As SaaS companies transition into the customer maturity phase of their business, the opportunity arises to proactively secure customers for life by providing them with a superior experience while reducing or avoiding the impacts of many of the pitfalls and challenges of a growing company. Subscription businesses are realizing more and more that customer success is the single most important driver of long-term performance related to MRR, revenue growth and enterprise value.
The goal is to help customers find value from their purchase and then retain them by earning their loyalty. Introducing a Customer Success team will ensure the end-to-end ownership and control of all aspects of deployment and growth after the initial sale. Because Customer Success Managers (CSMs) constantly monitor customer happiness levels in product and service offerings they understand how customers are using your product, what functionality they would benefit leveraging, and stimulate conversations around future plans and customer expansion.
Implementing a lightweight Customer Success Renewals straw model from day one will prevent the unpleasant surprise of waking up one day to find a leaking recurring-revenue bucket, and then having to incur the costs of tuning your sales organization to sell more just to stay even on your revenue projections. You just can’t win that battle.
Your team of skilled CSMs could:
- Completely focus on advising and leading customers to success through a predefined predictable journey
- Cultivate strong trust relationships
- Be responsible for customer satisfaction
- Assume the role of an internal advocate; and
- Make the contract renewal process faster and predictable
In addition, the CSM will be a virtual part of the account team, assisting sales with the ongoing effort of managing existing customer day to day relationships, managing delivery of contracts and escalations, bringing visibility to growth opportunities to the sales executive and responding to non-sales related inquiries— so sales can focus on generating net new business and closing sales growth opportunities.
Without CSMs, all customer requests get funnelled through the service desk, including many questions and efforts that have nothing to do with product support. A CSM role can minimize this, helping technical support staff to focus on technical inquiries and true product defects.
Having a Customer Success organization in your SaaS company is invaluable because they provide:
- Clear visibility of customer health and happiness
- The consistency of execution, leading to the more predictable outcome of revenue and cost
- Stronger customer relationship and higher strategic and partnership discussions
- Increased leadership value in the eyes of your customers and partners
If you are working to convince stakeholders and decision makers to invest in Customer Success be sure to clearly describe the organization benefits – how the Sales Executive, Technical Support and CSM functions differ and complement each other to form a complete account team. Discuss who ultimately owns the customer, and how the account transition (or CSM introduction into the account team) after sales would occur.
About the Author
Pam McBride has over 15 years in B2B/tech marketing and SaaS businesses employing every data-driven marketing tactic along the way: demand generation, lead management, metrics/insights, PR/content/social and programs for acquisition, retention and upsell. She finds growth where others couldn't and creates motivated engaged teams that deliver great work to drive results.Follow on Twitter More Content by Pam McBride