Modern CSMs wear many hats. From project manager to company voice box to issue mitigator, CSMs are veritable jacks of all trades. For some (but not all) SaaS organizations, CSMs are also responsible for leading and managing upsell conversations with customers. While some organizations turn to sales roles to facilitate these conversations, more and more CSMs are tasked with leading budget planning, expansion, and upsells thanks to their familiarity and comfort level with customers.
Talking about budget and budget planning with customers can be tricky but is extremely useful when successful. After all, if customers realize where their allotted budget for vendor projects is going, your role as a CSM can run that much more smoothly.
Here are five critical areas of focus to keep in mind when building the ultimate budget planning playbook for customers:
- Current value: Customers aren’t very likely to invest more of their budget and resources in a solution that hasn’t already proven value. Make sure that your customer has already seen some value and/or impact from their solution before entering into budget planning conversations.
- Contacts: While your day-to-day customer contacts are undoubtedly excellent for ongoing project tracking, they may not be the right ones to make strategic budget decisions. Ask to be introduced to the right people within the customer organization before entering into any budgeting or upsell talks to avoid any run-around.
- Potential value: As with any financial discussion you may have with customers, there has to be some potential value or reason they are having this conversation with your team. Before bringing any budget planning items or upsell ideas to the table, make sure you have a clear connection between the new idea and any potential value it could provide or question it could answer.
- Other budget items: There is never just one solution or vendor in play at a time for most customers. As you are building a customer budget playbook, make sure you consider other line items and/or projects that are also taking place. Bundling growth opportunities often make it easier for customers to say “yes” to potential expansion.
- Expectations: It’s never a wise idea to throw a budget conversation into the mix just for the fun of it. Every expansion, renewal, and budget planning session should align with the partnership expectations laid out early in the relationship.
Master customer budget planning with ClientSuccess
Opening up a budget planning or renewal conversation with a customer requires a high level of preparation, especially when showing current or anticipated value to a customer. With ClientSuccess, your team can quickly gather this data, format it clearly and engagingly, and then back up your findings with detailed insights and information from multiple sources. ClientSuccess acts as a single source of truth for all of your customer success needs, giving you the power to enter into strategic conversations with confidence.
You can learn more about ClientSuccess and customer budget planning with these additional resources: