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In the previous post we explored the 4 types of customer engagement models. We covered a high touch onboarding approach to a low touch post onboarding approach and three other engagement models to drive customer success and a positive customer experience.
As you segment your customer account base by size, revenue, and vertical—you’ll also need to put in place various combinations of the customer engagement models. The variations will depend on the revenue size of each segment or vertical.
After you’ve determined the right onboarding and post onboarding engagement model for your segments or verticals, it’s time to evaluate how your customer success team should be set up to execute these engagement model strategies with efficiency and success.
While there are countless different ways to organize a customer success team, we’ve curated a list of some of the most popular ways to structure a CSM team, including pros and cons for each.
In this scenario, a member of the sales team works through the sales cycle with the prospective customer until a contract is signed. Once the contract is signed, the sales team member hands off the customer account to an implementation team who works with the customer to ensure all systems are integrated, configured, and tailored to achieve goals. In this scenario, the implementation team owns the account for 90 days (or less depending on your implementation strategy) to ensure there are no issues, and then hands off to a CSM who manages the customer going forward and closes the renewal.
In this customer success team setup, there are multiple teams involved in the process. First, the sales team works with the prospective customer to close the deal. Then, the sales team member hands the newly won customer to an implementation team member who ensures all systems are integrated and sets the product up for success, working through all of the technical aspects. After implementation, a CSM then takes over the account and works with the company to train and educate on the various areas and components of the product. However, rather than the CSM closing the renewal and managing the upsell, that is conducted by a sales team member.
In this plain and simple example, the sales team works through the sales cycle with the prospective customer and once the contract is won, a CSM team member does all of the onboarding and also manages the account going forward, including managing renewals and upsells.
There are multiple teams involved in the process. First, the sales team works with the prospective customer to close the deal. Then, the sales team member hands the newly won customer to an implementation team member who ensures implementation success. After implementation, a CSM then takes over the account and works with the company to train and educate on the various areas and components of the product. However, rather than the CSM closing the renewal and managing the upsell, that is conducted by an account manager team member.
For this team setup, the sales team also works through the sales cycle with the prospective customer and ensures that the customer is set for success. Once the contract is signed, the sales team hands the account over to implementation who works with the customer to ensure all systems are integrated and that the product is setup for success. Rather than moving from implementation to a CSM, the customer is again managed by the sales team member who will close the renewal and work with the customer to grow the account.
In this scenario, the sales team works through the sales cycle with the prospective customer, but rather than handing over the deal to a CSM immediately, the sales team owns the account for up to a year to ensure that the customer sees success in the products and/or services that they purchased. After year 1 concludes, the CSM owns the account and is responsible for growth of the customer as well as closing renewals and upsells.
In this scenario, the sales team member manages the sales cycle with the prospective customer, but the CSM is introduced early on in the sales cycle and helps the sales rep to co-manage the sale, as well throughout year one. After the first year concludes, the CSM handles the customer account going forward, also closing renewals and upsells.
How does your organization manage your customer engagement model, as well as your team handoff process? What lessons have you learned over the years, and how have you had to scale and change your practices to evolve with your customers?
Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can build strong customer relationships:
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.