Once a deal is signed, the ink is dry, and the kick off meeting is scheduled, it’s time for your customer success managers (CSMs) to drive a proactive approach to an awesome customer experience.
The Hand Off of People’s Goals and Needs
Often this means looking back at the SOW (Statement of Work) to see what was sold and then working with the implementation team to get those goals off the ground first. It’s easy for CSMs to get caught up in the excitement of a new logo and the fast-paced energy of new customer kickoffs, but sometimes this comes with a price—key individuals and their specific needs and goals can get lost in the shuffle. Make sure your hand off clearly passes on key goals and needs for each person in the buying process. This is where you move from logo to people oriented customer success.
Go High and Wide
The approach of ensuring each individual customer is recognized is something we refer to as “going high and wide”—making sure everyone associated with a brand has a strong and solid relationship with your customer success team. This strategy doesn’t just stop at executives or Project Managers, either. It’s critical for every single person in a customer organization, from executives to end users, to understand the value of a product and how it impacts their company. On this same note, it’s equally as critical for CMSs and other key stakeholders at your company to understand exactly what these customers are looking for and how to deliver long-term growth and satisfaction.
4 Key People You Need to Make Successful
You need to know and deliver value to the right people across the organization. Every person defines value differently. For some, it’s clear-cut ROI. For others, it’s ease of use or increased efficiency. It’s the responsibility of customer success teams to break through to what value means for every person in a customer organization, and then deliver on that promise. Let’s take a look at what this could mean across several different stakeholders:
Executive contacts can help drive change and value for your partnership at any stage of the customer journey. Oftentimes executive relationships are driven by a high ROI, employee satisfaction, and maybe even increased media attention. It’s not uncommon for customer executives to develop strong relationships with internal executives, putting customer success at the forefront of many executive meetings and discussions.
2. Decision Makers
Decision makers are the ones who sign off on any renewals or upsell opportunities. These can include individuals like CFOs, CIOs, CTOs, or even Vice Presidents who are interested in product ease of use, deliverability, and results for their individual teams. It’s important to get to know the decision makers during the early (and late) stages of the sales process to really hone in on what they are looking for from your product, but perhaps more importantly to maintain the relationship long-term as they continue to seek value and results.
Influencers include project managers, directors, and other key stakeholders who use the product regularly and know the ins and outs of the project and the goals that are set. These influencers help sway decision makers and executives when it comes time to discuss things like renewals or upsells. CSMs should keep their ears peeled during customer calls and check-in’s to learn how the Influencer is feeling and thinking about the product and the results.
4. End Users
End users are using the product daily, and are intimately aware of the platform. These individuals tend to be more tactical in their approach to the product and the results and they care deeply about minimizing steps, improving processes, and reducing errors. These end often care about how a certain product can make their daily lives easier and more efficient, and their satisfaction heavily influences the influencers, who in turn influence those higher up the ladder, which means that delivering value to the end users can help deliver value across an entire organization.
Build Relationships to Last
While all of these customers may be looking for something different from a product, 1:1 customer relationships should be founded on mutual trust and respect. These built-to-last relationships are the secret ingredient to customer growth, retention, and even 2nd Order Revenue, which we’ll discuss below. Building strong customer relationships starts with simple tasks, like knowing every person’s name (and even some incidental information, like birthdays and work anniversaries), and can grow into a true consultative partnership.
Developing personal relationships at every stage of an organization can help not only grow a brand’s presence within that company, but also help develop a roadmap to success for a brand. CSMs should monitor best practices and customer success wins and then replicate these to build the most customer-centric organization possible.
Customer success is about delivering value at every single step of a customer journey, which sometimes comes to an end when a stakeholder moves to a new company. But this doesn’t mean the relationship has to end. This has been coined 2nd Order Revenue by Jason Lemkin—which means that a customer who moves to a new organization uses their influence to bring a specific product with them, therefore influencing a “2nd order”.
Questions to Consider
So how can CSMs make sure they’re connecting with customers on the individual level? Asking questions and doing research is a great place to start. Here are some common ones to help kick off your new people-centric customer success strategy:
- Who are you talking to? What are their individual goals within the company? What are their personal goals for your solution? What are their departmental goals?
- What’s the landscape? Where were they before your solution? Where do they want to be in 3, 6, 9 months? Were they an advocate for your solution during the buying process, or were they against it?
- How do they influence others in the company? Are they an end user, a decision maker, or somewhere in between? What are they most interested in on a product level?
- What value do they want to get from the solution? Do they have any history with your solution or competitor solutions?
How Does Your Organization Recognize Customers As People, Not Logos?
Understanding customers on a personal level is key to growing and retaining business. Spread customer success throughout and organization to build brand advocacy and customer advocates. How are you recognizing customers as people, not logos?
Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.