707: Grow Your Revenue through Customer Success, with Emilia DAnzica


It's time to accelerate. Hey, friends. This is Andy Walker episode seven zero seven seven hundred seven of accelerate the sales podcast of record. I have another great his lineup free today. Join me as my guest today is immediate danika Amelia's partner for customer success account management at winning by design and today, millionaire gonna talk about customer success. How CS known has become a driving force in revenue growth in the SAS industry. Now, this model will be soon become applicable to many other industries and businesses as well. We'll get into the volving role of customer success how it's structured where reports and how success is measured for customer success now before we get to Melia. One quick second talked about the sales house the sales accelerator community for B two B sellers. As sellers. We don't have a ton of control over a lot of the things that have an impact on our our job. We don't can't control products pricing features customers and so on, but what we can control is how we as individuals conduct ourselves in front of our buyers, all those other factors Palin importance to how we connect how we build rapport how engage the interest. If our buyers how we build trust. And how we deliver the value that inspires them to want to do business with us, and that's the focus at the sales house to enable sellers. Just like you with all the knowledge skills confidence and Accu men to become the very best version of you. I've been sales for more than four decades. And like you have seen plenty of people pushing empty promises what how to get better. But if you just invest ten minutes a day of your time in the sales for an entire year. I guarantee you'll never have to worry about hitting quota ever. Again, you get unlimited. Thus two courses coaching content and community of motivated peers who know that to learn more means to earn more. So come be the best version of you at the sales house. Visit the sales house dot com. That is the sales house dot com slash join look forward to seeing there. All right. Let's jump into it. My guest today. Imia danika Emili doing I'm well. Thank you her. You Andy, I'm doing great. I'm doing well. So as a record this we're both taking shelter from the huge storm setting California you on the northern side on the southern side. And so if people here in the background here drops of rain counting against the window. Has nothing to do about it. So bear with us. So we're gonna talk about customer success today. And this is this is a topic. But. Rehears about and and but it certainly within the SAS business software business at sits really taken off as a driving force of revenue growth within the company's perhaps less. Oh, and other companies. But it's something that I think company should learn about because it's applicable. I think more broadly than many many firms think about so and co said could be a good tool for driving revenue growth for them. So. Tells what's what's the mission of customer success customer success? I believe as a mission is to continue growth loop for sales. So it isn't an extension, but rather a partner of the sales team they work hand in hand to continue to grow dot customer relationship. I don't think one is more important than the other. I I don't believe that customer success should necessarily report into sales, but I can understand in some organizations that is the way it is. But really at the end of the day few really down to the basics the mission of customer success is to enable a customer and for that partnership with the customer to grow. So it's really a growth loop. If you think of a customer journey. Yeah. When you talk about enabling the customer to grow it so K once once they have your product or service your software. On board in the company. That's just the beginning of the journey. And if they don't get the value out of it, then they don't stay a customer. I pretty simple from a software standpoint in the barriers to change are much lower than they used to be in SAS world, certainly in a licensed hosted environment. So. Really paying attention that people are using it and using proteome productively excuse me is really essential loss. And I believe that customer success is so relevant and important that it's no longer a SAS term COs e think of we work, for example, while they service tech companies non tech companies. They now have a vice president of customer success, and they realize the value of it. So the woman who's heading up the organization is hiring an entire team globally because we were has recognized the value of customer, success and servicing the the people who are leveraging our offices. And that's really the point. Is we make before us? This is not something just I mean, certainly, I shy Donal probably get into later. I'd spent two or three years on a customer successful. It wasn't called that at the time. But that's exactly what. Was. Yeah. Wasn't tech business. But but it was such a central role in the company that. It really had outsized importance. And I think that's something that that companies are serve don't spend enough time thinking about is. I think yes, we sell it at sort of it. Right. And maybe they'll give us a referral. And if we're lucky, but not enough energy are spent on. Yeah. Somebody really getting the value out of this that the expected the meeting expectations when they purchased. The bronze. And I would argue and the research that winning by design has done shows that if you are able to onboard have a successful handoff do the on boarding, well and really grow the customer the lifetime. Value of the customer is really asked her the opportunity is closed. It's not a closed sale. But rather a commitment. And if you look at that commitment, the growth can be seventy five to ninety two percent of the lifetime value. If you think dollars Bill there was value live initial contract. Yes. Yes. So if you think of that that's significant for companies, and when you're trying to seek venture funding, for example, you definitely need to be able to show that you have a product that one the market is ready for into that you're able to renew in those customers. All right. We'll we'll get into the the growth aspect of it and a bit. So let's get back to out structure because you raise the point that a lot of people initially gravitate towards like it doesn't report to sales. What are you talking about? So one of the pros and cons of where customer success report. You know, I've seen it where I recently worked with a client last week and the customer success organization did report into sales, and I talked to the head of customer success. She's thrilled that she's reporting into sales because this sales leader has so much influence over the organization able to leverage part of the budget for customer success kickoff. That's where winning by design team in spent today with the team, and they're able to show the organization customers dot sales in CS through lined, and that's really powerful. So I see that. Why wouldn't they be? I mean, given the given. If you look at the two primary functions of business. This is not my words learned from somebody else by says, that's. To to get them and keep them. Right. Get customers. Keep customers. Get them. Why would that be? Why wouldn't they be on the lines and alignment? Yeah. You know, what I I asked myself the same question if you look at the average salary of Sierra's versus the chief customer officers. I would argue that Cero's are more highly compensated, they have more stock options, and they go to the president's club in Hawaii it rear. It's not generate a quarter of the mortars being generated through customer success. Exactly. So few look at the stats. I know Michael blitz. Stale is putting together right now a servant is going to release this research. I just can't wait for it to come out to really see and be able to prove these type of metrics. It's it's just evident how organizations are structured, and when companies put aside a budget for how many sales people they hire versus. Customer success? I would argue that there's always more money for sales more money for the sales jenner's more money for the offsites kickoffs. That now move it's changing for in the past two weeks. I've been to three sales in customer success kickoffs. Where winning by design was was part of the program, and that's really encouraging to me. So I do believe that that's changing. But if you look at the traditional even companies like slack who does customer success report into it sales. What does that tell me? It tells me that for some reason stales is more important than customer success perceived on more important by refunding with session. Right. Exactly. Yeah. It to your point. You can ask the question is sales disproportionately compensated compared to customer success and. It says someone who who's been in that customer successful yet the time I certainly have argued. Yes. Though interesting at that time in the Roy's in my competition wasn't a whole lot different than the salespeople in the way, the company was structured because it really was a team a team approach, right? Success played a role in the pre sale as well as postal because part of such where sling major account opportunities is you had to have customer success involved in the pre-sale are to lay out what expectations are going to be for once you had the order and once you start implementing wore. And again there there's the line minutes. It's fantastic. If you're able if you can afford to bring the customer success manager before the relationship is solidified in onboard being the handoff starts that. That tells me that the companies invested in customer success. So let's look at the capabilities of individuals customer success success managers. How do they really differ from bad of a salesperson? I mean, again, I I went into customer success. We caught a program management at the time when you're running these large programmes that their customer success pro customer success are ten speaking today, but I came into it from sales ended up going back into sales, and I start came of the pin away from that was like, you know, this part of the career track for sales as they should have to spend a east after spend social enterprise arm shaft spent some portion of their time going through customer success seeing how the product is us making the customer successful because when the comeback another side much better prepared offer the presale Bill to help the customers make decision. And I I love that story that you just shared because I'll I'll I'll share an opposite one traditionally in on boarding of customer success managers. They don't typically spend a lot of time in the sales process or learning. What is the sales journey? How does how does the customer go through awareness, and then become a customer, and if companies take the time and in best in customer success managers to learn about the sales journey. I believe they will be better jobs. They will understand where the customers coming from. How did they become aware of the product? What were their paying points at hence the importance of the the handoff in training? It's critical that you learn those skills, or at least understand the sales perspective. How did this customer come to you as now a paint customer, and what's so interesting? I am coaching someone who desperately wants to be in customer success. He has been rejected so many times by companies because and this is this may be the excuse. I think he's fantastic. But they said we've never had customer success experience. Here's your sales person, and he's very successful in sales and so I- baffled by this. Because when I was at walk me, some of the best CSM's that I hired were sales managers before they understand understood the entire journey. So I would argue that people in sales are of ready acquit to become customer success managers in. I think if I have to hire from a pool, I would I would start with sales. I wonder if in the instances you're talking about where they're resisting hiring salespeople into customer success. I wonder if. That's part of the the issue is just the perception of what customer success is doing. So it gets a little fixated this idea of land and expand, and which I think is is somewhat of a flawed metaphor for what what's really happening because to me than petition of land. And expand is yeah, we're gonna get a few customers, and we're just going to have more seats, sir. Doing the exact same thing. Fine. That's that's one way to grow in count. But for me in the business that I was in for for years. That was okay. But what we really wanted. We wanted the next big thing. The customer was gonna do. Right. We just got the order on this big initiative. Let's call initiative a we really wanted to get initiative being and. For me that was that was the role. I took on us broker manager is a customer success manager. I was leading the charge on helping the customer. Discover their needs if through another sales process, exactly. You know, for me, it seems strange that they wouldn't wanna hire salesperson job fundamentally is the same in many respects are aspects that are different in terms of managing relationship. But when looks at going to get us these big opportunity. You're doing sales job. I agree. And I think it's down Steinman who recently said this law quote him, but the sale never ends. Right. Just because in Salesforce, it says opportunity closed doesn't mean anything. It means. There's a commitment. There's a partnership now the growth the growth opportunity is there if you are a shoe onboard them in orchestrate a successful adoption of your platform. I think the first I've, you know, I've said that the quote good Andy is that the first call customer success, call you have with you have a customer after the order assign is the first sales call for the next big order, and you really have to have that perspective. Right. I mean. Yeah, we're there to serve the customer will do right by the customer of them to get the value out of it. But you know, not doing that through a sense of altruism. We do have an agenda the Genda will make you fabulous successful. So the next thing you need to order your from us. Exactly. Yes. I agree key moments. Those critical events where you are looking at the different pain points. They have asking the right questions, and then alleviating them first before really diving really deep in your product because they may not need all of it at the beginning. Let's ensure their pain points are Leded. I yeah. And that's why I use a different term. That's not when I originally. But it's you know, there are other strategy sites planned expand. I mean, one by worked on a lot is fit in and stand out. And the reason I think the section may be more apt LA Times is that when you bring a product into organization you have to fit into what they're doing. I mean. Yeah, you're you may be disrupting to some degree. Their third system processes, but you also need to integrate with existing processes you do need to fit in. And then show that by fitting in and using your capabilities you've stood out. Right. You've made things you've elevated everything. If I the thing about doing, adding adding seats. I think you're motivations are are not headed in the right direction. I I completely agree. The minute you sound like you're selling to them. They're turned off that Yana. There's the silence in the relationship. Yeah. Surrounding this month. Exactly. Those days are gone. You'd think but they're not. I mean, I've five sat in went to modern sales pro salon in New York and aside a table with SDR managers and sales managers nother talking about that all the time right close this month. How may get some more of this month where the discounts we're going to give I'm like, I listening to yourself. I mean pattern of behavior that had given no thought to does this help us reach our long-term objective. And what are we doing to the relationship? In the meantime. Hey, I'm gonna give you a two percent discount. Two additional seats this month like ROY. I I would argue you don't need to give discounts. Not why not trade. Trades. What? Well, it depends on what is really important to your company at the time. So if you're a series a company, and you don't have customer references or studies videos, why not do a trade if they want to have the same prices last year sure will extend it for another year. But within the first sixty days of of us, renewing we would like to be able to video in case study more if we keep this price than we would like three introductions to call past colleagues or people, you know, that can benefit from our product that can be a far better conversation when it comes to the renewal than just giving a discount. Don't agree. I grant percent companies tend not to think about that so much. You said something that trigger thought is. So how are companies measuring both at the group level and individual level customer success? I do believe that the renewables and expansion are the most important metrics that companies are looking at after all if you count renewed than do you do you need to go back to your product. And look at is it something related to products where they bad fit customers. What happened in the customer journey why're you now only realizing at at ton of renewal. So it's a fundamental problem. There. But I also do believe that more and more things like references introductions to other potential customers. Speaking at conferences on your company's behalf videos. Those kind of things are now also being looked out as motivational. Targets are or metrics foresee fans to look at so for example, gain site, they every quarter every CF some as part of their bonus program is to have at least one case study. So every company does it differently. That's on an individual level. Walk me. For example, the sea of SAM's were motivated and incentivized by pods. So as groups and I love that philosophy. Because if you think about it if there's someone we on your team you want to help them you want to elevate them. And as a group you get stronger instead of just having these key stars on your team. You can't grow a company as quickly with just a few strong sales people or a few strong CEA says you need to elevate the entire. Organize to scale faster. We'll get back to a point you obey before you talked about are being surprised whether the renew or not renew. So what are the, you know, our interim metrics that should look at the say, okay? Are we on track to renew? Right. What's what's going on? And and a little more difficult sometimes to assess I'm wondering what what you see companies doing that regard. What I have found is highly effective is having decision maker the executive champion on the kickoff. Call and really understanding their goals for why they purchased your your product. And then having them on the executive check in after they go live showing them what's been completed and understanding their goals for the next quarter and doing that on a regular basis. It doesn't have to be quarterly. I I recognize that these executives are hard to get on the phone, and it doesn't have to be announcer. Call it can be let's have a thirty minute executive check in and we'd like your executive to be on for the first fifteen minutes to show them where we've been and where we're headed. And if we're able to do that and constantly understand the. Company's goals, and what they care about asking the right questions than we can be a partner in help them leverage. Our products or are platforms in a way that will benefit their company. You always wanna make sure that the cut the customer is the hero in this. Absolutely. I think that's one of the ways that's really important if you just bring the executive in for the renewal call you have totally miss the Mark in the customer journey, and I've seen this happen at a six months check in where the executive was invited and said this is not what I purchase. This is not what I wanted. I will pay for the product until the end of the year, but affective immediately we are not using spot any longer. He was so upset about how the product had been implemented in felt that we did not hear him and what he wanted. And it's because the project manager didn't understand the goals project manager was not part of the sales discussion with implementing something that he wanted or thought was valuable, but no one thought about checking with the exact executive, and that's the really powerful lesson. So making. Sure that your executives are part of the journey at least during critical of ants. Yeah. In that case Lynn since you're giving there. Blame to be associated with the people who worked for that executive because they had no idea what is expected were. So I mean, if also flowed back to customer success in sales because clearly they had misaligned, and I agree that that initial kickoff. Call is is really important. And not not given enough attention real life. I serve interesting has in my career in working in that role developed this the step where I would do when we had a big contract signed and sullen his first call was to sit down and go through with the decision maker. Let's go through the process, right? This is what you start off. This is what you wanted. This is what you specked whatever. This is what we proposed because of what you spec. This is why you decided to buy. Yes. Because of these capabilities, this is what we're delivering. And this is what you should expect a half happen and certain timeframes because one of the things that's I think people overlook is especially competitive environments is that your decision makers have taken our cherry pick the best of what they've heard from everybody. When I think that's what they're getting. Right. So if they're talking to four vendors in their mind what they think they bought from. You is really at the best of what all four companies are talking about. And if you don't reset expectations right at the time of right after the time this season's been made about when you're beginning petition to your point. Precisely you're gonna have this misalignment just as fatal s an I've been on the other end where I've had buyer's remorse. I networked for companies where they purchased. A plot form rolled it across the company, and then had such buyer's remorse because of so much backlash about the product that it was pulled out to really wanna make sure that there's that alignment early on. Expectations on the huge part of the role. So, but I still get back decision before it seems like for me if our managing customer success team, and I had some down to look at what's happening with the big customer along the way. I don't want to be waiting to month. Tens are look at this. Seems like whether it's usage or whether doing customer satisfaction surveys. Or what are the what are those key metrics that are on my dashboard that I'm looking at for these big accounts NPS is widely talked about and idea believe that it's promoter score for people net. Exactly net promoter score customer satisfaction scores after support interaction. Those are all very important. If your company does something with the data. So I worked on a large project fortune fifty company hired need to do NPS projects with them across fifty six thousand customers I called one hundred of them globally, and I presented the data to the executives as they were deciding what to do with the product and the customer experience twenty nineteen and I told them as critical key findings. Hear the voice of the customers. If you don't do something with the state out that it was a waste of money and time, right? So you actually have to do something with it. If you're actually doing something with the NPS scores in listening to the voice of the customer. Then those metrics makes sense. The other one is time to value time to I bel- you incredibly important. And if you don't have a good kickoff. Call and understand will white is value for them. How can you measure it? So but measure being something quantifiable measure being you know in cyber tangible -solutely quantifiable. So the back the pushback, I get is what we've never measured this before. That's why we purchase your product. And I tell them. All right. Will let's make an estimate or are we able to look in your database, for example, and see how many support interactions you had. Over the past ninety days. Let's use that as the foundation. So that we can start tracking in ninety days in six months in nine months to see is the redress up in support tickets. If this is something that is really important to you or a pain point any able to show those first values, I believe that's really important for showing that return on investment. So that's another one being able to identify what's really important to them. And then measuring against that. So what do you see in terms because I've done experienced us quite a bit. As is a disconnect between the decision-makers when they make the decision on the front side. And then you put it in the hands of the people who are the day to day users and completely are on to each other and transact speculations on what they hope to get out of it. Yes. Customer success? How do you? How do you reconcile that? Because that's that's that's hard to do oftentimes before the sale. And but you know, suddenly some is using tools like why I don't use. This doesn't my job and I'm being managed on doing X Y Z and are being measured undoing XYZ. And this helps with ABC while using it, right? Well, I will say that their ways to make sure that you're always in front of the executive if they are not on the calls, and there's a way to to get a pulse. So companies do this, for example, if you are an administrator of slack. You get a monthly Email, whether they're four executives are not sure I don't see a call to action, but they're on the right pass same with ground early. They're constantly every month. Telling me, how many unique words I used. They're comparing me to benchmarks of other users. That's fantastic. But what do you want me to do with the Stato though? It's important. If you're going to be reaching these executives expecting them to open up, the emails, and and tell them then you need to tell them why they should care. Why should they open that Email, and what what should I be carrying about by me purchasing your product? So if you're able to tell me that the things I care about are happening, like reduced support time increased usage of the products. For example, zen dots important, then send me by on. He'd send me the Email. But if it's just to tell me that fifty new people signed up, or we had three thousand interactions who cares that impact my business. So that's why really think that's important. That's just one example because I. Laugh about it. When I get these emails every months, I'm like who cares? Right. And it's so party says when you talk about that, those examples in particular, it's like, well, why if I'm a slack user? Let's say I've got big implementation. I should we're getting that data from my internal people. Why why am I reading this Email? I should have the same metrics, right? Shouldn't my term people who saying we've had x number of people to slack. And we're doing these things with it as flows diving slack. Tell me that we had three thousand interactions more deal ten thousand messages pass through or whatever. Right. Well, you know, I think sometimes if you're relying on your day-to-day users to get this data in the right hands. You may not necessarily get the data to the people that really matter that should be seen this. And that's why in courage companies to invite the executives on those critical of bands, check ins, for example, or to send meaningful communication that they care about. So like, you know, future trends, how will it impact their business future things they should be thinking about or new product coming out while how's it going to impact my business? I should I care. I think if you're able to communicate with them whether it's right in product or through an Email that's quick to read. I don't want three reports. I don't wanna have to go somewhere else in click. Elsewhere show me in a very quick video foreign content that I can easily. Read on my mobile. I think that's that's critical in decision makers interesting. Yeah. I start thinking about that. Because it's it's my my goals. Always is. To enable the the people I can sort of the key movers mobilisers internally three able to present that information accurately to the to the executives on their side. Because quite frankly, the had more credible about it. And to me it's like are the red flag. If I thought the executive thought, I had more credibility than his beer, his internal people. On these issues, and that self would be said pro very problematic. I will say the way that I've been successful in getting executives to come to a meeting is to explain my date to my day-to-day user. I here here's what the meeting is going to be about. And I want to make sure that your executive understands what we're doing together why this partnership matters. And during that meeting making sure that your day-to-day user is the hero in the story. Right. So if you make it about them in new makes them, look good and show the impact on the business. It's very compelling for that person to bring their executive to the table. I grew agree. Great point. We're gonna wrap up on the point. Hey here, but we could do another up just more customer success. Just all of the questions. I had to ask you. So we'll we'll do that at some point. But and meantime, tell people how. They can learn more about you mature doing sure. So I am partner winning by design, and I focus on customer success and account management assessments designs and executive coaching, and you can reach me by my first name Amelia winning by design dot com. Okay. That's much of a music. It's E M I L A winning by design dot com. All right. Well, mealy it's been great to meet you and look for doing this again. Thank you so much for having the Andy, it's been pleasure. Okay. Friends that was excelling for this week. First of all as always I want to. Thank you for joining me. And I want like guest Melia danza Cup during the next week is my guest will be Juliana Stankowski Yano, she's CEO of oxygen and author title radical outcomes. How to create extraordinary teams that can tangible results Julianne on. I are gonna be talking about the role of education versus training and building and enabling the sales teams of the future. So be sure to join us then and along those same lines before you go don't forget to check out the sales house. It is your own sales growth education for to sellers. Just like you. Visit the sales house dot com. Thanks again for joining me until next week. I'm your host Andy Paul good selling everyone.

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