Customer Success is really picking up momentum these days, and with momentum comes a lot of news that adds to a lot of confusion for people who are just starting to learn about what customer success is.
I’ve presented this presentation last week at the Silicon Valley Customer Success meetup, my goals was to make it dead-simple. I’m trying to answer: what are we really managing in customer success management, and what customer success teams really do. Take a look – let me know what you think.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that one of the best ways to get and maintain customer engagement is through video. Like all methods, though, there are some best practices that are always good to keep in mind.
April Bixel on via680 notes that video helps you show off your company’s personality and culture. Getting out in front of them is good all on its own, but putting a friendly and memorable face to your name is extra valuable.
Jacco vanderKooij’s webinar on social media for sales points out (amongst many other things) that video makes a good sales tool: you can show videos interspersed with your presentation on your iPad. They offer consistent quality content that can explain a product’s value at the executive level or provide solid customer use cases. Video will generate more trust and offers the sales rep the chance to sit back and watch the reactions of the audience. If you include a link to a video you sent to customers to watch at their own time, make sure to use a tool like Wistia so you can track who has watched your messages.
Video may be more difficult to produce than, say, a blog post (for instance), but the effort is worth it!
At first glance, “lifecycle email marketing” looks like three nearly-unrelated words stirred haphazardly together into a lukewarm buzzword hash. But appearances can be deceiving: Chris Sturk at Mequoda has written an excellent series of posts on lifecycle email marketing that give great insight into something we could all stand to be doing more of, and better.
– Lifecycle email marketing is about creating a relationship between you and your recipient through well-timed emails. Sturk outlines seven points during the typical customer lifecycle that would be good times to send an email.
– But what goes in those emails? There are plenty of opportunities to offer rewards to prospects and customers alike for their engagement, but it’s possible to do it wrong. Would you like some tips for email reward campaigns? Who wouldn’t?
– Knowing the lifecycle is great and all, but it would also help to segment your audience, so you can send the right messages to the right people. One useful way to differentiate the crowd is by — you guessed it — engagement.
– Just as there are plenty of ways to slice an onion, there are plenty of ways to write a good email. Sturk caps off the series by offering some good examples.
Lifecycle email marketing: less of a buzzword hash and more of a nourishing strategy stew. If you’re ready to start digging in, and you want some help with the audience side — segmenting your users by engagement, for instance — feel free to get in touch. You know where to find us!
How do you grow from trial to paying users? The freemium business model is popular with many cloud-based companies but depending on company size, the user experience for trial users is different each time. We sat down to discuss smart conversion metrics for the freemium business model with Vik Chaudhary VP of Product Management and Corporate Development from Keynote Systems. Keynote is experimenting with free mobile apps to drive demand and leads for their paid enterprise solutions.
To read the full transcription of the video, click here
It’s important to figure out how deeply your trial users are using your product. Here are some metrics to consider:
– Are they downloading your software?
– Are they registering for your service?
– How often are they logging in to the service?
The ultimate goal is to figure what they are doing within your service and how to get them to upgrade to your paid features. Identifying the right conversion metrics will allow you to more accurately target your users and extend the lifecycle of your relationship with them.
Hi, my name is Vik Chaudhary and I’m VP of Product Management and Corporate Development at Keynote Systems. At Keynote, what we do is test and monitor the online user experience for companies that are online or have a mobile presence. When you talk about premium business models, there’s really two kinds of premium.
One is if you’ve got a product that’s used by hundreds of thousands or even millions of users. Starbucks is a great product for that. The other one is a product that may be a premium product used by a smaller number of enterprises. We’re talking about maybe tens of thousand of companies using this.
When you have a premium product for the latter, it’s a very different kind of experience that you have to measure. When we talk about premium business models, you really have to think about who is buying your product. On one end, it could be a product like DropBox, which is bought by consumers or by small businesses.
And that could be used by millions of users. On the other side, it could be a product that’s used by tens of thousands of enterprises. So when you think about a premium business model, you really have to think about who’s gonna be buying it and how do you build conversion metrics into the process of going from trial to paying users.
When we start thinking about how do enterprises evaluate and use our products, we really have to go for metrics such as downloading a product, registering for it. But how do they deeply begin to use the product? Are they creating a test script, for example? Are they begging to play back the test script?
How many websites are they testing? How many times are they logging into the product? So as we begin to look at our funnel, we’re really thinking about, what are the users doing here? They’re logging in. They’re logging in many times, they’re creating test scripts, they’re testing their own websites.
Are they coming from existing customers, or are they completely new to Keynote? Those are the kinds of conversion metrics that we think about.
Zendesk, which is one of Totango customers, is using Totango to find out how people who are trying their product or already existing customers are actually using it and how engaged are they with their product.
J.D. from Zendesk, was covering the other 3 steps, to complete the process of building customers loyally, form the customer-service and support angle.
Here are Totango slides from the webinar – please feel free to share or embed them in your website/blog:
I was on a super exciting panel at the All About The Cloud conference in San Francisco this week: “the Power of the Customer”.
Here are 3 predictions for the future that were discussed on the panel:
1. All SaaS companies will use predictive customer analytics. Measuring and optimizing customer lifetime value was a big topic. You can’t manage what you can’t measure so expect SaaS companies to invest big in customer analytics and predictive analytics. These are technologies coming from the consumer marketing space. However, in software you can go one step further because all customer interactions, including interaction with the product itself are digital. So while Victoria’s Secret may analyze customer transactions to predict whether customers will buy again (and whether it’s worth sending you another expensive catalogue) imagine that you could actually know how often your customer wore that swim suit. That would be a pretty good indicator of how much you liked the swim suit and how likely you are to buy again from the catalogue. With software this is possible! And indeed software usage turns out to be the most reliable buy signal (or churn signal whatever the case may be).
2. There will be many SaaS companies with no sales teams. Think about Atlassian: a $100 million+ revenue B2B software companies with ZERO sales personnel. Their sales model is 100x or more cheaper than that of their competitors with field based sales teams. And their velocity is so much higher. I bet you their customer satisfaction is higher too. At no-sales companies, marketing is responsible for demand generation and initial signups. For more complicated products a customer success function is emerging to coach customers post sign-up and to grow usage, users and use cases over time. There was common agreement on the importance of building out customer success teams regardless of the sales model. Customer success managers have responsibility over renewal revenues as well as upselling and carry a quota rather than being a glorified support team.
3. Products are becoming social. The product itself will be the primary sales tool. Much of customer engagement will happen from within the application itself. Customer actions speak loudest: usage is the most important buy or churn signal. Also customers will communicate with other users and with the vendor using in-application communities and communications. The panel agreed that the new Social Buyer demands self-service. It started some years ago with self-service information (‘inbound marketing‘) and these days the ‘must have’ is a free trial or freemium version of your product. The panel agreed that freebies were essential in creating trust. Also think about this: if your competitor offers free trial of some version of your product and you don’t, then customers will be already half-way down the sales process with your competitor before they ever talk to you.
Thanks to the All About Cloud team for having us, thanks to Shubber Ali from Accenture for moderating and thanks to my fellow panelists Jon Miller (Marketo), Todd Bursey (FinancialForce) and Jeff Yoshimura (Zuora) for fun times! See you next year
If you are interested to analyze and predict your customers’ actions, or if you want to make your product social:
Anneke was presenting there about the modern ways to sell a thought, a product or a concept to your executive team or your board and anticipate what is going to make them more engaged once making a decision.
And indeed, we can see decisions are being made more and more based on metrics and cohort analysis rather than on our guts feeling. It’s not enough to feel it inside – you should base your feeling on numbers and know which metric to measure – that would not only increase your customer engagement but can also increase inside engagement while selling an idea to your team!
Once a business understand which are their most important metrics, they should stick to it and measure them in order to create a clear view of its consistency over time.
Hi, I’m Anneke Seley and we want to talk about justifying Sales 2.0 investments such as technologies, training purposes, marketing programs, and making an inside sales team, and in my presentation today, Sales 2.0 conference, I quoted All Things Digital who last month said that we are moving from the era of “Mad Men”, as in Don Draper, to an era of Math Men, and I used Albert Einstein as an example, and it’s really important to understand how to sell a thought, a product, a concept to your executive team or your board and know what is going to make them engage and make a decision, and more and more executives are acting more like Albert Einstein in the Math era than Don Draper in the Madman era, so understand what metrics are important to your company, whether they are revenue per head, average sales cycle, average deal size, these are some of the standards.
Of course, they are probably metrics that are more meaningful to you. And use those metrics before you install your product, after you install your product on a trial or something like that or similarly for marketing program or a new sales 2.0 initiative and hopefully that’ll get you the results that you want.
I am excited to see so many talk about the importance of the Chief Customer Officer. Dedicating an executive on your team to customer success can significantly boost customer engagement, increase customer retention and ultimately grow customer lifetime value.
We have given the Jeanne Bliss book to several of our clients. We have also written about the rise of the VP Customer Success, a different name for the same animal.
In the last months there is a lot of momentum around the new position of the Chief Customer Officer:
Jeanne Bliss launched a forum for Chief Customer Officers: ”Chief Customer Officer 2.0 is a resource center built for practitioners by a practitioner “, says Jeanne Bliss, head of CustomerBliss. “Chief Customer Officers wrestle with customer leadership across entrenched silos. They must create a connection between customer experience and profitability, while exquisitely listening to the lives of customers. It’s a tough job and they crave resources and an opportunity to share ideas, challenges and solutions.” The new site includes tools, content and real-world materials, including the inaugural series on the Top Ten Aptitudes for Successful Customer Executives.
Desk.com blogged about the importance of a Chief Customer Officer: According to Jeffrey Henning, founder of the Vovici blog, ”Without a CCO, customer advocacy and action is dispersed and diluted. Marketing worries about the customer as a lead; Sales worries about the customer as a prospect; Service worries about the customer as a problem; but there is nobody to think about the customer holistically as they experience and engage with your brands, your products, and the legions of employees who represent your business on the front lines every day.”
While still only a small percentage of companies have a Chief Customer Officer, we believe this will change rapidly in the future, especially as the role will increasingly morph into the “Sales Team of the Future”. Once Customer Success and Customer Officers carry a quote for customer renewals and expansion sales, they will have found their true place in the C-Suite. Especially for subscription based businesses this is happening rather quickly as revenues from existing customers typically dramatically exceeds that of new users (the traditional realm of sales). A customer success team with more power than sales: now that is a world I would like to live in!
The Totango team is excited to announce its participating in the Engine Yard’s add-ons program.
Engine Yard is the leading Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider. Totango provides Engine Yard’s clients a way to better monetize their applications by driving customer engagement and boosting conversion, retention and customer lifetime value (Read Press Release).
Once Engine Yard’s customers have developed an application, attention rapidly shifts to monetization. Totango can accelerate revenues for new and existing applications by providing real time visibility into customer behavior and automating personalized sales and marketing campaigns based on these behaviors.