The current pandemic has accelerated the pace of change - forcing organizations to rethink their engagement models for more remote delivery and technology-enabled customer success. Scale - specifically scaling personalized, context-based engagement and touchpoints with your customers while not scaling people, is an imperative to delivering on your services and value to your customers and retaining them.
Whether you have a Customer Success team or are looking to build your organizations’ customer-centric muscle, join Kevin O’Came, SVP of Customer Success at Totango with Philip Eranat and Harrison Bell from Deloitte Consulting on May 19th, at 11am PT | 2 pm ET as they share a framework for scaling customer success and specific use cases of how leading organizations are adapting for the current changing environment.
What you will learn:
- Why scaling customer success is so important and impactful
- How to assess your CS maturity and key factors to consider in order to scale
- Technology must-haves to scale quickly and efficiently
- How Zoom and Bentley Systems have scaled their teams and programs
Can’t make the webinar? Still complete the registration so we can send you a recording following the event.
Read the transcript
Lorena Fikes [00:00:02] I'm excited about today's webinar for Architecting Customer Success at Scale in a Changing Environment with Kevin O'Came, SVP of Customer Success here at Totango. And we're joined here also by Philip Eranant and Harrison Bell from Deloitte. So I'm going to hand it over to them. Welcome.
Kevin O'Came [00:00:21] All right. Hi, everyone, and thanks for joining us today. I'm thrilled to have Philip and Harrison from Deloitte join for today's session. And I'll dive right in. So just some of the video attendees, thumbs up on being able to hear me, OK? Yes. All right. Awesome.
[00:00:43] All right. So CS has emerged as a growth engine for companies. And what you see here is a view of CS 1.0 versus CS 2.0. And so in the very early days of CS, many teams and programs were essentially pointed at driving greater satisfaction levels with products and services, and this was often complemented with some financial goals, which oftentimes was something like retaining more customers or fighting, fending off churn. And, there is a shift that has taken place over the last decade really towards creating sustainable, profitable growth through CS as a capability. The purpose of this new modern CS organization that has emerged is really to drive higher levels of customer lifetime value, but also in an efficient way. And so how this is done has also shifted over the course of time. Early days was typically projects or small or specialized teams that were called a CS organization. And the shift has been to more enterprise-wide approaches where the full power and scale of the entire company can be put behind driving higher levels of outcomes for customers. And then, as a result, being able to harvest some of the financial benefits that come along with that through growth. So what that implies is that more functions in the company would need to be participating in the orchestration of CS activities and overall CS motions and being able to scale those CS motions across the entire company and across all customer segments has become more important than ever.
[00:02:43] And it also requires having this unified, customer-centered go-to-market strategy for the company. So we'll click into this a little bit more. So to keep pace with some of those shifts that have occurred, the model for engaging customers has also been evolving. Like early days, reactive motions where you can see a problem, being able to then address and react to that problem and resolve it. It's so important today, but it's not sufficient enough. CS teams moved forward and have been advancing in proactive and predictive models. This is where some digital capabilities get leveraged in a greater way. And they're designed right into that customer engagement model to deliver the right response at the right time to keep customers on a proven path to success and ultimately get to the place where you can anticipate what should be done for a specific customer and start to personalize some of the levels of service and engagement to produce greater outcomes for them. Those proactive and predictive models, they've proven to be very effective. They've been producing great results for companies and their customers and in recent years. And what we're still seeing, however, just as an overall set of CS practitioners, are some limitations on the organization to be able to scale and live up to the full potential of CS.
[00:04:27] And so, I imagine that many of you that have joined us today have some significant backlog of new efforts or initiatives or activities that you'd like to launch to better deliver outcomes for customers or deliver even greater results for your company, but you're hitting some wall on scale limitation. You know, it's typical that many companies will have a pyramid model in place where at the very top end of that pyramid, there'd be some set of strategic customers. There'd be a ratio of how many CS individuals would be bound to those customers or maybe an enterprise segment or some segment that you're reaching through tech touch models or some similar breakdown to that. And so, the size and scale of the headcount that exists within CS can be a limitation to take on some of that incremental work when you have that fixed assignment model. So looking at the evolution all the way to the right, that item number four, dynamic. What if you could leverage more of the organization, more resources from across other functions in the company to participate in that CS process? You know, what would it mean if you could remove some of those constraints that exist in the pyramid model where you're matching the person that has a fixed account assigned to an account and instead start to leverage the matching of other resources that exist in the company, so other teams, people that, at the right time, you can line up the right skill, the right language that someone speaks, that matches the spoken language of the customer. That would allow for the removal of some of those scaling constraints that that otherwise exist in some of the fixed assignment models. It should allow you to unlock some even greater capacity across the overall organization, get more functions to participate in CS motions, and should be able to help with scaling. So it's probably not an application for all things - some of these other models that have evolved over the course of time are still effective - but we do believe that there is a place to start leveraging some of these dynamic models as a next step to address some of those scaling constraints.
[00:07:09] So Totango has those capabilities to do some of the matching. It's likely that other subject matter experts that are needed to participate in customer engagement throughout your journey exist in other functions. So, you might have a development organization or a support organization that has deep domain knowledge experience around your products, your services, and that can be an effective way to get that cross-company and cross-functional participation to help. And we'll continue to talk a little bit more about this, but just imagine how powerful it can be to leverage all that other help and resources across the other functions in the company to match the right skill with the right opportunity for a customer to engage and help to drive greater outcomes for both their business as a customer and then your business as a company as well.
[00:08:10] So the other shift that has been occurring over the course of time is this evolution from having essentially largely people-based services to being technology-driven and the approach to have technology work even more for you. And so, this shift elevates the nature of the work that people do from delivering on maybe a standardized process, doing solution delivery activities like training and enablement of customers, to doing more in the way of delivering expert advice. It shifts the need for people to assess what's needed to allowing technology to do a lot of that assessment of the need and then together with a lot of digital capabilities, gives you the ability to elevate the nature of the work that people do to only the things that are able to be delivered by your experts in the CS team and across the organization. So this is another shift that we definitely see taking place. And in order for that to happen, just as practitioners, we do need to look more at technology to take on some of the work, automate a lot of the work that in the past has been done by people, and look for those higher-value activities that the experts and your team are best suited to deliver on. So with that, I'm going to pass it over to Philip to take us to the next set of material here. Philip over to you.
Phillip Eranant [00:09:55] Thanks, Kevin. That's a good segway for us to transition into our conversation around the people versus technology mix and how do you view it from a strategic lens. This is a question that we get frequently from our clients that are starting out to do some customer success initiatives, and the correct but often unhelpful answer is it depends. So let me try to deconstruct that a little bit to give you a slightly more nuanced answer around how you frame that that viewpoint of people versus technology. Companies that historically started out in customer success had to prove the value of customer success to the organization and to the people who control the budget. That's the phase that we are showing as, that stage of evolution, number one on the left-hand side of the curve. Typically, companies that heavily act as a service-oriented have moved on from that stage where they had to do small pilots, proved the value, work on Excel and very rudimentary visualizations to drive their customer success operations to that second stage, which ties into a CS 2.0 model that Kevin was talking about earlier.
Phillip Eranant [00:11:15] And this is where you scale, you have proven the value of customer success. It's accepted by everyone. There's enough evidence in the market as to its long term efficacy in driving value. And now you've started investing a little bit more. So initially, you scale up, bring more personas into your customer success operations so you have not just CSMs, but account teams as well involved in your customer success operations. And to match that, you need to scale up your technology so that all of these different personas have access to the right kind of information and the right, SuccessPlays and action triggers for them to execute in the market.
[00:12:00] And that's where you see a corresponding increase in technology investments. And those are the predictive and proactive models that Kevin was talking about come into play. Now we're seeing a lot of companies transition over to that new model where doing more with less is becoming more important. And as companies scale, they realized that you cannot simply throw more, CSMs and bodies into your operations. You need to have the ability to leverage technology to simplify things, to automate things and execute on your processes. So a lot of the companies that are at the leading edge of this transition have now started using more predictive and dynamic models that Kevin alluded to reduce their reliance on people and correspondingly use technology to drive some of that decision making. And Kevin touched upon the dynamic assignment as an example of that, where you don't really need to have a pool dedicated to customer success. You can use technology and data to drive that assignment model dynamically. And similarly, Harrison will talk about another example where you can leverage that dynamic model going forward. And as that evolution continues into that, CS 3.0 space, we'll see a lot more of technology coming into play, less oriented around reliance on people. That is actually a space where all people in an organization are customer success focus so CS in your DNA. You don't need a specific set of people designated as CSMs to do the job. So it becomes more democratized. Technology enables everyone to execute on CS actions and further that objective.
[00:13:54] So that's just framing the entire thing in a big picture view of how technology and people interplay happens as you invest in customer success. I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about some of the execution challenges that companies face as they scale. And this is from a couple of surveys that we did, the first one focused on customer success executives that offer CS service to their customers. And the second survey focused on the customers that received those offerings from their service providers. What we're trying to understand is what are some of their actual on the ground experiences in delivering and being a recipient of those customer success services? And we want to show a couple of examples of how things actually pan out on the ground from a tactical execution point of view. The three indicators that we are showing here.
[00:14:58] The first is around how CS teams spend their time. What we found in our survey was that 90 percent of our surveyed customers are expecting customer success managers and CS teams to be part of the pre-sales stages. So I'll post here, Lorena, if you can bring up the first polling question, we can have our respondents respond to our poll. Just to see where everyone is at in terms of this response. The question here is what percentage of time do CS employees actually actually allocate to presale status? We have a minute for everyone to vote and have the results come in. OK. I don't know if you can see the result on the screen, but 78 percent of you responded saying less than 25 percent, 20 percent of you said between 25 to 50 and two percent, 51 to 75. This is actually very closely aligned with how I had expected the results to be. The actual results, although it says on the screen only 39 percent of respondents spent time, I expect it to be much lower than this. But what it really tells you is that customers are looking for CS teams to be more engaged in presales processes and they are looking at customer success managers as the long term relationship owners.
Phillip Eranant [00:16:52] And it's not just the sole role of the account team anymore. CS has that role increasingly coming onto them as well. The second indicator that we looked at was around proactive value tracking. One of our philosophies of customer success is that it needs to drive value. It's about realizing value in the long term. So we asked customers about their satisfaction rates when the vendors help them realize and track value, and they report a significant increase in satisfaction because the vendors help them track and realize value. I guess I'd like to one more poll. The second polling question for you is around what percentage uplift did these customers experience and satisfaction rates because they were helped to track and realize the value. So let's bring that second question up. Let's see where the results land. OK. I did not see a result come up. How they go. 10 percent said 10 to 20 percent, 29 percent said 21 to 30 percent. I think broadly, a large part, over 30 percent of you got it right. The right answer is it's about a 26 percent uplift in satisfaction because they were supported in that value articulation exercise. However, the interesting thing is that only 14 percent of companies actually focus their tools and predictive processes around enabling customers to do that. So there's a big, big gap in terms of what customers want and what companies actually provide. And the last one here is around customer health indices. And a lot of the customers that we spoke to wanted their business value realization as a key part of their health index. But in reality, what happens is that you get to measure only some of the more reactive and post-fact metrics. And so customer health indices are not truly reflective of the value that their customers are driving. So it tends to be a partial indicator and so not as useful for making decisions. So those are some of the disconnects that we've observed in terms of execution. I'm going to hand over to Harrison now who thought through some of the approaches that we have in addressing these execution challenges.
Harrison Bell [00:20:12] Yes. Thanks a lot. So I want to talk about a way to get the CS function sort of organized around the same vision and the same blueprint. What you're seeing right here is the one CS framework that at Deloitte we've tried to focus around, in particular, around some recent engagements that we've executed with clients in order to standardize the conversation around scaling, around maturity when we're helping transform a CS function. You can see here there are quite a few elements that we like to align around, and it encompasses everything from the vision, the engagement model that Kevin was touching on earlier, the operating model that includes elements of metric, the talent capability maps, and then down into the transformation roadmap and technology architecture. I think this view helps to not only standardize the sort of accelerators and methodologies that we like to help scale and help mature. But it has some close alignment to our 3C principles that we'd like to incorporate into this thinking and methodology, which include being consistent, being complementary, and being comprehensive. And this framework is, again, it helps us establish the pillars. And the key elements of the various CS models that are needed kind of across the enterprise. For example, this would help us organize CS for cloud, CS for services, CS for solution business units.
[00:22:11] But it's important in the scope of this conversation when we're talking about maturing the CS organization to understand that not all elements of this framework are necessarily going to mature and evolve at the same pace. But as we move from the left-hand side to the right of the maturity curve that both Kevin and Philip referenced earlier: that sort of reactive to dynamic or C.S. 1.0 to 2.0 And 3.0. If an organization hopes to scale and become a market leader, it's going to be important for them to evolve all of these elements and perhaps provide certain emphasis across different parts of this framework as they evolve into more advanced CS capabilities.
[00:23:11] So let's talk on the next slide quickly about how that evolution might occur for one of these elements referenced here, we'll double click into standardized metrics in reporting. So we've oriented that this element of the framework across this maturity curve from reactive to dynamic as Kevin had referenced earlier in this webinar. And so, standardized metrics at the baseline level or the reactive level might be a pretty basic scorecard that measures the business value, experience, value, and performance value on a more manual collection process.
[00:23:55] As we move into proactive and predictive, again, enhancing the maturity of this element of our CS framework. We begin to pull in more metrics for value and we actually add the ability to measure what impact that's having on the CS provider side. So the clients that we work with, how are the CS services that they are extending enhancing revenue, lowering the costs to serve, and increasing their brand equity? And then as we move into predictive, that scorecard might become more automated, tracked automatically, and actually provides sort of a comprehensive real-time health dashboard. And that those metrics ideally would be able to be compared to other CS provider's performance. And we might be able to sort of pull in third-party data to understand how we're doing relative to the market.
[00:25:05] And then lastly, and perhaps the most important stage of this is, you know, in that dynamic stage, that fully optimized stage where these metrics are not only automated and optimized, but actually sort of embedded into the DNA of the organization. And the standardized metrics and scorecard actually become intelligent enough to actually adjust automatically and only include the metrics that are relevant to be measured on a per account or per region basis. And this is kind of getting to that point in your functionality and scale that Philip mentioned earlier, when we actually embed CS across the organization, and it begins to be relevant for all participants within customer success in the organization.
[00:26:07] When we think about this framework, it's important to understand that the technology architecture piece, while we see it at the bottom here, it's really a critical component of this framework that supports all the other elements and it has a pretty broad sphere of influence and scaling at CS is simply not possible without embedding the right architecture and having this in place in order to support the other elements. So as we hand back to Kevin, he'll take us through a couple of examples of that, focusing on the technology piece.
Kevin O'Came [00:26:45] I want to wrap quickly so we can leave a little bit of time for some questions with just some a few practical examples of how you might start on that journey. So there's an opportunity to leverage technology, of course, Totango, to work smarter, be more successful, be able to make changes and iterate more quickly, and enable your teams to spend more of their time doing that expert work that that only they can do. I saw in some of the questions coming in over chat this question around to some of these models necessarily mean that you need fewer, fewer people. I think more often what I see is you're able to accomplish and achieve more by taking work out of the backlog, drive more value for your customers as a result.
[00:27:42] So a couple of examples: just segments looking at cohorts of customers that meet certain criteria, could be newly onboarding customers. I'm focusing on the point, very consistent action that produces the results that you want - both through people and automation - leveraging personalized tech touch models. So there's a great amount of automation capability that can allow you to communicate more effectively in a very targeted way with your customers that meet certain criteria. And you're using that capability to be able to scale and deliver relative relevant engagement throughout the entire customer journey. We've spoken a fair amount on this call around dynamic models, but there is an opportunity to remove some of those constraints that that pyramid coverage model can otherwise put in place and leverage more of the valuable resources across your company. And then another way to do that is just extend some of the CS capabilities with Totango. We have a ZOE offering that provides access to a lot of the same great insights to other functions in the company through a whole number of different user interfaces that provides that information and context of tools that other functions are already using.
[00:29:03] What I'll wrap with is just on the next slide. What we've also done at Totango is curated a number of these best practices on a whole variety of topics. And so everything from the scorecards, KPI is that you'd be measuring, some of the outcomes around these various topics with together with the SuccessPlays and campaigns and prepackaged ways where you can essentially bring these in and leverage them for your CS programs or make some tweaks and modifications, if needed, to fit your specific process. So we've done a lot of that work in advance to help our customers out. And so with that, I think we can move to Q&A.
Lorena Fikes [00:29:54] As we move to the Q&A portion, please submit any questions you have into the Q&A icon at the bottom of your webinar window. We want to give you a minute or so to go ahead and type in your questions. Directly following the start of the pandemic, Totango launched our Covid-19 Customer Engagement Toolkit to help customers understand which customers to target and what to say to help them engage with relevant and timely messaging. If you're not yet a Totango customer, you can get started today with Free Community. We're now offering all of the core functionality of our customer success platform, including the Covid-19 Customer Engagement Toolkit, for free for three users or less. Go to Totango.com/signup to get started today. And as you can see, we have our next webinar on Thursday, "Increasing Trust with Key Accounts through Outcome Success Plans". Now we can get started with our Q and A.
Kevin O'Came [00:30:58] All right, so one of the questions that had previously come in was also around COVID-19 and just some of the observations on how CS teams are acting and responding. I can jump in first, but Philip and Harrison, definitely jump in as well. Some of the areas that we've seen are things like being able to more effectively communicate business continuity plans, being able to highlight new remote services that are available to customers so that they have a channel and way to engage with and interact with your company. The other is just, you know, highlighting areas of opportunity and also risk in the customer base and being able to track and report back on any emerging news that's coming in from either companies that have been negatively impacted in some way or that might be a beneficiary from a business sense in terms of business volumes and being able to more actively react to some of those changes. So Philip, Harrison, any other additions you'd have there?
Phillip Eranant [00:32:23] Yeah, sorry. No, I think that pretty much covers it. Kevin, I didn't have anything much to add to that.
Kevin O'Came [00:32:33] All right, Lorena, are you seeing any [more questions] yet? I know we're close to time, certainly.
Phillip Eranant [00:32:38] So one question that I wanted to quickly address on the graph that I was showing. What do you recommend companies invest in CS after the initial proving the value space, after setting up the team for the first time? So that state is not necessary anymore because there's enough evidence in the industry that it adds value. Many companies about five years back had to go through that stage because it wasn't as well established. So internal to internal stakeholders who had to prove that value, justify the investment, build a business case, ensure that you're reducing churn by so margin, and that leads to so much incremental value, which is something that they had to go through. But right now, I think companies can start off in a more mature stage of the evolution and focus on actually executing CS well instead of having to do proof of concept right now.
Lorena Fikes [00:33:33] We a couple more questions. We have, "What are the top three bullet points under the C.S. 2.0 model that provide the most ROI?"
Kevin O'Came [00:33:45] So, I think anything that is going to drive adoption of your products and services are going to lead to some of the financial outcomes. So for many companies, the growth aspect is going to come from retaining more customers, renewing at higher renewal rates. It'll come from opportunity identification, which could be buying more of that same product or service, but it could also be something related to buying something new or maybe entering in some new business unit or line of business with the customer. And oftentimes, a lot of those things start with adoption and getting value and outcomes. So anything that helps to ensure that great business value, great outcomes are being delivered for customers and being able to look for those opportunities that give you additional areas where you can add even more value. It might be a different product or service or it might be some other use case. Those are typically the areas that are going to generate growth. Of course, there's a whole variety of other things that relate to the relationship, looking at loyalty levels that are also important as well.
Lorena Fikes [00:35:02] We have another question. We have had difficulty in the past getting customers to articulate the value of our solution. Do you have any strategies?
Phillip Eranant [00:35:12] Yeah, I can take the first shot, Kevin. So the best changes from customer to customer, and typically you have a value definition exercise that, ideally you should be doing in the pre-sales stage that can identify that drivers that you would improve with your offering. And it's not always the case, but that definitely helps for us to continuously track that driver and to give an example of a client that I did this for, their number one pain point was NPS. And if this helped move the needle on NPS, that was enough to articulate value to the executive leadership. So that was a fairly simple example, if not, simple to implement, but in terms of articulating it, at least was a simple exercise. So once we implemented it, we kept tracking NPS on an ongoing basis and just simply processes to then align to a better NPS improvement and then use that as our core value articulation principle.
Kevin O'Came [00:36:22] Yeah. To piggyback on that, you know, looking at the selling messages, I think are a good way to start. So, of course, the nature of that value is going to differ by industry and the types of products and services that you're selling. But there's a promise or expectation that's made during that buying process where customers spending money, they intend to get some outcome. And looking back at, are you keeping those promises and able to show that those are real results that have been achieved, I think is important. So it could be something like processing payments on time and looking to see whether or not that's actually true or not. It could be in a security tools context. It could be maybe looking for security policy compliance and or catching all the areas that that should be flagged. So the nature of that is going to, of course, vary by the product or industry. But making sure that the value that's expected is delivered and that you can show that in some way, shape or form, is important, which could be looking at future utilization, login frequency, looking at the advocacy levels, and user feedback for your products. I think those are all other areas that you can point to from a value perspective as well.
Lorena Fikes [00:37:57] So thank you for everyone for staying on. I know we have two more questions in the Q&A. So let's wrap these up. We definitely want to make sure we're answering them for you. How is the account manager interaction for a CS strategy?
Kevin O'Came [00:38:11] Yes, so I think I can start with that. So very similar context to that value discussion. There are things that need to be transitioned from, let's say, the new acquisition and sale over to the post-sale relationship. And so, things like knowledge and understanding around the business outcome, transitioning the relationship that is held, and then, depending on your model for CS and your model for account management, there might be some distinctions in terms of role, in terms of who does what when it comes to driving and delivering value, which could be onboarding or it could be, driving overall adoption, greater business value, the relationship. Typically, account management functions have some sort of revenue accountability. So think things like the renewal event or expansion and upsell. That's not always the case, but oftentimes it is. And so usually, that interaction would be making sure that there are a great awareness and a plan and an approach in place to drive consumption and adoption of what has been purchased, to look for opportunities where the relationship can be broadened, to create the customer events that are going to create a new opportunity or the renewal. And usually, that's the handshake or interaction space for CS and account management, is where opportunity gets created out of the great work and outcomes that CS teams are doing.
Harrison Bell [00:39:53] Yeah, I think Kevin put it really well. Just to follow up on that quickly. I think in the recent crisis we're all going through, it's becoming even more apparent that post-sale engagement and post-sale responsibilities, the CSMs that are typically involved in renewal and upsell type of activities, it's going to benefit the organization if they can be involved in the conversations with the customer as early as possible, to limit any handoff discrepancy from that presale to post-sale environment, but can ensure that that positive experience continues in the long run after those initial deals and initial sales go through. And it's becoming even more critical that the CSMs in particular are involved as early as possible in that process. Just so that there's no information that splits through the cracks. As Kevin mentioned, having that that pretty clear line of demarcation between those two participants in the deal is critical.
Lorena Fikes [00:41:18] Thank you. Another final question, "For customers with poor usage, do you have an example of what kind of automated e-mail you would send and when you would send it to them? For example, I think we send an email if a user hasn't logged into their platform within 30 days so [send] something like login to view your updated report now."
Kevin O'Came [00:41:43] I think there's many opportunities. So it probably depends a little bit on where you are in the journey. So have you just sold something, and maybe, this is the first time they're using your product or service. It might be a little bit different if usage has fallen off over the course of time. But, I guess the general answer would be to look for what motivations are going to help that customer to be more successful in performing the work that they need to do. So, you might actually tailor that a little bit by the persona, and so it might be helpful information to say, "Hey, did you know these capabilities can make your job in life better?". It might be following that with, "Here's some great examples of customers that have seen great success in doing this type of work with our products or service," and followed up with, "We noticed that you haven't been logging for some time now". Maybe there's outreach or an invitation or one to many type event or some sort of intervention where a person from the team can maybe more directly engage with them. So I think having that series of offers in mind that address some of the motivations behind why would someone want to log in and use the platform, which typically makes their job better. They can produce greater results. You know, looking at other examples at how other customers have been successful in using your product or service. And, you know, there's a whole other series of opportunities to also look at maybe doing regular webinars or things like that to help new users that may have just joined the customer team to start engaging and help with any training needs that they might have as well.
Lorena Fikes [00:43:44] Thank you, Kevin, and thank you to everyone for staying on. I'd like to thank Kevin, Philip, and Harrison. We hope this webinar has been informative for you as you evaluate the framework necessary to scale your customer success during these changing times. We hope you'll join us again next Thursday [for our next webinar]. Have a wonderful day.