Customer acquisition alone is not enough to remain competitive. Marketers are employing customer success strategies more frequently. The focus is on the relationships between companies and their customers. The right software can support the efforts of managers, teams, and sales personnel. Customer success software promotes the flow of data, decisions, and intangibles at all levels of customer relationships. It makes operations more reliable and scalable.
The Customer Success Pipeline
Customer success is associated with sales but is not focused on actual selling. There are four sections in the customer success pipeline in addition to sales. These are:
When sales is combined with these four factors, the overall CS pipeline resembles an hourglass. It is wide at the top of the sales end and becomes increasingly narrow as automated marketing technology guides the customer journey toward adoption. The pipeline begins to widen at the adoption phase. Customer success tools are critical here and during the next stage, retention. Moving through these two phases can strain company resources. Once through, revenue significantly increases within the expansion and advocacy stages. Advocacy is characterized by qualified lead generation. This hourglass model is cyclical in that advocacy returns leads to re-enter the buyer’s journey.
Software Provides Cutting-edge Tools
are implementation flows both top-down and bottom-up within an organization. It is as important to deliver current and relevant data to executive strategists as it is to align sales strategies. Software that supports customer success must benefit the entire process from the strategy teams to sales. Strategies provided at the executive level should seamlessly coordinate with CS teams. This will deliver relevant assets to sales personnel involved with customers.
The Factors that Drive Customer Success
The Customer Success Association calls attention to sales, support, marketing, professional services, and training. These five areas are important to customer success. Each plays a role in developing an organizational culture with deep customer relationships. Improved relationships maximize the effectiveness of CS teams and mitigates customer churn.
There are many factors that go into customer success software. UserIQ recommends taking great efforts to develop proactive CS teams. Some of the CS factors that UserIQ sites are:
- user flows
- first impressions
- customer engagement
- keeping pace with innovation
These factors overlap. Essentially, a CS strategy begins with proper data analysis. CS teams are tasked with ensuring a company’s strategy. Onboarding and customer engagement are fundamental aspects of any goal. These factors must be part of a proactive team approach. Information must also flow back up the chain. Usage data needs to be fine-tuned with the flow of information. A personal touch increases the effectiveness of small goals and the overall strategy. Scalable operations should be considered here as well. This is why reducing friction along the user flow is important. Increased friction is to be expected as operations scale. Practices that excel at delivering quality micro-feedback can become invaluable to developing new strategies. Engaging customers and improving feedback can be accomplished through announcements, tailored surveys, and first impressions in addition to onboarding.
Evaluating Customer Success Software
CustomerThink is a global community of business leaders. It discussed how marketing technology should be evaluated to support operations. A research report on the state of marketing found that over 70% of organizations believe they are not keeping pace with innovation in this area. Evaluating customer success is possible once the factors that contribute to good customer success are understood. Among the most challenging pertain to teams. Because CS teams perform multifaceted operations within an organization, care must be taken when evaluating them. This is important for implementing software.
Customers can be viewed as part of the CS team. As relationships develop, this concept becomes more apparent. Adding value is a central part of the strategy that The Customer Success Association recommends. Both the company and the customer should gain value from customer success efforts. Properly structuring usage data from the beginning can go a long way toward adding value and facilitating scalability. This is where CS software fits in. Each driving factor needs to be considered when evaluating the right software for a company’s operations.
The customer success pipeline needs cutting-edge tools. The factors that drive success can be evaluated to determine which software is best for an organization. Overall strategy, teams, customer engagement, and innovation will be important to whichever solution a company chooses. It is possible to choose a solution that keeps pace with innovation and is, at the same time, scalable.