Is My Customer Success Group At-Risk?

While your Customer Success group may be meeting all of its KPI’s, and your customers all love working with their CSMs, there is another set of customers that are even more important to satisfy: the senior management team and the other functional groups of the company.  Sales, Product Development, Marketing — do they perceive your group as being essential to the continuation of strategically significant income streams and profitability?  If not, then your Customer Success group is definitely at-risk.  What can you do about it?

Three Steps to Survival and Success

First, establish a clear and necessary connection to significant revenue streams for your group.  If you are not considered as a profit center by the accounting department, start behaving as one anyway.  Determine your costs of operation and connect the activities of your group to income, reporting on the profitability of your team,  If you are a software company, try to get the responsibility for renewals, up-sells and cross sells transferred to your team.  Sales people think of themselves primarily has hunters, going after new accounts, and they traditionally regard farming sales as being less interesting.  Make the case that not only will your team enjoy this aspect of sales, you can do it better.

Second, start managing the perceptions of the other groups about Customer Success.  Make sure they understand what you do and how you do it — and how they benefit from your work.  This isn’t going to happen by itself, you have to be proactive in selling what your group can do for the company.

Third, don’t sit on your data.  Determine what knowledge you have about the customer base and who in your company would find it useful.  Then market that data to them, asking them how it should be formatted.  Create a profile of the perfect prospect for Sales, including how to recognize them and what will appeal most to them.  Talk to Product Development about what customers want to see and how they are using the products they already have.  What data and insight could help the senior management team make better decisions?

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