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Transforming Customer Success to Become a Revenue Engine

Transforming Customer Success

A recent project Peter undertook was improving customer retention. It was a move from reactive to proactive planning and execution.

Instead of customer success being the role that reacts to customer problems, they became the role that leads conversations with customers to expand their engagement.

To get there they had a KPI of a positive turn on their customers – growing their retention rate and expanding the products or services they use.

To achieve that KPI, you have to have a product that works really well, that people enjoy using coupled with a sales organization working with customers, looking for opportunities to expand engagement.

Planning for Success

The project success was built on fundamental building blocks. The first step was envisioning and mapping out the end state 18 months into the future. What would the Customer Success role look like in 18 months? Then realistic steps were set up to achieve that end state.

Effective customer success fully owns the account expansion conversations because they really understand their customers.

Customer success management is the center of a web of information about customers and their needs and how those needs can be fulfilled by more or different products.

In order to get there, the Customer Success function needed to be redefined. Their goals, customer success metrics, tech stack, and processes had to change.

Buy-in from post-sales support was necessary to achieve this transition. They needed to handle customer problems so that customer success can focus on expansion.

This also allows the sales team to have less burden on them for upsells and cross-sells so they can focus on finding new customers.

Core Customer Success Management Tools

To function in a new, evolved way customer success needed to be armed with tools that enabled them to behave proactively and focus on customer needs.

Sales engagement tools like Outreach help them set up sequences and more efficiently set up meetings.

A better CPQ tool, DealHub, enables the sales and customer success organizations to set up an expanded set of product offerings and opportunities.

Gainsight is their customer journey management and flagging system, and CRM. It includes calls to action based on the customer’s activity. PX, part of Gainsight, is a tool that plugs into our own product and sees how customers, and different personas, are using the tool, how often they’re logging in, what they’re looking at. It helps flag potential issues and uncover potential expansion opportunities.

Using the right customer success tools has helped InsightSquared’s team see how different personas are using their tool. They can have a conversation with a customer who may not realize they aren’t fully utilizing the tool. They can recommend products that will make it easier for them to do what they’re trying to do. They can ask “Have you considered all of these new products that we have that could potentially solve this problem?”

Helping customers have better outcomes using InsightSquared not only improves the customer experience but improves retention.

An Accelerated Timeline

COVID-19 accelerated their project timeline and underscored the need to find ways to discover, both directly and indirectly, what’s happening with their customers and what they are doing in their product.

Now the revenue operations team has a pretty reliable and accurate forecast of retention two quarters out. They also have expansion numbers that allow them to make plays and make plans that are pretty reliable and realistic.

Customer Success Teams Need Good Sales Training

The customer success organization had to start behaving like more of a sales organization which required good sales training.

They’ve been able to train their customer success team to act as leaders to drive conversations with the customers and be creative in helping them find the best product mix that solves their needs.

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