Deals aren’t done when they’re marked closed-won.
Your customers don’t care about the signature; they care about solving that exec-level challenge.
And since customers are a key growth channel (especially in 2023), CS teams need to up-level strategies like account planning & stakeholder mapping to hit renewal and expansion goals.
In this masterclass, we dove into tactics from multi-threading to aligning sales & CS to hit revenue targets. Check out the recording and get the key takeaways below!
Featuring CS pros:
- Paige Arimond, Sr Director of Customer Success at Groove
- Jonathan Sousa, CS Consultant and Founder at Portage
- Monica Perez, Head of Customer Success at Notion
- Ian Russell, Head of Customer Success at Accord
In today’s tough B2B tech market, there’s a growing emphasis on retaining and expanding existing customers. As a result, customer success teams have become important drivers of revenue – but need to balance hitting renewal & expansion targets with staying focused on the customers’ needs.
Fortunately, if done right, the two priorities go hand in hand. Here are some key focus areas for CS teams looking to strike this balance.
Differentiating your solution with great customer success
"I’m seeing a lot of focus on existing customer business and what we can do to continue to invest in that, which is great for CS. It's no longer a focus on how shiny our product is, but on the customer.” - Monica Perez, Head of Customer Success at Notion
Customer success can be a crucial differentiator in a market with numerous options. Positioning customer success as a strategic partner embedded within the customer's business, rather than just a vendor, can set your solution apart and build loyal, long-term advocates.
A few tips for building 10/10 customer partnerships:
Build a deep understanding of your customers’ business and priorities. Customer success managers need to invest time in understanding their customers' solutions, industry trends, competitors, challenges, and goals. This knowledge (and empathy) will empower you to identify opportunities, provide tailored solutions, and build strong relationships. Your customers should see you as a trusted advisor and consultant.
“Do unto others as they would want done unto them... think about the position that your customer is in and what kind of experience they would want to have." - Jonathan Sousa, CS Consultant & Founder at Portage
Consistently identify, communicate, and deliver value. By deeply understanding your customers’ business, you’ll be able to clearly map your solution to their initiatives and challenges. This means identifying EVERY key stakeholder’s priorities and the metrics they care about, so you can align on the value your solution will deliver.
Be data-driven. If you can’t clearly tie your solution to the KPIs your customers care about and demonstrate ROI – especially to exec stakeholders and decision makers – your partnership is at risk.
"Data is critical – really showing the value through data is gonna get the attention of those individuals that are within the buying committee or are the influencers." - Paige Arimond, Sr Director of Customer Success at Groove
Account planning & stakeholder mapping in CS
Implementing typical “sales team” strategies on your CS team – such as account planning, multi-threading, and stakeholder mapping – can make a huge difference in driving customer growth.
Customize by persona. The panelists emphasized using persona-based targeting and playbooks in account planning. Understanding the challenges, pain points, and goals of specific personas will help you tailor conversations and offer valuable solutions.
Have a mutual action plan / mutual success plan. They aren’t just for before the close – they should be implemented during the entire customer lifecycle. Align on key milestones and metrics, organize tasks and due dates, and drive urgency and accountability so the partnership doesn’t stall.
Build account plans and stakeholder maps for each customer. These strategies are critical for driving renewals and expansions. Collaborate with champions to identify potential stakeholders and their challenges, so you can strengthen your solution’s alignment with their goals and drive product adoption and expansion.
"Asking questions like, ‘What does the right contract look like for you at renewal?’ and ‘What will get you promoted?’ can lead to some interesting answers and open doors for you.” - Jonathan Sousa
Ready to help your CS team consistently multi-thread and drive stronger customer partnerships (and revenue growth)? We’ve created this lightweight stakeholder mapping template to help you get started with identifying key stakeholders and their priorities!