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18 August 2020

5 Customer Success Strategies For Visionary Software Leaders

by Mirah Gocher Reading time: 4 mins

Since 2015, the customer success (CS) domain has achieved a 176.54% year-over-year growth of CSM positions globally (Gainsight, 2019), which comes predominantly from the software & IT industry. Undoubtedly, the mass transition towards a subscription-based business model is driving the need to optimize all touchpoints of the customer experience. The question is, how can forward-looking software leaders build customer success strategies that accelerate the achievement of customer centricity?

In a recent interview, Valuize CEO Ross Fulton sat down with long-time partner and friend, Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta, to discuss the future of customer success. Read our top 5 takeaways from the discussion to learn how you can build a leading customer success organization at the forefront of this customer-centric transformation. 

#1) Create value-based outcomes that your team can consistently deliver on 

First things first, you need to have a detailed understanding of what each customer is expecting to achieve with your software product(s). If you know your customer’s goals and the value they want to obtain, you can work backwards to design prescriptive outcomes that can be applied to your customer success strategies and delivered to your customers. Through this process, you can ensure that your team will be able to consistently and realistically deliver on a set of pre-defined, measurable outcomes for your customers. At Valuize, we help our clients build an outcomes-based methodology that centers around a prescriptive customer success plan to delivering value.

#2) Map your customer success processes directly to your customer journey

Only 26% of Customer Success organizations have aligned their customer success processes to their customer journeys (TSIA, 2020). The remaining 74% organizations are missing out on an enormous opportunity to drive value at each stage of the customer journey. By mapping out your processes to your customer journey, you can visualize which measurable outcomes your customers should be achieving at each stage of the life cycle, which activities your team should be performing in the process, and which leading and lagging indicators you should be tracking. When building out the customer success strategies you need to achieve this, we recommend applying lean management principles to ensure your processes are efficient and scalable. As your company grows, you will also need to integrate automation into your customer success strategy to scale effectively.

#3) Invest in the right customer success technology for your organization

Once you’ve designed your customer success plan, you need to empower your CS team with the right tools to achieve these outcomes for your customers. Customer success technology will enable you to centralize your customer data, create strategic playbooks, and organize your team structure. Moreover, the right technology will increase visibility and ensure accountability of your customer success initiatives across all of your customer-facing teams. For example, with a customer success platform, you can build an automated customer health score program that will automate health score calculations and trigger standardized workflow in one centralized place as opposed to completing this process manually. If you’re considering an investment in customer success technology, we recommend using these 6 criteria to guide your evaluation and selection process.

#4) Unify your customer success and sales teams

The most successful CSMs are being empowered with greater revenue-based accountability and incentivization. Taking this one step further, you need to ensure these accountabilities and incentives are aligned with your other revenue-generating functions, such as Sales. Without alignment here, your teams will not be working towards the same goals, which can result in unrealized revenue loss for your organization. Additionally, unifying your sales and customer success teams will streamline your customer journey to create a smoother pre- to post- sales transition for your customers.

#5) Empower your customer success team with specialized training, tools, and information

As a customer success leader, your greatest resource is your team. In order to build a comprehensive customer success function, your CSMs need to have an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs and how they realize value with your software product(s). Once you’ve established this foundation, you then need to empower your team with category-specific training, tools, and resources that help them deliver an exceptional end-to-end customer experience. As this relates to customer success, organizations must understand that it takes executive-level commitment to achieve transformative customer success outcomes. If you’re looking to shape the future of customer centricity, the time to invest in customer success is now.

Read the original interview here: 

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Mirah Gocher

Mirah is our team's Marketing Manager. With a creative and data-driven mindset, Mirah helps lead Valuize's marketing efforts to deliver meaningful results for our company, clients, partners, and stakeholders.