As Customer Success continues to boom, there are more and more leaders out there in search of a great Customer Success or Customer Growth software that will help them become more structured and deliver better results.
So, what should you do before you get your next CS software?
Check out the 5 checklist items below.
Step 1: Evaluate where you are
The first step is to evaluate and understand where you are today. Are you a smaller or growing CS organization or are you a mature and large organization? Chances are that if you are smaller and scaling, you will need a more focused approach and something that will scale with you. If you are a mature organization, you will likely need more customization and more capabilities.
Step 2: Understand your goals
This step can seem straightforward, but it is worthwhile spending time thinking about this. If you have a good product that your customers generally like, you will be less dependent on, or in need of, basic CS features – you are likely already driving good retention. Instead, you will need more strategic and growth-focused features. If you on the other hand are dealing with a “leaky bucket”, losing a lot of customers, then you will need the fundamentals first of a traditional CS tool.
Step 3: Who is this software for
This is important. If you – like most CS organizations out there – have an organization with multiple roles or a divison of labor (CSMs focusing on adoption/health, AMs focusing on renewals, AEs on expansion etc), you will need to think about who is going to be the main user of this software. If the CSMs are the main users, you need features that helps them the most and secondary features for your other roles. If the AM/AE is the main user, you need features that are built around account mapping, lead gen and growth and secondary functions for the CSMs.
Step 4: Make sure it connects to tangible ROI
When you invest in any software, and especially CS software, make sure you can connect it to tangible ROI over time. Many CS softwares out there are great, and feel great to use, but it is hard to connect their use to tangible ROI and improved Net Retention. They are activity-based, but it is hard to see or measure how churn improves or upsells & cross-sales increase. Make sure that you can connect the use of the software to tangible proof-points and ROI. Did we find more CS leads? Did we close more renewals or expansion deals? Is our Net Retention improving because of this tool?
Step 5: Evaluate broadly
Do not just evaluate the 2-3 most known players in the field. Customer Success, like the software and tools for it, is constantly growing and evolving. So evaluate multiple options and be sure to also evaluate different types of CS software. You will likely find key differences and have a better chance of finding the tool that is right for you. Here are a few categories:
Gross Retention & Health: Planhat, Gainsight, Totango
Customer Growth & Net Retention: RevSetter
Feedback: Strikedeck, CustomerGuage
Note, for some of these – like Gainsight and Totango – you will likely need internal and dedicated resources (CS ops) to make good use out of them. For others – like Planhat and RevSetter – there are scalable options to get you started right away or to build it out much more customized. So keep that in mind when you evaluate so your time-to-value is not too long with the software you choose.
The most important thing when you are looking for a new Customer Success software is to do your due diligence, both in preparing & setting your criteria, and in evaluating tools on the market. Think about your current situation, your goals and who the tool is for. Then make sure you evaluate many types of options. Lastly, the software you select should be able to be directly tied to tangible ROI and results.
And don’t forget – there is a large CS community out there, ask for opinions and suggestions!
Good luck in your search=)