Unveiling Customer Success Strategies: Insights from Malmo Customer Success Snack Event
Learn about the takeaways from other workshops
The recent Customer Success Snack Event in Malmo brought together industry leaders and professionals to explore the evolving landscape of Customer Success (CS). The event featured five insightful workshops, each addressing distinct facets of CS, led by experienced moderators Mattias Vig, Thyra Brandt, and Harry Bandell. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the key takeaways from each workshop and highlight the valuable contributions of the moderators.
Workshop 1: Scaling CS through Digitalization – Mattias Vig
Digitalization Essentials: Prioritizing Self-Service Content
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the significance of prioritizing self-service content when implementing digitalization for Customer Success is key. The definition of “content” varies across businesses, making it crucial to analyze customer needs. Collaboration with other departments is key to understanding customer interactions and automating assistance processes.
Defining “Customer Health” and Ownership in CS Leadership
Mattias stressed the importance of defining “customer health,” positioning Customer Success teams as change drivers. CS leaders must take ownership in empowering teams for difficult conversations and fostering a persistent yet patient mindset. Digitalization relies on reliable data, and CS teams play a pivotal role in educating the wider business on customer outcomes.
Examples of Digitalization in Customer Success
The workshop provided practical examples, including the creation of customer-facing content libraries, automation of assistance processes, and leveraging bots for common questions. The group advocated for learning components in products to encourage users to self-educate.
Examples of how to digitalise Customer Success:
- Define and build customer-facing content libraries
- Content examples: “How-to” guides, presentations, training videos/webinars
- Get other departments to commit to project timelines for delivery
- AUDIT your customer-facing content to ensure that it scales with your business
- “Accessible, Updateable, Digital, Informative, Team-owned
- Research and collate common challenges/user feedback
- Leverage “bots” (where possible) that can answer common questions
- Implement learning components to your product to encourage users to self-educate
Workshop 2: Retaining Revenue in Tougher Times – Thyra Brandt
Importance of Proactive Retention in Challenging Times
It is critical to retain revenue during challenging times. The reactive approach to retention, often seen as cost-cutting, can lead to wrong decisions. The group emphasized the need for a proactive Customer Success mindset, encouraging a strong focus on risk analysis, churn calculations, and efficient account management.
Actions to Create Value-Driven Dialogue
Thyra provided actionable steps to create value-driven dialogue, such as showing clear numbers, reflecting on shared achievements, and being prepared to change client focus. The workshop stressed the importance of aligning the organization with Customer Success and fostering a customer-centric mindset.
Actions to create value-driven dialogue:
- Show clear numbers to your customers
- Talk about the vision – but ensure that you are seen as a trusted advisor
- Reflect on and highlight shared achievements with your product
- Be prepared to change client focus; listen and adapt to new situations
- Adjust your success plans – and follow up on them (to avoid being a “paper process”)
- If needed, work with “temporary” discount (churn mitigation)
How to emphasise customer-centricity on “our” terms:
- Align your organisation with Customer Success in the centre
- Examples: change OKRs to be even more aligned, ensure the right people own and drive these according to their roles/skillsets.
- Share both successful AND unsuccessful customer stories internally
- Create internal “CSM School” – and evaluate the outcomes from training
- Analyse/record customer “verticals”/segments that do not work well with your product
- Manage client expectations throughout (ie. Marketing > Sales > Success > Product)
- Stay close to “the numbers” based on customer outcomes:
- Examples: “Time to Value”, “Time to ROI”, “Customer Lifetime Value”
- Share “best practice” experiences internally for trickier customer cases
- Highlight/record examples of CS work in this area
- Create new/updated ideas on how to tackle difficult cases together
Workshop 3: Influencing Organizational Change as a CSM – Thyra Brandt
Thyra’s second workshop focused on influencing organizational change as a Customer Success Manager (CSM). Internal aspects took precedence, with an emphasis on identifying friction points, defining shared KPIs, and creating effective structures for measurement and evaluation.
Driving Cross-Departmental Collaboration and Internal Messaging
The group outlined practical actions to influence internal change, including building collaboration between Sales and CS teams, effective handovers, and creating communication bridges. Internal messaging, emphasizing churn responsibility and hosting retrospectives, was highlighted as a key factor.
Examples/actions to influence internal change:
- Identify relevant internal working processes – and create space for CS within them
- Build stronger collaboration opportunities between Sales and CS teams
- Ensure that Sales have the confidence to entrust clients to CS
- Create the right conditions and structure to enable effective CS handovers
- Weave ownership of Customer Success (as a concept) into other departments
- Drive towards bringing cross-department perspectives into CS strategy
- Create communication “bridges” for Sales, Product and Marketing to use
- Break down “boundaries” and “walls” – create feedback loops (ie. “two-way”)
- Create a “delivery” team – with both Product “owners” and CSMs
- Set and monitor KPIs for a “delivery” team cross-departmentally
- Align on goals/strategy for all customers (ie. “tech touch” or “human touch”)
Examples of effective internal messaging:
- Create/define a shared language across teams (eg. “our” customer)
- Emphasise in open forums that churn is a collective responsibility
- Host “retrospectives” to encourage accountability and reflection on shared outcomes
Examples of cross-team KPIs:
- “Number of user interviews/beta test clients” (Product)
- “Number of case studies/testimonials” (Marketing)
- “Number of business reviews (QBR/EBR)” (Sales)
Other strategic initiatives:
- Create accessible “cross-sale” dashboards – to measure upsells/CSQLs
- Categorise new expansion opportunities based on client segments (eg. “maturity”)
- Build “best practice” guidance materials
- Reduces churn, increases usage quality, and creates more customer insights
- Ensure that CS have systems to measure and track customer “health” or sentiments
Workshop 4: Building a Customer-Centric Business – Harry Bandell
Aiming for a Human-First Approach
Harry Bandell urged businesses to adopt a “human-first” approach to build customer-centric organizations. All employees play a role in customer success, and a clear internal definition for Customer Success can be created irrespective of business type.
Collaboration Between Product and Sales for Long-Term Success
Harry highlighted the need for collaboration between Product and Sales to ensure long-term success and mitigate churn risks. Companies were encouraged to redefine OKRs to be customer-focused, making “Keep the Customer” a business-wide objective.
Workshop 5: Strategic/enterprise account management
Enhancing Strategic/Enterprise Account Management
Harry Bandell’s second workshop focused on strategic/enterprise account management, shedding light on the challenges associated with larger accounts. Leadership needs to implement safeguards to measure the true operational cost of managing these customers, emphasizing the need for documentation and proactive churn management.
Actions to Improve Strategic Account Management
Practical actions included setting up “Goal & Vision” meetings, establishing consistent internal meeting approaches, and promoting peer-to-peer stakeholder alignment. Automation of portfolio management processes was stressed to identify account vulnerabilities and organizational changes.
Actions to promote an internal customer-centric mindset:
- Set up “Goal & Vision” meetings for new/renewing customers
- Helps encourage customers to own their goals; increases user interviews
- Establish a consistent internal meeting approach for expansion/upsell opportunities
- Promotes improved alignment for selling and minimises customer “cross-talk”
- Connect with people at other companies to learn industry “best practices”
- Promote “peer-to-peer” stakeholder alignment (eg. “C-Level to C-Level” engagement)
- Use tools like Sales Navigator to keep updated on customer org changes
- “Train the trainer” approach to scale user training – “power users” own peer training
- “Gamify” user onboarding – implement relevant product milestones and signposting
- Push for a “Health Score Index” that reflects valuable customer actions
- Challenge your business to shift away from generic “activity volume” metrics
- Reflect company-wide on “churn saves” – for both successful & unsuccessful cases
- Find more ways to position Enterprise-type customers in front of your company
- “Empty chair” internal meetings – ask to imagine your customer in the room
- Co-host events and encourage in-person meetings
Conclusion: Elevating Customer Success Together
The Malmo Customer Success Snack Event provided a rich platform for professionals to glean insights and strategies from industry experts. Mattias Vig, Thyra Brandt, and Harry Bandell, as moderators, played a crucial role in facilitating discussions and offering actionable takeaways for elevating Customer Success. The diverse workshops covered digitalization, retention, organizational change, building a customer-centric business, and strategic account management, providing a holistic perspective on the evolving landscape of Customer Success. As organizations strive to navigate challenges and embrace customer-centric approaches, the insights shared in these workshops serve as a valuable guide for the journey ahead.