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.

ChurnZero Named Overall SaaS Category Winner in 2019 APPEALIE Awards

Appealie primary logo

2019 SaaS Awards Announced – Appealie Honors Best Product and Leaders in SaaS

 

Appealie 2019 BadgeAPPEALIE has announced the winners of the 2019 SaaS Awards, including inaugural executive and investor awards.

23 SaaS apps were recognized for their demonstrated excellence and customer outcomes. Winning SaaS platforms included Alteryx, Ceridian, ChurnZero, SalesLoft, Slack, and Zoom.

“The expectations of today’s software buyers and users increase each year. Our highly selective, data-driven software award honors customer-obsessed SaaS platforms that deliver extraordinary experiences,” commented Matt Harney, Founder of APPEALIE.

“No longer can businesses assume their customers are happy and successful, they must work to keep them successful,” said You Mon Tsang, CEO and Founder of ChurnZero. “We think of ChurnZero as a leading technology provider in the important and burgeoning space of Customer Success, and why we see recognition like this award as a benchmark to live up to in delivering real business value to our customers.”

 The 2019 APPEALIE SaaS Award winners are presented below.

 

OVERALL SAAS AWARD WINNERS

Overall SaaS Award winners were selected using Net Promoter Scores™ (NPS), customer responses to APPEALIE’s proprietary survey, UI/UX, recent product improvements, amongst other criteria.  

  • Alteryx
  • Artemis Health
  • Backlog
  • BirdEye
  • CallRail
  • ChurnZero
  • Copper
  • Gusto
  • Invoca
  • Kajabi
  • SalesLoft
  • Slack
  • Ushur
  • Workiva
  • Zoom

SAAS CUSTOMER SUCCESS AWARD WINNERS

Judged by customer success experts, entrants submitted documentation for their best customer success stories and outcomes.

  • Ceridian
  • Chargify
  • Inference Solutions
  • com
  • SignalFx
  • Totango
  • TripleSeat
  • UserIQ

 

SAAS INVESTOR OF CHOICE AWARD WINNERS

“Today’s very best SaaS entrepreneurs often have their choice of investors. This new award recognizes the SaaS investors that bring the most value to their portfolio,” commented Matt Harney. 

The SaaS investor award selection process was driven by feedback from entrepreneurs and portfolio companies based on the value an investor adds, whether in terms of strategic advice, recruiting, fundraising, M&A, and network introductions.

  • Promod Haque – Senior Managing Partner – Norwest Venture Partners
  • Kelly Perdew – Managing General Partner – Moonshots Capital
  • Bryan Stolle – Founding Partner – Wildcat Venture Partners

 

NEW INDIVIDUAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS:

Through peer nominations, our executive winners were selected based on their track record of achieving goals, leadership skills, and ability to attract and retain talent.

 

SAAS MARKETING LEADER AWARD WINNERS

  • Michaela Dempsey – VP of Demand and Head of Marketing – Scout RFP
  • Meagen Eisenberg – Chief Marketing Officer – TripActions
  • Barbra Gago – Chief Marketing Officer – Miro
  • Udi Ledergor – VP Marketing – Gong
  • Dan Visnick – Chief Marketing Officer – HoneyBook

 

SAAS CUSTOMER SUCCESS LEADER AWARD WINNERS

  • Lawton Ursrey – VP of Customer Success – UserIQ
  • Andy Lyon – Director of Account Management – Enterprise – ZoomInfo

All awards were presented at the 2019 APPEALIE SaaS Conference in San Francisco.

 

ABOUT APPEALIE

The APPEALIE SaaS Awards are the most selective in software.

Winning SaaS apps are selected on the basis of customer feedback and data, including Net Promoter Scores™ and customer responses to APPEALIE’s proprietary survey. APPEALIE also conducts further due diligence beyond entrant applications to ensure each winner meets its standards of excellence. 

Similarly, our SaaS executive leadership and investor awards are selected based on peer nominations and proprietary survey responses. 

Pronounced “appeal-eee,” our name APPEALIE originates from our mission to recognize the most appealing apps in SaaS.

https://appealie.com/

Attribution: Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

                                                                         

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 Overall SaaS Category Winner in 2019 APPEALIE Awards appeared first on ChurnZero.

Q&A: How to Build Effective Customer Success Plans

Q&A: How to Build Effective Customer Success Plans

 

Every Customer Success Plan has a secret sauce that turns it from just a plan on paper to something a team can actually execute and deliver successfully. CS Plans should consist of the right balance of touch points, type of touch points and specific high value outcomes that guide customers along their roadmap to being fully entrenched and engaged with your solution.

To talk on this topic of how to build effective Success Plans we hosted a well-attended webinar last week with Jackie Golden, CEO of LandNExpand. She has become the “go-to” person for building the ultimate Customer Success model.

During the webinar she taught attendees how to:

  • Identify the high value problems your customers have that your solution can solve
  • Track the progress your customers have made towards solving these problems with your solution
  • Uncover additional high value problems the customer should be considering that you can solve for them
  • Deliver high value outcomes that create hard ROI and real impact on your customers’ business

No worries on if you missed this webinar (or even if you want to listen to it again), you can view the webinar on-demand here.

We also engaged in a great Q& session with Jackie that we wanted to re-share with you.

 

Q&A Recap

Speaker: Jackie Golden, CEO, LandNExpand

Q: What are your recommendations on keeping CSMs from being shoved down to a lower level customer contact after the initial sale. The original C-level or VP level decision makers nearly always ignore or refuse to meet with CSMs during QBR or Customer Success Plan meetings. It’s hard to keep strategic alignment when CSMs get pushed down to the lower level folks. What is your recommendation to help this?

A: This is where you bring in those stakeholders or the executives in your organization that have relationships with those people who bought. What I’ve done with teams is, give CSMs the ability to bring those issues into weekly meetings to say, I have a customer and I’m stuck at the low level. And then you can use your team to say, where are these relationships, and use those executives to get the meeting and they request that they come to a QBR.

Or in some cases if it’s just more of timing and hard to get them, we actually would create a separate meeting that we could walk through the roadmaps with them. Make sure they’re onboard with this roadmap. But it will enable you to meet them really where they’re at. What you have to do is get to the reason of why they’re not meeting with you and use your contact inside the company because somebody had meetings with them and somebody sold this person somewhere so they might have the ability to break down those walls and get you the meetings.

It may not be in your QBR, so don’t be suck with they’re not attending the QBR. Maybe you need to create a one-on-one type session with them outside of that that, because their schedules sometimes are very difficult to get on and I found when I actually talked to the executives, they’re not intentionally not wanting to be there. They just can’t ever fit those in and if you’re trying to get an audience of 10-15 people, it doesn’t always meet your executive sponsor’s schedule very well.

So, I would go at it a couple of different ways, but definitely use your connections inside who already have relationships.

 

Q: What do you do if you uncover a disconnect on expectations from the customer side in regard to the Customer Success Plan?

A: Again, the answer here is the roadmap. So, if they’ve never seen this roadmap you are going to have an issue. This happens a lot where in the sales cycle, you’re dealing with a different group of people. So, the group you are working with might have never seen the initial roadmap and plan that was previously agreed upon. And then they handed it to a team, and you might be walking into that team who’s like, yea, I don’t get it, but here’s what I need to do.

We always start with- we want you to understand the roadmap that we designed for you. And then we name all of the people that have seen the roadmap that are onboard with the roadmap and we want to take the time to walk you all through it so you understand what we shared with your executive team and what they bought into and how we’re going to help you transform. And then that brings them into the loop because you’re addressing it right up front, whether you do that in your kickoff meeting, or your design sessions, you want to bring them into the fold by basically walking them through that all over again.

And this is a common problem, I’ll walk in and they dive right into the details and the teams looking around the table going, I don’t even know why we’re here and what we’re doing and we don’t even know why they bought you and so you need to bring them into the fold right off the bat. That’s part of that customer experience that you create with your lifecycle and it’s a nice transition from sales over to the CSM team and that they’re introducing the players from the leadership team down to the actual working team and that you can even have sales help position that roadmap and reintroduce it to the next layer of people that are coming into the plan with you for execution.

 

Q: Can you explain further what you meant by maturity level?

A: So, the maturity level of every company is, if you think about a startup, startups will tackle problems and when something really is critical, it becomes all hands-on deck all the time, but that’s not scalable. So over time they start to organize. They start to create coordinated attacks, if you will. They start to divide and conquer. They start to create standards and policies and processes for how to collaborate across the organization, but be able to handle more customers with a more intentional standardized approach, which means you start being aware that you need specific levels of service and your experience with your customers that you want to deliver ten out of ten times. So, you want to start to standardize that experience and you want people to do things the same way that’s part of the maturity of a company that you start to put these standards and processes in place.

So, as you go from one level to the next year putting these standard and processes in place your then collecting data, you’re able to use data to figure out what’s working and what’s not. You’re able to shift and make changes in your organization a little bit more, not just quickly, but more intentionally, more purposeful. And then you’ll get to a point where you have enough data, enough standards, enough consistency with what you deliver on that you’re going to start to be able to predict your results in the market and your ability to deliver on products and services in a very standardized way that your customer start talking about. Like every time they deal with you, they get the same results, it’s high quality, it’s excellence.

So, maturity models in an industry are identifying companies in the industry and different maturity levels those companies are at.

 

Q: What stage in the lifecycle do clients typically struggle and what pre-emptive strategies do you have in place to prevent that?

A: Probably the biggest challenge in the customer lifecycle is what I call the coordinated attack. I think people get really comfortable in each of their own departments on what they can do and how they do it but the transition from a customer perspective from one to the other is the areas that I probably spend the most time helping clients to create a more coordinated effort for collaborating together and transition the customer throughout the lifecycle for different areas of services that they need to solve their problems and to keep them moving forward.

And so I spend more time on those transitions as well as to not be disruptive across the organization because again, when you’re a less mature company your way of dealing with the problem is you just run over to the person and go okay, we have this issue and so everybody’s being very disruptive to each other instead of creating some kind of standardized approach for how we will deal with all these different scenarios that come up with our customers in a very organized manner that creates a really good experience for the customer but isn’t quite so disruptive for the company. And so, we develop these together and get agreement and this is our standard approach now.

And then we just allow for flexibility. Meaning if the wheels fall off, you know, here’s what we’re going to do, kind of “in case of emergency”, do this, this, and this. But it will create a more collaborative approach but those are always the challenges in customer lifecycle models. I think people build these great journey maps out with great intention. Everybody does these really well but it’s those handoffs and those transitional periods as well as the collaborative approaches that you need to spend a little bit more time on and get agreement across the organization.

 

Q: What do you do when customers don’t necessarily want to put in the effort to measure the quantitative benefit of the product. Is there any way to measure it without involving the customer or giving them “homework”?

A: Well keep in mind that they’ve signed up for your roadmap to deliver on some high-value outcomes in the very beginning. We usually will lay out how we’re going to know we’re successful. And so, if they are avoiding that we usually will also bring in and or go back to our key sponsors and the people that were expecting these kind of outcomes to see what we can do to help make it easier for them to provide us that information so that we know that we are on track and delivering on these outcomes. And it’s rare that you’ll get a lot of pushback.

If you can keep some of the key leadership people involved whether that’s through the way you deliver on your reporting your status updates, your email campaigns, things that you want to make sure they’re aware of and what’s going on in their market. However, you want to make sure you deliver valuable content. You keep those leaders in the loop and part of that communication in an ongoing basis so that you could tap into them when you get a roadblock. You always want to make sure that you have those relationships from sales and make sure that you are introduced to all of those key players and that you build those relationships and keep them so you can tap into them when you need them and it’s usually when you get stuck down at the user level.

If somehow no one ever helped you to get introduced and be able to build relationships with some of the key people that were sold in the beginning that start to roadblock you from not being able to get to the people that you need to get that information- what I do is make sure they know it can be kept private. You know, we’re not going to use it to publish it, we just want to track it to make sure we’re delivering on this roadmap that we agreed to and that is usually what will help.

Sometimes they think they you’re just out for marketing or a case study kind of thing and sometimes they get a little shy of sharing that information. So, you can also tell them that you won’t do that. You can keep it private.

 

Q: Creating an individual lifecycle for each customer seems like a lot of effort. What do you suggest for CSMs that have 100+ client accounts to manage?

A: So, customer lifecycle model is built for a company not a customer and it is for a lot of companies. It’s only one customer lifecycle model. The only time it might change is if in their go-to-market strategy, if they’re going after multiple markets. So, for instance we have a solution for financial services, and we also have a solution for retail, or we have a solution for engineering organizations and a solution for marketing.

There’s usually one customer lifecycle model then the roadmaps get developed. Remember you’re using the 80/20 rule. So, if that market has you know tens of thousands of potential customers for you, you’re developing a roadmap, one roadmap for that market. So, for the majority of that market, these are the problems we solve, here’s the high-value outcomes. And then that allows you to have thousands of customers, that you can then do a high-tech touch to that group following that roadmap.

So when you get to the upper Mid-Market and Enterprise company level that might be the only reason why you might be more customized and specific because the problems you’re solving are more complex and therefore there might need to be some flexibility in that roadmap to address some very specific needs for those high-end Enterprise customers, but you’re still going after the 80/20 rule for the really big problems.

So hopefully that helped to clarify. You can actually create a Customer Success Plan for thousands of customers in a target market in a segment and deliver a tech touch automation to get them the right content.

To learn more about how you can build effective Customer Success Plans, take a listen to the webinar on-demand. 

View On-Demand


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 Q&A: How to Build Effective Customer Success Plans appeared first on ChurnZero.

Manage the Big Picture of Your Customers with ChurnZero and Teamwork Integrations

 

ChurnZero and Teamwork
Manage the Big Picture of Your Customers with ChurnZero and Teamwork Integrations

ChurnZero is announcing that we are now available in the Teamwork Integrations Marketplace for Teamwork Projects and Teamwork Desk customers to take advantage of our robust integrations.

Teamwork’s mission is to make teams around the world more efficient, organized and happy, and the ChurnZero team couldn’t be more onboard with that pursuit. With the idea of making Customer Success teams freer to focus on what they do best (making customers successful), we’ve partnered with Teamwork to enable companies to do just that.

ChurnZero for Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects logo

Teamwork Projects is project management software that takes care of the details, so you can focus on delivering results.

No matter how many customers you might be dealing with as a Customer Success Manager, it’s important to have a panoramic view of all your work so you can manage multiple projects without losing sight of the finer details.

ChurnZero integrates with Teamwork Projects to map projects and tasks to accounts and contacts in your ChurnZero platform to give you a full view of your customers and all their important project milestones.

Benefits of using the ChurnZero for Teamwork Projects integration include:

  • Give your Customer Success team access to track the progress of all your customers’ Projects right inside in your CS platform
  • Have the ability to create automated reports including customers’ Projects and the rest of your customer data inside ChurnZero
  • Automatically create tasks and trigger alerts for next steps on Projects the Customer Success Manager needs to be aware of

To learn more about how you can not only just deliver work to your clients but deliver great outcomes using the ChurnZero and Teamwork Projects integration check out the documentation here and here.

 

ChurnZero for Teamwork Desk
Teamwork Desk logo

Teamwork Desk is helpdesk software that lets you put people first to improve your customers’ happiness. One central place to manage communications with transparency and accountability — helping you to deliver unforgettable customer support.

In the Customer Success industry, it’s all about delivering positive customer experiences. With the Teamwork Desk and ChurnZero integration you can see the full picture of all your customer engagements — helping you to deliver the best possible experience at all of your customer touchpoints.

The ChurnZero integration for Teamwork Desk allows you to map your customers’ tickets to account and contacts in your ChurnZero platform.

Benefits of using the ChurnZero for Teamwork Desk integration include:

  • Give your Customer Success team to ability see Tickets inside ChurnZero so they are always in the know on all customer issues
  • Allow Customer Success Managers to provide a more personalized customer experience by bringing all communications into your CS platform
  • Empower your CS team to be your customers’ champion to help move Tickets along with faster resolutions and no crossed wires

To learn more about how you can take the best care of your customers using the ChurnZero and Teamwork Desk integration check out the documentation here and here.

 

Getting Started

To get started with either of these integrations you’ll need a ChurnZero subscription and a Teamwork Projects and/or Teamwork Desk account. To learn more about ChurnZero and get connected, sign up for a live demo today.

 

About Teamwork

At Teamwork, our mission is to make teams efficient, organized and happy. To do this, we want to create an end to end business operating platform that frees people to do their best work. Currently, we have five products in our suite, Teamwork Projects, Teamwork Desk, Teamwork Chat, Teamwork Spaces and Teamwork CRM. What makes us different? We’ve built a beautiful integration between them so that data can flow freely from one product to the next. Gone are the days of multiple tools from different suppliers – we believe this is the way forward. For more information, visit teamwork.com

                                                                         

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 Manage the Big Picture of Your Customers with ChurnZero and Teamwork Integrations appeared first on ChurnZero.

ChurnZero Selected as Best Tech Startup Finalist in 2019 Timmy Awards

Timmy Awards

ChurnZero Selected as Best Tech Startup Finalist in 2019 Timmy Awards


Tech in Motion announces top local tech companies and launches public voting to determine winners. 

 

Timmy Awards - Best Tech StartupTech in Motion has recognized ChurnZero as a finalist for 2019 Best Tech Startup as a part of the Annual Timmy Awards, which they host to celebrate the top workplaces for tech professionals. The Timmys finalists in this category are chosen for their innovation, forward-thinking leadership and work environment. Two Best Tech Startup awards will be announced at a live ceremony this October, one for Judge’s Choice and one Community Favorite, chosen by public voting here online.

“We are excited to recognize the top local startups on the Timmy Awards finalist list this year. These companies are not only attractive to talented professionals nationwide, but ones that strive for everyday innovation,” says Mandy Walker, Director of Marketing at Tech in Motion. “Every year, the event series grows alongside the tech community. It reflects the increasing quality of startups here that we are able to offer two awards this year to keep up with the growth in the industry.”

ChurnZero is a real-time Customer Success platform that helps subscription businesses fight churn, expand current accounts, increase product adoption and optimize the overall customer experience.

“We take great pride in providing a work environment that tech professionals want to come and be a part of,” said You Mon Tsang, CEO and Founder at ChurnZero. “We are grateful for the recognition by the Timmy Awards and the local D.C. tech community and look forward to continue to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration as our team expands.”

The local community has a chance to get involved by voting online now through September 27th to determine which company will be crowned the best in tech as the Community Favorite, while the Judge’s Choice winners will be chosen by a panel of expert judges. Aside from Best Tech Startup, the other award categories include: Best Tech Manager, Best Tech Work Culture and Best Tech Workplace for Diversity. The complete list of 2019 Timmy Awards finalists can be found here.

Throughout October, this free event is open to the public and will consist of tech demos, entertainment and networking with top tech leaders. If you are interested in learning more or attending Tech in Motion’s biggest event of the year, visit the Timmy Awards or your regional Timmy Awards event page to RSVP.

 

About Tech in Motion Events

Tech in Motion is an international events series that brings local tech community professionals together to connect, learn, and innovate. What started as a collaborative project in 2011 between IT recruiting firms Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates, part of the Motion Recruitment network, grew into an organization of over 190,000 members across 12 chapters in North America including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, LA, Orange County and Toronto. Please visit techinmotionevents.com for more information about notable speakers, sponsors and events.

                                                                         

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 Selected as Best Tech Startup Finalist in 2019 Timmy Awards appeared first on ChurnZero.

Churn Monster: Unlucky Customer

Churn Monster #13: Unlucky Customer

 

Customer Churn MonsterToday is Friday the 13th and we all know that means – bad luck, right? Well ironically you are in luck, because in honor of this cursed day, we are releasing a new monster in our churn monster series.

An unlucky churn monster is a customer who bought your product with the best of intentions of being successful in utilizing and adopting it but along the way they have been hit with misfortune and adversity making the likelihood of success much harder.

Let’s take a look at a scenario involving an unlucky churn monster and see what you can do as a Customer Success Manger in this type of situation.

 

The Scenario

You have an introductory call with one of your new customers. They seem like a great fit and are excited to get things going with implementing and rolling out your product. A few months have gone by and you are shocked by the amount of curveballs that have been thrown in the mix since your first welcome call.

It all started with your main POC’s computer crashing, causing them to loose all of the work they had put into filling out the configuration worksheets. That accounted for hours of lost work and created a significant delay in getting those completed and turned over so the configuration process could begin.

Then the day that was chosen to do the data migration from their previous system to your product certainly didn’t happen as planned. There were major outages that day with the other system that made it impossible to pull the data out for import into your platform. The team felt it was necessary to wait to fully understand how their data might have been affected by the outage, which again delayed the deployment process.

And most recently, the week you had planned to do the team onboarding training, had to be canceled because 2/3 of the team had caught the same stomach bug and were out sick.

No matter how hard you’ve been trying to make this customer successful, you’ve been met with obstacles time and time again. You are starting to worry that this customer is cursed and might just give up. What do you do?

Plan of Action

First you start by letting the customer know you are a partner on their side to help get them through all of these unforeseen roadblocks. You also share in a laugh together about just how unlucky they have been, which helps to add levity to the situation.

You also plan to reschedule the onboarding training for two weeks out when hopefully everyone will be back in good health. Furthermore, instead of this being a virtual training you decide to make this an onsite visit to help make it more personal and make sure the team prioritizes this training and uses it as an opportunity to work through some of their use cases together.

And lastly you offer a “restart”, where you have added two free months on to the end of their subscription to help make up for all the lost time with the delayed start. This isn’t typically something that you offer clients, especially if a delay is due to laziness, but you feel like in this case it will be taken as an act of goodwill since they really are eager to get things going and could use the extra time to prove their success.

Fast-forward a few months, and it’s renewal time. You are confident that the customer is in a much better place now and seems to have fended off the initial bad luck. And it turns out you are right. They not only want to renew but what to expand on their subscription with you.

Good job of turning that unlucky churn monster into a happy, successful customer.

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

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


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 Churn Monster: Unlucky Customer appeared first on ChurnZero.

How to Proactively Engage Clients and Automate Your High Touch Service – A Success Story

How to Proactively Engage Clients and Automate Your High Touch Service – A Success Story 

MineralTree logo

MineralTree is a payment platform that helps thousands of business automate their invoice-to-pay process. By cutting out manual tasks and authorizations, the MineralTree platform streamlines the Accounts Payable (AP) needs of financial professionals around the world. 

 

The Challenges  

As a result of their Customer Success team’s rapid growth, the MineralTree  team lacked effective automation. They sought the ability to both monitor and influence their customer’s healthWhile once sufficient, existing  marketing automation and CRM tools no longer met the needs of their CS team.  

The MineralTree Customer Success team faced several distinct challenges: 

  1. They were without a platform to identify accounts that needed extra attention. Furthermore, they lacked the ability to make use of these insights and directly influence a customer’s health scores.
  2. A lack of a centralized workspace increased the chances that client tasks could slip through the cracks. Providing a ‘home base’ was a must for the growing team.
  3. Because the team did not always have a clear view into new client progress, outreach was sometimes felt more reactive than proactive. Eliminating manual and repetitive tasks was essential. 

 

Meeting MineralTree’s Goals  

MineralTree took four steps to add efficiency and meet the goals of their growing CS function: 

Leverage Health Scoring 

  • Creating and using customer health scores allowed the team to access in-depth customer health insights. These enabled the team to take a proactive approach to account management. Best of all this information is now available at a glance – via dedicated dashboards, Salesforce or even Slack. 

Segmented Customer Types 

  • Effortlessly organizing their customers was key to enabling effective account management. Whether dividing accounts based upon their engagement or position in the customer journey, the team is better equipped to recognize trends. 

Automate Previously Manual Tasks 

  • The team has reduced the manual day-to-day tasks and communications that had once filled their days.  This allows the team to focus on what matters most – providing an exceptional customer experience. 

Provide a Centralized CS Workspace 

  • The team found a home in a dedicated Customer Success Workspace. Real-time dashboards and usage reporting provide a powerful home for both CSMs and company leadership. 

 

The Impact 

In just a few months MineralTree’s team realized significant results. Their adoption of a dedicated Customer Success platform has not only streamlined internal processesbut has elevated their entire customer experience: 

  • MineralTree has increased efficiency through the use of automated communications, known as ‘Plays’. This enables the team to deliver high-touch service across all of their accounts, without the need to significantly grow their headcount 
  • Their CS team has found a home in their ‘Customer Success Workplace.’ CSMs can effortless track new client progress across their entire customer lifecycle – all in real time. 
  • Client communications have been both automated and optimized. Better account organization allows the team to marshal their efforts towards the right customer sets or user personas. 


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.

MineralTree, Customer Success quote

Curious to learn more about how MineralTree increased efficiencies and elevated their customer experience? Read the complete case study here. 

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ChurnZero Announces New CCO, CMO, and VP of Sales

ChurnZero Expands Leadership Team to Capitalize on Business Growth and Mission to Bring Customer Success to All Subscription Businesses


ChurnZero Announces New CCO, CMO, and VP of Sales appointments to its leadership team.

 

ChurnZero, a real-time Customer Success platform, announced new appointments of to its leadership team: Abby Hammer as Chief Customer Officer, Hunter Montgomery as Chief Marketing Officer, and Jason Moore as VP of Sales. These executives reflect the company’s focus of capitalizing on the significant business growth and expansion since their Series A raise earlier this year.

“We’ve been growing quickly in the fast-developing Customer Success category and I’m excited about this team we’ve built,” said CEO and Founder, You Mon Tsang. “These three leaders will bring their expertise to support our Customer Success, Product, Marketing and Sales teams, while continuing to drive a customer-centric culture throughout the company.”  

ChurnZero’s new executive appointments strengthen the company’s leadership team with deep experience from top technology companies.

  • Chief Customer OfficerAbby Hammer, CCO: Abby who is a ChurnZero founding team member is joining the C-Suite with a promotion from the VP of Products to the Chief Customer Officer. In her new role, Abby will be responsible for delivering the best customer experience throughout all points of the ChurnZero customer lifecycle. She will drive product strategy and execution as well as lead the Customer Success team who delivers customer implementations and works to drive adoption, engagement and expansion across the ChurnZero platform. Prior to joining ChurnZero, Abby was the Director of Product Management atiContact and Cision (formerly Vocus), leaders in the email marketing, marketing automation and public relations spaces.

 

  • Hunter Montgomery, CMO: Hunter is a highly accomplished global marketing executive with over 25 years of experience in the management and leadership of marketing and business operations. In his role as Chief Marketing Officer at ChurnZero, he will be responsible for overall marketing strategy and will provide direction in positioning and messaging, demand generation, branding, public relations, and partnerships. Prior to ChurnZero, Hunter was the CMO at Higher Logic where he was a member of the original management team and . VP of Marketing at Vocus.

 

  • VP of SalesJason Moore, VP of Sales: Jason is a proven sales leader in the B2B SaaS world with almost 10 years of experience in the leadership and growth of sales teams. Currently at ChurnZero, Jason leads the go-to-market sales and operations team. Most recently, Jason held senior sales roles at Zignal Labs leading the company to double in revenue year over year and before that, Vocus, where he led the growth of award-winning Small Business and Midmarket sales teams.

 

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 Washington, D.C. 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 Announces New CCO, CMO, and VP of Sales appeared first on ChurnZero.

CSM Confidential – Part 2: Dealing with Internal Challenges

CSM Confidential – Part 2:
Dealing with Internal Challenges

 

Being a Customer Success Manager is difficult enough. 

Based upon the premise that customer support should be more proactive than reactive, the value of CS cannot be understated. Between responsibilities like onboarding, advocacy, upsells and renewals, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) have cemented themselves as drivers of corporate growth. 

That said, thriving in this relatively new discipline is not always easy. Between difficult Account Executives, a lack of executive buy-in and other challenges, being a CSM isn’t always a walk in the park. Wondering how CSMs really feel about some of the intricacies of working in CS?  

Continue on to read our second installment of CSM Confidential – where real-world Customer Success practitioners give their unfiltered responses to some of the most challenging, frustrating and cringeworthy situations that every CSM experiences. 

 

Dealing with a Difficult Account Executive. You Know the One – That Coworker Who Treats Customer Success as Their Personal Secretary. 

 

For a CSM that’s occupied with the day to day requirements of account management, it’s frustrating to deal with an Account Executive who doesn’t respect your time. Whether missing meetings or treating you like a secretary, situations like this aren’t easy to navigate. Is it better to call out a misbehaving AE and hope the message resonates? Or are there softer approaches for dealing with a difficult colleague? 

 

“This was a problem I faced all to often at previous organizations. Difficult Account Executives and a lack of a salesCS partnership is detrimental to everyone. In fact, this can becoma major problem for any organization that’s looking to grow. 

One approach to consider is having new AEs shadow an entire implementation. They key is to get AEs involved from the Kickoff call to the Go-Live date – even if they’re just observing the process. This helps our sales counterparts understand all the work that goes into a successful implementation. It also gives them an idea of the day to day activities we’re involved in to keep our customers happy. 

Giving Account Executives a front row seat to the entire Customer Success process can make all the difference. In my experience it has helped our sales counterparts understand why we are so busy and why we can’t respond to every request.”  

-CSM, Cloud Software Company 

 

Another CS practitioner echoed these comments. They also highlighted the need for mutual understanding and suggest creating a living document that lays out expectations 

 

I find that a difficult AE is typically the result of one or two things… miscommunication or a lack of clear-cut responsibilities. When you’re part of a fast-growing startups, these situations are bound to occur. After all, processes in fast paced environments are frequently made on the fly. Regardless of the specifics, there is some type of disconnect.  

Consider creating a document that can serve as a “source of truth” for your internal Sales and CS operations. This can take lots of forms but most importantly it should outline joint accountabilities and properly manage everyone’s expectations. These issues may just come down to a lack of understanding on an AE’s part – a document like this can go a long way in this situation. 

As a bonus it provides a medium that helps demonstrate exactly why CS is so busy. I’ve found this helpful when fostering mutual respect.” 

-Implementation Specialist, SaaS Startup 

 

Sales and Marketing Have Their Own Budgets… How the Heck Do We Get One? 

 

For a practicing CSM, it can be hard to remember a time where Customer Success wasn’t considered a driver for corporate growth. As the role has matured, more executives have realized that Customer Success is not just glorified support. CS has quickly cemented itself as an essential part of SaaS organizations. 

While it’s hard to dispute the impact of Customer Success, some organizations do struggle with appropriately funding their team. So how do you deal with an executive team who would rather invest in Sales and Marketing? 

 

“Your search for budget should highlight the goals of your CS team and how they can drive success across the entire organization. It’s important to frame additional budget as not only a ‘win’ for customers, but a win for other parts of the company (including Sales and Marketing!) This is where a ‘CS is Everywhere’ mindset can come into play. 

As a start ask yourself: What will additional funding help the CS team do (reduce churn? increase upsells? add efficiency to the team?) Secondly consider how these initiatives line up with your company’s overarching goals (growth, customer satisfaction and so on.) 

Coming armed with stats and a roadmap to success will help make your case. Few executives will say no to an investment that is poised to pay dividends.” 

-CSM, Cloud Software Company 

 

Our second respondent echoed this idea. Don’t just think about what additional budget can do for your team. Rather consider what can it do for the entire organization. 

 

“Regardless of your organization’s size, you’re likely competing with others for budget. This is even more pronounced in larger organizations where budgeting is a long, formal process.  

Many of us [CSMs] are no stranger to this – whether duking it out with our colleagues in support, sales, marketing and other strategic areas, the fight for budget is very real. 

When working to receive (or increase!) your budget, I take three things into consideration: 

  • The Company’s Big Goals (How can CS play into these or help achieve them?) 
  • Who Can be a Champion (Who can act as an internal cheerleader? Is anyone in particular excited about CS tools or procedures?) 
  • How Does CS Positively Impact Other Departments (How does CS support other teams? i.e delivering product recommendations to your Product Team, etc.)

 I’ve found that these are three concepts that help justify the need for a budget – they also fit in nicely with your leadership’s budgeting thought process. In addition, for those who feel threatened by CS, be sure to highlight that CS supplants their efforts – it doesn’t reduce them!” 

-CSM, Cloud Software Company 

 

Responding to Executives Who Don’t Think CS Is Essential: Why Can’t Sales and Marketing Fill the Same Role? 

 

Since Customer Success is relatively new, confusion still exists around the role. It may be tough for those new to CS to understand why Sales and Marketing teams can’t fill the same role. So how do explain how essential Customer Success is? 

 

“Commonly, executives that are not in-tune with the customer-first mentality struggle with the idea of Customer Success as a philosophy and see it as a potentially wasteful business unit. The most important thing is to drive the idea that Customer Success contributes to bottom line of the business – a concept that Executives (and Investors!) understand quite well. 

Remind them that it is much cheaper to retain a customer than bring on a net-new one. While other units within the organization might drive leads (Marketing) and close deals (Sales) – there is a critical third component that leads to massive business expansion – which is expansion of existing customers (Upsells/Cross-Sells) and Referrals to new sales. I would argue that Sales and Marketing do help fill some of the needs – but not all – of the customer. 

This can be achieved by the Customer Success mentality being adopted company wide. The customer experience does not start or stop with one department. Rather, all things must be considered: 

  1. Marketing helps connect the people to the brand. They assist in educating the space, identifying opportunities for teams, and managing a wide array of other customer-facing and public-facing collaterals.
  2. Sales helps to ensure that the customer is a proper fit for the organization. For example, if a customer comes in with a desire to get in the Wall Street Journal by purchasing your product but your solution is a Media Contact Database designed to give them an avenue – it’s up to us as Sales professionals to set proper expectations about what it would take to bridge that gap. (e.g. Providing the data while it is not guaranteed that they get that placement in the Wall Street Journal).
  3. Customer Success ensure that the promises made by Marketing and Sales are absolutely delivered on with your Product and helps to tie the entire experience together by delivering on the customer’s outcomes and goals. By staying close to the customer, intervening at the proper time to ensure they achieve their goals, and refining the process when something looks amiss is what will allow the company to grow 3x, 5x, and 10x. 

Ultimately, Marketing and Sales focus on closing deals. Customer Success focuses on delivering the end-result and ultimate value proposition as quickly and in-line with goals as possible.”

-Customer Success Strategist , Software Startup

 

Another CSM added that taking a conscious approach can make all the differenceAs they explain, when justifying CSdetermine what best appeals to your decision makers. 

 

Winning executive buyin is an ongoing issue for most teams. Sometimes we think about justifying CS as an initial obstacle. This is far for from the truth – gaining buyin is constant process. With changing corporate priorities, along with leadership arrivals and departures, you should always be ready to justify CS’s role.  

While investments in Sales and Marketing are typically a no-brainer, Customer Success is still emerging as a driver of corporate valuation. This problem is particularly apparent when it comes to startup. While budget may be tight, these organizations are often those that can benefit most from Customer Success. A lot of people are still learning the value that CS provides…thankfully the numbers don’t lie. 

CS should always be working to demonstrate their value and differentiate themselves from other teams. This is key to not be thrown into the bucket of “something sales and marketing could just do.” I’ve found that the best way to do this is to figure out how you to appeal to each specific CS doubter.’ Ask yourself – is this executive analytical? revenue oriented? customer oriented? Frame your argument through the lens that appeals most to members of your executive team.”

-CSM, Emerging Technology Company 

 

Internal difficulties can be a formable challenge for both seasoned CS veterans and new CSMs alike. Whether dealing with troublesome account executives or a lack of executive buy in, a calculated approach is a must when dealing with internal challenges. 

While there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to these conversations, take comfort in knowing that CSMs before you (and well into the future!) will experience similar challenges.  

Ready for more unfiltered views on life as a Customer Success Manager? Subscribe to the Fighting Churn Blog and stay tuned for our next installment of CSM Confidential, or check out part one of the series if you missed it. 


Upcoming Webinar

How to Build Effective Customer Success Plans
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT


Speaker: Jackie Golden, CEO, LandNExpand

Every Customer Success Plan has a secret sauce that turns it from just a plan on paper to something a team can actually execute and deliver successfully. CS Plans should consist of the right balance of touch points, type of touch points and specific high value outcomes that guide customers along their roadmap to being fully entrenched and engaged with your solution.

Join this session to learn how to:

  • Identify the high value problems your customers have that your solution can solve
  • Track the progress your customers have made towards solving these problems with your solution
  • Uncover additional high value problems the customer should be considering that you can solve for them
  • Deliver high value outcomes that create hard ROI and real impact on your customers’ business

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 CSM Confidential – Part 2: Dealing with Internal Challenges appeared first on ChurnZero.