Customer Success is Being Proactive w/ CSM Office Hours

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This is a podcast episode titled, Customer Success is Being Proactive w/ CSM Office Hours. The summary for this episode is: <p>A weekly segment:</p><p>CSM Office Hours</p><p>Every Tuesday. 11:30am ET.</p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>--</p><p>If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...</p><p>Jay Nathan: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Jeff Breunsbach: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
The Return on Effort
01:05 MIN
Being Proactive Rather Than Reactive
00:18 MIN
Creating a Trusting Partnership
01:08 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain, Grow, Retain podcast.

Speaker 2: Well, it's good to see everybody. I love getting to see all these familiar faces on here. So I'm sure, hopefully your discussion was well. So in kind of according to what I had in the kickoff, I would love to have each of the groups come off mute and I'll just call on each of the groups as we go around and whoever wants to come off and share, but love to have you share kind of a summary of some of the goals that you discussed in your breakout group, and anything that you'd like to share with the group around how we might be able to help you be successful in that goal. So I'm actually going to bounce around a little bit here and I'm actually going to start with the group two here. So that was Carlos, David, Nitahim, Hailey, Jody, Josh, and Lisa. Would y'all be willing to share a little bit about what y'all discussed around goals for the upcoming quarter and things that you need to be successful?

David: Don't everyone jump at once, right? I joined late so Haley, were you there for? I think Jodie said she couldn't either. Hailey, did you want to do it?

Hailey: Yeah, I can jump in. So we really discussed accountability with clients. So we're setting the right goals and expectations of people, but making sure that we're holding them accountable. And that really ultimately led to the conversation of we're overpaid babysitters as CSM sometimes, or it's really just checking in with people to make sure they're doing what they said they would do so that they're going to be successful. And so I know someone had a reference return on effort and so identifying how do you really get the most engagement, what tasks within a objective that's being built out is getting the most attention? So that people are doing what they claim they'll do. And you're hitting those milestone dates and the goals are going to be achieved that were set during implementation or when they purchased.

Speaker 2: Great. Great summary, Hailey. So it sounds like a lot of the conversation was around the customer engagement and the customer journey and how to keep them going forward, I love that. I laugh at that comment, I've never thought about being overpaid babysitter for my customers. So let's find a friendly way to maybe rebrand that a little bit. You can put a positive spin on it. That's what we're all here to put positive spins on not the greatest of news, but you're absolutely right. And unfortunately David Curry had to drop, but he made a comment similar in our group around it's difficult. We worked a little bit more internal on account transitions and making sure you had the right level of knowledge sharing, but it's a similar point. At some point you have to give ownership to that person or to that customer to be accountable for what they need to be accountable for. And if they don't want to step up to the plate, yet there's only so much pushing that we can do. It's our job to keep them moving forward, but if they don't want to move forward, at the end of the day, we have to be able to be okay with that in some respects, that we don't have to like it, but ultimately we don't control what... Hailey, I'm not going to be able to control and tell you what you're going to do and vice versa. So that I really liked that. So I saw Josh nodding his head on the return on effort, I think was what was talking about there a little bit. And maybe could you expand on that just a tiny, tiny bit as to how you specifically see that for the CSM role and how are you quantifying that return on effort or how do you plan on quantifying that?

Josh: So that one, the whole return on attention, why does somebody open my email return on effort? Why do they take an action of the request in that email? And these are all measured in kind of soft ways, right? Kind of a little bit more on the qualitative side, but the point that I was trying to make in that when saying that is, instead of looking at these big honking projects, the way that we did in days of yore, I try to break these things down into small little bits, very focused on the people involved to hopefully have them do just one little thing. Recognizing, in my industry, for the tools that I work with, that their goal is not using the tool. Their goal is doing their job faster, getting able to go home without being interrupted by a security concern, et cetera. So I'm just trying to go and bring them to that next step by step. And even though I might not be as efficient in completing the project, it actually ultimately, I say, gets completed, or at least because you don't put it into a good way point sooner than kind of if I get that big group and have a bunch of social loafing, et cetera. So that was kind of the points I was making with that to reach the ultimate goal of full implementation.

Speaker 2: Yeah, no, and I appreciate the clarification on that because yeah, I think the hard metrics versus soft metrics. And let's see the other David, David Ottisan. Oh, he looks like he might've dropped off too. And Walter, we were talking a little bit about one of the white hat calls that we have is developing a CS excellent center. And how do you quantify some of those soft metrics of engagement and the ROI, what are those best practices? How are you driving that? So I appreciate, certainly probably we'll be talking to you in the future about what ways do you go about trying to quantify that as a CSM? How do I know that I'm getting the maximum return for my effort in the time I'm investing into it? A single customer versus a hundred customers, because I know each of us on this call manage varying levels of accounts. So yeah, certainly something there worth considering. Abby, Sophia, or [ Balthazar 00: 06:50], what came out of your discussion in your group this afternoon?

Sophia: I guess I can sort of try and summarize it a little bit. So we mainly spoke about, well, many of our situations, whereabouts adapting to a lot of change, whether that be a lot of growth or other changes within the company, like introduction of new tools and more customers. I'm actually just having a brain blank completely right now. And my battery is about to die. So could someone take over, please? I'm really sorry. My computer tends to do that. Balthazar or Abby?

Balthazar: Sure. I just outlined sort of where we are. I just mentioned we got a round of funding, an A round, and we are completely, so that's the good news. The bad news is we are totally under the grind, we get massive growth. We are going from 50 to 250 customers over the last 12 months, and now going to 700. And we struggled really with that growth. And two things,, goals to the question that was posed to us for the next quarter is obviously hiring an entire team of customer success people, but then also deploying a customer success platform. And we talked about the complexity of bringing all this together in sort of one view, one source of truth. And then the other thing we talked about is, and maybe that just applies to my company here, that we often get kind of sidetracked when there is an emergency, a fire drill, suddenly customer success becomes customer service or operations or whatever we need to go and do because we're still a small team. And that creates a lot of challenges. So I'm a little bit all over the place, but I say from my perspective, Q2 growth, managing growth is a big challenge for us. Did I summarize this fairly team members?

Sophia: I'd say so, yeah.

Abby: Sounds good.

Speaker 2: Awesome. Well, thank you. I think growth looks different for each company, but I think you're spot on to what do you prioritize first when you're thinking about growth within your customer segment. Outgrowing, does a customer outgrow if you have an engagement model, do they outgrow and engagement model and move up? Do they mature to the point where they move down? And that we don't see that very often. And that's not a conversation you hear very often, but it's one worth considering, right? Is there a model for customers that, at one point were high maintenance, but now are high touch that don't need that level anymore because they've matured to the point and understand how things work to the point where they're not on fire constantly. So when you said" Hey, fire drills and being distracted and stuff," I'm pretty sure every single head in this room shook their head and like" Yep. I'm actually dealing with a fire drill right now while we're talking." So it's one of those things where that type of stuff won't stop. But I think a goal that I'm even encouraged on is, how do I do a better job in managing my time with my customers, with my internal stuff that when things like fire drills do pop up, that have either baked time into my schedule to accommodate for that, or it's as a part of my motion that I don't let that suck all the energy and the joy out of whatever I was going to do for that day too. So I do appreciate that it crosstalk.

Balthazar: Just one thing I forgot to mention, we also sort of talked about as a result of that being more reactive at times than proactive and the way we look at it at our company customer service is reactive, customer success is proactive. And again, that balance is not always there when there's a fire drill.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Fred, Veronica, Tovo? I hope I said that correctly. What goals did y'all discuss about in your group?

Veronica: I can share. So we discussed two goals. First one was around change management, how to get customer to move from one solution to another if they were using another solution before you came in. We discussed around the famous sentence what's in it for me and how to ensure that there is a proper adoption of the new technology within an account. Then the second topic that we discussed was how to engage with executive level, because sometimes there are also changes in the organization of the customer and maybe the executive sponsor leaves and there is a new person, how do you get connected to this person? How will you determine if this person can be maybe a threat, because maybe this person had use another technology different from yours? Sometimes we also discussed the fact that there needs to be a work done before the deal is closed from the sales people, that they need to engage with the right contacts with the executive level to ensure that when the account gets transferred to the CSM, you have the right persona to talk to, and we can start discussing about the KPIs and created that success plan directly instead of being stuck with not having the right contacts and then do the research ourselves, which will delay the time of value that we'll be able to provide to the customer.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I really like that. Veronica, quick question for you on that. What do you think is your biggest roadblock right now to being able to identify those right personas for successful engagement? Is it really on sales vetting that out pre acquisition? Is there more to it than that? And just curious if you have any thoughts on that for the group.

Veronica: Yeah, actually I'm dealing with the issue myself because I just changed company two three months ago and I'm working with a product that is very easy to adopt. So just due to the nature of the product, the account executives don't need to go that higher in the management in order to get the deal in. Meaning that sometimes when I get the account assigned, I'm talking maybe to an IT person or maybe to a business person sometime, but it's not the right person to decide on how we will measure and quantify the impact of the solution within the organization. So I have no problem into going in LinkedIn, find the right person, we have some data about the adoption. I can also find who are the top 50 users of my tool and target them, send emails. I can do those type of campaign, but it will always delay... the fact that when I want to build a success plan, as soon as we start the engagement. I want to start having those strategic conversation as soon as possible. So the fact that I don't have the right contacts, I know I can get them, but it would just delay the process. And the user is already start using the tool and so on. So I just think it's just a little bit, I don't know, maybe they're already starting to the tool and maybe using it in a way that maybe it's not the right way. I don't know, you need to be aligned. And I think if you start with the second phase first and doing the success plan after a couple of weeks or a month, because it took all the time for you to research the right persona. It's just not ideal in term of time to value and how to ensure that the alignment of the goals are adequate.

Speaker 2: Yeah, Veronica, there was a lot in there. And one of the things that stood out to me in this account, this came up in a little bit different context, but what is the, almost the ROI? I know that term gets thrown around a lot in many companies different, but what's the ROI conversation look like for you as it relates to engaging the executive executives? Because if you think about it, right? The higher you go, the more you need to be able to quantify that value in terms of dollars, in terms of risk reduction, in terms of... Walter was sharing and I'll give him the opportunity to share a little bit, but compliance efforts and what is the impact of that system? It's either revenue gained or revenue loss prevention in most cases. So I don't know. What type of technology are you implementing?

Veronica: It's a digital collaboration tool. It's called Neuro.

Speaker 2: Oh Mirror, okay, yeah!

Veronica: No, it's Neuro, it's Neuro. It's different!

Speaker 2: Oh Neuro, okay. You got me really excited. I really like Mirror, but I don't know Neuro.

Veronica: Yeah, you should try Neuro.

Speaker 2: So I mean, for the group that's still here on the phone, any thoughts on being able to reduce time to persona or even things as it relates to that ROI conversation for engaging with the executives? I think this is a really good focal point. Does anybody want to add, maybe share any comments with Veronica on how you engage with those executive leaders and if the sales team doesn't know them, how do you outreach?

Tovo: So there was actually a point that was made on our call by one of... he had left. But he was saying that in our role in customer success, building that relationship with your super- user, your champion, of providing them between the goals that they've asked you to reach and then going for the ask. So saying we've gotten to a place where we were able to give you and in return, can you provide us with the right person? Creating that partnership with the client itself. I thought that was a really good insight.

Speaker 2: Hey David. I saw you come off mute. And great comment by the way, Tovo. And again, I hope I said your name, correctly.

Tovo: Yes, yes correct.

David: Yeah. I was going to add just two things. One is that, the whole adage of people love to talk about themselves is completely true. So it's been one of those things that I've been encouraging and working on is just simply asking our points of contact, What does your organization look like? And it's incredible when you ask those questions, how much they're willing to share, generally speaking. The other thing is making sure that they recognize that in this kind of partnership and it goes back to trust, that really what you're trying to do is socialize and build up their credibility within the organization, show the successes that they've had. And so if you can kind of build that connection and say, how are we going to share this? What types of methods or media do you have that we can show what you're doing? It goes a long way in them recognizing that you're a partner with them in this, and then it opens those conversations to who else can we talk to to show this too? And we can quickly kind of get that map both vertically and horizontally in terms of those people that we can connect to. So, like I said, it's about asking from us and just establishing that trust with your point of contact, that you're there to share their successes, because if they're successful in their organization, there's nothing that feels better than when they call and say" You wouldn't believe that my CEO just talked to me and gave me a pat on the back," or" I'm getting a new job opportunity" or" Opportunity to do something because of this." So those are incredibly powerful stories. And obviously that opens doors to talking to other people.

Hailey: To piggyback off of that, we've really discovered that led to a lot of roadblocks. And so a current initiative that we have was a better understanding of an organizational structure during implementation. We have to know that so that we don't run into," All right, we accomplished your goals for this group of people. What do we do next?" So if we started with having a good understanding of their overall organizational structure, there's no roadblocks that we're running into. We know who the right executive people are that we need to reach out to, so that once we focus on that initial goal and it's accomplished, we know other areas within the business that we can further expand into. So that's been our big initiative of really getting a better understanding of the organizational structure and how they operate at the beginning.

David: And we think our customers recognize us as this really big, important piece. But I mean, sometimes we forget that they're dealing with so many different tools and technologies that we're one piece of that. So when we ask the customer" Help me understand your organization a little bit more," and you say" Is it okay if I take some notes on this?" Twice in the last couple months they've been like" Oh, that's important to you? Let me just send you over a chart of exactly what our organization looks like." It doesn't even dawn on them that that's important to us unless we ask for it.

Speaker 2: Right. And I think Tovo, you brought up that comment, right? Or it could have been Veronica too, so I apologize if I'm mixing it up, but right? You do the work to build the trust to make the ask, right? You don't lead with the... sometimes you have to lead with the ask before you really know the lay of the land, but knowing what's important to the customer, important to them, and being able to lay that framework. And then executing on it, as we as the customer success managers, right? We can use a hundred different terms for, we're guardians of investment, we're the quarterback for the accounts, we sit at the center of that customer relationship, but regardless of what you call yourself or how you would describe yourself in the account at the end of the day, our job is to help the customer be successful with the tool that we have and be able to identify, where do we go? And actually, a question I was going to ask you here in closing is kind of around Hailey's comment. Halley's Comet. So, sorry. Does anybody ask the question of, in implementation saying" Hey, when this is successful and when we've achieved goal X," getting the customer to see longer down their funnel, so to speak to say" If we meet X, where do we go?" Before we even get to X, understanding what Y is before X is ever finished. That doesn't mean it doesn't change, doesn't mean that Y won't be something different once we get to X, but having an understanding of where that customer is thinking beyond step one, step two, step three, but looking down towards step seven, step eight in that process, just curious if anybody asks that question. It's something that I've kind of kicked around of doing more in implementing customers and trying to understand that, but yeah, I would love to hear if anybody's been successful in using kind of that process with any customers before we wrap.

Tovo: I've used it in inaudible or year-end reviews, and inherited customers, so I missed the implementation phase. I think it's a harder buy- in from the customer sometimes depending on the relationship, but I've never had it at the implementation, which I really love that I do.

Speaker 2: Thanks Tovo.

David: That's awesome.

Speaker 2: And David, I chuckled a little bit, but I love that. I actually worked for a CTO kind of head of professional services at a company. And he was all about if you can turn that conversation into a game or something, make something professional more fun and engaging in that regard, your response would be a hundred fold, rather than asking it in that stuffy format. I mean, COVID has driven all of us to be both professional, but more relaxed in nature. We're not as serious as we used to be. So use that to our advantage to your point. So I love that, and I'm going to probably borrow that for a future conversation. So, but team, thanks for being the faithful few today. And I really appreciate all the goals that were shared and some of the topics I want to make sure I get you out on time. Please continue to provide feedback. Also, I'm getting ready to go out on paternity leave. So if anybody wants to help a co- host and help facilitate discussion in the future, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, I'd happy to set up time with you to discuss. But with that, I'll get y'all on your way. Thank you and see you all on Thursday.

Speaker 1: Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain, Grow, Retain podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


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CSM Office Hours

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