What’s the Secret to a Winning Customer Success Strategy?


Amy Wilde

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

One of the things I have learned during my career is that excellence does not happen by accident. Have you ever decided you want to paint a room a new color? It is not as easy as  slapping a bright color on the wall and hoping you like the transformation. Instead, to see the right outcome, you must invest in a solid vision along with planning and preparation. This is also true of a great Customer Success strategy and mindset, you need to plot out a carefully crafted Customer Success management plan to see the right results.

Looking for Customer Experience Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best customer experience software solutions.

The biggest challenge to Customer Success is managing an increasingly complex sales process. The linear process of sales has been replaced by a cyclical rhythm that blends AI and processes with technology and relationships.

The number of touchpoints needed to close new deals (between 5-7) continues to increase as B2B buyers look to become better educated, which means that buyers are slower to make business-critical decisions. 

According to Gartner, the biggest obstacle to B2B sales is lack of customer confidence (i.e., lack of confidence in their ability to make the right choice, not a lack of confidence in suppliers). In fact, 89 percent of B2B customers say they encounter high-quality information during the buying process, but their inability to make sense of the information leads them to choose safer, less disruptive solutions.

Here is where Customer Success is valuable: it gives sales reps the tools they need to educate prospects, overcome objectives, and instill confidence. Customer Success is proactive (based on listening), not reactive, with the aim of increasing the lifetime value of each customer built on that trust and confidence.

Metrics for Customer Success

You want to make Customer Success profitable, so you need to measure customer acquisition cost (CAC) against lifetime value (LTV). The value of any customer relationship is measured by customer retention and the number of products or services they purchase.

In today’s subscription economy, you want to focus on maintaining the customer relationship, not just closing the sale, and so CAC is only a fraction of LTV. To gauge Customer Success, you need to measure recurring revenue from customer retention.

The value of any sale extends well beyond the point of purchase. This is why you need real-time visibility into usage, including contextual data. Predictive analytics should uncover any issues with customer adoption and satisfaction and reveal new up sell and cross-sell opportunities as well.

Customer Success is the result of product or service value. So if your analytics reveal slow adoption rates, that means there is resistance to use the product or it has been shelved, and so the customer is getting zero value. Slow adoption should trigger the appropriate response—outreach to assess the problem, redesigning the on boarding, and providing the right integration and training support.

Real-time analytics can reveal other concerns, such as adoption of a competing solution or dissatisfaction with customer support. The goal is to make adoption seamless in order to demonstrate long-term value. Using analytical data, you should be able to identify any roadblocks in the customer journey that need to be removed.

Also, Read: 10 Successful Customer Loyalty Programs in 2019

Customer Success is a Company Wide Commitment

In order to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of the customer relationship, it is essential to ensure that right outcomes are in place to ensure Customer Success at every stage. Using tools such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics provide data that makes the conversation around what success looks like more relevant and personalized.

The old customer service model was reactive, using trouble tickets and addressing problems on a case-by-case basis, with the account manager stepping in with reassurances to maintain the customer relationship. Rather than performing triage, Customer Success is proactive so it’s essential to have touch points throughout the organization, identifying potential problems and opportunities.

This requires a dedicated Customer Success team with a Customer Success manager who is responsible for onboarding and adoption, and a Customer Growth manager who is responsible for increasing customer value and driving renewals. The Customer Success team spearheads a company-wide initiative to meet the evolving needs of the customer.

You have to continue to ask the hard questions:

  • How does the customer use our product?
  • Why do they use our product?
  • What data can we apply to help them get more value from our product?
  • How do we ensure renewal and avoid subscription fatigue?

Many aspects of Customer Success can be successfully outsourced so your in-house team can stay focused on what they do best. You can outsource customer relationship building and gain the insight and data you need to promote customer retention and growth. Outsourcing lead generation and qualification, for example, is less costly and allows your sales team to focus on customer needs. 

Sales as a Service companies also have sophisticated technology to manage the customer journey and generate analytical data. Getting an external perspective can help you refine sales processes to help you embrace Customer Success.

Amy leads MarketStar’s strategic content and demand marketing efforts. She supports the revenue engine at MarketStar with the aim of contributing to organic and new growth through content and campaigns designed to provide action and spark discussion. As a 21-year veteran of MarketStar, she has contributed to MarketStar’s success for two-thirds of the company’s history. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University. She is a published author and motivational speaker.

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