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One of the realities of Customer Success that is certainly recognized by practitioners – but may be missed by most of the rest of the organization – is that it actually contains all the other customer-facing functions within it (a topic touched on previously). A complete Customer Success operation would ideally contain elements of Strategy, Business Intelligence, Marketing, Sales, Support, and Product/Service development and delivery. The bad news about that reality is that it makes the job of a Customer Success leader and practitioner incredibly difficult. The good news of that reality is that Customer Success “contains multitudes,” to quote Walt Whitman, and it therefore provides plenty of room for Dan Steinman and I both to write about “Understanding and Engaging with Your Customers” without fear of redundancy (or, contrary to the rest of the Whitman quote, contradiction). Dan’s article serves as an extremely practical how-to guide for organizing the activities of an individual and a team of Customer Success Managers (CSMs.) Its focus is on the Sales and Support aspects of the function. As a dyed-in-the-wool marketer, I have a different perspective on the approach to and implications of understanding and engaging customers. An enormous amount of customers’ attitudes […]
It is impossible to understand and engage your customers in a one-size-fits-all fashion if you have more than a handful of customers. You’ve probably been told – or told others – something like this: “Here are your 150 customers, now go understand them and get engaged.” Yikes! Okay, so I’ve done this a thousand times and it still scares me to think about it. That’s why there has to be a logical approach to it. So, let’s try to create one. Step 1 – Segment your Customers Depending upon the maturity of – or your involvement with – your Customer Success Management organization, some of this may have already been done. If so, it’s likely to be clearly defined in your CRM system. Or, your company may have already segmented customers as Strategic or National or Global or Enterprise or Corporate for sales purposes – which gives you a head start, In fact, there may also be a “touch model” (more on that later) defined. A word of caution, though… how customers were segmented for sales purposes may not translate 100% to what we’re solving for here, so be sure to get clear on the segmentation that was used and adjust […]
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Tune in to see how customer health data can supercharge upsell and cross-sell for your sales teams. We’ll cover: Why you’ll sell more with lessons learned from successful customers How Sales can use health data before and during calls What plays available to grow customer relationships When: Thursday 9/4 at 10:00 AM PT Who: Paul Piazza, Director of Customer Success, Gainsight Register:
When it comes to Customer Success, amazing things happen when you use – and I mean really use – your own product. Call it whatever you like – “eating your own dogfood”, “drinking your own champagne”, whatever. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. At Gainsight, we live this to the fullest. We are committed to being the best, most active, and most demanding customer our Product team will ever encounter. Let me talk about how this manifests itself with a specific example. Customer Champion Departure is a Red Flag Everyone in the Customer Success world knows that it’s bad news when your champion leaves one of your customers. The only good thing that can come out of that is that they are a great lead wherever they land. But what they leave behind is likely to be challenging. It’s possible that your product or service is so ubiquitous and so loved that this departure doesn’t change anything. But, even if that’s true, the arrival of the replacement leader might result in a different story. So, this event is ALWAYS a red flag! Because Gainsight is a Customer Success application, the details of how we handled this […]
When you create your customer journey map, outline the process your customers take to that first “Wow!” moment and eventually onto realizing value and achieving success, you must do so with them in mind. Obviously. But how do you overlay what happens on your side to ensure that success map is followed; that your customers stay on course to move from point A, to B, to C, to… Success (and beyond)? That’s what I’m going to cover here. But, because of the myriad ways that Customer Success teams are organized and the responsibilities assigned to them, defining one consistent Customer Success process for all situations is a very difficult task. So what I will do here is define the end-to-end customer journey – from the perspective of Customer Success – assuming that all of the functional roles outlined in this previous article are separate organizations. Now, if you find yourself in a situation where you are performing some combination of those roles, the overall customer journey will be the same but the handoff from organization to organization may not happen as frequently. Okay, let’s take the customer journey step-by-step and outline Customer Success’ involvement or requirements: 1. Sales Everyone understands that […]
Earlier this week, Lincoln wrote a fantastic article that outlined the three most common methods for measuring CSM performance. If you adopt any of the three methods outlined, you will be well on your way to increased retention and upsells. I’d like to add to that list with one more measurement that, unfortunately, not enough companies are using to measuring the efficacy of their Customer Success teams. The Three Acts of a Successful Customer Successful customers do three things. Lincoln outlined two of them in his article – successful customers stay longer (retention) and they spend more (upselling). But there is a third activity that successful customers take – successful customers tell their friends (referrals). If customer referrals are not on your customer success dashboard, you are leaving significant value on the table. What is a customer referral? Simply put, it’s an opportunity for new business that is generated via a recommendation from your existing customer relationships. This is different than a reference, where you ask an existing customer to help you close a lead that you generated yourself. A customer referral is a lead that is surfaced by your customer through their own personal relationships. In many ways, it’s the last mile of […]
McKinsey & Company’s research into SaaS companies serving large and mid-enterprise customers shows that companies with annual churn rates of 20% or more see slower growth in annual recurring revenue than others that manage to hold onto their customers. Join Shawn Lankton and Brian Stafford from McKinsey & Company in a conversation with Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta as they double click into the findings of their latest SaaSRadar research. Specifically you’ll learn: How a great product experience can drive customer stickiness. Why cross-sell directly impacts churn reduction. How Customer Success teams are implementing proactive strategies to fight churn. When: Recorded August 13th at 10:00 AM PST Who: Shawn Lankton, Associate Principal, McKinsey & Company Brian Stafford, Partner, McKinsey & Company Nick Mehta, CEO, Gainsight
As with most jobs, there may be many different ways to measure the performance of a Customer Success Manager (CSM) It’s a complex job encompassing many different activities and working with many different kinds of customers. The biggest variable is probably the maturity of your company, which will dictate the specific role you’ll be playing. Regardless of your specific role, retention rate or renewal rate – or conversely churn rate – is likely to be a key part of your measurement. After all, the reason the Customer Success organization came into being, and exists to this day, is to retain customers and revenue. For the sake of this article, we’ll simplify the concept of measuring retention and churn to this basic statement: “Of all the customers who could have churned in a particular time period, what percentage did?” For a deep dive on measuring the success of your customers in addition to the success of your CSMs, watch the archive of our “The Secret to Subscription Success: Metrics that Matter webinar. Variables in Measuring Customer Retention Exactly how churn and retention are measured at your company is completely dependent on the specifics of, well, your company, so I won’t explore that […]