Part of the Customer Success Summit On-Demand Series

Customer success has become one of the hottest capabilities technology companies find themselves investing in today. For SaaS and subscription businesses, Customer Success holds the key to retaining customers and expanding customer relationships. However, while many companies have put a Customer Success strategy in place, they struggle to deliver it at scale.

In his closing keynote at Customer Success Summit, TSIA Executive Director Thomas Lah leverages recent benchmark data and industry observations to outline a seven-step approach to establishing and scaling a Customer Success capability. From the charter to the financial model to enabling technology, Thomas provides practical frameworks customer success organizations can leverage as they grow.

Watch the full session from Customer Success Summit

7 Steps to Customer Success at Scale

1. Define your charter

This means defining what the team will do and how they will measure success. In general, there are three different options for what the goals of your Customer Success team will be: Adoption, Retention (Renewal), and Expansion. Having the goals of your team clearly defined will ensure your whole organization is on the same page.

2. Define your funding model

Funding is largely based on what you choose for your team charter. If your team is solely focused on adoption you will likely invest less, however as their charter grows to include retention and expansion the investment increases. To think of it another way, as Customer Success contributes more to the bottom line of the business, the investment grows.

3. Mature the required practices

There are core competencies that every Customer Success organization must do around onboarding and pre-renewal but as you build a more comprehensive strategy you need to develop new skills and practices to support these new functions. For instance, learning how to identify and convert upsell opportunities may not be a requirement for a new team but is certainly something you should invest in when Customer Success become responsible for revenue. See how Totango’s customer, Vend, tackled this challenge here.

4. Benchmark your success metrics

Understand how you measure the success of your team. There are plenty of metrics that you can choose from and they will again be dictated based on your initial charter. Some options for success metrics include: Customer Retention Cost Ratio, Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio, Adoption Rating, Churn Rate, Expansion Rate, Accounts per CSM, Revenue per CSM. Benchmarking these metrics across customers helps guide your team on where to focus their efforts. See Totango’s approach here.

5. Define, evaluate, and track the skills required

Hiring the right Customer Success team to meet your goals is incredibly important. From Adopters you want to look at Support and Professional Services candidates, but as you move toward an Expander charter you will want to look at those who have more of a Sales and Marketing background. Depending on your model you may want to have different skill sets for different stages of the Customer Journey.

6. Establish offers that target “business value”

Today, customer experience and service are just as important to your customers as your product. As you grow you may want to look at developing tiers of service on top of your product sale to increase the value that you provide relative to their spend.

7. Invest in the technology stack

Without the right tools and data, it becomes very difficult to scale your business. Customer Success Platforms, like Totango, give valuable data and insights that allow your team to become more proactive. Armed with this data you are able to more quickly scale your practices and processes to manage more customers per success manager and drive better results.