Get to know your ideal customer really well (through qualitative data)When your company was merely a gleam in your founder’s eye, there was (hopefully) a process in place to identify ideal customers and find out what problems they needed to solve, which pain points felt the worst, and what they deeply wanted to achieve.
If your founder followed the Lean Startup methodology, customer interviews happened to ensure product-market/problem-solution fit well before Product Development set to work.
But, if your company skipped those steps, you’ve got a lot of qualitative data to catch up on.
Build Your Team Once you understand who you’re serving and what they’re trying to achieve, you need to put your team together. Sure, you could hire an experienced Customer Success manager or consultant, but you can also look inside your own building – at the Sales department.
A good salesperson already knows your product and your customers, which makes for a relatively easy transition. The key, however, is to shift the sales mindset from selling the product to setting up customers for success.
That can be a substantial challenge. Because sometimes, a customer’s success won’t come from being upsold, and it can run counter to the salesperson’s gut instincts to not jump at an immediate sale, and say “Hey, your company is on the smaller side. I don’t think you need this additional service yet. So let’s focus on how we can help you grow to the point where this service would be really useful.”
Determine What Structure You Need to Help Customers Reach Their Ideal OutcomesIf you have the resources, investing in a full-service Customer Success platform, like Gainsight, is a great way to begin. But these solutions can be out of reach, budget-wise. If that’s the case, then you may have to DIY and create your own processes.
Things you’ll need to consider:
Customer Success can’t do its best work separated off from other departments, keeping its data in a silo. It won’t do you any good to collect all of this data on your customers if you can’t share what you learn with departments able to act on that information.
To really begin to see the results of your Customer Success program, you’ll need to open lines of communication with Sales, Customer Service and Product Development so you can work together to identify and bridge success gaps for customers. Better yet, invite one person from each department to be part of the Customer Success team.
Focus on One Thing at a TimeIs it retention after onboarding? Identifying upsell opportunities? Filling success gaps? Kayla Murphy, Customer Growth, Advocacy and Success at Trustfuel works with early-stage Customer Success teams and recommends focusing on one thing at a time.
“Start with one focus and build processes to go with it. Institute QBRs (Quarterly Business Reviews) or regular check-ins. Start tracking your usage data and figuring out which metrics give you the best picture of customer health.
Many of the teams I work with felt a great deal of analysis paralysis at the beginning of their customer success journey. They were worried about annoying customers, tracking the wrong metrics, or focusing so much on unhealthy accounts that morale dies. You have to start somewhere and no one knows more about your customers right now than you. Start being proactive and consistently evaluate your processes.”
Just start, perhaps, is the best advice.
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