Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success is a book from Guy Nirpaz, CEO of customer success platform Totango, that delves into the inner workings of customer success and brings fresh ideas on how to nurture recurring revenue models.

Customer Success

The book brings up many great points that challenge traditional ways of looking at customer acquisition and retention, some that will seem very obvious after reading, but for whatever reason, not currently implemented in many models. While the book offers great advice throughout, it can be broken down into three main points:

  1. A model that allows the customer success team to speak the same language
  2. Analytical frameworks for customer success efforts
  3. Practical advice on what to do — how to build the team as well as manage and measure the work

Based on the idea that farming is easier than hunting, Nirpaz, and co-author Fernando Pizarro, explain how the sale is no longer the moment in a business relationship, from the customer’s view, but instead the relationship built afterwards.

“It has become obvious to anyone in the SaaS space that the old breakpoint in the customer journey — the sale — is no longer the defining moment in the business relationship; at least, not to the customer, and certainly not from a revenue standpoint,” says Pizarro.

Nirpaz uses an orange tree analogy to explain this in more depth. He talks about how orange trees have stages of growth, and that those defining moments will make or break your yield. Just like with your customers, you have to know when these pivotal moments occur and react accordingly. He goes on to say that, just like orange trees, a single customer will not define your success, but instead, it is the sum of profits from all of your customers. It is about delegating your resources to give the customers that give the greatest benefits to your business the attention they deserve, while still offering the appropriate levels of assistance and nurturing to your entire customer base.

This is referred to as “Customer Lifetime Value,” or CLV for short. “CLV is the sum of the profit you make from your customers over time as opposed to in a single upfront amount. Like an ongoing Profit and Loss statement on a per-customer level, the CLV takes into account how much the customer pays per year (value) less the costs of maintaining them per year (Customer Retention Costs or CRC) and the number of years during which they subscribe to the product.”

By using the “farming” analogy, the authors are able to breakdown the many intricacies of customer success and deliver it in an easily digestible format through farming analogies and real world examples. This “field guide” for those in the customer success space provides readers with an easy-to-access consultant in the palm of your hands.

“My goal is for customer success leaders to read Farm Don’t Hunt, then hand the model to their colleagues, so that everyone can think about customer success in the same way,” says Nirpaz.

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