Customer Success

Going Deep on the Discipline of Customer Success

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter shares a recent post from her series Subscription Stories. This week, why customer success growth closely aligns to the rise of subscription-based businesses, and how a customer success orientation can help dramatically increase your customer lifetime value.

Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, which is often called the Customer Success Company. Nick is both an expert on the emerging discipline of customer success and the leader of a SaaS company that is dedicated to a forever promise of helping businesses develop deep and lasting relationships with their customers. We’re going to go deep on the discipline of customer success, what it is, why its growth closely aligns to the rise of subscription-based businesses and SaaS specifically, and how a customer success orientation can help dramatically increase your customer lifetime value. That is a key metric in the membership economy. Anyone who wants to build a forever transaction with customers can learn a lot from Nick.

The following interview is adapted from my podcast, Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches.

Robbie Baxter: Let’s start with the basics. How do you define customer success?

Nick Mehta: We believe customer success was created out of this transition to the subscription business model. In more transactional business models, the way to make money, was to build something and then to go sell it. That is what created a lot of the economy out there. In a subscription business model is, as you know, if you build stuff, sell it and your customers leave, you don’t make any money because all that money comes over time and the lifetime value of the customer.

 

Key points include:

  • Defining customer success
  • The role of community in the growth of Gainsight
  • Energizing virtual events

 

Read the full article, Why Customer Success Matters For Subscriptions With Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta, on LinkedIn.

 

How to Identify a Stellar Customer Success Manager

 

Duygu Cibik shares an article that identifies the key factors that can help you find an efficient and effective customer success manager.

What is the right customer success manager (CSM) profile?

This is another question that CEOs and other executives raise often.

Clearly, desired CSM profile depends on your expectations from CSMs tied to CSM role definition. I’ve summarized my expectations in a previous post titled “What is Customer Success?” and I’ll cover the desired CSM skills and experience in line with those expectations.

  •     Consultative skills

To be able to provide advice to clients regarding the product, potential use cases that would benefit the clients and help clients optimize their business processes, CSM should act as a consultant partner to their clients. Because consultative skills is a broad term, I’ll try to divide it into specific components.

  •     Analytical skills and intellectual curiosity

For CSMs to be consultative, they need to possess strong analytical skills and be curious so they can quickly understand their client’s business model, the revenue and the industry dynamics. This would enable them to understand and position the most relevant use cases for those clients.

For example, consumer good clients use Sprinklr primarily for marketing, a retail bank may use it both for marketing and brand reputation management while an investment bank typically leverage Sprinklr to identify and manage potential risks to their brands.

Developing industry based playbooks help CSMs to gain this knowledge to a certain extend; that said if you have analytically skilled CSMs, you can put them in any client situation knowing that they’ll figure out how to deliver value to the client.

 

Additional points identified include:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Client management skills
  • Domain knowledge
  • Project management skills
  • Commercial acumen

 

Read the full article, What is the right Customer Success Manager (CSM) profile?, on LinkedIn.

 

Building Your Business Case for the Future

 

Azim Nagree explores the necessary steps to take when the current crisis is over and shares a template you can use to build your business case.

Many of us are spending our time thinking about (and writing about) how to get through the current Coronavirus-driven situation. For those who have had to endure headcount reductions, your energy and focus is probably on just getting through the day-to-day workload.

But it’s important to think about what will happen when the current crisis is over, especially as it relates to hiring. So, when management is telling you to cut back on headcount, how do you make the case to start hiring again?

The answer is simple – data.

When you are asking for additional headcount, make sure that you have the data to back up your request. It is likely that every department will be requesting headcount, and the executive team will not approve everyone’s request. Those with a solid business case backed up with data will win, compared to those who have generic requests based upon intuition. More simply said: Bring a gun to the knife fight

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Sales targets and quota capacity
  • Demand generation
  • Customer support and customer success

 

Read the full article, What Happens When This Is All Over, on LinkedIn.

 

Customer Care during a Crisis

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter explains why the customer relationship is even more valuable and volatile during times of crisis and provides six practical steps you can take to maintain  strong customer relations.

Subscription-based businesses seem to be the most resilient during this time of crisis. With predictable recurring revenue, they have greater flexibility to withstand the storm. But there’s more to it than just revenue. To hang onto customers during a crisis, you need to build a forever transaction with the people you serve. 

Around the world, everyone is adjusting to their own personal “new normal.” They’re sheltering in place. They’re worrying about the elderly and immunocompromised in their community. Their kids are distance learning and not going to school or childcare. Most people, except those on the front lines and in essential businesses, are working from home. And many of those who own or run businesses are trying to hang onto their customers when seemingly all forces are working against them.   Smart marketers know they can kill their brand if they screw this up.

 

The six steps include:

  • The focus on the forever promise
  • Determining your best members
  • Expanding customer success
  • Learning from frontline team members
  • Placing the customer at meetings
  • Identifying the customer challenges

 

Read the full article, How to Hold onto Your Customers in a Crisis – and for the Long Term, on LinkedIn.