This is an article I wrote last year, but the topic came up again recently at a conference. We were discussing ways that leaders could communicate the value that their customer success teams bring to their organizations. I believe that one practical way to share the return on investment that your company is getting from customer success is to build an elevator pitch all of your team members can use. I hope you enjoy this article, again! - Kristen
By Kristen Hayer
Customer success is a relatively new field, and is different from the account management, technical support or professional services fields it is often compared to. Success teams also differ from company to company in terms of scope, function and key metrics. Unfortunately, this means there is often confusion at the executive level about what customer success does and the value it brings to an organization. As a customer success leader, a big part of your job is making sure that everyone in your company understands the role and importance of your team. This positions you to get backing for success initiatives and resources for your group.
One simple way to do this is to think like an entrepreneur and write an elevator pitch. To get started, ask yourself:
WHAT PROBLEM DOES OUR TEAM SOLVE?
Think about how things worked before customer success came onto the scene. Was churn high? Were customers frustrated with onboarding? Were new users neglected? Choose the primary problem your team solves.
HOW DO WE SOLVE IT?
What’s special about what you bring to the table as a customer success team? Are you proactive? Do you have special knowledge about your industry? Think about what sets your team apart from account management or technical support.
WHO DO WE SERVE?
Do you work with all of your company’s customers or a specific segment? Are there certain stages of the customer lifecycle you focus on? If you have a larger team, you may end up with different pitches for different groups.
HOW DO WE MEASURE OUR SUCCESS?
Think about the strategic metrics you drive or influence. Are you responsible for churn? Does your team produce revenue from cross-selling efforts? High-level metrics like churn, revenue or NPS score resonate with executives.
WHAT IS A QUANTIFIABLE EXAMPLE OF A RECENT SUCCESS?
This should answer the “What have you done for me lately?” question. Think about the wins that you’ve had over the past quarter. Good choices are major achievements with high-level metrics or high-visibility initiatives.
Once you’ve thought through the components of your pitch, pull it all together into a concise paragraph. The idea is to convey a lot of value in 30-60 seconds. A good target is 4-6 tightly crafted sentences.
SAMPLE ELEVATOR PITCH
“Our customers buy our solution for a variety of different reasons, and without someone to help them don’t always achieve the outcomes they hoped for. Customer success works proactively with our enterprise customers to define the outcomes they hope to achieve, and helps them to create concrete goals to get there. As we work with customers over the course of their lifecycle, we make sure our solution stays aligned with their goals and initiatives. Our efforts help our company retain and grow our existing customer base, and secure contacts our sales team can reference with prospects. Last quarter we provided references to our sales team that they told us helped them to close 10 deals worth $2.5 million.”
Make sure everyone on your team is prepared to give the customer success elevator pitch. You never know when they’ll be sitting next to the VP of Engineering at lunch or riding up to your office with the COO. Every interaction with your company’s executive team is a chance for your team to share the value customer success brings to your organization, and can help you secure resources for your team down the road.
Need help defining customer success for your organization? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that works with executives who are ready to build and scale their customer success team. Check out our Leadership Training Program at TheSuccessLeague.io
Kristen Hayer - Kristen believes that customer success is the key to driving revenue, client retention and exceptional customer experiences. Her areas of expertise include developing success goals and metrics, designing the optimal customer journey, selecting technology, training teams, and building playbooks. Prior to founding The Success League, Kristen built and led several award-winning customer success teams. Over the past 20 years she has been a success, sales, and marketing executive, primarily working with growth-stage tech companies. Kristen has her BA from Seattle Pacific University and her MBA from the University of Washington.