[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text"]You’re convinced key account management and customer success is critical to your company growth, and you’re working hard to get company buy-in, but you’re not entirely sure what’s the next best step. There are plenty of articles on Sales team maturity, and customer success, being a new industry, hasn't been the focal point. In this article, we will discuss strategies to implement with your customer success and account management teams, so you can optimize results for both your customers and your company, and make the c-suite happy.To understand the best steps to take next, let’s analyze OpenView’s chart of customer success organization maturity. We’ll help you pinpoint where your team is right now, and share free resources that will help you move to the next stage.
Maturity Level – Stage 1: Ad Hoc Customer Success Management
This is when you realize the importance of customer success.
What Stage 1 Looks Like
With 60% of companies adopting customer success only in the last couple of years, stage 1 is where most companies are at. At this stage, there’s no one person solely in charge of customer success, even if you have customer service reps that answer customer inquiries, or a marketing manager that handles social media. Usually, everyone on the team is doing a bit of everything to help customers, and they’re mostly focused on putting out fires.Every business model is different, so there isn't one processes to help customers succeed. In addition, you don’t know which tools to use and what helps with your business workflow. You’re just trying to avoid making too many mistakes, so you can survive another year.
How to Move to Stage 2
It’s time to analyze what’s working and what’s not, and start implementing processes to do more of what already works. Start defining which types of people you need to make that happen. Set goals and work backward to figure out how to get there.Resource to help you get there: In this webinar, Emilia D’Anzica, VP of customer engagement at Walk Me, answers 10 questions about building a customer success program from scratch:
Source: MindTouch via YouTube
Maturity Level – Stage 2: Awareness of Customer Success Needs
This is when you start to figure out what would help customer success and company growth, and you’re on a mission to turn insights into reality.
What Stage 2 Looks Like
You’ve figured out your priorities, and equipped your customer facing teams with people who have the necessary skills to help you reach your goals. Now that you know what’s working and what’s not, you’ve started to set processes, so you can do more of what works to help customers succeed, stay longer and recommend to their friends.
Source: Gainsight via SlideShare
In addition, you’re starting to recognize which tools are a good fit per department, but still haven’t find the best way to create organization-wide collaboration. Your growth probably still feels new and fragile, but you’re working hard to step up your game.
How to Move to Stage 3:
Start analyzing customer journeys to identify different lifecycle stages, what works in which one, and where you lose customers along the way. Figure out metrics for each lifecycle stage, and start exploring automation tools that will make your team’s work more scalable.Resource to help you get there: Watch this presentation from the Cleverbridge Networking Event. There, Martin Trzaskalik, Celeverbridge’s CTO, and David Walsh, a marketing director who has worked for Intuit, PayPal and eBay, explained how to successfully manage your customer lifecycle.
Source: Cleverbridge via YouTube
Maturity Level – Stage 3: Repeatable Customer Success Processes
This is when you feel like you’ve made it – you know what it takes to drive success.
What Stage 3 Looks Like
You’ve figured out what your customer lifecycle looks like, and you’ve got customer success managers in charge of optimizing it. With the help of relevant tools, different departments are just starting to collaborate in order to automate customer experience processes, so they can be reliably repeated with less effort.
How to Move to Stage 4:
It’s time to get to know your customers on a deeper level. Figure out which outcomes customers are already getting, and what’s stopping them from succeeding.Remember that “68% of customers leave because they perceive that you are indifferent to them,” yet “a 5% reduction in customer defection rate yields a 25-125% increase in profitability,” according to Referral SaaSquash. Numbers change a bit from research to research, but the principal remains the same:
Source: Referral SaaSquash
Therefore, make sure your customer facing teams are showing your customers some love. Once you get a deeper understanding of your customer journey, work backwards again to figure out how you’ll help optimize results. As you do that, keep putting an emphasis on organization-wide collaboration and process automation.Resource to help you get there: Dreaming of the big leagues?Big league companies know how to predict success because they measure everything. Here’s a discussion panel about customer success numbers from Totango’s 2015 Customer Success Summit.These customer success executives share how they measure customer success, customer health, product engagement, customer retention cost and more.
Source: Totango via YouTube
Maturity Level – Stage 4: Predictable Customer Success Processes
This is when you don’t only know how to generate success, but you know how to predict metrics, which enables you to invest more in growth.
What Stage 4 Looks Like
Your focus is on driving predictability on two metric – driving success for your customers and increasing your bottom line. You don’t only have a dedicated team of customer success managers, but a true organization-wide collaboration in real time, which gives you way more data on each customer, each lifecycle stage, risks and successes, and a much better bottom line. After testing and refining, you have finally created a predictable customer experience, and you’ve got the organization buy-in to make it work, because you also manage to accurately predict financial results.
How to Move to Stage 5
To scale it up, you need to understand the ways customer outcomes impact your bottom line. Now that you have predictable processes and results, focus on both acquiring new customers and encouraging current ones to become your brand advocates.Documenting your success and sharing it with the world can make a big impact on your bottom line. According to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ 2016 B2B research, case studies are the most effective marketing strategy after in-person events and webinars.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
Their impact is widespread. In fact, when conducted interviews with 21 marketers from 5 countries (including a former White House executive and one of BBC’s Top 100 Women of 2014), I found that case studies increase sales and customer lifetime value, help organizations make the world a better place, position companies as authorities in their fields, build trust, humanize companies, prove the value of your work to employees, and improve customer success.Resource to help you get there: Gainsight’s 2014 conference put top executives from Box, Marketo and Salesforce on one stage to discuss how to scale customer success organizations. You can watch their panel here:
Maturity Level – Stage 5: Customer Success is Activated for Massive Growth
This is when your customer success organization is finally ready to scale big.
What Stage 5 Looks Like
For the first time since you started prioritizing customer success with your customer facing teams and beyond, you know exactly how customer outcomes impact business outcomes, and you know what it takes to get there. You’re stepping up customer acquisition, because you have the people, tools and collaborative processes to take on additional customers. Yet this might be when you hire new employees so you can scale faster.Alongside new customer and talent acquisition, you’re also aware that your current customers are probably the most important resource you have for future work. As we reported in the past, Jason M. Lemkin, former VP of Web Business Services at Adobe Systems, stretched that at the 2015 Gainsight Pulse conference, saying all big companies (including Google, Facebook and Adobe) “get 80% of their customers from their old customers.”That’s why, at stage 5, you’re setting up a customer advocacy program, documenting case studies and encouraging referrals. Resource to help you do that:Now that your customer success organization has matured, the sky’s the limit. It’s time to think bigger than ever. Check out this case study about how Eloqua scaled its customer success results from $0 to $1 billion.
Source: Amity via YouTube
One day, your company can get there too.What stage are you in now? What can you do in the next month to set the stage to stepping it up?[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]