The rapid transformation of business and fluctuations in the global economy brought peaks and valleys for growth throughout 2022. As companies seek to drive more sustainable, scalable growth over the next year, there will be significant change in the way businesses serve customers. In 2023, I believe customer success (CS) will become an enterprise-wide operating model that’s the priority of every person in a business. This new model will enable companies to more effectively deliver value at each step of the customer journey, and help them scale more efficiently through digital programs and automation.
Here are some of Totango’s top predictions for 2023 in the future of business, technology, and CS.
As a senior executive in Silicon Valley for over 25 years, I’ve seen a common thread of businesses thinking their sole priority is to create new products that drive net-new revenue growth. While this approach was effective 15-20 years ago, the era of rapid cloud adoption that was broadsided with the COVID pandemic has forced businesses to place greater emphasis on delivering value to existing customer relationships instead of clinging to a laser focus on winning new logos. As 2022 concludes with increased scrutiny on budgets and the value of all business functions, businesses will reorient processes and strategies to exceed customer retention and account expansion goals.
As team sizes have shrunk or remained flat, organizations will realize the value of doing more with less to grow the size of their customer base. This will bring a greater focus to automation and continue to force businesses to refine core digital strategies and rely on innovative, flexible technologies to scale, or in some instances, replace a direct human touch with customers. This will become the preferred approach to manage and drive CS – especially for companies looking to rebound from 2022 cuts.
As part of this evolution to focusing on customer value, senior leaders will realize that their customer journey – or customer experience – is equally as important as the product or service from which they traditionally generate their revenue. Each touchpoint on the journey provides a moment to deliver value, win trust, and earn loyalty. It’s how recurring revenue is maintained and how it multiplies. What’s more, leaders will recognize that removing friction in order to deliver value throughout the customer journey is a continuous pursuit, and those who are faster to execute and learn are faster to iterate and improve.
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As managing and improving the customer journey becomes a greater priority, the entire enterprise will direct its focus to the customer success operating model and spark greater internal collaboration to strengthen every touchpoint. In 2022, our annual State of CS Industry survey showed that 44% of CS departments spend around a quarter of their time collaborating with marketing, a 17% increase from the prior year. As businesses develop a core definition and documentation of what their customer journey is and what programs, technologies, and teams are needed to manage their most valuable product, look for even greater partnership and time spent across CS, marketing, sales, product, and other functions.
Even though customer success (CS) as a technology category has been around for over a decade, there is still confusion as to if and how CS and CRM technology function together. CRM captures invaluable customer data about sales, marketing, and other business team interactions, but it was built for another era and is commonly organized around functional clouds that do not include CS best practices, automated workflows, and a multi-dimensional view of customer health. Businesses that are serious about a customer value operating model will realize that CRM and CS are the one-two punch needed to intelligently and efficiently build lasting customer relationships across the entire journey.