Last month, we hosted our Customer Success Festival in Austin, and boy was it a blast! Our goal was to bring customer success professionals together and provide them with oodles of new strategies and expertise – and we accomplished just that.
We were lucky enough to have a lineup of CS leaders from top-notch companies such as Microsoft, Gainsight, Vitally, and more. Over two days, 19 customer success experts shared their insights and knowledge with us, and it was truly captivating.
To give you a taste of how awesome the event was, we've picked out a few highlights to share with you from five rather sizzling sessions:
- 11 steps to perfect your sales-to-customer-success handoff
- Supercharge your customer success operations team to help you grow revenue at scale
- Strategic engagement in a high-touch model: why outcomes matter
- Nobody wants to be a cost center
- Customer success and product: the intersection for durable growth
Access the entire customer success event OnDemand
Whether you're relaxing on the couch or on the subway into the office, you can access all of it at your leisure. Here's what you can expect:
🎬 11 inspiring and informative presentations
🎬 3 deep-dive panel discussions
🎬 19 customer success thought-leaders
Don't have a membership plan yet? No worries! You can check out our plans and sign up. Once you do, you'll have access to all of the amazing content from Austin's Customer Success Festival. Trust us, it's too good to miss!
Oh, and did we mention that you'll also get all the usual membership perks, like templates, frameworks and discounted tickets? 👀
We're not messing around, it's quite the deal.
Don't believe us? Here's a taster of the good stuff. 👇
11 steps to perfect your sales-to-customer-success handoff
Rob Zambito, VP of Customer Success at Tradewing
While we haven’t listed the full 11 steps, you can get a taste of some of the best bits from Rob’s talk:
- If your company offers free trials, it’s pretty difficult to set the right expectations of who executes these things. In an ideal world, there's a role within sales that's responsible for converting free trial customers into paying ones. Until the deal is converted, it really shouldn't be in the customer success team’s hands.
- To combat overselling, create a ‘10 Commandments-esque’ list for what your sales team cannot promise to the customer.”
- You need managerial alignment above all else. This not only includes alignment from sales leadership but specifically alignment from the C-level – your CEOs and your COOs can make or break all your plans here. If you don't have this, this is essentially a non-starter.
- It's extremely important to build a culture where you always assume the best intent from other departments. It does absolutely no good to think of sales in a disparaging way – ‘sales just hate customer success and that they're obviously evil’. This is an increasingly common trend and if you do this by default or notice your team is doing this, you've set yourself up for failure already.
Supercharge your customer success operations team to help you grow revenue at scale
Jillian Bierman, Director of Customer Success at LogicMonitor
Chris Dishman, VP of Global Customer Success at Totango
Taylor Hodges, Global Head of Customer Success at JLL Technologies
There were tons to unpack from Jillian, Chris and Taylor’s session, so we’ve selected the topline info for you to chew on:
- While you're focusing on your own business metrics, it's important to make sure your whole organization is also working towards helping your customers achieve their goals. Your teams should be thinking about the customer's journey and what they need to do to get them to their desired outcome. Measuring customer health is a key performance indicator that can help you determine if an account, segment, or overall portfolio is doing well or at risk.
- Your operations strategy needs to be flexible and change with the times. For example, a customer account might have a new sponsor or undergo a strategic shift, or economic factors may affect their expectations for outcomes. It's crucial to adapt and focus on measuring what matters to stay relevant.
- When integrating data, it's essential to have a clear plan and prioritize what will create the most value. If you have a small team or if customer service operations are just one part of someone's job, then prioritization becomes even more important.
- Don't be discouraged if the numbers are not good. Start by focusing on small wins and building your case from there. You have to start somewhere, and even if you're in the red, keep working towards wins until you reach the green.
Strategic engagement in a high-touch model: why outcomes matter
Taylor Hodges, Global Head of Customer Success at JLL Technologies
Finding just four points to take from Taylor’s session was hard – there was simply too much to choose from! However, you can get a feel for her presentation with these key takeaways:
- You want to make sure you’re effectively engaging with your revenue-driving customers in a high-touch way. Recently, JLL Technologies has adopted a new account strategy that's part of a similar sales training methodology with four classifications: keep, attain, recapture, or expand.
- When it comes to customer success planning, there are really three main roles which are critical functions that CS can but from a revenue perspective and understanding how you can make yourself not be seen as a call center: alignment with marketing, sales and product.
- It’s customer success’ job to make sure CS can form very specific and measurable goals, set a realistic timeline, track the customer’s progress against that outcome, and then achieve that success. You continue to build on these successes to deliver additional outcomes.
- Whether you sell hardware, software, a subscription, or services, the best way to secure a solid, recurring revenue stream is to ensure that your customers achieve the desired business outcomes. This goes beyond culture and maintaining good relationships – it requires you to consistently deliver.
Nobody wants to be a cost center
Melissa Lipscomb, VP of Customer Success at Instabase
Weren’t able to fly into Austin to watch Melissa’s session at the Customer Success Festival? No worries – we’ve got you covered! Here’s the low-down from this unmissable presentation:
- You need to know that you are not a cost center because you need to have dollar signs by your name. It's really important that when you think about your career, both at your current company and down the road, you're demonstrating the business impact of the work that you personally do, and that your team does. It's critical that we demonstrate that value in as concrete a way as possible.
- The notion that customer success is a cost center disambiguates or attenuates your work from the impact that it's having. It's important for your company because existing customers are the foundation of subscription revenue.
- Success breeds success. There’s a myth CSMs identify with that they’re not salespeople who generate tangible revenue for their business. We have to remind ourselves of this: if you’re driving your customer to be successful and achieve their goals, then, by virtue, you and your business will then be successful.
- Be a storyteller. Use all that great data which you're collecting to construct a narrative you want to think about. What is the thing that the team did? What outcome did that drive for our customers? How did it lead them to the value that we promised them in the sales cycle? And then what did that do for our business? Being able to tell that story will really help you share your success with your leadership team.
Customer success and product: the intersection for durable growth
Jess Osborn, VP of Global Customer Success Management, Gocardless
Jess offered a range of tips and invaluable insights on how to get the maximum from the relationship between CS and product teams. Want a recap? Here is the bottom line:
- A product manager is looking to build something that provides value to prospects and customers. And on the other side of the coin, you've got CSMs trying to help customers adopt and see value of the products. It makes a lot of sense that both parties want our customers to see value and also that we would be in a situation where their customers see value and also drive revenue for their business.
- Product teams can help customer success teams prove the value of CS, and save time and effort while scaling their operations by assisting with data integration.
- Customer success teams have daily customer interactions and industry knowledge that can help the product team make improvements to their product.
- Enforce accountability via processes like Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) where there’s greater alignment and transparency between the Head of Product and customer success teams. This can be fast-tracked by including the C-suite in these conversations.
We had a blast – and so did our attendees!
As our first time in Austin, we (hand on heart 🤚❤️) had a phenomenal time meeting so many fantastic customer success professionals, all so hungry to learn.
But don't just take our word for it. We spoke to lots of attendees and keynote speakers to find out their experience of our customer success event in Austin. 👇
Hungry for more?
If you’re interested in learning even more about the value of customer success, then you’re in luck.
With a CSC membership, you automatically gain access to a wealth of reliable and trusted templates and frameworks that’ll help you communicate CS’ value further. Whether it’s a straightforward onboarding checklist, churn reduction framework or an account expansion template, we have the goods you’re after!
Download them straight to your hard drive and apply their structure in your day-to-day team.