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3 tips on getting (more) budget for Customer Success

Just like when social media first started taking off, Customer Success is sometimes seen as an ad hoc initiative. There are tools that come at little or no extra cost such as on-site visits, phone calls, relationship-building interactions, support, and emails to aid this initiative, but you need more.

Getting budget is important for hiring, training, and customer engagement management tools to help CSMs get their job done. In the long run, Customer Success will be part of a company’s bottom line.

That being said, how do you get (more) budget for customer success – or any other initiative for the matter? With a well thought out case and data presented to the decisionmaker/budget keeper.

Here are 3 strategies on how to get a better chance at that financial boost.

1. The Proposal Technique

“Our current renewal rate is at A% – I have a plan to get that A% to B%. Here’s my pitch.” The pitch will include things like tools you’ve evaluated and what you think will work best, how much it costs, bringing on new headcount (check out this Customer Success Benchmark Report), etc.

Why it will work: You’ve set up clear goals you want to obtain, and it shows you’ve done your research, going through existing data to understand the health of your company and the customer base.

2. The “Moving Forward” Technique

Similar to the Proposal Technique, this strategy touches upon what has already happened – the current state of things. The key metric here would be churn rate. From there, help paint a picture on why it’s important to get the extra budget. “In the last quarter, our churn rate has been at X%. These 5 customers that didn’t renew had contract values of $200K. Here’s what we could’ve done to retain them. (Insert tool or strategy suggestion), and here’s what it costs.”

A basic retention rate formula (example at source: INC.com)

Retention Rate = ((CE-CN)/CS)) X 100

CE = number of customers at end of period (e.g. month, quarter, year)

CN = number of new customers acquired during period

CS = number of customers at start of period

Why it will work: Strategies are made to plan for the future. Not only are you establishing a plan now but also the use of retention as a key metric to assess period-over-period performance with concrete data.

3. The Redistribution Technique

Review current spending and suggest where resources might be better used or borrowed from – it might be a subscription that hardly anyone uses or money set aside for plans that haven’t materialized.

Why it will work: It’s easier to move money around rather than request for a net new budget.

Getting more budget is always a tricky task but if you don’t ask they won’t give it to you. Have you tried any of these strategies? How did it pan out? I’d love to hear your stories and other suggestions below.

Ellis Luk

I'm the marketing and communications manager at Totango - but you can call me Chief Content Officer. When I'm not writing, you can find me obsessing over memes, debating grammatical usage or getting distracted by the latest Tumblr gif blogs. Customer love starts with a friendly hello!

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