Categorizing and Keeping Track of Current Customers w/ CSM Office Hours

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This is a podcast episode titled, Categorizing and Keeping Track of Current Customers 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><br></p><p>--</p><p><br></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>
Defining the Stakeholders & Capturing Notes
00:41 MIN
White Glove Approach
00:44 MIN
Helping with Work/Life Balance
00:39 MIN
Annual Planning Survey
00:32 MIN
SKO 2.0
00:49 MIN

Jeff: So without further ado, I'll jump in. The first one we've got is how do you categorize stakeholders, influencers, et cetera on the customer side. This is funny. I had a LinkedIn post about this today, so not taking credit for the inspiration of whoever wrote that, but I've been thinking a lot about this. Because we're going through an exercise here at Higher Logic. We're on the director of customer experience where we're trying to go back through and look at our current customers, how are you essentially categorizing them? Who's an influencer, who's an executive stakeholder, who might be an admin? How are you getting down to some of that detail? So I'd love to see maybe how other people are thinking about that. How do you track that? Like where do you keep track of it and how do you think about that for your accounts? I think that that helps to change a lot of the strategy that you might have. So if there's no hand- raisers, I might go old school and start calling on people who are on their video. So unless you want me to call on you indirectly or directly. Kerryn, I've seen, I know you and I don't feel as bashful maybe calling on you, or maybe as rude. But how are you all thinking about this, where you work right now and how do you approach your accounts when you start to think about just stakeholders and getting introduced to more and more people? Like how do you just keep track of that and start to categorize some of those folks that you're meeting?

Kerryn: Yeah. Hey Jeff. Hi everyone. Happy new year. Hope you guys had a healthy, happy and safe holiday. It's a good question. I was just reflecting on it myself. Thinking about the fact that there's probably a lot more that I could do to be a bit more strategic about how I think about categorizing different types of stakeholders. Typically, what I do is as part of quarterly account meetings with the account executive or my accounts, we'll talk about the relationships that the account executive has and the degree to which he or she feels they are influencers, they are detractors, they are advocates. And then we'll work on building out a list really simply in something like Excel or we'll add notes to the Salesforce record, indicate the type of stakeholder they are. And then we'll work on building out effectively on that together. And then determining what sorts of outreach makes the most sense either from the account executive or myself to build those relationships. It's a simple spreadsheet with a couple of columns around the stakeholder relationship, the last time that we interacted or engaged with that person, what that person cares about, whether or not they recognize the value of the Slack, which is where I work. And then any sorts of barriers or challenges that we might be facing when we interact with that person and then we'll add a column for who will be doing the outreach. So it's really simple. I think it's tended to work well. And really the meat of it comes down to the discussion that I have with the account executive around some of those relationships. And then I'll post that in the Slack channel for visibility across the account team. But yeah, I definitely love to hear what you guys are all thinking and doing. And if there's any way that you're thinking about documenting or building in a process around capturing the different stakeholders on an account. I know that Salesforce can be a bit unwieldy at times. So that's why I've tended to revert to something like Excel. But yeah, that's how I'm thinking about it.

Jeff: Awesome. Well, I appreciate you letting me call on you and get the ball rolling and starting, because I think there's a number of cool things that you mentioned in there that makes sense to me and that I've thought about before too. Just are they a promoter, detractor. I actually put into the chat window, I just came across a framework from James Sebenius. Hopefully I pronounced that right. But he's a Harvard business professor, and so he thinks about looking at relationships as either being deference, which is employee A will most definitely do what employee B does. Influence, they're likely to follow, or antagonist. And so I think it's similar to what you were mentioning earlier. Who's our most influential stakeholder? And then how does everyone situate around those people or that person? I think that comes into play a lot. I also liked the point you mentioned too, just about what that person's interested in and try and make sure you can capture some of those. And the last point I'll call out that I referenced this morning too, is the ability of outlining your interests and then their interests, in terms of what's actually the ideal outcome of the relationship that we're into. I think getting down into those types of things always help. I used to have a boss that used to tell me nine times out of 10, the person if you get down to a personal level is like," Hey, I want this type of job or I want to get a promotion or I want some accolade internally." And that helps to start to get the ball rolling too. So being able to capture that. And we are in that same struggle you are. So I'm curious if there's people who, if anybody wants to throw out tools that they've used before. But our Salesforce records are quite lengthy and quite big. So if anybody else has ideas besides Excel or anything else that you're using, I would love to throw that out. Josh looks like you've got your hand raised.

Josh: Yeah, no Kerryn had talked about Salesforce can be unwieldy as well as salespeople tend to not use it the way that they should always. So that's been a challenge for us, but what we've decided to do is go back into the account records, the opportunity records. Define who the stakeholders are, what their level of stakeholder- ness is and capture it there, and then use Salesforce to capture notes, whether it's an ongoing task or an ongoing note, that gives information about that individual. But we also have in combination working with our managed services team, they have their own client notes. So we a lot of times try to share information about different contexts, things that they prefer in a business setting all the way to personal items about them. So we can capture it and start fostering that better relationship with them. So those are some of the things that we do.

Jeff: I like it. I also like that you said" stakeholder- ness". I'm going to start using that. The last part you mentioned, I think is something that we've tried to really think a lot about. So we essentially help our customers create communities. And so thinking about some of those personal wins that they might get, like the first time they launched their community or a one year anniversary, or the first time they get an organic comment or little things that hopefully we can track over time and just make a bigger deal. So I liked the idea of tracking what are some of those milestones, whether it's personal or professional that we could come in and just make a big deal about. Because I think that starts to show how you can, you're starting to build that relationship. You're starting to get into the next layer. So I like that. Bertal looks like you have your hand raised. What are some of your thoughts here?

Bertal: Yes. Just want to jump on two comment about related to CRM and then how to identify a champion in the line. What's top of mind for them with vendors. One of the challenge I've been facing related to CRM, especially when you work for a large organization is the more information you put about a champion or a client or user, the more information another department might leverage to go after this specific individual to sell other things that he or she might not need. And that refrains many professional from adding too much information. Because if you are working with the event team and they have access to your content, they're going to reach out to your client and your member with thing they might don't need to buy. So I think this is the first challenge I've been facing related to the CRM. I'm going back to the old, to an Excel spreadsheet where I'm gathering all the information. This is exclusively for a white glove approach. We building relationship with champion and I have this framework on an Excel spreadsheet that goes beyond what everyone sells, purchase and how they are leveraging our services. But it's really what's top of mind for the individual. And more specifically how it relates to the corporate objective, how it relates to the CEO vision of his or her company going public, hitting the 300 million revenue mark in the next three to four years and measure the impact. And this is how I've been focusing on that most recently and drive a bit of success.

Jeff: Awesome. Thanks Bertal. Yeah, it sounds similar to Kerryn coming up with a personalized approach, how are you capturing that for a lot of your key customers and key contacts. I think that's where the challenge comes though, of how to track that across multiple accounts, how to make sure that your to- do list isn't getting lost in the shuffle as well, which is the hope of what Salesforce can do. But at the same time, I know that that's a challenge for us right now too. Diana mentioned Catalyst, which is a customer success platform that we've seen out there. Chart loop, Marcus just mentioned. And I think Marcus had another one earlier, he said" Quip" which is a Salesforce product as well. So potentially some others out there that you all might be able to dive into more. But we'll go ahead and kick over to the next question in our list, which is work- life balance. What are you doing to prioritize your mental health while working remotely? This seems very timely, starting off the new year, just thinking about, what can you start? What can you stop? What can you continue? And so maybe from the personal perspective, anybody have anything that they want to throw out there about how they protect their mental health and what they like to do. I'll kick things off to get the ball rolling, but I guess two things, or maybe three things that I've tried to do to keep my mental health in working from home. I've actually done this now for about five years. I've worked from home almost five or six years. So a couple of things I try to do is eat lunch downstairs in my kitchen, not at my desk. So just get me up and moving around. That helps me to stay away from my computer, just from basically from eight to five all the way through. So getting up and just going to eat lunch down in a new place at my kitchen table, it seems to work for me. I try and take my dogs, I've got two dogs who typically are in my office at all times. And so I'll try and take them on walks at least twice a day. So once in the morning, once in the afternoon, if I can. I'll even block off a half an hour in my calendar to go do that. Hopefully listen to a podcast, get outside, do something else for that half hour. So, that's been something that helped me. And the third thing, which I think has maybe been the hardest is once I shut my computer, I don't come back to it. So, I might shut my computer at 08:00 PM and not come back to it. I might shut it at 06:00 PM, but I've made the notion once I close my computer, I'm not going to open it back up for the rest of the day. And so again, I get into just some trouble, because I'll keep my computer open while I'm eating dinner with my wife or I'll look for stuff afterwards, but those are three things that I've tried to do at least just to help me. So, Nathan looks like you have your hand raised.

Nathan: Yeah. Just to go off of what you just said, Jeff. I think one of the things I started working remotely before the pandemic, so I was fortunate enough to get an apartment in a place that actually had an office, but I know that many of my coworkers don't have office space. So they're working on kitchen counters and so if that's you, setting up a ritual for yourself at the end of the day is really important. And decoupling as much as possible to your mobile device through messages, right? So saving that space for yourself so that you're not getting distracted, right? We've got Instagram, we got Facebook, we got all these things popping and buzzing all the time. Don't make work one of those things that's happening on your mobile device, has been something that I've seen helping my team out quite a bit. It helps me out a lot as well to just say, there's a ritual. In the beginning of the day, I always get my cup of root beer. Right. And at the end of the day, I always close my computer. I unplug it, undock it. And I set it aside. That's my ritual to tell me it's done, even though I have an office I'm still doing that ritual because if I do have to work from the kitchen, hey, I can still do that ritual. And I still am in the pattern of going, that's it. Cut off. I'm done now for the day and the rest of the problems, I'll fix them tomorrow. They're tomorrow's problems.

Jeff: Awesome. Did I hear root beer in there? Are you drinking root beer in the mornings?

Nathan: I do. Yeah. No coffee for this guy, just root beer.

Jeff: Awesome. Thanks Nathan. Connor. You got your hand-raised. What are some of your thoughts here?

Connor: Yeah. So some of my thoughts are probably going to overlap with both Jeff and Nathan, but one thing that I've put a focus on during the pandemic and my mental health, one thing that I've noticed has helped is exercise, especially in getting out and going for a run because it forces me one, obviously to be away from my computer and technology. And it allows me to just work through whatever's going on in my head as well as just release excess energy. And something else I've done to focus on mental health is I've been putting more of a focus on putting my devices down, so packing up my computer and putting it away in my backpack at the end of the day, like Nathan said, to signal of the day is done, but also to try to be off my phone less, or be on my phone less, excuse me. So whether that's reading a physical hard copy of a book or getting an actual print newspaper, just so I know what's going on, but I'm not constantly in my phone buried in current events. So those are just a couple things I've tried to be cognizant of and use to keep my mental health intact.

Jeff: I love the shout out for the traditional old, old newspaper hard copy. I'm a big fan as well. So I appreciate those. And I like the point that you mentioned and Nathan mentioned it too, just packing up is a big thing just to try and make sure you can close it away and jump off of it. So, awesome. Jodi, what are some of your thoughts here?

Jodi: So I know my answer is going to be the least popular, but I think that trying to spend time on finding a work- life balance is often overrated. I think everybody has to figure out what that means for them, right? For me, my goal right now is to work my ass off. And I hope that that doesn't mean that I have to compromise on not getting to the gym at a certain time. So for me, I like to go super early in the morning, at 05:30 or 06: 00 AM, because if it gets much past that it's just not going to happen. But I like to prioritize my work- life with my work- life. And that's just the space that I'm in right now.

Jeff: Yeah. I don't think that's an unpopular answer at all. And I think it's to your point, right, as long as you understand how it fits in right now in the time period that we're in, all for it. So awesome. Renata, it looks like you've got your hand raised, and then we'll hopefully pop over to the next question.

Renata: Hey, can you hear me?

Jeff: We got you.

Renata: Okay. I'll just make two quick points. The first is that I like to schedule something after my work day is over so that I can't work late. I've got to go into this doom appointment. And the second thing is I set expectations with my boss and say," Hey, I'm logging off today, tomorrow and the next day at promptly at five or right at 05:30." And that way, if she needs anything from me, she can let me know earlier in the day I can fit it in, slot it into my schedule and make sure that I get stuff done at the time that I have set aside for myself. And that way I don't get messages at 06: 00 PM like," Hey, can you do this for me?" It's like,"Well, no, because I told you I couldn't."

Jeff: Yeah. I like, I mean, setting expectations is a big one. I think there was somebody else that mentioned similar to you. You had mentioned, obviously trying to schedule something after work, but I know somebody's mentioned calendar blocking. I think is something that they wanted to start doing in 2021. Just seems like if you looked at my calendar for, I don't know, the better part of last year, I was in back- to- back meetings and never really felt like I could go do something for work. So I've now gotten in the habit, and I forget who had mentioned it in there, but I go two weeks ahead and I start looking at my calendar and I start declining meetings that I don't think I need to be a part of. I start to block off certain parts of my day just to make sure that people can't schedule. So I'm doing that every week, two weeks ahead, if that makes sense. So, that's a really good one. Kerryn just mentioned Clockwise, which I've never heard of and might have to go explore right now if it helps block off some times. I also use Calendly a lot to help do that too. So depending on what type of meeting it is, I can set certain parameters of when those meetings can happen. So that just helps to keep my calendar updated as well. So awesome. Tons of good nuggets there. Good shout outs. So appreciate everyone sharing. Nathan, it looks like you've got a question in here that we'll jump to next. Does anyone track save- churn for customer success or leadership visibility when the ownership has changed? So if I'm going to dive into, do you mind maybe giving us a little bit more context there, Nathan, and then we'll maybe get some ideas out there?

Nathan: Yeah. So this is a SaaS specifically is the program that I'm working with. So subscription- based products is what we're selling. So we've seen in 2020, thanks to COVID, ownership change is an increasing thing that we're seeing in the industry right now. So I'm just wondering if anyone else out there is not just tracking as a save, when a new owner takes over and you're able to sell them on keeping the products or the subscriptions they already had, are you guys delineating that for leadership or for other teams, or is it something where you're just like" A save is a save, it just helps our churn numbers and that's all we're tracking, doesn't really matter."?

Jeff: Yeah. I think that's an interesting distinction. I haven't really thought about that before, as a new stakeholder coming in. I think it's the scenario you're talking about, right? New stakeholder coming in and potentially going to get rid of our tool, and making sure that we could reiterate the value, keep the product in and count that as some thing that we're just keeping track of revenue- wise. Curious if anybody else is, we do not track that right now separately. I know we just went through, can you hear my dogs in the background? We just went through an exercise of just reclassifying our churn. So we had a ton of just different buckets that we wanted to make sure and just get straight and go back and reclassify our churn from 2020, and 2019. So that's something we did, but capturing that separately was not something. So I'm curious if anybody else wants to raise their hand and talk about how they report on or capture churn or saves right now within their company. And if it's something that has become pretty valuable. Hey, Anastasia looks like you got your hand raised.

Anastasia: Nathan, follow up question. How many of these owners that you're tracking with a change? Is it a high volume? Is it a low volume?

Nathan: Good question. I want to clarify your question though. When you're asking, how many are you asking in my book of business? Are you asking?

Anastasia: Right. Right. I mean, I imagine not all your book of business is changing ownerships.

Nathan: You are correct. Hopefully not, that doesn't change. No, it's a handful right now, but it's a handful from basically zero in 2019. So it went from almost never happened to it's happening more and more now. And some of that has to do with the industry changing too. We work in the dental industry, dental support organizations, organizations that own multiple practices, that's more of a trend that we're seeing. So they're buying up small mom and pop shops and putting them into their organizational structure. So that's another change that's been increasing over 2019 to 2020. And then COVID's only exacerbated this as small mom and pop shops are going out of business or can't stay afloat. And so now they're looking to sell their practice to basically come underneath a bigger umbrella. So it's still a small handful, but we don't have any indications that's going to stop happening. It's not going to be like," Oh, that was just 2020 fluke." 2021, we're looking at probably the same trend.

Anastasia: So I think if it's a small book of volume right now, then the best ways to really reach out to the new ownership directly and just have that introduction call and explain why RevenueWell is so awesome for them and reestablish that relationship, like if somebody left in the company and you have to start from scratch to talk to somebody new. And like what Jeff was saying, change management. Change is hard for everybody. And a lot of companies don't even know that there are tools in place, so how mom and pop shops works. And in the grand scheme, it could also help you because you could end up with large enterprise accounts.

Jeff: Kerryn, looks like you have your hand raised. What are some of your thoughts there?

Kerryn: Is that me, Jeff?

Jeff: Oh yeah, go for it.

Kerryn: Sorry. I didn't hear. Yeah, I think that's a good point Anastasia, and something that we've been doing as well, to your point, Jeff, is thinking about re- categorizing risk and the category types that would constitute creating what we call a Red Account. So if there's a renewal that's within six months, then I, as a CSM would review that account. And then if there has been, let's say a change in ownership or a change in sponsor and various other risks categories, then I would create what's called a Red Account in Salesforce, right? And then that would be reviewed on a weekly basis by our senior leadership team. So I'd simply categorize that as change in ownership. And so that's how we think about our Red Account process and any sorts of risks that want to track leading up to the renewal. And those tend to be scrutinized within six months of the renewal. Something that I'm experimenting with now, now that it's beginning of the year with my accounts is to create an annual planning survey and then send that to my current customer contacts. And one of those questions is, do you plan to be, or continue to be the current owner of this product in the year ahead? And if not, who should I be reaching out to? So if you can't get Mindshare, if you're not able to get a call, then something like a survey might be a great idea to at least be able to capture that information and then follow up separately with that person who's been referred. Yeah. Something to think about.

Jeff: Awesome. I like that example too. We've messed around with potentially doing surveys as potential new change of stakeholders comes in, or even just before the renewal at certain intervals, just to try and get the risk category right. And then be able track against that in the future. So similar to what Kerryn mentioned too. Bertal, what are some of your thoughts here?

Bertal: It's actually one of my favorite exercise because often what you find out is when the leadership change or the seat holder change, the renewal takes place two to three months later. Somehow this is how it works. And I usually do these what I like to call SKO 2. 0 with the bagel. And this is exclusively for enterprise white glove. I physically go before COVID to their office, with bagel and schedule this SKO 2. 0. And the three question I love to share is just to review how they are measuring our success, the inaudible, what are their expectation from us, and why they originally signed with us. And moving from one seat holder, from one leader to another, you realize that things are slightly changed and you might have missed the boat. And this is a great opportunity to remind them that even if they say we're going to pull the plug, we're not going to go work with you next year because we don't see the value, it's an opportunity to say," Hey, you have another three months that have already being paid for. Let's work together over the next three months. I will not ask this question until your license expires, but let's show, let's present, let's add up the features aligned with what is really top of mind for you." And then you create an engagement plan taking you all the way to the expiration of this license. And I will say in my case, two out of three I was able to renew them at least for another 12 months.

Jeff: Coming off mute. I like the point you mentioned too. It always happens right before three months. It always seems to happen, right, three months before the renewal. I agree with that too. You tend to find that that happens, but that also goes back Bertal to a point I think you made earlier when you were talking about how you look at some of the relationship mapping that you do and how you just try and capture some of that information. I think it becomes really valuable in those types of situations when you do have stakeholder changes, because I think two of the categories that you mentioned and called out was, how does this person's interests or what they're doing on a day to day basis, actually impact some of the overall goals or some of the CEO level goals? And so hopefully that also aligns to that new stakeholder coming in. You've already got maybe at least somewhat of a headstart on what you think they're going to care about and being able to play that up. And Juliette, I think I saw you come off of mute if you wanted to jump in with something as well.

Juliette: Yep. I was going to ask, how do I raise my hand? I don't know how to raise my hand. So anyway, I liked the idea of Nathan. I think you bring up a good point that if it's an important thing, at least acknowledging people who have successfully done it because it is above and beyond, and it is way more difficult to do that. And I think if you just let it slide and don't acknowledge it, people won't work hard for it because it's a lot more work, right? So why would I? And I don't come at this from a CSM perspective. I come at it from a sales perspective, but it's hard. One of the things that we've also focused on this year is especially with COVID inaudible everything being so crazy is how, even if it's maybe someone new comes in as a stakeholder and it's a product they're familiar with, the team is not. So there is an enormous value to letting this transition happen. Why are you going to upset the entire applecart? Let's evolve. Let's figure out your new business challenges. Let's talk about how we can address that without shaking things up even more than they already are. And I think that's very valid too. And something that leadership doesn't always think about.

Jeff: Awesome. Well, I'm glad we got to you, Julie, even if you couldn't find the raise hand button, I thought that was awesome. So I appreciate you jumping in. Perfect. Well, I know we've got about four minutes left. We always like to be mindful of time and these things run on time. So appreciate everyone hopping on today and ran through a couple of awesome things. So how are you talking about stakeholders? Thinking about pulling them together and categorizing them. What are you doing these days for personal and personal wellness throughout this time? And then, how are you looking at categorizing churn thinking about risk when new stakeholders are coming in? So fun topics to dive into. Excited to jump into 2021. Appreciate you all joining here for the first week. I don't know. We're certainly not going to have 52 of these, but we'll have somewhere upwards of maybe 40 or 50 over the year. So I think I've wrangled Jeremy, if he's on today into doing a session and being the facilitator, I think I've got Diana who also hopped off. So if you're interested in leading and facilitating, promise it's not as scary as it sounds. Bertal has done this a lot for us as well. So shoot me an email. We'd love to get more people involved and I'd love to be a participant and not lead it. So appreciate everyone. And we'll look forward to seeing you all next week or on Thursday. We do have leadership office hours. If you all want to join that as well.

Speaker 11: 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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