This week, ServiceSource attended Pulse, a two-day gathering of thousands of customer success professionals from all over the world. The event provides an excellent forum to share our best practices and unique perspectives on customer success, while also learning how others are navigating challenges in the industry. A platinum sponsor of Pulse (alongside other leading companies such as Deloitte, Accenture, and Slack), ServiceSource experts presented and moderated panels on several different topics of interest to attendees. Following are a few of the key insights we wanted to share coming out of this year’s conference.
Customer success is a core company philosophy, not just a department
Customer success is no longer just a revenue retention “sales motion.” Instead, it should be thought of as a constantly moving target you need to be aiming for throughout the entire customer lifecycle. What a customer expects on Day 1 is entirely different than what they need from you in Year 3 of your partnership. To help them grow, you need to continuously evolve your solutions alongside their changing expectations.
However, you can’t just talk about customer success in a thirty-minute presentation at your annual meeting, or throw together a customer success team half-heartedly without any clear direction. Customer success must be a significant priority, integrated into every nook and cranny of your organization, and mindfully practiced every day. It’s a philosophy that, if implemented correctly, will drive all of the decisions you make in the right direction, positively transform your customer relationships, and ultimately grow your revenue.
Thoroughly understand your customer relationships
To improve your customer relationships, you first need to get a baseline measurement on where you stand with them. Here are five lenses you should use to examine your relationships and start moving forward:
- People: Do you have the right profiles for inside sales teams engaging with your customers? How are you recruiting, hiring, and training those teams to enable them to be successful?
- Processes: Do you have well-defined processes mapped to the moments that matter most to your customer?
- Technology: Are you enabling your teams and your partners with the right tools to make positive interactions possible?
- Data: Are you harnessing the full power of your data to predict the next best steps?
- KPIs: How are you measuring the effectiveness of your customer interactions?
Align your sales and customer success teams
Sales and customer success teams can often be siloed functions within an organization. Unfortunately, this is a major misstep that more often than not leads to poor customer relationships. To avoid this scenario, make sure your customer success and sales teams are strategically aligned and executing in complete coordination with each other. For example:
- After you have co-defined the revenue goals with your customer, you can better adjust expectations and fine-tune processes over time as needed by setting up regular conversations between your sales department and customer success team.
- Set meaningful quotas for customer success teams to measure results against, just like you would a sales team, to help keep them on track. This framework will go a long way in achieving your shared goals.
Pulse was an excellent conference, and the record attendance this year demonstrated just how seriously companies are taking their customer relationships. It’s commonly known in the customer success industry that if your customers aren’t growing, they’re going (away from you). However, if you understand your customers’ challenges and take a proactive approach to solving them, you can improve the likelihood that they will stick with you for the long run.
Learn more about ServiceSource’s Customer Success solution, and reach out for more information if you are interested in building better customer relationships and growing your revenue opportunity.