Any customer success team looking to thrive and grow must review and evaluate processes and procedures at the end of each and every quarter. Quarterly reviews aren’t just for sales teams—these built-in review periods are a great way to step back and determine what is working and what needs to be re-tooled.
Here are 5 ways customer success strategies to complete to prepare for a new quarter.
1. Hold a QBR to Align the Team on Critical Objectives
Before we go any further, let’s clear the air: Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) aren’t just for sales teams. In fact, it’s equally important for existing business teams to reflect and review processes from past months to determine where growth and change is necessary. QBRs are a great way to uncover internal questions or issues and then get input from the entire department on resolutions.
In order for any customer success QBR to be effective, all members of the team must participate, from executives to analysts. This is also a great way for other members of the department to learn best practices and tips from their peers. Holding a QBR will add customer value because it ensures all members of a customer success team are aligned on critical objectives and goals. It can also open up new doors and ideas to increase customer satisfaction and sentiment.
2. Make Sure Customer Goals & KPIs Are Up-To-Date
The end of a quarter is a great time to review individual customer projects and gauge customer satisfaction and sentiment. Many customer teams are most likely holding their own end-of-quarter meetings, so it’s the perfect time to make sure both organizations are up-to-date on KPIs and goals. Asking detailed questions is a great way to uncover customer goals and determine how your organization will be involved. These types of questions can include:
- Are there any big changes (new product releases, new hires, new locations, etc.) happening at your organization in the next quarter?
- How do you foresee your organization leveraging our product or solution in the next few months?
- What are your departmental KPIs for the next quarter? What about personal KPIs? How can our product or solution be involved?
3. Schedule Importance Customer Face-to-Face Meetings In Advance
While Customer Success teams should discuss KPIs and goals with every customer account, sometimes flagship customers need a little extra time and care. Half-day or even full-day planning sessions are a great way to review past projects and innovative on new initiatives and opportunities. These on-site customer meetings are a way for executives from both teams to be in the same room discussing customer success on a fundamental level. Oftentimes the ideas discussed in quarterly customer on-sites fuel upsells and growth opportunities for months to come.
4. Meet Internally With Sales, Product, and Marketing Teams
While it’s common for individual departments to have their own individual quarterly kick-offs and QBRs, it’s crucial for these separate teams to then meet and share key items. When an entire company is on the same page with new releases, product rollouts, new sales strategies, and new customer stories, it’s easier to move forward with overarching, company-wide KPIs.
For customer success teams especially, it’s important to have first-hand knowledge of new product features for upsells, new sales strategies for onboarding, and new marketing campaigns for conversations around customer testimonials and use cases. Customers will often ask questions about other aspects of an organization, and CSMs should be able to answer knowledgeably and truthfully about company-wide initiatives.
5. Plan a Whole Quarter—or Even a Whole Year—Ahead
Where do your customers currently stand in their lifecycle? Although it might not be quite time for an upsell, it’s never too early to begin planning ahead for major customer milestones. Many of today’s CSMs are held to rigorous compensation plans that, much like their sales counterparts, make the end of the quarter particularly stressful. While Sales Representatives often become pushy and assertive to close that end-of-quarter deal, CSMs can’t take that same approach with current customers. Upsell conversations require patience and finesse to ensure a customer feels valued instead of feeling like just another logo on a map.
In order to nip this end-of-quarter stress period, CSMs should begin planning renewals and upsells weeks, months, or even years in advance. Understanding exactly where a customer account is at in the buying or renewal process allows the CSM to build out a gradual plan towards a sale, instead of a hurried phone call on the 30th of any given month. CSMs should take into account the questions and discussions mentioned above when determining the best process for upsell or renewal conversations.
By building a long-term plan and starting these conversations early, CSMs can often gain buy-in from multiple people and departments within an organization, not just from the decision maker or project manager. It’s also possible that the new deal amount is higher in value because the customer has had more time to research and evaluate the deal, and the CSM has had more time to build recurring value.
No matter the size of your customer success organization, the changing of quarters is a great time to look back and reflect on what worked, what needs work, and what should be removed from your Customer Success process.
For more information on best practices of great customer success leaders, check out these recent ClientSuccess resources:
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