As a successful, scaling customer success department, your team needs the right tools and resources to be successful. Over the past few years, customer success teams have migrated off sales-focused CRM and project management platforms to solutions that are custom built from the ground-up for customer success teams to better manage customer accounts.
As part of transitioning to this new era of customer success management, account teams are now being tasked with finding their own vendors and running their own solution selection process. This means working with procurement teams to build and manage the Request for Proposal, or RFP, process.
Building your RFP Process
Although it’s tempting to rush into finding a new customer success software vendor and select the first one your team comes across, it’s important to take the time to weigh different solutions against each other to find the right fit for your business. This is where an RFP comes into play. Typically, RFPs ask vendors questions such as:
- How long will platform implementation and onboarding take?
- What is the overall (all-in) cost of the functionality we’re looking for?
- What types of professional services/customer support will your team provide?
- How much of your business is outsourced to other third-party vendors?
3 Critical Questions to Include
Outside of the traditional RFP questions listed above, there are a few customer success-specific topics organizations must be sure to include in their RFPs for customer success software vendors. Here are three critical questions to include in your customer success software RFP to ensure your team invests in the right solution for your customers:
1. Please provide 2 – 3 valid customer references.
As a customer success platform provider, any vendor you’re issuing an RFP to should be able to provide impeccable customer references. In addition, it’s a good idea to ask the vendors to set up a meeting, either virtual or in person, with the most similar (size, project scope, etc.) reference so your team can ask pointed questions to see if the platform is right for your team.
2. How can this platform scale and grow with our needs and available technology?
Customer success is a rapidly changing field, and the past ten years or so are definitely evidence of this fact. If your team is investing in a customer success platform now, you don’t want to have to backtrack and find a new platform five years down the road. Asking the right questions now means you can make a lasting investment no matter how your customer’s needs change.
3. What kinds of API integrations do you provide to seamlessly connect with our other vendors?
Your team uses multiple tools to get things done, from data collection to NPS tracking. Your customer success platform should have the ability to integrate all of these different data sources into a single source of through API integrations. Getting this information out into the open early on in the RFP process will eliminate any confusion or surprises down the road.
You can learn more about building a customer success software RFP process for your team and customers with these additional resources:
- Toolkit: Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success Alignment Toolkit
- eBook: How to Build and Scale a Customer Success Team
- Product Overview: ClientSuccess Software