Turning Customer Success into a Credible Business Practice with ABM

Recent ABM Done Right Podcasts have focused on using ABM to protect and expand key accounts as sales teams are struggling to bring in new business. Companies like Commvault report 8-10% drops in enterprise deals as budgets are limited or frozen. To sustain growth, companies need to protect and expand the existing revenue they do have. But because customers are not getting the experience they want with their vendors after the deal is closed, many companies are seeing churn and lost revenue – while not generating enough new revenue to replace it.

We’ve had guests like Kristi Faltorusso at Client Success and David Sakamoto (VP of Customer Success at Gitlab). In the podcast below with Peter Armaly (VP of Customer Success at ESG – Customer Success as a Service), we continue the ABM and customer success conversations we’ve been having.

Here are the key ideas from the ABM + Customer Success Podcast with Peter Armaly:

  • Despite being around for 20+ years, customer success has never really established itself fundamentally as a credible business practice for the C-suite. Largely, it has been running under the radar, servicing customers but not really impacting revenue metrics that matter to the CEO, CFO and the Board.

 

  • While customer success teams need to change and show the impact they can have on the business – the organization as a whole needs to evolve to drive greater GRR and NRR growth, as GTM strategies need to include the post-sales world and the entire customer lifecycle. And there needs to be a healthy exchange of information, as the teams should be winning, protecting, and expanding key accounts together. Kristi Faltorusso recently talked about this as well. You can listen to her podcast below.

 

 

  • As many customer success teams are taking a one-size-fits-many approach, there is a need to get more precise and scientific on how teams segment their customer base and build capabilities to provide nuanced communications and experiences to various segments. This is important as existing accounts react better to more targeted services, communications, and experiences that are focused on where they are in their journey – and where the customer feels they are in the relationship with the vendor. The one-size-fits-many approach is one of the biggest factors for why there is churn. On the ABM Done Right Podcast, Jeff Pedowitz (CEO of the Pedowitz Group) discussed a portfolio management approach to sales, marketing, and customer success. You can listen to his podcast episode below.

 

 

  • When segmenting existing accounts, customer success teams need to go beyond the ARR that the accounts deliver. They need to look at what sector of the economy the accounts lie – are they in a growing space or on a decline? Where are the accounts that provide the greatest ARR and margin growth that have additional revenue opportunities if teams are aligned with the strategic priorities of the target accounts? Which tier 2 accounts can become tier 1 accounts and become more profitable if customer success teams change the relationship and how the accounts buy from them? What are the accounts that add risk to your operations and have a high cost to serve that we should not be focusing time and resources on? By segmenting their customers and changing the experiences that are being delivered to key accounts, Ascension was able to drive 25%+ greater margin growth with accounts like Sephora. Click the image below to read the case study.

 

  • Customer success teams need to “grow up” to become a business relationship management function vs. a customer support function and deliver the right interactions and experiences that address the “why stay?”, “why evolve?” and “why expand?” conversations. As Corporate Visions talks about in their research, content and webinars, we need to document results and acknowledge the gaps that were filled and the impact. We need to highlight evolving internal and external pressures as well as competitive pressures, share the hard truths on continuing gaps and impacts and the opportunities that are being missed out on. Customer success teams need to emphasize the potentially harmful risks and repercussions of not changing their approach and de-risk moving forward in a new way. And, they need to get personal and show existing customers the specific upside opportunity that’s available to them and not generic benefits. They need to transfer ownership of the solution and all of the internal/ external positive impacts that accounts can expect from making the change. Customer success teams can only do this if teams stay aligned with existing accounts, their strategic priorities, what they are seeking and where they are looking to go.

Click here to see the account intelligence that should be guiding customer success motions, interactions and experiences.

 

  • Customer success teams require more account-based enablement if we want them to improve their interactions and the experiences they deliver. This includes specific content, messaging, and insights for the struggling moments that sit at the center of every deal – moments that need to be listened to, understood, catered to, reframed, and solved. We need to enable customer success teams in the flow of their work for specific accounts where they can respond with speed and precision no matter what obstacles or opportunities come their way. We need to influence the account retention conversation, the account expansion conversation, and the internal conversations that are happening behind closed doors. We need to provide customer success teams with account-based insights, and personal content that earns customer success teams a conversation and the right for the C-suite and VPs to engage and get involved in the renewal or expansion process. Customer success teams need to know what content to use, know when to use it and how to deliver the right message across the organization. And that is not automated sequences in Sales Loft or Outreach. Teams need to know how to deliver high-touch, personal 1:1 messages and content that shows how you are aligned with their business vision, you understand their specific gaps and how it would impact the key decision makers teams are trying to reach – as well as their department and the company as a whole. Steve Richards, VP of Revenue Enablement at MediaFly, also talked about this on his ABM Done Right Podcast episode. Listen to it below:

 

 

Click here to learn more about the account-based enablement that Personal ABM can provide to customer success teams.

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