CS Insider Report #6 (March 30th)

A note from the editor

Thank you for checking out our 6th CS Insider Report. Here are some important updates and improvements with us for the last two weeks.

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👉 Follow me on LinkedIn!

  1. We have a new domain name! Bookmark csinsider.io 😎
  2. We launched a new series called, Dear Insider where you can ask difficult and personal work questions, anonymously.
  3. We've partnered with SaaS Insider and are sponsoring their annual conference on May 13th and 14th. Register today!
  4. We just released our new 2021 Talent Survey. Help us discover what you want from a job in Customer Success.
  5. We're organizing a ton of events for April and beyond. Bookmark our events page to stay up-to-date.
  6. We've grown to 20 founding team members. If you want to get in on the ground floor, join here.

Please make sure to subscribe below to get our condensed insider reports, delivered fresh from the oven at 550 degrees. Make sure to let cool for 15 minutes before opening 🔥

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⌚ Here's are our top favorites, shuffled for the week 🔀:

📚 RESOURCES

🖥️ VIDEOS

How to Build a Health Score that Actually Works — Irit Eizips & Mark Stoddard, ClientSuccess
Customer Success Revelations in a “New” World Shreesha Ramdas, Strickdeck
The Path to Maximize Results Through Next-Generation Customer Success Everything Customer Success with Omer Minkara & Jamie Bertasi
How Walkme Uses Customer Health Scores to Drive Digital AdoptionEverything Customer Success with Lindsay Bigelow
Reimagining Customer Engagement in a “Physical + Digital” World MoEngage
Do you feel CSMs are better served by being aligned by industry? — Rick Adams, Practical CSM
How to Ensure Success and Avoid Churns Through User Adoption CSM Practice
Should You Charge for Customer Success? CSM Practice with Irit Eizips & Jennifer Maclntosh
Common User Onboarding Myths Busted ProductLed
Strategies of High Performing Customer Success Managers UserGuiding with Cairo Amani

📰NEWS

📝 ARTICLES

🎧PODCASTS

How to Become an Expert on Yourself with Ronni Gaun — Women in Customer Success Podcast
Ep 13 - Dana Alvarenga: Access All Areas with VOCCustomer Uplift

🕹️ TECH

  • Onboard — Organize, automate & manage customer onboarding from handoff to launch.
  • Plantt — Plantt identifies and prioritizes customers who require attention, helping you focus on the right customers, at the right time.
  • Stonly — Build interactive guides to lead your customers to activation, issue resolution, and success on their terms.

🎫 EVENTS

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Ari Hoffman shares his perspective on why does Customer Success exist?
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Ashna Patel talks about nurturing customer relationships, and quick tips for breaking into CS.
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Maranda Ann Dziekonski shares her framework for operational planning and a list to figure out if customer success is right for you.
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John McTigue goes over what are we missing in our customer success programs?
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Grace Samuel writes a dear john letter to your Product Managers.
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Dana Alvarenga shares her insights on customer health scores. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
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Aaron Thompson reflects on his CS career as finding his home in a CS role and some tips around commitments tied to churn.
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Levi Worts discusses the importance of asking 'Why' to your customers.
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Liane Cafarate talks about choosing the right CS tool for your company.
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Christopher Brown discusses best practices for a call wrap up including a template.
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Kristi Faltorusso shares a 4 part series. Customer Marketing Part 1: Advocacy, Part 2: Content, Part 3: Sentiment, and Part 4: Engagement.
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Lisette Venema discusses how she prioritizes in her role as a CSM.
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Tanuj Diwan shares the importance of aligning with your executive sponsor before a new client kickoff.
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Diana De Jesus talks about the importance of creating a 5 minute buffer between calls.
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Megan Bowen shares how people success = customer success = company success.
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Sara Bochino discusses the success of companies who introduce customer success early in the sales process.
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Rasika Kelkar shares questions from a customer to consider.
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Sean Ruane shares his thoughts about customer success starts with employee success.
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You asked, Kristi answered! We're gathering your tough work questions for this new series, Dear Insider. Post your questions anonymously here for Kristi to answer.

If you’re transitioning into your first CS role, what would you recommend doing in the first 30-60-90 days to stand out?

First off, welcome to the wonderful and wild world of Customer Success. The first 90 days of any new role are so important, so it’s great that you are thinking about how to make the most of this window. It’s easy to want to make a big impact right away to prove your value but i’d recommend focusing on the following:

  1. Be a sponge: The most important thing you can do in your initial days and weeks with a new company is to learn. You will need to learn as much as possible about the technology, the current processes, the people, and the company. Let me be clear, the learning will never stop but you need to make sure that you’ve learned everything (or as much as possible) you need to know to do your job.
  2. Know what’s expected of you: Take the time to meet with leaders, your manager, peers, and cross-functional teammates to understand what is expected of you in the role and how you can improve their day-to-day. You might think you know what’s expected of you but this is a good opportunity to get on the same page with everyone, and if you are really interested in standing out, knowing how you can positively impact the teams you work with will serve you well in the long run.
  3. Know your customers: If you are looking to make a significant business impact, there is no better way to do that than to get aligned with your customers. If you are inheriting a book of business made up of existing customers, transitioning to a new CSM can be extremely disruptive to the partnership, but seize this opportunity. Do your research on each and every customer before you engage with them, ask thoughtful questions and make sure to understand what they need and want from you in this role, and lastly, make sure to follow up with them on everything that was discussed. Setting proper expectations and building the proper relationships will allow you to drive a significant impact to the partnership.

Remember, the first 90 days are all about you getting ramped into the role and company effectively, so make that your priority.

During our meetings, there is always one or two dominant persons speaking. It's not that I'm an introvert but I value people listening to each other and letting each other finish sentences and contribute to discussions rather than blurt out anything that comes out. So what often happens is that my voice is not/never being heard and I am concerned that my leader and team think I have nothing to add. I really don't like interrupting people or raising my voice just to be heard, this is really not in line with my authentic self. How can I approach this situation?

I can absolutely relate. I’ve found myself in this situation many times in my professional journey, and it sucks. To be honest, I am sure there have also been times I’ve been the dominant speaker as well. At the end of the day, no matter what, you should always feel like you have a voice and know that just because you have a different communication style does not make your contributions any less valuable. Here are three things you can try:

  1. The first thing you should do is make your manager aware of how you are feeling and the challenges you are having contributing to the discussions. As a manager myself, when I’ve had someone on my team share similar feedback, I’ve helped give them the floor in meetings. For example, if we are in the middle of a discussion I might say something like, “CSM NAME, what do you think?” or “CSM NAME, haven’t you navigated something like this before, how did you handle it?”. Partnering with your manager will not only allow them to better understand your communication style, it will also help you have a way to share your thoughts.
  2. Another thing I’ve done in the past is share my thoughts after the meeting, send an email on the invite thread and say something like, “after having time to reflect on the conversation, I think … “, this tactic can help ensure you get to add value to the conversation in a way that allows you to be your authentic self.
  3. Have a conversation with some of your peers about their current communication style and how it's impacting you and your ability to contribute, perhaps opening up to them will open their eyes to how their communication style might be impacting others as well.

I believe that you can find a way to navigate this, but what I also know to be true is that there will always be situations you cannot control and where you will need to adjust accordingly. I appreciate your communication style, but I’d also learn to step outside your comfort zone, and alter your style a bit from time to time.

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Follow Kristi on LinkedIn and subscribe to her new website, CS Real Simple.

Post your questions anonymously here for Kristi to answer next time!

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Namaste 🙏🏽

Welcome to Ashna's Corner! As you get replenished with our Customer Success recipes, I am here to provide you with your weekly dose of Self-Success!

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April: Remember to focus on 'Personal Development'

Can you believe we are almost in April of 2021? No kidding when they say, time flies!

While staying busy & focusing on our career & professional development is essential. I believe focusing on "personal growth" is as important. Whether it's to enhance a particular skill, work on a certificate, focusing on mental or physical health or simply taking small steps to progress in your journey. Personal growth starts with YOU & you only!

So, let me ask you a simple question..Have you focused on Personal Development this year?

If you have ——> How much have you progressed now that we are almost in Q2 of the year?

If you have not——> It's never too late to start!

"Whatever you do in life, always focus on your personal growth first"-Anonymous

So this week, I am here to remind you to focus on your personal development.

🎯Give time to yourself to hone the skills you are trying to acquire.

🎯Give time to yourself to work on your physical & mental health

🎯Give time to yourself to enjoy what's around you & live in the moment!

I like to do 1:1 with myself at the end of every year & I genuinely ask myself, "What have I learned new or different this year that I did not know last year?" Whether it's personal or professional, if I can't fill out the 'answer' bucket, I know I am not doing something right!

Not every year is the same nor the journey we all live. It doesn't have to be impossible milestones, start small. Take baby steps! ONLY we can focus on our personal growth & one must never stop learning to advance in our own development.

So this week, I challenge you to,

  1. Block out an hour on your calendar
  2. List out the things you would like to achieve (personal & professional)on a piece of paper
  3. Draw another column & map out where you are in your journey for it
  4. Make small goals to achieve this (i.e.- block time on your calendar, set yourself reminders, ask your loved ones to hold you accountable, assign trophies to be achieved with these goals, etc)
  5. Celebrate!

Here is one of my mine: I am working on enhancing my presentation, public speaking skills this year. For which, I am participating in many speaking opportunities, studying/reading more on public speaking & reflecting on my actions. I am doing personal EBR with myself every 3 months to see how am I doing & progressing? Where I need help! Again, your path to success may be different than mine but only YOU can figure out your personal development path! Good luck!

To learn more about Self-Success & Customer Success from Ashna Patel, follow her on Linkedin!

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Bridging the Gap Between Product and Services

At the start of Q1, we made some changes to increase collaboration and communication between Product and Services. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong or in need of fixing (or so we thought), but continual innovation and process improvement is just part of our culture here at Sapper, so off we went.

PSA: This is a story so it will be longer -- but still sweet.

Our Product team has always been the best. Really, truly great. The only issue was that we never had the chance to consistently interact and take stock of each other’s priorities. Once we implemented a few easy changes, we saw our already fast-moving company get even faster. We watched ideas come to life in a matter of days, and we saw more participation and excitement in what was happening over there in Product-land that would ultimately help everyone in Services.

Probably the easiest change that was implemented was to add our VP of Product to our Services Stand-up at the start of each day. This 30 minute daily meeting was a chance to have all department heads in one place to align priorities and stay up to date with changes. When Product started joining this meeting, magic began to happen. If someone brought up wanting to look at data in a different way, Product was there creating reports we didn’t know were possible and saving everyone hours of bandwidth. After a while, more people in this meeting were able to have off-the-wall ideas that could actually be executed - fostering an environment of creative innovation and solutioning.

From this meeting, a totally new meeting was born: The Big Friday Meeting. It’s a once-a-week way to find out what is happening company-wide -- A time for each department to shout out their wins of the week and explain a bit more about what is coming down the pipeline. Everyone is invited, but the meeting is optional. It is also recorded and sent out to the company in the Monday Memo - making it accessible to every person on their own time.

Without fail, the most exciting part of the meeting is when Product shows the mockups and explains what changes have been made and why. That’s because they literally take feedback from our people and give it life!

This quarter we’ve been redesigning our Client Dashboard that will be used internally and externally.  Once rolled out, it will create more value for our clients and capture even more pertinent information in one place for all to see.

You can tell people are on board by watching the chat explode with excitement. This comes from the fact that Product didn't just dream up these ideas and iterations. In fact, many of the CSMs in attendance have had a personal hand in what the dashboard looks like and what is being implemented. They are part of a Taskforce who is working with the Product Team to better understand what is needed in design and experience based on client feedback and internal needs. Although the Taskforce is more involved in how this product is developed on a daily basis, there is also a Q&A session in every Big Friday meeting where any and all questions can be asked.

Since so many people have a hand in the game and are equally committed to the success of this new dashboard, we have seen increased collaboration, communication, and respect cross-departmentally. It has promoted employee engagement and authentically encouraged more feedback from all levels because it is clear that innovation can come from anywhere and everyone’s ideas are valued.

This is the closest we’ve ever worked with Product before and it’s really exciting to see how cohesive we’ve become by bridging that gap. If you think your Product and Services departments could work together more collaboratively, try implementing a few of these changes and see what a difference it can make in just a quarter.

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Feel free to reach out with any additional questions or to just connect on LinkedIn.

We’re hiring too! Client Success, Content & Sales!

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🎉 Tiffani Saxton completed CCSM Level 1 with SuccessHACKER.

🎉 Joao Tiago Pinto started a new role as a Customer Success Manager at Alteryx.

🎉 Allana Cacho accepted a new role as Customer Success Specialist at Kintent.

🎉Stefeny Stanyer accepted a new role as Customer Success Specialist at U.S. CAD.

🎉 Zan Khan accepted a new role as Customer Success Account Manager for Microsoft.

🎉 Qiujie Lu completed CCSM Level 2 with SuccessHACKER.

🎉Mohamed Skaiky accepted a new role as Customer Success Manager at Hi Marley Inc.

🎉Mike Cardona completed the PracticalCSM Certification Course and is now a Certified Customer Success Management Professional.