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11 May 2022

5 Leaders Share 10 Expert Tips To Accelerate Scale Through Digital Customer Engagement

by Mirah Gocher Reading time: 7 mins
digital engagement

Scaling Digital Engagement Is The Key To Driving Maximum Customer Value

Today’s B2B customers are digitally savvy and expect more active engagement from B2B businesses. To keep pace with the growing demand for digital-first engagement, 91% of enterprises have adopted or plan to adopt a digital engagement strategy (Foundry, 2021). The growing importance of Digital Customer Adoption is why it’s a key component, and one of 6 critical disciplines, of the ValueXperience framework. If your organization doesn’t have a clear digital customer engagement strategy that drives measurable value at scale, you may risk falling behind the competition / losing your customers to your competition. 

To help you master scale through digital engagement, we turned to 5 leading experts; Sherrod Patching, Head of Global TAM (Customer Success) at GitLab, Amin Chaudry, Director of CS Operations at Splunk, Kevin Meeks, former Valuize Industry Principal, Ross Fulton, Founder & CEO of Valuize, and Emily Ryan, Chief Client Officer at Valuize. In this article, they share how leaders from these large enterprises are optimizing their digital engagement strategy to maximize customer value and reveal how you can leverage your team, tools and processes to accelerate scale and Net Dollar Retention in your organization.

Q: What tools should my Customer Success team use to operationalize our scale engine?

A: “Gainsight is a key platform for us at Splunk,” shares Amin. “It’s the primary tool that we use to drive our Customer Success (CS) motion and collect crucial insights from our customer data to evaluate how we’re doing and what we need to do next to keep our customers happy and satisfied.” 

“Having a CSM platform definitely helps ensure that you’re actionable,” advises Emily. “As far as data and insights, make sure that you’re capturing and collecting customer data from as many different places in your organizational ecosystem as possible because every engagement is a data point about your customer. Whether this information comes from how your customers are responding to your surveys, how they’re engaging with your Marketing emails or how they’re interacting with your CS and Support functions – all of this customer data is critical in addition to your product data.” 

Kevin adds, “Your knowledge base is also critical. Use cases and outcome knowledge, such as outlining a set of use cases and creating a roadmap to execute and implement on those use cases, is essential. This gives your customers access to a repository of knowledge around use cases and the roadmap to achieve their Value-Based Outcomes. It also helps your high-touch customers as well; you can leverage the resources you create for your down markets and start circulating these in your upmarket customers. This digital engagement really accelerates scale.”

Q: What’s the best way to capture product adoption and report on the metrics used to measure it?

A: According to Amin, “When you think about the SaaS business model and its relevant metrics, the key is customer telemetry. If your business and customers operate in a cloud environment where you can capture and analyze product telemetry data, that’s a big advantage. Those are verified data sources that you can leverage to formulate an understanding of customer health and get an overall sense of how the customer is doing. To put these data points into context, combine them with human qualified customer insights from your CSMs.” 

Emily adds, “While the majority of your product adoption data is going to come from your product telemetry itself, there are other products like Pendo or Gainsight PX that can help augment your customer engagement data set. These tools can be embedded into the product itself so they augment the telemetry data that you may not otherwise have access to. In absence of that, you can pull human insights instead. While this is not the most scalable solution, it’s a good starting point if you don’t have any data or if your platform is entirely on prem.” 

Kevin cautions, “Don’t forget your Support data. A lot of people think about Support data as exclusively Support health, but it can actually reveal a lot about product adoption. Customers that engage with your Support organization consistently are likely using your product while customers that have never engaged with your Support organization are probably not using your product at all. Product telemetry is really important, whether it’s something you craft yourself through engineering or whether you use a separate platform, but don’t forget about some of those other valuable sources of information in your organization, like your Support data.”

Q: What is the ideal structure of a Scale team and the ideal profile of a CSM in this team?

A: According to Sherrod, “At GitLab, we made a case for having an Operations professional that is solely assigned to scale initiatives. Because so much of what we do is programmatic, a strong Ops practitioner is essential. While we opted for someone with more technical skills for the role based on the complexity of our product, you may choose to focus on another area of expertise depending on your organization’s needs.”

Ross adds, “Your approach to your scale team and structure truly depends on your product. That is, the nature of your tech stack and driving adoption within your customer base are both key variables that should factor into the design of your scale model, including who is resourcing it.”

Q: What qualities should I look for in a strong digitally-led CSM?

A: Amin shares, “When we hired for this position at Splunk, it was with the lens that this person is going to be the customer advocate contact for all customers going through a digital journey. There are three key things that we considered:

  • Do they have good customer engagement and communication skills? 
  • Do they have experience helping customers utilize technology or a product to help solve their business challenges? 
  • Do they have fundamental knowledge of the environment? 

These three considerations were top of mind when we were staffing for this position.”

Q: When it comes to the Scale content we share with customers, such as newsletters, which team should be responsible for making that decision?

A: “At Gitlab, we have a Programs team that is responsible for the newsletter,” shares Sherrod. “The Scale team will contribute and work collaboratively with our Programs team on specific topics that they want to have included but, ultimately, it’s owned by the Programs team. Within the Programs team, we have a technical writer who is responsible for the content itself and is part of the overall instructional design concept. 

We’re also introducing an academy-type approach to instructional design at GitLab this year. As we work that into our plans, we’ll be able to leverage that very heavily in our Scale guidance for our customers.”

Deliver Measurable Value At Scale With Powerful Digital Engagement

As your organization grows, the need for digital customer engagement at scale becomes crucial. At the same time, the challenges of scaling your digital engagement model become more complex. To ensure the success of your digital engagement efforts and set your organization on the fast track to growth, you need to empower your teams with the right tools and processes. With a strategic blend of people, technology and processes for your digital scale engine, you can achieve market-leading Customer Retention and NDR results. 

Creating a scale strategy for your growing customer base is just the start. Without buy-in from Senior Leadership, your scale model could end up as a failure to launch.  To prevent this from occurring, follow these 6 tried-and-tested steps for building a compelling business case for your Scale strategy.

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.