ChurnZero Named in Northern Virginia Tech Council 2019 Tech 100 Honorees

ChurnZero Named in Northern Virginia Tech Council 2019 Tech 100 Honorees

NVTC Tech 100 2019

NVTC’s Tech 100 awards celebrate the most innovative technology companies and top tech executives in the region. ChurnZero was recognized as a Tech 100 Company and our Chief Customer Officer, Abby Hammer, was named a Tech 100 Executive. 

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) today announced the 2019 NVTC Tech 100, a list of groundbreaking companies, leaders and innovators within the region’s technology community. These technology companies and executives have demonstrated dedication, vision and innovation within the region’s technology industry.

This year’s program attracted over 180 nominations throughout the Greater Washington area. Each nomination was carefully reviewed and considered by a panel of judges that included Joel Kallett, Managing Director of Clearsight Advisors; Sam Maness, Managing Director of Defense and Government Services Investment Banking at Raymond James & Associates, Inc.; April L. Young, PhD, Managing Director at Hercules Capital; and Dendy Young, Managing Partner at McLean Capital, LLC. One hundred tech companies and 25 executives comprise the 2019 NVTC Tech 100 awards list. The honorees truly represent the region’s diverse and thriving technology ecosystem.

“With a unique vision and dedication to industry innovation, ChurnZero stands out as a leader in the region and beyond. We’re excited to announce ChurnZero as an NVTC Tech 100 honoree,” stated Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO, Northern Virginia Technology Council.

“The current technology landscape in Northern Virginia is dynamic and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” said Senator Mark R. Warner. “The NVTC Tech 100 is an impressive collection of businesses and individuals working to expand tech innovation in the region. I congratulate those working to make the technology community in Virginia one of the best and brightest in the nation.”

“This summer, CNBC once again ranked Virginia as the top state for business. This region continues to showcase the nation’s top technology companies and the brightest workforce,” said Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO, NVTC. “We are excited to announce this year’s exceptional individuals and highly-regarded companies as the 2019 NVTC Tech 100 honorees.”

NVTC 2019 Award PartyThe 2019 NVTC Tech 100 honorees will be celebrated at an exclusive party at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner on December 9, 2019. For more information about the event, please visit: www.nvtc.org/events/geteventinfo.php?event=BANQUET16

During the event, NVTC’s Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) Veterans Service Award winners will also be announced. This award recognizes the NVTC member companies who have demonstrated a superlative level of engagement with the VEI and support for the Veteran community.

Congratulations to the 2019 NVTC Tech 100 honorees:

2019 Tech 100 Companies

3Pillar Global Dovel Technologies Perspecta
Accenture DTS PFP Cybersecurity
AEGIS.net EastBanc Technologies Qlarion
Aligned Energy Electrosoft QOMPLX
All Traffic Solutions EventBank QTS
Alteryx EVERFI Remine
Altruista Health Excella Ridgeline International
AMERICAN SYSTEMS Expedition Technology RIVA Solutions Inc.
ANRA Technologies Inc Fonteva Samsung
AppTek General Dynamics Information Technology SAP
Aquicore GuidePoint Security LLC ScienceLogic
ArdentMC Gunnison Consulting Group, Inc. ScientiaMobile
ARInspect Harmonia Holdings Group Shared Spectrum Company (SSC)
Attain, LLC Homesnap Siemens Government Technologies
Bandura Cyber ICF Simulyze
Binary Fountain Infinite Skience, LLC
Blue Ridge Networks IntelliDyne SOC Telemed (SOC)
Blueprint Consulting Services Group Iridium Communications, Inc. Softrams
Bricata IronNet Cybersecurity Sonatype
CALIBRE Systems, Inc. Karsun Solutions SOS International LLC (SOSi)
Caveonix Kublr Surefire Local
Centauri LeaseAccelerator Telos Corporation
CGI Federal LifeCents ThreatQuotient
ChurnZero LiveSafe Transaction Network Services (TNS)
Clarabridge LookingGlass™ Cyber Solutions Two Six Labs
Cognosante Lynk U.Group
cove Mapbox Unanet
CSCI MAXIMUS Unissant
CTSI Microsoft Corp ViON
Customer Value Partners (CVP) Mobile Posse Virtru
Cvent Nexus WeDoIT LLC
Daon NTT DATA Zyter
Deltek Ofinno, LLC  
DocASAP Peraton  

Tech 100 Executives
John Ackerly, Virtru
Blake Allison, LifeCents
Greg Baroni, Attain, LLC
Mark Bishof, Clarabridge
Matt Calkins, Appian
Niki Christoff, Salesforce
Andrew Churchill, Qlik
Lara Coffee, CSCI
Frederick Costa, MetaPhase Consulting
Tony Crescenzo, IntelliDyne
John Czupak, ThreatQuotient
Tom Davidson, EVERFI
Dominic Delmolino, Accenture Federal Services
David DeWolf, 3Pillar Global
Dev Ganesan, PathFactory
Abby Hammer, ChurnZero
Wayne Jackson, Sonatype
Ashish Kachru, Altruista Health
Nazzic Keene, SAIC
Slava Koltovich, Kublr
Julie McPherson, Booz Allen Hamilton
Richard Pineda, CALIBRE Systems, Inc.
David Quattrone, Cvent
Matt Strottman, In-Q-Tel
George Young, Elastic

About the Northern Virginia Technology Council

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia. As one of the largest technology councils in the nation, NVTC serves about 1,000 companies from all sectors of the technology industry, as well as service providers, universities, foreign embassies, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies. Through its member companies, NVTC represents about 350,000 employees in the region. NVTC is recognized as the nation’s leader in providing its technology community with networking and educational events; specialized services and benefits; public policy advocacy; branding of its region as a major global technology center; initiatives in targeted business sectors and in the international, entrepreneurship, workforce and education arenas; and the NVTC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that supports the NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative and other priorities within Virginia’s technology community. Visit NVTC at www.nvtc.org.

 

About ChurnZero

ChurnZero helps subscription businesses fight customer churn. Its software solutions allow businesses to understand how their customers use their product, asses their health and their likelihood to renew, and give businesses the means to personalize the customer experience through timely and relevant touchpoints. ChurnZero is headquartered in Arlington, VA and is backed by leading angles and venture capital firms such as Baird Capital, Grotech Ventures and Middleland Capital. For more information, visit churnzero.net.

The post ChurnZero Named in Northern Virginia Tech Council 2019 Tech 100 Honorees appeared first on ChurnZero.

Q&A: How to Get 20/20 Foresight for Your 2020 Customer Success Planning

Q&A: How to Get 20/20 Foresight for Your 2020 Customer Success Planning

 

We are in the thick of Q4 and the high-pressure budget and strategy planning season is in full swing in SaaS organizations around the globe.

Customer Success Teams are on the hook to finish out the year strong, preform quarterly business review (QBRs), determine and refresh key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new year, finalize budgets – and most importantly ensure their customers are successful going into the new year.

To help you and your team with this arduous process, we hosted a video panel-style webinar on this topic so you could to hear advice on:

  • End-of-year retention and upsell efforts
  • Analyzing performance for 2020 forecasting
  • Customer Success operations planning
  • Budgeting and getting buy-in for resources

No worries if you missed the webinar, you can view it on-demand here.

This was a great discussion amongst our panelists that we wanted to share some of the key highlights with you here.

Moderator: Abby Hammer, Chief Customer Officer, ChurnZero

Panelists:

 

2020 Customer Success Leader Panel

 

Q&A Highlights


Q: As we look at the end of the year, and our customers are often having the same sort of discussions, how do we make sure they’re prepped for the end of the year? What are you doing to help customers set goals for next year?

Danielle: At Sendoso, we are a sending platform, so the end of the year is by far our busiest time. It’s all about sending direct mail during the holiday and it also tends to be our highest sales quarter and therefor it’s also our highest renewal quarter. So, it’s is busy on all fronts and on top of that we’re trying to squeeze about three months of work into two as people step away from the office to spend time with their families around the holidays.

So, when you have as much going on at the end of the year as we do, prepping our customers has to start with prepping our team. So, before Q4 even beings, we start to coordinate with sales leadership to get their forecasts so that we can set hiring plans for the quarter. We start reaching out to Q4 renewal customers just to prep them for the terms and signature. With our customer marketing, we start to build out our one-to-many outreach cadences, which are largely focused on sending timelines and deadlines, tips and tricks for what to send, and countdowns to holiday sending. We just know that it’s a really busy time for everyone, so it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that we’re doing everything for our customers to ease that burden and stress of holiday sending and closing out the year.

 

Q: Have you done anything that’s been effective in terms of renewals that are right at the end of the year and prepping those customers to accelerate those conversations?

Antionette: We actually (and side plug for ChurnZero) use automated Plays to start talking about the renewals two months out. And we’re getting a renewal sentiment that we’re logging in the system that lets us know where we really need to focus a push if somebody is thinking about not renewing, we will know that two months out so we know how to target and how to focus, so we’re not saving our efforts for the last few weeks when we know that nobody is going to pick up that phone. We already baked that in a little bit earlier in the process.

Danielle: We do something similar and it was really just a look at what we had in our pipeline for Q4, and we started to look at that very early in Q3 and realized that we needed to get that started now. So, we started priming our conversation for those customers for renewals, and it’s something that we’ve actually built into the lifecycle very early on. We start talking about renewal at the 6-month mark and in some cases, we have candid conversations with customers at that time to say if you were going to renewal tomorrow, would you, yes or no? And that creates a really compelling conversation that gives us an opportunity to either expand on what’s working or to pivot to update our strategy to either remove any friction points that might exist for any reason and really set us in a good shape for the renewal when it comes to that three or two month mark renewal countdown.

 

Q: Geeta, I want to bring you into the conversation here because I’m sure some people are like you where Q4 is actually a little bit quieter. It’s not your busiest time of year. So how does the end of year look a little different and as a group that doesn’t need to be worried about the same sort of chaos at the end of the year, how do you approach it?

Geeta: Yea, we use the playbook that we have during our busiest time and extend it, so for us we do a lot in the summer months and we hit some busy times as well in the start of the year. We tend to have a lot of customers who do multiple rounds of programming in the year and for us it’s getting ahead of that so the renewal concept applies but it’s a little bit different in a sense that it’s not the contract per say, or seats or licenses, it’s more like okay when is their next set of programming and what are we going to do about it? So, from a customer perspective we tend to look 60 days out regardless of the time of year.

Similar to what Danielle and Antoinette have said, getting ahead of it allows you to at least get in touch with the customer and understand what they’re going to need so you’re not scrambling as much and we use that as an ongoing cadence and then beyond that as I mentioned, we actually just did our conference now because Q4 tends to be a great opportunity to engage with our customers in person, which we don’t get to do very often during the year. And it also propels us into what is convention season (which you might not think that exists in youth sports, but it does, each sport has their own event). And so, we use a lot of our time to prepare for that because that’s when we can actually get in front of people.

We also combine that with some basic housekeeping on our side which is to take a look back and see what’s worked well in 2019 and say, okay, how do we want to adjust and change in terms of our overall customer engagement strategy and approach going into 2020.

 

Q: How are you going to use the current year to inform what happens next year? I think this comes in two flavors- how do we understand what’s happening with our customers themselves, and then how does that influence what we do with our teams and how we change. So, let’s talk first about how we analyze customer health. I’m curious about how each of you go about that process and who you involve in it?

Geeta: For us, it builds off what we’re already talking about a little bit. One of our quarterly processes that we’ve introduced is to do portfolio reviews with each of our CSMs to make sure we have a good gauge on where they think the portfolio is and actually cross-referencing that with ChurnZero because we’re a little bit new in terms of our use of the platform and to see if the data supports the assessment that the individuals were giving us and for us that’s a little bit of a change from what we’ve done in the past just because we haven’t had the platform before but being more data-driven and understanding what’s happening with our customers is a really important element and how we’re adjusting things going into next year.

So, I’d say for us it’s little bit of what do you know about the customer, what have been the touchpoints that we’ve had, how recently have we engaged with them, have we seen any reg flags, and then how does the data support what we believe is happening and using the combination of those things, gears me up to say- okay, what can we reasonably support and manage with the staffing that I have, what are the other inputs I’m going to get from other parts of the company either in terms of sales pipeline and how is that going to grow, and what it means from a product perspective, because we’re launching new services and we have to be able to support that, and how volume continues to shift on the support side of things as well as we bring more customers onto the platform so we can account for that appropriately.

Antionette:  We’re always looking at that data, we don’t necessarily wait until the end of the year. We will make pivots and adjustments throughout the year based off churn and upsell and what that net churn is looking like. So, our focus is always on bringing in that expansion revenue. We started off manually creating our health scores in a Google doc and have since switched over to ChurnZero. We’ve learned a lot since then and we are pretty data-driven right now in evaluating the opportunity pipeline for our CSMs and we are actually part of the revenue team.

As CS, we have a really close relationship with our sales managers. So, we work with them when we’re noticing trends with customers and maybe red flags early on or helping them better identify who are most successful customers are going to be and constantly tying that back so it’s not just customer handoff and done. So, the metrics are constantly being looked at and we have monthly KPIs that we’re going to address if we notice we’re not hitting them, or our customers aren’t meeting that target.

 

Q: I’m interested in how you go about doing an audit on things like KPIs that you can comp your team on and processes that you’re running and how you make sure that you’re making those changes in a way that’s consumable by the team, particularly if you’re making some of those changes towards the end of the year when there is a lot of noise. So, let’s talk about how you guys have looked at some of those key drivers for your team and made those changes.

Danielle: For me, I think that you have to start with your top-line, north-star goals. So, we asked those kinds of like – why are we really here sorts of existence/existential questions and set our goals based on those. I think once you have clear answers to those questions, you can organize around them to make sure that all your metrics and KPIs are aligned accordingly to drive those goals.

And for CS at Sendoso, we are here to retain, it’s the reason that we do everything that we do from onboarding to lifecycle management to renewal management, it’s all designed to drive retention. We know that we have to have really happy outcome driven customers in order to do that. So, when we’re talking about KPIs and metrics everything has to line up to that.

I tell my team often, when we are moving through plays, alerts, etc. in ChurnZero everything that you get should feel like a gift because it helps give you valuable insight into your portfolio and it helps you meet your goals which are retention and platform spend.

 

Q: I want to shift our discussion a bit towards operations planning for next year. So, how do you make sure you’re getting the right resources in place, the right humans, the right technology, that sort of thing. So, let me just start on the technology side a bit. I know this groups a little distinct in the fact that you all have Customer Success technology, but I think it would be interesting since each of you pitched successfully to purchase Customer Success technology and then went forward and made a discussion on that if you could share for someone’s that looking at doing that in 2020, what would be your advice to them be on making a successful pitch?

Danielle: I actually didn’t’ pitch ChurnZero, it was something very newly implemented when I joined Sendoso and I can say that it’s one of the reasons that I’m here at Sendoso, because it was very clear to me that that investment had been made and that there was an investment in the team. So, it was actually a recruiting trigger for me. I had used tools in the past, and I know that they are a game changer in the way that we move about our work and I have been in CS long enough to remember the days where I was handed a multi-million dollar book of business and told – make sure they don’t leave – and they can be very challenging when you don’t have the data that you need to really show where your time and attention might be put to the best use. So I was not willing to go back in time and work in a state where I didn’t have a tool like this to help me and my team to be successful so I knew that when I started talking to my CEO and my COO whom I report to today about how the team was propped up, even though it was a very small team that investment had already been made and it was very appealing to me as a candidate.

Geeta: So, our executive team and our board is generally supportive of technology if the argument exist for why you need it and so for us, what it was about is a) why is this the right time to introduce the technology that we’re looking b) why are we then equipped to be able to use it in a way that’s actually going to help us c) what’s the incremental benefit that it creates based on what we want to do as an organization. And we approach the case in that regard.

We’ve gotten to a point where we have the information, so I was like – okay – if we can start bringing things together from a lot of different places, in the case of a CS platform, and aggregate it into a more holistic way that makes it easier for my team to consume, that’s an easy argument because there’s efficiency and value to be had for that.

Then as we were exploring platforms and options it was about who’s going to meet our needs and help us drive results as a business and also what other efficiencies and benefits can I drive for my team. So one of the big values that I see in a lot of the technology platforms we have is either the ability to automated workflows and free up space and capacity for people to really focus in on customers or to give them the right set of tools to allow them to do that because that’s what we do in Customer Success, you want to have as much time as possible to engage with the people that are driving that business because that’s not the thing that you can get from a software platform or anything else.

And so we talked a lot about those different dimensions as I was making the case and then also being able to justify and explain why the recommendation I was making for the platform that I wanted was the one for us to go with because I’ve also had experiences with different tools and technologies and it has to be able to make your life easier and also make sense for the size and life stage of your organization, but also be able to grow with you and being able to kind of answer all of that for my team.

So, they’re like, okay, we’re going to give you the money to spend but we know that you’re going to be able to do something with it…not just in year one, but year two and three, became an important part of the conversation as well.

To hear the rest of the webinar and what the panelists discussed on end-of-year Customer Success planning as well as predictions for 2020, you can check out the video replay on-demand. 

View Now


Upcoming Webinar:

New Manager’s Guide for a Customer Success Strategy Implementation

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

Are you finalizing your new year strategy as you lead Customer Success at your organization? Join Emilia D’Anzica, Partner at Winning by Design, as she takes you through a practical guide for building a scalable Customer Success program at your organization. Trying to build all elements of Customer Success at once is a recipe for mediocre outcomes. How do you break down your programs to achieve maximum benefit for both your customers and your company?

Featuring insights from over 15 years of work in Customer Success and most recently as an Interim Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at multiple companies, Emilia will give CS leaders a blueprint for executing a strategy that you can take your leadership and goals to the next level.


Session Highlights to Include:

Prioritizing Strategic Initiatives — How to define actions that will have the greatest impact on your business and customers over the next few years
Creating a Revenue Engine — Communication and education that enable your team to achieve the organization’s top goals
Leveraging Technology to Scale — Characteristics you need most from Customer Success platforms and infrastructure
Managing Changes for Success — What served a purpose for your customers and organization may no longer be relevant for your organization’s top goals

Join us as we share experiences from the trenches on aligning business priorities, technology and priorities.

Emilia - Chief Customer Officer
Speaker Bio:
Emilia D’Anzica is a Customer Success and Account Management Growth Consultant and Partner at Winning by Design. With deep expertise in scaling organizations, she works with companies globally to build programs that are customer-centric and scalable. She is process and culture-driven, building high performing teams. She is based in Silicon Valley leading teams at Jobvite, BrightEdge, and Walkme. She has also held numerous Interim ‘Head of Customer Success’ roles.

Register Now


Customer Success Around the Web


Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post Q&A: How to Get 20/20 Foresight for Your 2020 Customer Success Planning appeared first on ChurnZero.

Serious About Customer Success? Your CRM is Not Enough!

Serious About Customer Success? Your CRM is Not Enough!

Serious About Customer Success - CRM is not enough

Blog Author: Alexander Weihmann

The SaaS model has rapidly changed the software marketplace by lowering the barriers of entry and exit for buyers. These changes have made it essential that B2B software companies adapt and deliver ongoing user value. Now more than ever Customer Success is essential to the long-term success of your entire organizationA relationship-focused approach to client management is a must. 

Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) have changed the game when it comes to how companies know and track their customersBy making client data more accessible than everCRMs have transformed what companies can do with their relationships, data, and the execution of their objectives. That said, avoid falling into the trap of using your CRM as a Swiss Army Knife; you’re only as good as the tools you use. If you’re serious about Customer Success, your CRM is not enough.  

 

CRMs and Customer Success Platforms – What’s the Difference? 

Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) primarily function as a relationship information database. They focus on opportunity management – like the manual activities that typically exist within accounts. Its workstreams rely upon inputs like data entered by sales or even ‘gut instincts.’ Since buyers typically follow a uniform purchasing journey, CRMs are ideal for managing a sales pipeline. 

Customer Success Platforms work to foster on-going customer value after the initial purchaseThese platforms focus on engagement and are driven by the customer data your team collects every dayCommon examples include your product’s usage data or other third-party applications (NPS, Email, etc.) Customer Success Platforms diverge from CRMs in what they do with this data. Rather than just surfacing this information, CS Platforms conduct analysis that enables proactive customer engagementSince few customer journeys look the samethese tools excel at managing large books of business. 

Put simply, CRMs focus on the transaction stage of a customer relationshipCustomer Success Platforms focus on the entire relationship and the delivery of continuous value. While CRMs have their benefits, traditional relationship management tools lack the necessary features to nurture long term growth. This makes a CS Platform an invaluable tool for any SaaS company. 

 

The Challenges with Using your CRM as a CS Platform 

The most helpful tools often have one thing in common: they are purpose built. CRMs and Customer Success Platforms are no exception. While using a CRM for your CS program is possible, it will deliver lackluster results. This comes down to the different approach and scope of each platform. 

Development and Management: 

The nature of workflows used by Customer Success teams prove challenging for CRMsSince CRMs focus on transactional relationship data, thestruggle to glean insights from product usage information and other data. This provides a challenge when working to automate processes like onboarding and renewal workflows. 

Customer Success platforms are built to provide the workflows your CS team needs to succeed – all with little to ntechnical know-how In fact, these platforms support these workflows out of the box. They enable proactive engagement by helping you organize, automate and scale your processes at every part of your customer lifecycleAutomating these processes provide a key advantage for increasing efficiency. In fact, they allow your team to manage more accounts without the need to increase headcount. 

While CRMs excel at data retrieval, they struggle to replicate basic processes and workflowsFor most Customer Success workflows, CRMs require custom software development. While CRMs can surface your customer data, they lack the native data analysis to create actionable insights. Even if your team develops a work around, these workflows will require constant intervention. This increases your reliance on an IT or Operations team for ensuring your Cteam stays on track. 

Reporting and Dashboards: 

CRM administrators can develop Customer Success oriented reports and dashboards at the cost of lost functionality. While tempting for organizations deeply entwined with a CRMan approach like this results in less than perfect reportingCRMs lack total integration with your product usage and other data sourceswhich requires data exports in order to conduct analysis. Like workflows, CRM reports require manual intervention in order to stay current. Although sales processes (opportunities) follow a relatively uniform journey, the customer journey does not. This makes it challenging to create CRM reporting that follows a customer through their lifecycle 

Unlike CRMs, Customer Success Platforms are built to support a customer’s entire lifecycleDrawing from a wealth of product and external data, CS Platforms rely upon fact-based triggers like drops in product usage or an increase in support ticketsBy applying these inputs, reports and dashboards that are dynamic without the need for significant human intervention. Most importantly, Customer Success Platforms automatically make sense of the data collected. This allows them to deliver the actionable (and timely) information that equip a CS team to deliver of ongoing value  

Creating Actionable Insights: 

When creating actionable insights, time is of the essence. While we often think of CRMs as a single source of truth, they aren’t without their limitations. The overarching goal of any CRM should be to provide strong data quality and integrityThis alone, however, doesn’t meet the needs of a Customer Success team. Access to real-time insights are key to effective CS. 

significant difference between CRMs and CS Platforms is how data is served. While CRMs function as a central repository for your datathey don’t necessarily present this information at the moments it matters mostSince CRM activities are generally manualassociated activities are responsive in nature. This creates a potential for important tasks to slip through the cracks. 

Customer Success Platforms take a more dynamic approach to customer data and are tailor-made to make sense of a constant flow of customer data.  With native built BI and analytics functionality, CS Platforms can serve data insights at the moments it matters mostDrawing from a wealth of customer data, these platforms can identify customer trends that matter. This allows your CS team to be proactive, not reactive, in their approach to customer management.  

Usability

As many sales representatives will attest, they live (and breath!) in their CRM system. For opportunity management and input reliant workstreams, CRMs provide a valuable central repository of customer information. While providing excellent visibility around sales pipelinesCRMs fall short in providing the usability that Customer Success teams demand. 

Customer Success Platforms provide a workplace that scales along with your team. By offering a more holistic view of customer relationships, they provide a home-base for members of your CS team to begin and end their days. Whether tracking renewals, usage patterns or customer escalations, CS platforms bring together the information your team needs to manage their daily to-dosAlong with dashboards and real-time alerts, these tools enable your team to maintain a pulse on customer accounts.  

As your organization grows, you will reach a point where existing manual processes will no longer suffice. Using a CRM for your Customer Success team increases the need for manual retrieval, updates and analysis. This prevents your team from focusing on what matters most – creating an exceptional Customer Experience.  

When scaling a CS team, robust automation and an effective workplace make all the difference. By removing manual work and putting your customer information within easy reach, your team will be more productive than ever. They’ll be better attuned to their customer’s health and ready to act upon any signs of slipping health. 

 

Your CRM Should Supplement, Not Supplant Your CS Platform 

Despite their distinct purposes, Customer Success Platforms and CRMmake a powerful combination. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need a CRM OR a Customer Success Platform. While dealing with similar data sources, each platform adds substantially different valueIt’s safe to say that CRMs work best when used in conjunction with a Customer Success Platform.  

Just as CRMs have reshaped how businesses approach opportunity management, Customer Success Platforms provide a new way to maintain strong customer relationships long after the initial transaction. Through their use of business intelligence and automation, CS Platforms provide an efficient means to spot indicators of customer healthFor Customer Success team, they provide actionable insights and a means to automate the manual processes associated with account management.  

The true meaning of Customer Success is putting customers at the focus of your business. By supplementing your CRM with a purpose-built CS Platform, your organization is empowered to do just thatA dedicated Customer Success Platform positions your customers for success by best equipping your team with the tools, workflows and insights they need to thrive. 

Looking for a takeaway to share with your boss or executive team on this topic? Download our Why Your CRM is Not Enough one-pager. 

Download Now


Upcoming Webinar:

New Manager’s Guide for a Customer Success Strategy Implementation

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

Are you finalizing your new year strategy as you lead Customer Success at your organization? Join Emilia D’Anzica, Partner at Winning by Design, as she takes you through a practical guide for building a scalable Customer Success program at your organization. Trying to build all elements of Customer Success at once is a recipe for mediocre outcomes. How do you break down your programs to achieve maximum benefit for both your customers and your company?

Featuring insights from over 15 years of work in Customer Success and most recently as an Interim Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at multiple companies, Emilia will give CS leaders a blueprint for executing a strategy that you can take your leadership and goals to the next level.


Session Highlights to Include:

Prioritizing Strategic Initiatives — How to define actions that will have the greatest impact on your business and customers over the next few years
Creating a Revenue Engine — Communication and education that enable your team to achieve the organization’s top goals
Leveraging Technology to Scale — Characteristics you need most from Customer Success platforms and infrastructure
Managing Changes for Success — What served a purpose for your customers and organization may no longer be relevant for your organization’s top goals

Join us as we share experiences from the trenches on aligning business priorities, technology and priorities.

Emilia - Chief Customer Officer
Speaker Bio:
Emilia D’Anzica is a Customer Success and Account Management Growth Consultant and Partner at Winning by Design. With deep expertise in scaling organizations, she works with companies globally to build programs that are customer-centric and scalable. She is process and culture-driven, building high performing teams. She is based in Silicon Valley leading teams at Jobvite, BrightEdge, and Walkme. She has also held numerous Interim ‘Head of Customer Success’ roles.

Register Now


Customer Success Around the Web


Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post Serious About Customer Success? Your CRM is Not Enough! appeared first on ChurnZero.

ChurnZero Leads Momentum Grid on G2 For Second Season

ChurnZero Leads G2’s Fall 2019 Momentum Report for Customer Success Software

G2 Momentum Leader Fall 2019 - Customer SucessOut of 15 solution providers included in G2’s Fall 2019 Momentum Report for Customer Success Software, ChurnZero has received the highest Momentum Score, based on exceptional customer satisfaction and market growth, reinforcing ChurnZero’s position as the pacesetter in the Customer Success industry.

The new Customer Success Software Momentum Grid from G2 showcases CS solutions with the highest growth trajectory on a product’s user satisfaction, online presence, and employee headcount growth over the last year.

Given the rapid pace of innovation and change in technology markets, today’s B2B buyer needs to have a forward-looking perspective when it comes to purchasing new business solutions.

The G2 Momentum Score is based on two factors: 1) Market Momentum (Y-axis) and 2) User Satisfaction (x-axis). A product’s Momentum Score is calculated by a proprietary algorithm that factors in social, web, employee and review data that G2 has deemed influential in a company’s momentum.

The Satisfaction Score is based on end-user satisfaction with the product, popularity, statistical significance (number of G2 reviews), quality of reviews receives, age of reviews, overall customer satisfaction, and Net Promoter Score on G2.

The two scores combined to give ChurnZero an overall score of 96, beating out the next highest Customer Success provider by 25 points.

“We’re driven every day to get better through authentic, unbiased customer feedback,” says Abby Hammer, ChurnZero’s Chief Customer Officer. “G2 has created the leading channel for transparent user reviews, and that makes it even more rewarding to earn this recognition.

G2 Fall 2019 Momentum Grid - Customer Success

To find out why our customers rate us so highly and understand the impact we can bring to your subscription business, sign up for a live demo today. 

Get a Live Demo

G2 - Customer Success - Users Love Us

 

About G2 (formerly G2 Crowd)

Headquartered in Chicago, G2.com is revolutionising the way businesses discover, buy and manage software and services. More than three million users per month rely on G2.com to help them find and buy the best software for their businesses. The platform has 750,000 reviews, and $100M in total funding invested by IVP, Accel Partners, LinkedIn, Emergence Capital, Pritzker Group, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures, industry leaders and founders. G2.com’s most recent funding, a $55M Series C, was announced in October. The company’s first acquisition, Siftery, was announced in December 2018 following its Series C funding.

                                                                         

About ChurnZero

ChurnZero helps subscription businesses fight customer churn. Its software solutions allow businesses to understand how their customers use their product, asses their health and their likelihood to renew, and give businesses the means to personalize the customer experience through timely and relevant touchpoints. ChurnZero is headquartered in Arlington, VA and is backed by leading angles and venture capital firms such as Baird Capital, Grotech Ventures and Middleland Capital. For more information, visit churnzero.net.

The post ChurnZero Leads Momentum Grid on G2 For Second Season appeared first on ChurnZero.

The Fear of Churn

The Fear of Churn

churn monster costume gif

It’s the scariest time of the year – Q4! Will your CS team end the year smiling or sobbing?

Here at ChurnZero, we fear churn. And when you fear churn, you fight churn. In honor of Halloween, we asked our own Customer Success team to dig deep into their most frightful memories of customer churn and tell us:

Which churn monster do you fear most and why?

And then we had a costume contest!

UNLUCKY

Peter chose Unlucky so he could wear cat ears. But also, what do you do when the customer is trying so hard – and they mean well – but everything keeps going wrong? Is it Karma? Are they cursed? It can feel so hard to resolve all the issues, but when you finally do, it’s glorious!

Peter- Unlucky Churn Monster
Peter Watt, Team Lead, Implementation and Support

 

CHAMPIONLESS  

Naomi finds the lack of a champion downright frightening. Why the fear? It’s distressing when you know the customer is a great fit for your product, they just don’t have a strong or consistent person to lead the charge. There is so much potential, if only they would own it!

Naomi - Championless Churn Monster
Naomi Aiken, Team Lead, Customer Success

GHOSTED

Bora chose Ghosted because she looks great in a cape and her favorite color is purple. Win-win. She now wears this to our office daily. MIA customers are a fun challenge for Bora—she has an arsenal of tactics to creatively get their attention and bring them back from the dead.

Bora - Ghosted Churn Monster
Bora Lee, Team Lead, Customer Success Operations

STUCK

Morgan gets chills when thinking about Stuck because, being on the Implementation team, she is all too familiar with customers getting stuck in the process. It can be a challenging situation, but also a rewarding one when you can help a customer get out of the rut! And she wanted to impress us all with her arts and crafts skills by making a fence out of spray-painted cardboard.

Morgan - Stuck Churn Monster
Morgan Carson, Implementation Specialist

 

CHEATER

There is nothing more shocking and horrifying than a Cheater, says Chase. In life and in CS. Sometimes you have a gut feeling that a customer is being courted by one of your competitors, but other times it’s a complete shock as your competitor is often spouting false information to win the deal and hit their quota. And a huge bummer! Both to you in the short-term and your valued customer in the long-term.

Chase - Abby Churn Monster
Chase Tinkham, Customer Success Manager

ACQUIRED

An unknown situation is quite eerie at times, says Lucas. And when a customer is acquired you often don’t know how it will affect your relationship with them. Will it lead to upsell? Will it lead to churn? Talk about losing sleep…

Lucas - Acquired Churn Monster
Lucas Farley, Customer Success Manager

DISENGAGED

Abby had a Gumby costume laying around so this was a great opportunity to put it to use again. She seeks regular opportunities to wear it. Abby fears a disengaged customer because she knows the great things that can be accomplished when a customer puts in the work (please please!). When a disengaged customer won’t talk to her she likes to…wait, are you still there? Hello? Hello? Oh, the horror!

Abby - Disengaged Churn Monster
Abby Hammer, Chief Customer Officer

KNOW IT ALL

No one likes working with a smarty-pants who thinks they know more than you. Bri finds a Know it All quite ghastly, but not impossible. As a CSM we must approach the customer with special care, and sometimes soothe their ego, to win them over.

Bri - Know It All Churn Monster
Bri Adams, Customer Success Manager

MANIC

Scott chose Manic because, as part of our Support team, he knows the haunting feeling of an all-over-the-place customer who you need to reel in. It’s going to be okay. Scott is here to help.

Scott - Manic Churn Monster
Scott Polidoro, Customer Support Representative 

SLACKER

Being on the implementation team, Akoye feels the haunting chills of slackers past. You know the feeling, when you are giving the customer all the information (and encouragement!) to succeed, you just need them to roll out of bed and get to work.

Akoye - Slacker Churn Monster
Akoye Gamory, Implementation Specialist 

 

ABANDONED

Sometimes a customer is just… lost. And Matt knows what to do! As part of our support team, he battles this monstrous beast with his quick wit, friendliness, and TLC approach. This customer needs love, and Matt is there with open arms.

Matt - Abandoned Churn Monster
Matt Schlosser, Technical Customer Support Representative

And in case you were wondering who won the churn monster costume contest…it was our Implementation and Support Team Lead, Peter Watt, who dressed up as the Unlucky churn monster. How very lucky for him! 😉

customer success software churn monster playbookTo learn more about the churn monsters that might be in your closet, download our churn monster playbook, which can be your definitive guide in fighting customer churn.

Download Now


How to Get 20/20 Foresight for Your 2020 Customer Success Planning

2020 Customer Success planningWednesday, November 6, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

As we are now in Q4, the high-pressure budget and strategy planning season is officially underway in SaaS organizations around the globe.

Customer Success teams are on the hook to finish out the year strong, perform Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs), determine and refresh key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new year, finalize budgets – and most importantly ensure their customers are successful going into the new year.

To help you and your team with this arduous process, please join our panel-style webinar to hear advice on:

  • End-of-year retention and upsell efforts
  • Analyzing performance for 2020 forecasting
  • Customer Success operations planning
  • Budgeting and getting buy-in for resources

 

2020 Customer Success Leader Panel


Register Now


Customer Success Around the Web


Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post The Fear of Churn appeared first on ChurnZero.

Health Scores and Automation Increase Team Productivity – A Success Story

Health Scores and Automation Increase Team Productivity – A Success Story 

 

Untappd is a growing technology platform that allows consumers to ‘check in’ and share which beers they are currently enjoying. Besides creating a tight-knit community of beer enthusiasts, Untappd’s mobile application allows for tens of thousands of businesses to promote and publish their beverage menus.  By bringing together enthusiasts and businesses, Untappd is advancing the global beverage industry while helping users discover their next great beer. 

 

The Challenges  

Untappd’s fastgrowing CS team struggled to keep up with their increasing userbase. With rapid gains in both user and business accounts, the company sought a dedicated tool that would provide insights into customer health and automate existing processes. 

Untappd’s Challenges included: 

  1. No centralized ‘home-base’ for their CS team to work out of. It was a struggle to keep up with customer data, account history and overall satisfaction. A lack of a centralized workspace increased the chances that client tasks could slip through the cracks. 
  1. There was little guidance and automation when it came to renewal management. The team had no assurance that the right customers were receiving the right messaging at the right times. In some ways outreach felt more reactive than proactive. 
  1. A lack of task management and easily accessible health scores prevented the team from fully harnessing their data. Furthermore, questions surrounded how to best utilize existing customer data when creating health scores. 

 

Meeting Untappd’s Goals  

Untappd took several steps to increase their productivity and keep up with a growing customer base: 

  • Harness Data-Driven Insights – A centralized CS platform allows the team to access in-depth data about their customers and their product usage. Easily available data paired with tools like NPS, allow for tailored engagement. Untappd is now ensured that every customer interaction counts. 
  • Standardize Customer Health ScoresThe team worked to identify the metrics that most accurately scored their customer’s health.  Properly weighted health indicators ensure that the team stays up to date on churn risks. Best of all this data is available at a glance – vireal time Alerts, the Command Center and even Slack. 
  • Increase Productivity Through Automation –  Automation has enabled the team to proactively engage with customers and reduce their manual day-to-day tasks. Besides cutting out time intensive tasks, the team is now assured that their customers are being targeted with timely and relevant messaging. 
  • Map Their Customer’s Journey – The team can now track account progress in real time, by mapping their customer’s journey. From onboarding through renewal, the team is now equipped to take a more proactive approach to account management. 

 

The Impact 

In less than a year the Untappd team has realized considerable gainsTheir adoption of a dedicated Customer Success platform created unparalleled customer visibility and a way to add efficiency to their CS function. 

  • More robust Customer Segmenting and Health Scoring has allowed the team to prioritize their communications. Powerful segmentation allowed for retention rates to increase, usage trends to be identified and service gaps closed.  
  • Automation and Task Management have enabled Customer Success Managers to be more efficient during customer renewal cycles. Despite differing renewal cycles and contract terms, automation and task management ensures that the team doesn’t skip a beat. 
  • Untappd’s CSMs have found a home in their new workplace – The Command Center. Its centralized dashboard provides an easy way to track new client progress in real time and stay up to date with the latest account developments. 
  • Since implementation the team has increased their accounts managed to 15K+ SMBs.  Despite their rapid growth, the CS team is still equipped to deliver a seamless customer experience. 


Don’t just take it from us – whether your CS team is new or well-established, consider the gains that a Customer Success platform can provide 
for your organization 

VP of Customer Success
Curious to learn more about how Untappd transformed their CS team with a dedicated customer success platform? Read the complete case study here. 

The post Health Scores and Automation Increase Team Productivity – A Success Story appeared first on ChurnZero.

Q&A: Rethinking Customer Onboarding to Accelerate Success

Q&A: Rethinking Customer Onboarding to Accelerate Success

 

Increasingly, Customer Success teams talk about helping customers successfully achieve their desired business outcomes, yet they do very little during onboarding to help customers achieve the results they require. Instead, many onboarding efforts are ineffective and often are narrowly focused on the technology itself.

Many of your customers lack the internal knowledge, expertise and infrastructure they need to successfully achieve their business goals using your (or any) software! It is time to boldly revamp your onboarding process to instead focus where your customers struggle the most – developing the capacity to drive internal success on their own.

To discuss this topic, we hosted a well-attended webinar last week with Jason Whitehead the Founder of Tri Tuns LLC, a Customer Success and Software Adoption Consulting firm. During the webinar he presented a proven model that you can use to help customers quickly shift their approach and build their capacity to drive their own internal success with your software.

We also touched on:

  • Why most onboarding efforts are ineffective and do not set your customers up for success with your software
  • Why your customers struggle to achieve their goals and how you can help them create their own internal success team
  • Specific tactics you can use to quickly improve your onboarding approach to be a force multiplier in driving customers success, while reducing the workload on your CS team

No worries if you missed the webinar (or would just simply like to view it again) you can view it on-demand here.

During the webinar we conducted three audience polls to get a gauge on where attendees were in terms of helping their customers drive adoption. Where do you fall? Do you relate to others in these regards?

user adoption poll 1

user adoption poll 2

user adoption poll 3

We also engaged in a great Q&A session with the presenter, that we wanted to share with you here.


Q&A Recap

Speaker: Jason Whitehead, CEO, Tri Tuns and Co-Founder of Customer Success Mastermind

 

Q: How do you engage with customers who do not see a value in sharing their business goals or vision for the next year, three years, five years, etc.?

A: What I found to be helpful is sometimes taking a couple of steps back and asking them – well, why did you buy our software? What are some of the problems that you want to solve? And sometimes you can come at things a little bit sideways. For example, tell me how did you realize that was an issue that needs solving? What are the implications if we don’t solve that? So, start there and get them a little bit more comfortable with it or even just directly ask if there’s a reason they don’t want to share that information and sometimes it may be they don’t know or they may view it as confidential and then you can come back and say – well the more we understand what you’re trying to achieve the better. We can recommend solutions that you may not know are available to you and can help you achieve your goals.

So, start wherever you need to start and build a relationship because you don’t want to turn them off, but you want to keep asking for that. Asking these types of questions that will get you the answers you need even if they won’t answer the direct question itself. So, that’s one way to do it.

The other way you can do this is sort of help them with tools and templates. Help them line of sight it and say okay- we want to use this feature and function and we need to communicate to your team – 1) why you want to do this 2) by when 3) we will know we are successful when we achieve X 4) by doing Y.

But ultimately I think if you have a customer that really is combative for whatever reason, they’re going to use your product, they don’t want you to help them with this, and if you have a larger customer base, sometimes you just have to say- you know what, we should probably focus in somewhere else where we will be more successful because our confidence in this person or team to get the value that they need to renew is low and it may not be worth our time and effort to keep fighting a battle that we are probably not going to win.

 

Q: How do you start a conversation regarding a customer’s need to establish an internal success team for your product?

A: That’s one of my favorite questions. So, one of the things that I think that you can do this is start with a question. For example- tell me about your current technology stack? Tell me about all the applications you have in your company and how many of those are getting full 100% effective adoption? How many of those would you say you are getting the full value from? And they’re probably going to say, you know, none of them. And then you start to say well, tell me on average, what’s your typical system look like? How much value would you say get you’re getting from them? And they’ll probably say somewhere between 1—30%, maybe 50%.

And then one of the other things you can do is say well, let me share with you what I see happen with most customers when they go through and implement software and you tell me if this fits your organization. Then we can talk about some things we might do differently and that’s when I typically draw out an ROI chart.

If you go to our website, we have a free e-course out there that really walks through that chart in more detail and it has a narrative on exactly what I’ve used with customers to open up that conversation. And once I get this “aha” that we need this, the issue is not the same system live issue, it’s making sure people use it, you know one, three, and five years down the road.

Then I start to say, well tell me about how you typically structure that process and that’s when we go into recommendation mode. That’s when you can say- we highly recommend that you invest in a team. Depending on how big they are, the team can be one person, part-time if it’s a really small application used by very few people. Or I’ve had customers where they had a team of 15 full-time and create an entire new department about it because it was an organization-wide Enterprise issue.

So, that’s usually a great way to start the conversation, by asking a couple probing question, flip out the ROI chart and say – this is what typically happens – and ask some questions to get their head bobbing and then go through and add that recommendation.

 

Q: How do you go about sharing usage data to drive adoption with your customer without it seeming like you’re calling out users or “tattling” to their manager?  

A: One of the things that has been really helpful is early on when you’re planning an adoption program, set the expectation with folks say – one of the things that people need to adjust are their behaviors, they need feedback about how they’re doing and most people want that. So, you need to present this and say, here’s how we’re going to do this. You will be getting reports that show where the system is being used and whether there’s issues or there’s parts of non-usage and initially this is a learning curve, and we’re using this for the next six months. This is going to be used to help us figure out where we need to adjust our behavior, where we need to adjust the system or where we need to adjust expectations.

So, we’re going to report on this for the first six months and then after that we expect you to come through that learning curve because we want you to do your job differently using the system. The new message is not just how well you do your job matters, it’s also how you do your job and if you’re using the technology.

That’s part of your job and if you’re implementing it in a way that prevents other from using the system because they don’t have access to data because you never put it in or you put things in late or in the wrong place, that’s sort of a performance management issue at that point. So it becomes a performance management tool and then eventually down the road if people are still not using it over the long term and they’ve been asked to and they’ve been unable to do it, then you need to take individual actions just like you would if someone’s not performing their job, you know outside of technology. So really setting those expectations of – this is a learning tool and that we’re going to use it down the road after this window to monitor performance then to take action as necessary, but it’s not punitive out of the gate.

 

Q: How do you elevate your primary contact within the company from end users to a decision maker to plan the adoption program?

A: I would say it should really start during the sales process. Part of this is getting your salespeople to focus on having the right discussions with customers, not just landing the initial sale, but making sure we’re selling for renewals from the very beginning and including this as part of our sales process.

So, say- whoever is going to be writing the check, whoever had approval authority for this, let’s talk with them about how we’re going to create value for them, so they want to renew over the next 20 years, and let’s talk about the steps that we need to do that.

I know a lot of our clients might say they only have an end user or someone in the tech support of system administrator role, but they don’t have someone else there. And they can say – I need to have a conversation with someone about these bigger issues across the entire user base because there’s probably some things that need to happen in order for your organization to get more value. If you’re not the right person who will be the person to talk to about this, I don’t want to waste your time. Can you connect me to them? And many times, people will help with that. Sometimes you’ll get a gatekeeper and you need to get creative about how you get around that.

Some folks have even gone as far as to call a main number or use LinkedIn and see who the right person is. Then when you get to the decision maker and they are saying hey, we’re writing a check for the system because we have a problem to solve and we want to get value from it. If you can have a nice compelling discussion about how you can add value for them and how you can help them really de-risk their investment and improve their organization – they’ll want to talk to you. It can just take some hunting to get to the right person.

 

Q: What’s a common objection you hear when pitching a comprehensive change management plan? And how do you overcome them?

A: I often hear we need to just sell people on what’s in it for me or we need to just do a little training, or the user interface is so intuitive we won’t possibly need all of this. And that’s when I usually come back and the easiest way to do that is to ask really compelling and targeted questions and usually in a sequence that you need to think through to create the “aha” that oh that’s not the case, we’re going to have some issues around that.

And sometimes I’ll say things like, you know what, I hear that from a lot of folks and then they typically find that six months later people really aren’t using it and they don’t know why or a year down the road they’ve had all these other problems because they didn’t know there were other factors that prevented people from using it even if they wanted to or they didn’t realize there were so many interdependencies in their organization because someone downstream couldn’t use the information because someone in the upstream process like in sales or marketing didn’t give them the correct information.

So then, I would say, whose job is it to take care of this? Whose job is it to make sure that if these conflicts arise and they say- no one. Um, well that’s a challenge.

During our methodology training class there’s a whole bunch of questions we ask people in sequence and one of the first ones that you can ask that are impactful is- whose job is it to make sure that the system is used in generating business value a year or three years down the road? Who in your organization is accountable for that? And typically, you’ll hear, well, no one and then, that’s a problem. So, if no one is accountable for that, how likely is it to happen? Not very likely.

So maybe we should do something about that and then walk them through other questions. So, what are the activities that you need to do? And if they say, oh I’m not sure. Okay, well let’s talk about that. And as you go through this and get some really interesting head nods. Oh, this is bigger than I thought but remember, this is new for a lot of people. It’s not part of their day job to think about user adoption and how they are going to drive that, until you ask them the questions that make them realize that this is a huge issue that they need to address and then they’re like okay, I’ve got to do something.

 

Q: Let’s say they are onboard for creating an adoption team. How big is that team and who is it comprised of?

A: How big it is all depends on how large your organization is and how complex the application needs to be and really how much work needs to be done on an ongoing basis. So, I would also say that typically you will need a larger team and more effort upfront during the initial implementation and initial adoption and accelerating through that phase. And then after a year or so, after go-live, it’ll probably shrink significantly to just be more of an ongoing adoption effort and get people to adopt new features and functions.

I’ve seen some people do it if it’s a very small organizations where it’s a part-time role. I’ve had one client where they create an entire new department with over 15 people with full-time jobs, senior executive in the organization heading it up to make sure that this happened all the way through. So that was their full-time team, sort of their core adoption team and then each location, each division had their own representatives on that team that had work to do in their location working a little bit more hands-on for a period of time so it can get kind of expensive because you need to think of this as an organization transformation to really help people drive adoption and adopt new ways of working not just new technology. And that’s a bigger challenge because its people, it’s processes, it’s policies.

So, you do need a more comprehensive effort. And it really depends on the organization. But definitely what I’ve found is that when people make those investments in this the business outcomes for their organization and not just the value, they get form their technology but throughout the entire adoption transformation effort it’s really astronomical and it can really pay for itself.

To hear this recorded Q&A you can view the full webinar on-demand here. 

View Now

If you would like to hear more from our guest speaker Jason Whitehead, check out his podcast- “The Jasons Take On…” which is an unplugged conversational series on key Customer Success topics.


Upcoming Webinar

How to Get 20/20 Foresight for Your 2020 Customer Success Planning

2020 Customer Success planningWednesday, November 6, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

As we are now in Q4, the high-pressure budget and strategy planning season is officially underway in SaaS organizations around the globe.

Customer Success teams are on the hook to finish out the year strong, perform Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs), determine and refresh key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new year, finalize budgets – and most importantly ensure their customers are successful going into the new year.

To help you and your team with this arduous process, please join our panel-style webinar to hear advice on:

  • End-of-year retention and upsell efforts
  • Analyzing performance for 2020 forecasting
  • Customer Success operations planning
  • Budgeting and getting buy-in for resources

Moderator: Abby Hammer, Chief Customer Officer, ChurnZero

Panelists:

  • Geeta Arora, VP of Customer Success, LeagueApps
  • Antoinette Abboud, Director of Customer Success, Levelset
  • Danielle Middlebrook, Sr. Director of Customer Success, Sendoso


Register Now


Customer Success Around the Web


Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post Q&A: Rethinking Customer Onboarding to Accelerate Success appeared first on ChurnZero.

Churn Monster: Know-It-All Customer

Churn Monster #14: Know-It-All Customer

 

Churn Monster - Know It All CustomerHi churn fighters! We have a new churn monster to introduce to you today – a Know-It-All customer.

A Know-It-All customer is someone who behaves as if they know everything, and constantly presents their input as though they were professionally trained or have firsthand insight into subjects when it is evident that is not the case.

Does that churn monster description ring any bells for you with your current customer base? The answer is most likely yes! As Customer Success Managers, I’m sure you’ve all dealt with a customer that puts up a fight every time you try to offer advice or guidance, because they disagree with your input and think they know better. This can be very frustrating and harmful to the customer relationship.

Since this is a situation we’ve all experienced, let’s take a look at a scenario involving a know-it-all customer, and how you might best handle this type of personality and help them be successful.

 

The Scenario

You have a new customer account come across your desk. You look through the hand-off notes from Sales and you are getting the sense you might soon have a difficult customer on your hands. The Account Executive informs you that the sales process was very drawn out, and the main point of contact, was a bit of a know it all, which created a lot of unnecessary back and forth in the buying process.

You are wondering how you should go about taking on this customer to have things go as smoothly as possible. 

 

Plan of Action

In your past experiences you’ve learned that when a customer acts this way, it most likely comes from their own insecurities. So, you decide in the welcome call to attempt to disarm this type of behavior you will start by offering kudos to the customer for clearly doing their research and making a smart buying decision. This seems to be taken positively.

As they are going through the onboarding process your Implementation Specialist informs you that the customer is insistent that their data needs to be mapped in a non-standard way.

First you meet internally to fully understand where the customer is coming from to try and know for sure if they are in fact correct. With the help of your Development team it is determined that the customer is incorrect and it most likely stems from a misunderstanding of how a particular feature operates. Since you know this could be a sensitive circumstance to correct the customer, you schedule a meeting and very gently and positively explain the misconception. You attempt to make them feel better by saying that they are not the first to have this same misunderstanding.

During this call they also state something else as a fact, that you know is incorrect, but you decide that that “error” is irrelevant to the current discussion, so you just let it pass without comment.

Now that you have gotten everyone on the same page with the data mapping procedures you guys are in a much better place and they have officially gone live.

Since this customer doesn’t like to be told what to do, you are worried that training will be difficult. They attend onboarding training and not surprisingly are one of the most vocals ones in the course, but your team just takes it in stride and offers recognition here and there for instances that they provide correct input.

You are so thankful that your team has a plethora of resources for your customers to help them with continued training and adoption. Since this customer likes to be an expert you make sure he is aware of all of the resources and certification programs available to him.

In the end, you positioned it right to allow this customer to become a champion of your product (and although irritating at times) has been empowered to become one of your biggest advocates and is very vocal in the marketplace on why your product is a smart buying decision and exactly how to get the most value out of it.  

You have also learned to tailor your approach with the customer to help strengthen the relationship. You firstly have learned to not take their constant questioning personally. You aim to shift these conversations to be respectful and a sharing of knowledge. You also whenever possible, keep your reasoning short and cite sources or examples, so it’s harder to pick apart. And lastly, you learned that since they seem desperate for a little recognition, and it costs you nothing to provide it (as long as you aren’t reinforcing false information), you make sure to give some praise in each of your interactions with this customer.

Awesome work on tackling this know-it-all churn monster head on!

Follow the links below to check out the other churn monsters that were previous part of our series.

 


The Churn Monster Playbook: Your Definitive Guide to Fighting Customer Churn

customer success software churn monster playbookIn this playbook, we will catalog the common monsters that attack customer retention. For each churn monster, we will give a description of what its churn risk looks like, so you can easily identify it within your customer accounts. We will also give you actionable tips to help you combat each churn monster, and insight into how ChurnZero can help.

Download this playbook now to learn how to fight customer churn.

Download Now

 


Customer Success Around the Web


Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post Churn Monster: Know-It-All Customer appeared first on ChurnZero.

6 Things CSMs Need to Do Today to Blow Q4 Out of the Water

6 things Customer Success Managers need to do for Q4

If you work in a B2B SaaS company, you know that across the board, Q4 is always the biggest sales quarter of the year. Q4 is where the magic happens – prospects are geared up and ready to buy, to capitalize on extra end of year budget and set themselves and their teams up to have the right tools moving into the new year.

With the end of year being the busiest buying season, it then also in turn becomes the heaviest renewal period for Customer Success teams. This can be a stressful time, but if you’re prepared for it ahead of time, and have a plan of action, you can blow Q4 out of the water.

Here’s six things Customer Success Managers should start doing today to make Q4 their strongest quarter yet and close out the year strong.

 

1.) Set A Goal for the Quarter

If you fail to set a goal regarding your Q4 renewal efforts, it’s going to be a lot harder to make it a great quarter. You should be very clear about what you want to achieve. If you decide you want to hit 98% renewed revenue and a certain revenue amount in upsells, commit to doing the necessary activities to reach that number. In order to be pushing towards these goals you will want to diligently track your progress against these metrics throughout the quarter.

 

2.) Know Your Accounts’ Budgeting Timeline

For accounts that are up for renewal in Q4, you should have a good understanding of their budgeting process and timeline. Timing is everything. If you are trying to grow an account and reach out to them after their budgeting period is complete it will be a lot harder to get those additional dollars approved.  Most companies do their annual budgeting at the end of the year (EOY) or the beginning of their next fiscal year, but this might not always be the case.

Be sure to make a note in your CS management platform with your account’s budgeting timeframe so you can be alerted when it’s timely to reach out about the renewal.

 

3.) Reach Out to Acknowledge the Renewal

Ideally it would be best to start your outreach process 90 days out from the renewal date. Never hesitate to bring up the renewal early on. The more time you give yourself to work through negotiations and approvals the better.

At a minimum you should have a renewal conversation with your customer at least 60 days out from their subscription expiration date. You will want to make sure you have done your preliminary research before reaching out to the customer. Check their product usage, their customer health score, and their NPS scores. Overall you want to understand where there might have been gaps in value and also how they measure up to their goals.

You might also want to consider offering an incentive to encourage your customers to renew early, which can help decrease the pressure on you at the end of the period.

 

4.) Conduct a Quarterly Business Review (QBR)

Hopefully you are already conducting QBRs with your accounts, but for those that line up with a Q4 renewal, you have the opportunity to place more emphasis on their annual goals and the progress they’ve made within the past year. It’s vital that you are able to demonstrate the value of the partnership, as that will go a long way in helping your customers make the decision to stick with you and continue to work together.

You will also want to be sure all the key players are present for this meeting, including departments managers and executive sponsors. It might also be a good idea to bring back in the sales rep that originally sold the account to reinforce the business case that was outlined from the start.

 

5.) Put Forward Upsell Opportunities

In QBRs with your customers make sure to listen and learn as much as you can around what areas they are struggling and their goals, to get a better understanding of how your product might be able to help them with their challenges as well as support their business objectives.

Instead of just trying to sell all of your new or available products at once, make your upsell/cross-sell proposals relevant to them and their needs. This will go a long way in terms of you being seen as their trusted advisor. Once they see you are truly aware and concerned with their needs, they will listen to your suggestions and happily try new and more costly features.

 

6.) Make the Process Clear

Make the renewal process easy on your customer by making it known exactly what they need to do (if anything at all) to renew. They might renew automatically, via self-service, or by manually singing a new contract. You just have to make all the options clear and help customers choose the most appropriate renewal method for them.

Also, if you are offering any discounts, make sure you spell out those terms and put in a signing deadline in order to take advantage of that offer.

 

Even though a lot is riding on Q4 performance as it can make a huge impact on a company’s bottom line for the year, it doesn’t have to be overly stressful if you set out your game plan a execute on it. Now lets go out and blow Q4 out of the water!


Upcoming Customer Success Webinar


Rethinking Customer Onboarding to Accelerate Success

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT


Speaker: Jason Whitehead

Jason Whitehead, Customer Success MastermindIncreasingly, Customer Success teams talk about helping customers successfully achieve their desired business outcomes, yet they do very little during onboarding to help customers achieve the results they require. Instead, many onboarding efforts are ineffective and often are narrowly focused on the technology itself.

Many of your customers lack the internal knowledge, expertise and infrastructure they need to successfully achieve their business goals using your (or any) software! It is time to boldly revamp your onboarding process to instead focus where your customers struggle the most – developing the capacity to drive internal success on their own.

This webinar presents a proven model that you can use to help customers quickly shift their approach and build their capacity to drive their own internal success with your software.

Join the webinar to learn:

  1. Why most onboarding efforts are ineffective and do not set your customers up for success with your software
  2. Why your customer struggle to achieve their goals and how you can to help them create their own internal success team
  3. Specific tactics you can use to quickly improve your onboarding approach to be a force multiplier in driving customers success, while reduce the workload on your CS team

 

Register Now


Customer Success Around the Web

Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post 6 Things CSMs Need to Do Today to Blow Q4 Out of the Water appeared first on ChurnZero.

Fostering a ‘Customer Success First’ Attitude Across Your Organization

Customer First

Author: Alexander Weihmann

Fostering a ‘Customer Success First’ Attitude Across Your Organization

 

The success of your customers no longer lies squarely on one team or department. In today’s hyper-customer-oriented environment, the success of your customers is no longer limited to the responsibility of your Customer Success or Support teams. Instead, every part of your organization must be aligned with the needs, desires and wants of today’s ever-evolving customers. 

Whether you are a CEO or an Associate, every member of your organization has a stake in Customer Success. It’s no longer enough to isolate CS as a separate business function. The mindset of Customer Success should saturate across every role at your company. 

Customers are willing to pay a premium price for great customer experience. More than two-thirds of customers are raising their standards of what constitutes good CX, and the stakes have never been higher! 

Are you curious how you can foster a ‘Customer Success First’ attitude across your entire company? Read on to discover three ways your team can drive customer-oriented thinking, from the boardroom to the sales floor. 

 

Share Customer Victories, Failures and Processes Company Wide 

Many organizations struggle with ‘over-compartmentalization’ of their business functions. Put simply, this limits the flow of information about customers across different teams and departments. A lack of customer understanding can have a significant impact on your bottom line. 

It’s important for all employees to understand that Customer Success and churn are company-wide issues. Everyone has a stake in customer relationships. Customer Success is not just a single department – you must develop an overarching organizational commitment to customer excellence. 

So how can you get everyone in your organization to embrace a customer-first attitude? Consider the following tactics: 

For Your Sales Team: 

  • Encourage members of your Sales team to shadow their counterparts on the Customer Success team. Not only can this help Account Executives understand the role and responsibilities of Customer Success, but it can show them how sales ‘inputs’ impact the rest of the customer lifecycle. As many CS professionals attest, aligning CS and Sales is essential to any successful customer implementation. 

For Your Executive Team: 

  • Have members of your executive team reach out to recently churned accounts to figure out what went wrong. This can be an uncomfortable conversation but is always insightful. The objective is not to win back a customer – but rather to listen and learn about what went wrong. Not only will your churned customer respect you, but you’ll uncover applicable lessons for your next customer. 
  • Consider assigning non-CS executives to a strategic customer accounts. While they’ll be hands off when it comes to the day-to-day CS functions, this provides your executive team with real-time insights and better understanding of the entire customer lifecycle. Read only user licenses for a Customer Success platform are one such way executives can stay abreast of the latest account developments. 

For Your Entire Organization: 

  • Devote a few minutes of company-wide meetings to review customer victories and failures. Your goal is to explain how everyone in the organization contributed to these wins or shortcomings. Every employee should be aware of how they fit into the success of your customers. 
  • Weekly email or Slack posts, known internally at ChurnZero as ‘Feel Good Fridays’, provide a valuable way to highlight customer victories. These not only keep the entire company aware of the latest customer developments but help recognize the relevant teams and contributors. 

By sharing customer successes and failures with every member of your organization, everyone will be better in tune with your customer needs. No matter your approach, ensure that customer information can easily flow between all units of your company.  

Put Customer Data Within Reach 

Sharing both customer successes as well as failures on a regular basis is a great way to cement a customer-first culture within your organization. But as any customer-facing professional knows, a lot can change on a weekly basis. So how do you ensure real-time customer data is always within reach? 

Consider using tools that provide seamless access to customer information in your existing workspaces. 

ChatBots and Similar Tools 

  • With instant messaging becoming more common in the workplace, consider tools like Slackbot integrations that can unlock customer insights in a few clicks. Tools exist that can not only pull relevant account and contact data but can notify you of changes in Health Scores or upcoming renewals. 

Dashboards for Executive Users 

  • Consider creating easy-to-use dashboards within your CRM or CS platform. Dashboards containing information regarding health scores and high-risk or ‘stuck’ customers provide actionable data for both your CS and executive teams.  Best of all this data can be augmented with custom alerts that help manage customer escalations. 

Above all remember: you must be able to measure your customer data in order to make use of it! 

 

Create a Customer Centric Foundation 

Culture is the foundation for any customer-centric organization. Customer Success can’t just be a priority for the CS team. Sales, Marketing and even frontline staff need to know how their role plays into the broader mission of CS. When everyone on the team is aware of the significance of their role in Customer Success, they will be more invested in generating successful outcomes. 

Clearly explain the impact of Customer Success on both corporate growth and your own internal goals. Furthermore, find ways to develop accountability and KPIs that align with other parts of your organization. Ensuring that every member of your organization is invested in Customer Success can make all the difference. 

Make sure every member of your organization understands that: 

  • Customers must be set up for success from the beginning. You must constantly identify shortcomings, situations that lead to unmet expectations and eliminate opportunities for over promising. This starts with the beginning of the customer cycle and includes Sales and Marketing teams.  
  • Complex implementations require communication and properly set expectations. Projects that start on the wrong path are very difficult to correct. Whether on the contracts team or an implementation manager, everyone must understand what success means to the customer. 
  • Appropriately handling customer issues is great – but this should not be the end goal. Preventing customer issues in the first place should be your biggest priority. Both your customers and your support team will thank you! 

 

Now That You Know 

Fostering a ‘Customer Success First’ attitude in your organization is easier said than done. In fact, it can be a major obstacle for any SaaS organization that is looking to grow. Thankfully an abundance of tools – like SlackCustomer Success platforms and approaches – like company-wide meetings – can aid in establishing a customer-oriented foundation. 

Curious to learn how ChurnZero drive Customer Success thinking across your organization? Schedule a demo today. 


Upcoming Webinar

Rethinking Customer Onboarding to Accelerate Success
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT


Speaker: Jason Whitehead

Jason Whitehead, Customer Success MastermindIncreasingly, Customer Success teams talk about helping customers successfully achieve their desired business outcomes, yet they do very little during onboarding to help customers achieve the results they require. Instead, many onboarding efforts are ineffective and often are narrowly focused on the technology itself.

Many of your customers lack the internal knowledge, expertise and infrastructure they need to successfully achieve their business goals using your (or any) software! It is time to boldly revamp your onboarding process to instead focus where your customers struggle the most – developing the capacity to drive internal success on their own.

This webinar presents a proven model that you can use to help customers quickly shift their approach and build their capacity to drive their own internal success with your software.

Join the webinar to learn:

  1. Why most onboarding efforts are ineffective and do not set your customers up for success with your software
  2. Why your customer struggle to achieve their goals and how you can to help them create their own internal success team
  3. Specific tactics you can use to quickly improve your onboarding approach to be a force multiplier in driving customers success, while reduce the workload on your CS team

 

Register Now


Customer Success Around the Web

Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

The post Fostering a ‘Customer Success First’ Attitude Across Your Organization appeared first on ChurnZero.