CS Insider Report #1 (Jan 14)

CS Insider Report #1 (Jan 14)

Join our weekly newsletter to hear about the latest Customer Success trends, community news, and updates, distilled down for the busy professional.

Jan 14, 2020

Industry News

Article Summaries

Click arrows for summaries

The Future of Work for Customer Success (Corinne Goldberg - CSM at Slack)

Summary

  • Covid-19 has forced organizations to re-think the modern workplace in order to stay profitable during uncertain times. This includes shifting to a remote and distributed workforce. Through experiential approaches, these organizations attempted to carry over their in-person culture by hosting virtual happy hours, daily stand ups, and community interest groups. Soon, employees became fed up with the constant dehumanizing time spent in front of a screen.
"It turns out that human connection matters."
  • Human connection, it turns out, mattered for a lot of reasons. She states that human connections, innovation, and serving our customers will shift as we redefine what the new normal is. As the workplace evolves, so will we as we scramble to design one for the future.
  • Delivering customer value and building relationships in a virtual world will need to be a priority for organizations that care about understanding their customers and their needs. This will require upfront planning and investment but as she states, it can be done right.
  • As we move to a hybrid workplace, we're naturally going to lose the human element that drives engagement and invigoration. We're going to need to find a new digital watercooler to informally share our ideas, chit-chat and collaborate. The upside is that technology has lead to the birth of thriving CSM virtual communities where people who might not have connected before, not have the opportunity to meet and collaborate.
  • Going into the future, the author hopes that organizations will invest in experiences that foster cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing. This is paramount as we seek to mature as an industry and strive to drive innovation with our products.
Closing the Sales and CS Training and Development Gap Part 2 (Sarah Doughty, Founder at Crescendo Labs)

Summary for Part 1

  • Sarah brings up the important point that organizations tend to overinvest in their Sales team training comparatively to other parts of the organization. Because Customer Success Management can have a drastically larger impact on growth and recurring revenue, it deserves more attention during budget planning. She goes on to say:
"So what does this mean? It doesn’t mean that Sales isn’t important. It means that Customer Success, whether they manage renewals and expansions or not, has an immense ability to impact your company’s growth through retaining and growing your customers. It also means that if you’re going to grow your business productively, you should invest more in the area of your company that is influencing the most growth: Customer Success."
  • Additionally, because Customer Success professionals come from a variety of backgrounds and the business function is still young, the need for training is ever-more needed to sustain healthy growth and effectiveness.
"Having an effective training program in place ensures that a company stays true to its promise of improving people, processes, and systems. Regular training not only helps in evaluating a CSM’s performance but also identifies gaps in existing skill sets."

Summary for Part 2

  • The article discusses the important elements of training involved within the customer lifestyle.
  • The Challenger Approach as a good framework for CS professionals to learn in terms of asking good questions and understanding the customer's needs.
  • The Value Selling methodology helps keep CS professionals focused on the benefits of your product and not the product itself when talking with customers. This positions your product as a must have and worthwhile long-term investment, thus making QBRs easier for the CSM.
  • The needed methodology foundation for the customer success field should be rooted in the 4 P's:
    • Psychology
    • Project Management
    • Product Led Growth
    • Process
Customer Experience Redefined: Insights From Chief Customer Officers on the Frontlines (Mat Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce & Karen Mangia, Vice President of Market and Customer Insights at Salesforce)

Summary

  • Who is our customer now, post-pandemic? Through numerous Chief Experience and Chief Customer Officers interviews, Mat and Karen discovered that customers now value and expect only experiences that help them achieve their desired outcomes. It's not about happiness anymore! Budgets are tighter, uncertainly is still present, and customers expect to see value quickly.
"This notion is best expressed by a quote we heard in our interviews. We heard one executive tell us, “We have happy customers with great experiences leave all the time, and unhappy ones stay. The difference is the outcomes they receive.”

Other Important Nuggets:

  • NPS and CSAT shouldn't be leveraged as a primary predictor of customer relationship health.
  • Experiences should be the primary factor and tied strongly towards moving customers to their desired outcome and not merely a goal in itself to create happy customers.
  • The businesses that create the best, outcome-focused experiences win more deals and retain customers longer, according to their research.
  • The value that Customer Success Management brings is hard to ignore as it bridges the gap between pre and post sales and helps boost customer satisfaction.
  • There's a shift to co-creation as a fundamental business skill to help design customer outcomes throughout the customer journey. This approach brigns both parties together to explore, plan, and execute on their partnership. This provides a common vision for expectations and success.
  • In the end, it's up to senior leadership to lead the charge in creating business that build a culture that prioritizes co-creation, agile decision making,and experiences that drive desired outcomes.

Other Articles Links

Monthly Video Discussion

Check out and contribute to our first Flipgrid video discussion! This month's prompt is on what customer success is not. Simply record your answer here and see what other Customer Success professionals are saying.

Trending LinkedIn Posts

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Diana De Jesus compares a CS team to restaurant staff. Not only is this analogy amazing, but it's also really making me crave some guacamole
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Erika Villarreal and Kristi Faltourusso discuss how to start a CS program from scratch.
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Erika Villarreal with another great post on how to manage your time as a CS professional
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Ashna Patel is starting a CSM book club!
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Pat Phelan drops a knowledge bomb about guarding your customer's investment.
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Emilia D'Anzica gives some helpful advice about customer "check-in" meetings. Hint...don't call them that.
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Alex Farmer shares some protips when you have to deal with a executive sponsor change
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Jay Nathan discusses how he listens to his customers to tailor a custom customer success model
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LinkedIn Community Wins

Podcast Episodes

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RevRev Ep.12 | Rob Massa, RO, Forecast

Episode Summary

"From GM of EMEA at BounceX (now Wunderkind) to his current role as the CRO at Forecast, Rob Massa has turned a unique international business experience into his first CRO role. In this episode of Revenue Revolutionaries, Dave talks with Rob about how to reduce churn through leading indicator metrics via Sales, CS, and Marketing alignment, the power of strongly communicating the relationship between vision and tactics to employees, and the importance of over-indexing on hiring, onboarding, and training processes."
Gain. Grow. Retain. | Diversity Equity Inclusion: Unconscious bias w/ James Parker

Episode Summary

"James Parker, a leader In Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, comes to the Gain Grow Retain CS Leadership Office Hours to teach us more about unconscious bias. --If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: http://gaingrowretain.com/This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...Jay Nathan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaynathan/Jeff Breunsbach: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreybreunsbach"

CHURNFM EP | Derek Steer - How Mode’s hyper-focus on a specific customer persona increases retention and crushes the competition

Episode Summary

"Today on the show we have Derek Steer, Co-founder, and CEO of Mode. In this episode, we talked about what drove Derek as an analyst to start Mode, what they do, and who their typical customers are. We also discussed how Mode nudged competitors out of their customer’s workflow by having a hyper-focus on technical analysts and what differentiates them in the data analysis market. Derek also shares how analysts at Mode analyze churn and retention and why you should also investigate churn even if it’s not a problem
The Jasons Take On | Being Customer Centric in 2021 and Beyond

Episode Summary

"Being customer centric has never been more important than today but what it means to be customer centric has and is evolving. With the global pandemic still here, it's critical that we look at what it really means to be customer centric today and for the future and what our customers really want and need."
'wellsaid | How to Build a Customer Advocacy Program

Episode Summary

"In episode 3 of 3 with Alex Farmer, Alex breaks down his approach to building out a customer advocacy program into five steps."
CELAB | What Can David Bowie Teach Us About Customer Education

Episode Summary

"In 2019 we did our first “pause and reflect” style episode over the holidays, which was one of our top five episodes of all time. With this episode we, once again, let loose and do a “fun” episode to close out the year and start off the new one. And after this year, we definitely need to let loose a bit! To bridge the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, we’re going to continue our tradition of asking what music and art can teach us about Customer Education. What can David Bowie teach us about Customer Education? And to honor our subject just a bit more, we’ve waited just a bit to celebrate his birthday (January 8th, 1947)! Listen in as we relate the journey of David Bowie as he practiced his art over a lifetime."
Women in Customer Success | How To Build Your Online Presence on LinkedIn - Diana De Jesus

Video Recordings

Click arrows for video recordings

CSM Practice | Why Should Product Roadmap Be Influenced By Customer Success?
The Unique Impact Data & Operations Has on Customer Success | Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight

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Click arrow for summaries 📝

The Future of Work for Customer Success (Corinne Goldberg - CSM at Slack)

Summary

  • Covid-19 has forced organizations to re-think the modern workplace in order to stay profitable during uncertain times. This includes shifting to a remote and distributed workforce. Through experiential approaches, these organizations attempted to carry over their in-person culture by hosting virtual happy hours, daily stand-ups, and community interest groups. Soon, employees became fed up with the constant dehumanizing time spent in front of a screen.
"It turns out that human connection matters."
  • Human connection, it turns out, mattered for a lot of reasons. She states that human connections, innovation, and serving our customers will shift as we redefine what the new normal is. As the workplace evolves, so will we as we scramble to design one for the future.
  • Delivering customer value and building relationships in a virtual world will need to be a priority for organizations that care about understanding their customers and their needs. This will require upfront planning and investment but as she states, it can be done right.
  • As we move to a hybrid workplace, we're naturally going to lose the human element that drives engagement and invigoration. We're going to need to find a new "digital watercooler" to informally share our ideas, chit-chat, and collaborate. The upside is that technology has lead to the birth of thriving CSM virtual communities where people who might not have connected before, now have the opportunity to meet and collaborate.
  • Going into the future, the author hopes that organizations will invest in experiences that foster cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing. This is paramount as we seek to mature as an industry and strive to drive innovation with our products.
Closing the Sales and CS Training and Development Gap Part 2 (Sarah Doughty, Founder at Crescendo Labs)

Summary for Part 1

  • Sarah brings up the important point that organizations tend to overinvest in their Sales team training comparatively to other parts of the organization. Because Customer Success Management can have a drastically larger impact on growth and recurring revenue, it deserves more attention during budget planning. She goes on to say:
"So what does this mean? It doesn’t mean that Sales isn’t important. It means that Customer Success, whether they manage renewals and expansions or not, has an immense ability to impact your company’s growth through retaining and growing your customers. It also means that if you’re going to grow your business productively, you should invest more in the area of your company that is influencing the most growth: Customer Success."
  • Additionally, because Customer Success professionals come from a variety of backgrounds and the business function is still young, the need for training is ever-more needed to sustain healthy growth and effectiveness.
"Having an effective training program in place ensures that a company stays true to its promise of improving people, processes, and systems. Regular training not only helps in evaluating a CSM’s performance but also identifies gaps in existing skill sets."

Summary for Part 2

  • The article discusses the important elements of training involved in managing the customer lifestyle.
  • The Challenger Approach is a good framework for CS professionals to learn in terms of asking good questions and understanding the customer's needs.
  • The Value Selling methodology helps keep CS professionals stay focused on the benefits of your product and not the product itself when talking with customers. This positions your product as a must-have and worthwhile long-term investment, thus making QBRs easier for the CSM.
  • The needed methodology foundation for the customer success field should be rooted in the 4 P's:
    • Psychology
    • Project Management
    • Product Led Growth
    • Process
Customer Experience Redefined: Insights From Chief Customer Officers on the Frontlines (Mat Sweezey, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce & Karen Mangia, Vice President of Market and Customer Insights at Salesforce)

Summary

  • Who is our customer now, post-pandemic? Through numerous Chief Experience and Chief Customer Officers interviews, Mat and Karen discovered that customers now value and expect only experiences that help them achieve their desired outcomes. It's not about happiness anymore! Budgets are tighter, uncertainly is still present, and customers expect to see value quickly.
"This notion is best expressed by a quote we heard in our interviews. We heard one executive tell us, “We have happy customers with great experiences leave all the time, and unhappy ones stay. The difference is the outcomes they receive.”

Other Important Nuggets:

  • NPS and CSAT shouldn't be leveraged as a primary predictor of customer relationship health.
  • Experiences should be the primary factor and tied strongly towards moving customers to their desired outcome and not merely a goal in itself to create happy customers.
  • The businesses that create the best, outcome-focused experiences win more deals and retain customers longer, according to their research.
  • The value that Customer Success Management brings is hard to ignore as it bridges the gap between pre and post sales and helps boost customer satisfaction.
  • There's a shift to co-creation as a fundamental business skill to help design customer outcomes throughout the customer journey. This approach brigns both parties together to explore, plan, and execute on their partnership. This provides a common vision for expectations and success.
  • In the end, it's up to senior leadership to lead the charge in creating business that build a culture that prioritizes co-creation, agile decision making,and experiences that drive desired outcomes.

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Tech 💾

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💡

Click arrows for video recordings

CSM Practice | Why Should Product Roadmap Be Influenced By Customer Success?
The Unique Impact Data & Operations Has on Customer Success | Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight