Customer Success – Finally Drinking like Sales People Do

Sharing Customer Success Customer Success is maturing! How do I know?

My first indication is the amount of drinks we’ve had together last night at Norwood. Reminds of some other crazy times ten years ago with a bunch of tech sales people in NYC.

For the first time, when asking a room full of people (over 100!), how many of them actually practice customer success daily – all hands went up.

We’ve spent some time talking about models. The business model of customer success and how the business metrics of maximizing customer lifetime value are should be the goal.

We’ve had a lively conversation about Farming vs. Hunting and the metaphor of running a Grove of customers, as the title of the book “Farm Don’t Hunt – The Definitive Guide to Customer Success” suggests.

And lastly, we’ve shared operational tips on portfolio management, prioritization and measurement at the customer success, director and VP level. This is exciting!

For your convenience, here’s the presentation I’ve used below. Looking forward to seeing you again – the good customer success people of New York!

At it’s core, is customer success about customer-value or customer-love?

 

Customer Success Bootcamp

I’ve spent some time yesterday at a customer success bootcamp with one of my favorite customers.

The leaders have decided to spend two full days with the team in order to build alignment within the team with regards to customer success. This is a company that one of it’s core values is: “Customer Centricity”.

As a customer centric company, is the mission statement of customer success should be about customer love – making sure customers love the company, it’s product, people and services, or is it about value delivery?

This is a very important question that many customer success organizations are dealing with. The consensus these days is that customer value is what matters most, but many have thought differently in the past.

Customer success is a business function with clear business goals – impact CLTV, impact retention and customer growth. By focusing on the value to customer that drives the decision to renew and buy more teams impact CLTV. As a side effect, you get the customer love, as they are successful & satisfied.

I explain it in more details at this video below (this part starts at 6:30 min)
https://youtu.be/-Xm8ejkxMUs?t=6m30s (for direct link)

Talking Customer Success at Norwood, NYC this Thursday

Norwood Private Club – NYC

I’m going to be in NYC on Thursday for the Customer Success roadshow event. This is probably my 5th trip in the last few months to New York City. It’s going to be at Norwood Club, which usually hosts people from New York art scene.

Norwood was listed #2 at the top 10 private clubs. Last time we were there, we’ve met the entire cast of Orange is the New Black.

If you happen to be in town, and would like to chat about Customer Success – don’t miss this event.

Animated Gifs and Customer Success

The truth, I’ve never really “got” animated gifs. But I guess this is an indication of my age and the generation I belong to.

Kevin Garcia, of Totango’s amazing marketing team, posted a very expressive post: Customer Success – The Farming Paradigm (with Gifs). 

If you’re from the generation that is more visual – please check it out (link above). If you prefer to read a book over a cup of coffee – head over here.

Customer Success – Beyond SaaS

Customer Success is relatively a new term.

We can clearly see from the Google Trends chart above that the customer success management community has started to trend up around mid-2014.

Many analysts and investors have been skeptical about the applicability of the customer success engagement model beyond the technology market, software as a-service companies mainly.

I’m happy to report that we’re seeing Customer Success in new markets every day now. People may use different terminologies like “customer marketing” or “proactive account management” – we are seeing the shift to recurring revenue business models and the pro-active engagement to impact the customer lifetime value.

On March this year, I’ve set down with Mary Stanphone, the amazing VP of Marketing of the internet service provider (ISP) Global Capacity. Mary reached out to me few years ago, as she was looking to pro-actively impact the customer health.

Mary describes it best:

We’re now focused on getting customer success right. We are building at Totango the technology to enable Customer Success, and I have documented in my book Farm Don’t Hunt – practical guidelines that I’ve learned from people like Mary.

My new book: Farm Don’t Hunt

I am very proud to share more on the publication of my new book, Farfdonth-174x300m Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success. I’ve written this book as a very practical guide to business and team leaders who deal with Customer Success. It is written in similar style to the Scrum book I’ve used to learn how to become a successful engineering leader.

THE MISSING GUIDE FOR CUSTOMER SUCCESS VP’S

I started my journey in Customer Success seven years ago, and from the start one of the biggest challenges has been showing how Customer Success is different — from sales, customer support, marketing, etc. We have now matured enough as an industry, where the conversation is no longer about how it’s different, but how to build it.

This book is based on the Scrum book that impacted my life significantly as an engineer. It featured methods that enabled short phases, frequent revision, and iterative building. After reading the book, I remember immediately handing it out to my direct reports, not as a to-do list, but as a way for us all to speak the same language when it came to our work.

That is my hope for Farm Don’t Hunt, that Customer Success leaders will read the book and then hand it to their colleagues in the company and to their direct reports so that everyone is thinking about Customer Success in the same way. I want this book to empower VPs and leaders with the farming framework and an operating model for Customer Success.

WRITING A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR CUSTOMER SUCCESS

I have divided the book into two major sections. The first establishes the farming metaphor for recurring revenue businesses, and what it means to “farm” your customers. The second section is a very pragmatic set of instructions for establishing and running a Customer Success organization.

Rather than simply share high-level ideas, this book aims to:

  • Provide specific, clear, and actionable guidance on Customer Success for your team
  • Connect Customer Success to specific business outcomes and revenue metrics
  • Enable organizations to speak the language of Customer Success

I recommend that every team in recurring revenue businesses, whether you are building an organization or scaling the enterprise, take the opportunity to read this book. I hope you enjoy it.

Get your copy on Amazon!