3 Priorities for Customer Success Leaders in 2018

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By Kristen Hayer

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Happy New Year! I enjoyed a fun and restful holiday season, and I hope you did too.

As we move into 2018, I thought I’d share some of the topics that our customers have been focused on over the past quarter. Since our field is growing and changing all the time, I think it’s useful to pay attention to the areas that other organizations are working on. Here are the top 3 priorities customers of The Success League expressed in Q4 2017:

Elevating the Conversation

Some CSMs come from fields like sales and consulting, where business-level conversations with executives are the norm. Often, however, CSMs come from more tactical parts of the organization like services or support. These team members often struggle to move the conversation to the executive level. They risk higher churn rates and lower engagement because they are focused on projects and problems instead of ROI. CS leaders can help their teams move toward executive-level conversations by teaching them to uncover business objectives, set concrete goals with customers, and ask great questions. Try having team members who need help in this area shadow your best CSMs on their meetings and calls. It’s also important to encourage multiple contact points so your CSMs don’t get stuck at the admin level.

Adding Automation to High-Touch Programs

Most people in our field think of low or tech-touch segments when they think about customer-facing automation. After all, why have a high-touch program if your CSMs aren’t going to handle all the touch points? As organizations look to make their customer success programs more efficient, they are looking at ways automation can supplement high-touch segments as well. CS leaders should consider automating touch points that don’t require much customization, and don’t add a lot of value to the customer relationship. If you’re relying on your CS team to handle simple communications like product announcements, invoices or event promotions, you can automate those touch points. Marketing automation provides a personalized experience, and frees your CSMs to focus on high-value, relationship-building activities.

Building a Scalable Team Structure

Executives are putting more pressure on customer success leaders to demonstrate the value of their teams, and often expect CSMs to carry an account base that represents a specific amount of revenue. CS leaders struggle to reconcile the expectations of their team's work with the ratio of customers to CSMs. To deal with this situation, CS leaders need to crunch the numbers. How long does it really take to manage a customer on a monthly basis? What activities does that involve? Outlining this for your executive team can shift the conversation toward a cost-benefit discussion that allows you to advocate for a great customer experience. Segmentation is also critical, and keeps your CS efforts focused on the customers who will benefit from them the most.

Does one of these challenges resonate with you? Over the next few months I’ll be sharing The Success League’s approach to these customer success issues, and I’d love to learn more about your top priorities as you move into 2018. All the best from The Success League!

Need help with your CS resolutions? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers a 12-week coaching program for customer success leaders. This program provides proven business models and advice to help build strong teams and processes. For more information please visit TheSuccessLeague.io