Life in Customer Success is certainly never boring. With the business landscape in technology constantly evolving, Customer Success teams must be capable of adapting quickly and prioritizing the right strategies.
Given the uncertainty of the last 6 months, our team at RevSetter team was curious – what do some of our expert colleagues consider to be top priority for Customer Success organizations today?
We reached out to seven experienced Customer Success executives from various industries to uncover their thoughts on the number one priority in Customer Success today. Their insights shed light on some key areas that demand strategic focus and actionable steps to ensure long-term success for CS teams:
“In this market, the vital priority for every CS professional and team is to prove your necessary contribution to sustainable profitability for both customer and company. It’s not enough for you to think that you and your team are making a difference; such assumptions are deadly. You need to get confirmation from both customer and company as to the measurable value that they are receiving because they are continuing to work with you. If your customer is not receiving clear value, they are unlikely to renew their subscription. If your company isn’t certain that you are necessary for the continuation of strategically significant income streams, you and your team may very well be at-risk of joining the many customer success professionals currently on the job market.”
– Mikael Blaisdell, Executive Director: The Customer Success Association
“Cross-functional collaboration should be the number one priority for SaaS Customer Success teams. We need to break down the silos! In a dynamic and interconnected business landscape, collaboration enables you to harness the collective intelligence and expertise of your cross-functional team members. CS does not reside on an island. It takes the collective wisdom of an organization to truly ensure your customer is getting the best possible experience . By working together, your teams can brainstorm innovative solutions, leverage different perspectives and tap into the collective wisdom of your company. By sharing responsibilities and supporting each other, you can handle complex demands more efficiently and effectively. Collaboration also champions effective communication and coordination. Clear and transparent communication channels help you stay aligned, share critical information, and make informed decisions. When we collaborate closely, we can synchronize efforts, avoid duplication, and ensure success for your company and an incredible experience for your customers.”
– Jenelle Friday, Vice President of Customer Success: Forecastable
“The number one priority in Customer Success today is to transform your customer base and team into the company’s revenue engine – becoming the driving force of your company’s growth and success. This is not just a need or want for the business anymore, it is becoming a necessity for growth stage ($20m+ ARR) and large business in particular. Here, (profitable) growth is highly connected to the success of your customers and your ability to drive customer revenue. As a Customer Success (and really any post-sales) leader in turn, it becomes critical to align, structure & elevate your organization and team around the four primary pillars of success – 1) company position (align with the company’s strategic goals and objectives and be prioritized therein), 2) people (the structure, roles and allocation of your team), 3) methodology (the processes, workflows, and objectives you drive), and 4) resources (systems, tools, trainings you provide).”
– Haydar Al-Saad, CEO & Founder: RevSetter
“Embrace strategic initiatives: Seek out high-visibility customer-focused initiatives that align with your company’s strategic goals. This showcases your commitment and allows you to contribute directly to the organization’s success.
Demonstrate business impact: Continuously measure and communicate the impact your team brings to the business. Regularly share success stories, metrics, and tangible results that highlight the value generated in revenue, retention and building of an advocate network by your CS efforts.
Refine skills and expertise: Invest in your CSMs with training and mentorship: sharpening negotiation skills, deepening industry knowledge, and becoming experts in your product. Equip your CS team with the necessary expertise to provide a consultative experience and a differentiator in your industry.”
– Amy Mustoe, Vice President of Customer Success: Cledara
“The top priority for Customer Success leaders, in my view, is to show credible cause-and-effect relationships between what their team does and its impact on the business. For example, showing how Customer Success Planning and Value Realization increases the odds of customer retention and boosts NRR. This requires CS teams to have the ability to collect, clean and analyze data, understand the difference between signals and noise, reveal hidden insights, and develop predictive models to guide decision making and continuous improvement.”
– Ed Powers, Principal Consultant: Service Excellence Partners
“The #1 priority is to accelerate growth in NRR (with the correct calculation as a cohort metric, of course), and the path forward is to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders by ensuring they have the right tools to drive adoption – i.e. the “hearts and minds” of the end users. All too often, SaaS vendors throw software over the wall at customers, perform admin and end-user training, and call it “done” in terms of the adoption phase. But we all know that change is hard. To successfully adopt a new product there must be engagement and oversight from the key stakeholders, along with deliberate “carrots and sticks” (especially in the early days) to drive the right end-user behaviors with the new solution. Ignore change-management at your peril. Embrace stakeholder relationships at every opportunity to help them drive the necessary change(s) and be successful in their role”
– Steve Bernstein, Co-Founder & Principal: Waypoint Group
“Considering the current Tech Industry scenario, providing value and proving ROI are more than ever, the main priorities for any CS organization. In order to do that we need real time insight into how our partners use our products and services. Leverage a CS tool that’s flexible and easy to use is key to understand how we can be more proactive addressing clients needs and promote retention and growth”
– Emilio Ruiz Sanchez, Director of Customer Success: Social Native
Clearly, being able to prove the measurable value and business impact of CS teams is essential, both to customers and the company – CS must constantly act as a true revenue engine to drive growth and secure budget for their own teams and tech stack.
Collaboration and cross-functional alignment are critical factors for success, as CS teams must break down silos and leverage collective intelligence within the organization.
Data analysis, predictive modeling, and showing credible cause-and-effect relationships between CS initiatives and business outcomes are also essential capabilities.
Finally, driving adoption, building stakeholder relationships, and embracing and leveraging real-time insights into customer advocacy act as key drivers of growth and success as well.
By focusing on these priorities, SaaS companies can elevate their Customer Success organizations and effectively drive revenue growth, customer retention and advocacy.
-The RevSetter Team