for them to reach out to customers after a purchase.
Decision-Maker Engagement Strategies
Keeping close with key decision-makers not only strengthens the sales process, but it influences customer retention too. During onboarding, many teams rely on weekly or bi-weekly calls to ensure success.
Number of Human Touchpoints During Onboarding
Companies should simplify onboarding as much as possible, while still ensuring their customers are successful.
What Defines Onboarding Completion?
Define the goal or endpoint of your onboarding. Some businesses struggle to do this in a definitive way, which can exhaust resources and make it difficult for customers to see ROI.
How Frequently is Onboarding Referenced in Customer Renewals or Cancellations?
52% of respondents said onboarding is sometimes referenced during renewal and cancellation conversations. This shows that a good onboarding experience plays a part in buyers’ decisions to continue a vendor relationship (or not).
Do You Conduct a Post-Onboarding Survey?
Post-onboarding surveys give insight into the performance of your team and the onboarding process itself. Yet, 52% of respondents said they don’t use them at all. You can do this anecdotally, but numbers and data speak volumes.


Measuring & Improving the Customer Experience

In the survey, more than 72% of respondents said that retention was not only an important focus for their business, but a driver of growth.

But what exactly should companies measure to understand CX? And what do benchmarks tell us about customer experience best practices?

Let’s dive in

What CX Metrics Do You Measure? (Choose all that apply)
Net Promoter Score or NPS remains the most popular metric for companies looking to measure customer loyalty and retention.
To learn more about customer experience and how to measure it, check out Drift’s go-to-guide: The Complete Guide to CX
For details on these CX metrics, and how to use them, visit this guide from our friends at CustomerGauge: Utilizing Multiple CX Metrics
Top Customer Communication Channels (Choose all that apply)
Many companies rely on email to assist and support customers. When carrying out surveys, email is frequently the channel of choice.
Businesses see the benefits of chat in addressing customer needs in real-time – but some continue to be slow to adopt. That said, B2B companies that use chat for buyers are likely to do the same for customers. This is good news for creating a consistent and frictionless customer experience.
Relationship Surveys: Use & Frequency
Transactional Surveys: Use & Frequency
Surprisingly, many companies said they weren’t using either relationship or transactional surveys in their customer communication. Give your customers a safe space to voice their opinion – and then communicate how you plan to act on that feedback.
Want more details on when and how to use these surveys? Check out this guide from CustomerGauge: Relationship vs. Transactional Surveys
Do You Measure Response Rates &
Account Coverage?
Average Survey Response Rates
The higher your response rate, often the higher your Net Promoter Score. The reason is pretty simple: highly engaged customers are generally happy. Additionally, the higher your account coverage, the higher your retention and referral sales tend to be.
Learn how to increase your survey response rates from CustomerGauge here: 6 Resources to Improve Your Customer Surveys


Creating a High-ROI Customer Experience Program

72% of respondents said retention was a growth driver for their business. Yet, 50% said they don’t know the ROI of their CX program. Unfortunately, this often results in CX being viewed as more of a fluff initiative versus a serious business investment.

In this final section, we asked respondents about their company buy-in for CX, obstacles they faced in getting that buy-in, and how they track the ROI of their CX program.

Is Your CX Program Aligned with the Company Strategy?
The top two blockers for aligning CX with the company strategy: C-Suite & Finance. This obstacle isn’t unique to CX. Major change management is often dictated by these two gatekeepers. The solution? Proving the investment in CX will grow your company’s bottom line.
Is CX Deployed Throughout Your Company?
If you struggle to get CX buy-in past departments, embed CX into your core mission. At Drift, we have a number of leadership principles. At the top: “Put the customer at the center of everything you do.”
Are Your CX Results Transparent?
40% of respondents said they share customer retention and sentiment metrics internally throughout the organization. Unfortunately, almost 56% either don’t share these results at all or only share them with management.
CX Linked with Financial Data?
57% of respondents don’t link financial data to their CX program, while 43% do, but at varying degrees. Forecasting the ROI of CX is made easier when these two data sets are linked together.
Do You Measure Up- and Cross-Sales in Your CX Program?
Do you understand what drives up-sales? Cross-sales? Referrals? If not, you’re not alone. But companies are improving how they track the source of these metrics. Clearly though, there’s still work to do.
Do You Track Referrals in Your CX Program?
Looking at the data in this section, B2B businesses should continue to focus on linking revenue-driving metrics like referrals, reviews, up-sales, and cross-sales to their CX program. This will help validate future investments in the customer experience.

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