Yammer recently appointedSamantha Loveland to lead their Customer Engagement team. Loveland (previously in Salesforce.com) will report to Chief Customer Officer David Obrand.
Yammer, like other SaaS companies understands that Customer Success is key to their success, and much like other successful SaaS companies invests significant efforts and resources to ensure that.
From the PR announcement:
“The Customer Success team of Yammer consists of customer success managers and implementation engineers who work closely with companies to accelerate adoption and foster engagement.”
Customer Success and Customer Engagement is certainly something we’re discussing a lot on this blog, and I’m happy to see that many successful companies share the same philosophy.
Good Luck Samantha!
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At Totango, I have initiated a project to collect and share more best practices around low-touch selling, free-to-paid conversion, up-selling and customer retention. On this blog we will share what we learn from speaking to sales and customer success professionals in the field of open source and SaaS software.
Today, I had an opportunity to speak to Rudy Reyes, the newly appointed VP of Customer Success at Alcove9. Alcove9 is a young company with an open source search tool that looks into a company’s intranet and indexes all of its data and information for rapid retrieval. It is a subscription-based service, but not a cloud-based solution.
The basic indexing and search tool is a free, open source download called the a9 Hub. Then, Alcove9 offers support subscriptions and upgrades to premium features such as CAD visualization and markup (a9 CADViz) or application connectors (a9 AppConnect) to systems like PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), ECM (Enterprise Content Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Management), and more.
I asked Rudy about his priorities and customer success metrics for the company.
What are the priorities for the company today?
Alcove9 just went live on Monday, October 31; however, the foundation is based on a proven solution that has matured for over 7 years.
Our primary focus is on people who are looking for instant access to all of their corporate data that often resides in disparate systems. The core, open source download, a9 Hub, is the cornerstone of the entire suite of products and support services. Another important aspect of our sales and marketing activities is to work with partners such as AutoDesk and Aras to identify new product solutions in order to make organizations more efficient while eliminating the frustrations of trying to find vital, lost or legacy data.
What is the priority for the Customer Success team?
I work with the early adopters, translating customer requirements into product features. Then we help customers with successful on-boarding and implementation. It is really important to have someone who is focused on the total customer experience.
We are interested in adoption rates: who is downloading our application, who is installing it and then adoption metrics of different modules, such as which features they are using and finally retention rates (churn).
What are sales or up-selling signals?
Our sales are based on high-touch qualifying questions. For example, do they use CAD; do they have a PLM, ECM or ERP system. If they answer “yes,” then we will introduce them to the appropriate connector solutions. (AppConnect).
Thanks Rudy for the insights! I am keen to watch the progress of Alcove9 in the future!
At Totango, we care deeply about customer engagement and customer success. We agree with Dave that with SaaS “it might make just as much sense to focus on retaining (and garnering new revenue from) current customers as it would be to focus on gaining new customers”.
For companies with a zero-touch or low-touch sales model, customer engagement management is about much more than ensuring customer satisfaction. I wrote about that previously in my blog 4 Tips to Increase B2B Sales for example. It doesn’t matter who owns the customer engagement function and many modern sales leaders understand and implement customer success programs. Some B2B sales leaders have split their team into hunters and farmers, with the latter focused on customer success. Others now call themselves “Chief Revenue Officer” (as discussed in a recent blog by Phil Hernandez).
Still, the trend to assign a dedicated executive to manage customer engagement, is promising. Sometimes, you have to put your money (people) where your mouth is.