VP Customer Success Roundtable Key Highlights

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Churn, Compensation Plans and Other Learnings

The first of our VP Customer Success Roundtable series in Amsterdam underlined a few key takeaways. First of all, it is clear that Sales and CS carries a shared responsibility to prevent churn – proactively and at an early stage. 

Customer Success verifying partnerships
Sales are often incentivised to close deals and push clients further in the sales funnel  – however, if sales acquires a client outside your organisation’s ICP, CS rarely stands a chance of turning them into long-lasting, happy ambassadors of your product.

Instead of operating from individual verticals, the group agrees that CS and Sales should join forces early on in the sales cycle. If CS can work next to Sales and verify that they bring in high-calibre customers into the funnel, you will minimise short-lived customers and subsequently decrease churn.

This is viewed as a win-win situation – Sales will ONLY spend time on quality clients and CS gets a fair chance to succeed with every account in the portfolio. 

Introducing CSQL
Working closely with your clients gives CS a unique chance to deliver up-to-date feedback on your product. This information is a great asset not only for CS but also the Sales and Product department.

Your client was brought on board with a specific need, however, this need might change over time. By having a close relationship and asking the right questions, Customer Success Managers should understand whether it is time to change the clients solution, or perhaps to grow and upsell your existing customer with additional features.

It all boils down to Sales and CS having a close partnership, where CSM’s provide Sales with Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQL). 

Involve teammates and increase accountability
There are countless ways of involving each other in the client’s lifecycle. An idea could be to invite the original Sales Rep to the annual or quarterly business review. This is a unique opportunity to show accountability and make sure you have delivered what you promised.

Were all expectations met? Did they transition smoothly to CS? Are you on track to solving your client’s original needs? Have the needs changed? 

This is when your close relationship will become fruitful. As the clients’ needs change, Sales and CS will act unanimously to lead your client to success. It is time to adjust your proposition and expand the account.

Compensation – here is why it is so vital
There is no way around it, compensation is a recurring topic at any SaaS Customer Success event. It becomes relevant because it should guide you to work on the right things, together as a team. 

As mentioned above, Sales and CS have a lot to offer to each other in different stages of the sale cycle. The group answers unanimously and they should also, naturally, be compensated for this! 

Rather than solely structuring your compensation plan around individual accomplishments, the compensation should incentify collaborative teamwork that leads to long term success. 

This will not just happen naturally, your employees obviously need to be compensated after this way of working. Activate bonuses whenever Sales and CS close a deal together, by up-selling or when they work actively to prevent clients from churning.

Just to end on some final thought-provoking questions that may help sum this up:

How do you actively work to prevent churn in your organisation?
Are you also tackling these topics in your business?
Do you want to participate in upcoming events?


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