A few weeks ago, Gainsight hosted an intimate virtual gathering of over a dozen Security executives, featuring two industry titans, Enrique Salem, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, and Corey Thomas, CEO and Chairman of Rapid7, to discuss, “How Security Companies are Driving Growth from their Customer Base in a Downturn.”
We took away from the conversation 5 key lessons that can help Security companies thrive during this time:
1. The Boardroom is paying increasing attention to security and compliance
For customer-facing professionals in the Security industry, no longer is your audience just the CIO, Chief Security Officer or a team of security professionals. There are other important stakeholders including your Board’s audit committee.
According to Enrique Salem, the boardroom is paying much closer attention to what’s happening from a security and compliance perspective. They too need to understand your solution’s value and, more importantly, how it will help their businesses thrive.
This requires that your Customer-facing teams have thoughtful and persuasive conversations about how your solutions enable their business to be secure and SUCCESSFUL. It will not suffice to just talk about the latest feature or specific prevention-technology, for example. Alignment on mutually agreed success plans with customers can help Customer Success professionals in the Security industry to enable the right results, tell the right story, and build confidence in the boardroom.
2. Take this time to improve internal operations and processes to better your customer experience
A few industry execs noted that they were taking advantage of a renewed company-wide focus on customers by improving processes and operations. Basically, we’ve all been given a six to nine-month opportunity to make our companies operationally great and to do the things that we should have done in the years prior, but didn’t. For example, removing the reliance on manual interventions that limit your company’s ability to scale.
Not sure where to start with your “business improvement project”? Gainsight can help you standardize and scale your customer interactions, by:
- Identifying at risk customers through the use of health scores.
- Proactively intervene to address customer risks. Don’t wait for customers to reach out to you!
- Eliminating manual processes through the use of journey orchestration and automated outreaches.
3. Customers remember how you treated them when times were tough
We’re all under pressure in our personal lives and in our businesses. Our customers are under those same pressures. Some industries may be deeply hurting, while others are struggling to keep up with sudden demand. How we handle each situation is going to be different but vitally important to how you are remembered by your customers, especially when situations are tough.
Here are some ideas on how you can provide some extra care to your customers, right now:
- Perform free health checks for customers. A “Health Check” can include things like a free technical assessment of their current configuration, or a best-practices review; basically anything that will help keep your security product top of mind and verify that it is performing and delivering value as expected.
- Complete a message maintenance clean-up ASAP to make sure value-messaging or renewal language is current and relevant.
- Remove insensitive language on your campaigns or triggered emails that you already have in-flight.
- Be strategic about the concessions for customers in highly affected industries such hospitality, retail, and transportation. Consider offering free months or extended payment terms in return for a longer contract term. Also, be smart about which customers you provide relief to – not all companies need the extra help
- Update or develop playbooks and train on skills that may be needed such as new save tactics and other risk-mitigating actions.
There’s a very good chance that the customer you provided excellent and tender care during their most difficult times will remain your customer (and likely expand with you) when more prosperous times arrive!
4. Security firms don’t get much out of incumbency – you must stay relevant every day and answer “what have you done for me lately?”
If you’re an incumbent, it’s a love-hate kind of thing. It’s great because you’ve earned your customer’s business. But in the world of security, incumbency doesn’t get you much mileage in terms of a higher probability of recurring or expanding business. As you know, you don’t get any extra points for keeping the “house” secure. Yet, your customers are always looking for the next new feature and as the incumbent, you are continuously fighting for relevance.
How do you ensure your teams are effectively empowered with customer-telemetry to help deliver the right value-message? How do you scale it?
These challenges are not unique to the security industry but they are uniquely challenging to the industry because of the high propensity of switching and customer’s eagerness to chase shiny new objects. Corey Thomas conveyed how Rapid7 transformed its focus from reactive support and renewals to customer health and value. They did so by making Gainsight the center of mass for their processes around how they measure, manage, and act in response to customer health. Corey also shared how incredibly strategic it’s been to think about the customer holistically and then operationally take information and turn it into impactful action.
5. “Never let a crisis go to waste” – Winston Churchill
The pandemic created many new challenges, but it has also brought new opportunities to embrace our humanity as never before. It’s an opportunity for leaders to do something different to engage more closely with their teams; to be more present and transparent. One such suggestion was for CEOs and leaders to host office hours – for anyone in the company to ask any questions. This level of team-engagement is highly valued and appreciated in these uncertain times.
And if you are shifting from customer support and service and from product feature and functionality focus, to truly proactive customer engagement that drives renewals and expansion, this level of intimate connection with your teams will be a source of encouragement and hope. If you would like to learn more about how Gainsight can support these endeavors, feel free to schedule a demo.