How to transform your customer success team into an efficient revenue driver
May 25, 2023
By now, we know that the vast majority of new revenue comes from customers. To win in a competitive market, enterprise organizations shifted away from aggressive new business strategies towards relationship building with current customers. But today’s market requires even more evolution from companies.
Winning companies are rethinking the role of customer success in their operations. It is not longer enough for customer success managers to focus on retention and relationship building. They must also know how to make sales, or identify opportunities for their sales reps to close at the right time.
But making the transition can be difficult for some CS teams. The learning curve can be steep and CSMs may not know how to prioritize their CS efforts with new sales responsibilities. If you’re looking to make the shift in your own CS organization, here are some tips for successfully shifting.
Follow the innate skills of each CSM
When employees hear the word productivity, they can put up their guard pretty quickly. And they have good reasons for that. In previous years, especially when the economy is suffering, when executives start monitoring productivity, they are usually looking at layoffs. That’s not what productivity should mean for anyone.
Productivity should mean each individual focusing on the next best action. Everyone should be clear on the high-value activities that drive towards your most important business goals. And the low-value activities that take time and focus away from revenue-driving activities should be eliminated as often as possible.
With that understanding, the first step to transforming your CS organization requires you to look at the individual skills of each CSM. Some may thrive in a technical environment. They should focus on building the sequences and trainings that make customers successful. Others may prefer relationship building and adding value to each account. They should be trained on sales workflows so their time is spent doing what will make the biggest difference.
To be able to do more with less, companies must first put employees in a position to succeed using their skills and interests. If you skip this step, the others will not be nearly as efficient or impactful.
Identify your current workflow gaps
Productivity means working on high-value activities, and it also means not duplicating work. CSMs should not duplicate each others’ work, nor should they act as clones of your sales reps. Instead, they should fill in the gaps in your current workflow to ensure that every opportunity from your current customers is identified and executed successfully.
To do that, companies need to take a look at the entire customer journey, evaluate where opportunities are most often lost, when they are won, and other revenue opportunities that have been ignored due to lack of resources. Remember, the customer journey begins before a contract is signed and lasts long after. When evaluating your workflows, be sure to include those sequences that happen before they are an “official” customer.
After you see which workflows don’t work, whether because they take too much time, too many resources, or don’t work, assign CSMs to make those points in the customer journey more effective. Measure the productivity of these workflows before implementing any changes so you have a baseline to measure your new efforts against. Set goals for each test, and schedule check-ins so everyone stays on the same page about what motions are working and which need to be tweaked again.
Consider all the work required to achieve your goals
CSMs often cite insufficient resources to help them do their jobs. Published reports have mentioned that many CS organizations report on their performance metrics using self-made spreadsheets. Even teams who can access technology made specifically for CS work, many CSMs do not think they are using the software to its fullest potential.
That means that many CSMs complete their work in their browser. They are using multiple browser-based tools to execute their tasks, and their dedicated CS software won’t collect those efforts in their performance reports. That model won’t work anymore.
Companies must collect data on all the work their teams do, across apps and throughout their day. Leadership will not have a clear picture of what workflows drive revenue if they do not have a complete understanding of all that went into a closed sale. To be successful in transforming your CS organization into a revenue-driving team, make sure that you implement the right reporting tools. A tool like Retain.ai pulls data from over 500 workplace applications so no effort goes unrecognized. The result is more transparency between leadership and employees, more effective workflows, and more successful customer experiences.
Standardize your best practices for all customer-facing teams
The final step to successfully training your CSMs on revenue-driving workflows is to create standardized best practices for each customer segment. Much of the unproductive work we see today comes from employees guessing what action they should take next. Even the most seasoned professional won’t know the next best action without a single source of truth about where the customer is in their journey, who they talked to last at your organization, and any needs they’ve expressed.
With best practices, each person on your team can be confident that the work they’re doing each day is meaningful and driving the company towards its goals. This not only serves to boost morale, but it also makes teams more productive and inspired to do their best work. Everyone wins. To learn more about how to make all your customer-facing teams more productive, schedule a demo with Retain.ai today!