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Customer Success Revenue Operations

If You’re Neglecting Customer Success and RevOps, You’re Doing It Wrong

Sales and marketing have always been the peanut butter and jelly of the business world–they just go together.  But wait, what about customer success (CS)?  

Too often and for too long, businesses have thrown the full weight of their attention and resources behind the left side of the funnel (i.e. sales and marketing).  Marketing comes up with a bright, shiny object to attract the customer, sales polishes it up and makes it pretty enough to sell, and then, well, that’s often the end.  Businesses will track leads, deals, and accounts through the marketing and sales portion of the funnel, but what they have not traditionally done is continue this type of tracking through the customer success side (right side) of the funnel.  And that’s a shame.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that getting as many customers as possible is the key to long-term success.  Neglecting customer success can lead to a significant impact on revenue, which is why RevOps and Customer Success are crucial for the health of any business.

How Customer Success Creates a Customer-Centric RevOps Approach

The customer journey is a complex process.  However, businesses can get around this by adopting a customer-centric RevOps approach which revolves around enhancing the customer experience.  It’s worth noting that most businesses feel they already do a good job of this, while their customers may disagree.  According to a survey by Acquia, while 87% of marketers say they are delivering engaging customer experiences, two-thirds of customers could not recall when a brand exceeded expectations.

What Does a Customer-Centric Approach Look Like?

When a business places the customer at the center of what they do, they tailor their operations to improve customer experience by understanding and addressing their pain points, leading to a more personalized experience for each customer and increased satisfaction and loyalty.  The benefits flow both ways though, as the business itself will also benefit from this customer-centric RevOps approach as a focus on the customer’s experience can help identify areas where a business can improve their products or services, leading to increased sales and revenue.

Customer success should not be an island, though.  Here’s how good customer success teams work in a cross-functional manner:

  • Collaboration:  By working closely with sales and marketing, CS teams can help  ensure a unified customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle, from the initial contact through to onboarding and beyond.
  • Insights: CS teams can share valuable customer feedback to drive product enhancements, marketing campaigns, and sales strategies, all aimed at optimizing revenue generation.
  • Analysis:  CS teams review customer data to identify trends, opportunities, and pain points.

Customer Onboarding:  A Real Life Instruction Manual

Most people are unaware of the amazing things their iPhone can do.  Why?  Because there’s no training or onboarding for it.  Sure, they could watch hours of tutorials on YouTube, but most people won’t.  However, the Apple powers that be probably aren’t going to lose much sleep over this because their product is so awesome that a person can only utilize about 5% of its capabilities and still be supremely satisfied.  Chances are, your product is not as good as an iPhone though, and that’s why customer onboarding is so crucial.   

Effective customer onboarding helps customers become more engaged with your product or service, which can enhance their experience, provide them with the resources they need to succeed, and lead to loyalty and retention. Customers have become more aware of the positive effects of onboarding as a recent survey by HubSpot notes that 88% of survey respondents agree that customers have higher expectations than they did in previous years.  Here are a few ways to create a successful customer onboarding process:

 

  • Keep it Simple:  It should be very easy for your customers to understand what they can expect from your business.  Make this happen by having a clear and concise message about what your product or service does. 
  • Be Informative:  Provide your customers with an easy to use, step-by-step guide on how to use your product or service. This could take the form of videos, tutorials, or a live chat feature to answer any questions they may have.  The key is to reduce time-to-value.
  • Great Service:  Make sure your customers have a way to contact you if they have any issues or concerns.  The easiest way to make customers feel valued is to respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
  • Make it Fun:  Offer incentives for customers who complete the entire onboarding process, such as discounts, free trials, or exclusive access to certain features.

The ultimate goal, or true north, for a product should be adoption.  Amazing features are meaningless if the product is not being widely utilized by those who purchased it.  Customer onboarding is critical here as a well-designed onboarding process ensures a smooth transition, reducing confusion and frustration, ultimately accelerating adoption.  Here’s how:

  • Understanding Value: Onboarding provides an opportunity to clearly communicate the value of the product and how it addresses the customer’s pain points. By understanding the value, customers are more likely to embrace and fully utilize the product.
  • Building Confidence:  Customer onboarding offers training, tutorials, and educational materials to enhance their competence and confidence in using the product’s features. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to adopt the product and incorporate it into their workflows.
  • Maximizing Customer Lifetime Value:  Customers who have a positive onboarding experience are more likely to continue using the product over the long term, maximizing their lifetime value to the business. They may also become advocates, or evangelists, sharing their positive experiences and influencing others to adopt the product.

If not already in place, implement the following:

Develop a Comprehensive Onboarding Program

  • Create an onboarding playbook with clear steps and timelines.
  • Assign dedicated onboarding specialists to provide personalized support.

Establish Ongoing Communication Channels

  • To address challenges and provide guidance, schedule regular check-ins.
  • Provide ongoing training and resources to help ensure optimal product usage.

Retention Strategies:  How to Hold on to What You Have

Retaining customers should be a top priority for any business, and here’s why: acquiring new customers is often more expensive than retaining existing ones.  Now, here’s how to do it:

  • Make it Personal:  Personalization can be achieved through various means, such as email marketing campaigns that target specific customer segments, or by providing tailored recommendations based on their purchase history or browsing behavior. If you make customers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand.  
  • Exceptional Service:  Customers who feel heard and understood are more likely to stick with a brand, even if they encounter issues with their purchases. When a business is able to consistently offer quick solutions to problems, they create a positive customer experience that will encourage repeat purchases.  
  • Provide Exclusive Content:  Customers want to feel special, and businesses should do everything they can to make it happen.  By giving customers educational resources, behind-the-scenes access, or early access to new products, businesses can create a sense of exclusivity and loyalty among their customers.  In fact, according to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who provide relevant offers and recommendations.
  • Be Proactive:  Customer success teams should monitor customer health, identify at-risk accounts, and intervene to resolve any issues or challenges before they escalate.

Customer success is at its best when it’s not complicated.  Retaining customers is really just an exercise in active monitoring and problem solving.  For example, if a customer success team notices a decline in product usage by a long-term customer, they should reach out, identify the problem, and provide personalized assistance to re-engage them.  A simple action like this could save a customer from churning and prevent the company from losing (potentially) hundreds of thousands of dollars over that customer’s lifetime.

If not already in place, implement the following:

Proactive Relationship Management

  • Consistently communicate with customers to help in understanding their needs and challenges.
  • When a customer has a concern, offer personalized solutions and proactive support.

Customer Success Programs

  • Develop customer success programs that provide ongoing value and engagement.
  • To foster loyalty and long-term commitment, offer exclusive benefits, such as training, webinars, or loyalty rewards.

Upselling and Cross-Selling: Extend the Sale

For businesses to maximize revenue, they need to take advantage of every opportunity to increase their customer’s lifetime value. Hello, upselling and cross-selling!  Whether it’s encouraging customers to upgrade their current products or services to a higher-end version (upselling), or offering complementary products or services that enhance the customer’s experience (cross-selling), anytime you can help customers recognize the full potential of the product or service they’re already using and increase their level of satisfaction, it’s a win-win for both company and customer

To avoid coming off as too “sales-y” or pressuring, companies should approach these additional sales from the perspective of offering the customer value and aligning customer needs and goals with relevant offerings.

Why is Upselling so Important?

Beyond generating additional revenue, upselling can give businesses a competitive advantage by providing customers with additional options and demonstrating expertise in understanding their needs.  This allows a company to differentiate themselves from competitors and stand out in the marketplace.

Also, the upselling process can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, buying patterns, and behavior.  This information can then be used by businesses to inform decisions about product development, marketing strategies, and customer segmentation.

Why is Cross-Selling so Important?

When the average dollar amount of sales is low, it becomes difficult for businesses to increase their revenue and profitability, but cross-selling increases average order value and also is key to expanding customer reach.  When customers are introduced to a wider range of offerings within a business’s portfolio, this can expose them to products or services they may not have considered initially, expanding their perception of the brand and its offerings.

If not already in place, implement the following:

Personalized Recommendations

  • Utilize data and customer insights to identify relevant upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
  • Tailor recommendations based on customer preferences and needs to increase the likelihood of conversion.

Strategic Communication and Education

  • Proactively communicate the value and benefits of upsell and cross-sell options to customers.
  • Provide educational resources and demonstrations to showcase how these additional offerings enhance their existing experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Doing RevOps well and maximizing revenue growth is a team effort.  Customer success plays a vital role on the team by focusing on maximizing customer value throughout their journey.
  • A customer-centric RevOps approach prioritizes the needs of the customer, delivers on personalization, and drives long-term value for both the customer and the business.
  • Good customer onboarding sets clear expectations and establishes a strong foundation for long-term product adoption and success.
  • Retention strategies are crucial for reducing churn, fostering customer loyalty, and driving revenue growth.
  • Effective upselling and cross-selling are vital to increasing customer value and driving revenue growth.

 

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