How to Develop a Customer Success Strategy

Customer Success Strategy Roadmap Transformation

How do you build a mature customer success organization? What are the steps to achieve world-class Customer Success with End-to-End Strategy Design? How can you define the current situation of the company, uncover core challenges and opportunities, and develop and execute customer success strategies best fit your organization?

CSM Practice hosted several highly interactive sessions for the customer success community to exchange strategies and tactical advice with top customer success thought leaders and practitioners.  

In this session of the Customer Success Executives Roundtable, Will Rahim is the Senior Vice President, Global Customer Success at Delphix. A seasoned pro at optimizing customer success through digital systems and processes, Will shared their journey and experience in building out a mature customer success organization with the participants of this session.
Here are some highlights from the session:

About Delphix

  • Delphix is a leader in the DataOps space. Enterprise-based products.
  • Their Customer Success organization has ~100 team members and is looking to grow.
  • Delphix has 100 CSMs with projections to grow the team by 30% in 2021.
  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Delphix performed well in 2020
  • Retention numbers have been trending in the right direction in the last 2 years.

The Challenge

Prior to setting up a customer success practice, in 2018, Delphix was experiencing the following pain points:

  • They were very reactive in their engagement with customers
  • Customer intelligence data was fragmented across dozens of homegrown systems, spreadsheets, tribal knowledge, etc.
  • They didn’t have a handle on their customers’ health, sentiment, usage, value, etc.
  • Very little mind sharing across customer-facing teams due to silos, politics, natural factors, etc.
  • Big churn bombs often blindside them.
  • They often relied on last-minute “heroics” measures to salvage customers that were at high churn risk.
  • No unified voice and view of customers at the executive table
  • While Delphix had a World Class Customer Support organization, other functions at the time were reporting into various business units and not clearly defined.

Customer Success Roadmap Journey

The Solution

Delphix needed a plan for the organization and business changes. They needed to build a data-driven model for their team, so they came up with a 5-year roadmap, which included the following:

  • Building the foundation
  • Customer Journey
  • Moments of Value
  • Hiring the Right CSMs

Multi-year Plan Management

Delphix outlined a five-year plan to set up gradually mature a customer success practice:

  • The multi-year plan was socialized and validated by the executive team to ensure enrollment and alignment to expectations.
  • Foundation, infrastructure, systems, and data were required plan elements to ensure the structure was planned for optimal results. 
  • The end of first-year goals was clearly defined.
  • Assigned a champion in the c-suite.
  • The plan ensured aspects to provide a better view of customers and overall health 
  • Demonstrated the results to the board

customer success solution

5 Points to Remember:

  1. Develop access to accurate customer data
  2. Activate consistent customer success processes
  3. Assess your practice maturity against key elements. Do so year after year.
  4. Under-promise and over-deliver.
  5. Look for cross-functional executive allies.

Customer Successn Strategy Free Presentation Slides

The Impact

  • Workflows, automation, and early warning systems have been built but continue to evolve.
  • Their Customer Success platform, Gainsight, has become the customer source of truth that informs strategy. These insights provide a line of sight to all customers to focus on driving the right outcomes, versus just moving toward the next renewal.
  • Ecosystems allowed customers to quantify and track the value delivered by Delphix.
  • They moved from churn mitigation and renewals to enhancing customer value.
  • With the playbooks established, they provided a consistent experience that transformed them from being reactive to proactive.
  • Customer journey maps provide a standardized approach to transition from a reactive to a proactive model.
  • Regardless of tier or segment, the customer gets a consistent experience. The organization can then focus on driving expansions and advocacy.customer value journey map template

Follow best practices and then identify where to automate to communicate with a larger number of customers.


Roundtable Q&A:

Here are some questions from the roundtable participants:

Q: As part of maturity, how does this scale as the customer portfolio increases and the company matures?

A: Continue to refine segmentation. Leverage what is built and created regardless of a segment; the difference is High Touch vs. Low Touch. Automate to scale. Follow best practices and then identify where to automate to communicate with a larger number of customers. Pull best practices up to the High touch team for “digital assist” add ons.


Q: Did you develop playbook templates, or were they standard? 

A: CSM Practice started with generic playbooks and personalized them for Delphix.   CSM Practice worked internally with multiple teams to ensure all segments of the customer journey are covered.


Q: What are the processes and frameworks around automation and challenges faced in setting up?

A: The hardest part is data. Clean data and access to real-time data are essential for accurate automation, and building the right integration points. Interacting with data using automation is key to avoiding downstream problems in the future. It’s about being in a transformed state with AI and machine learning. But none of that is possible if you don’t trust the data.  


Q: What will the next 5-year look like for Customer Success?

A: The next 5 years will be all about product usage data, instrumentation, the ability to leverage APIs to tap into the different products and solutions, taking data to the next level will be the next evolution, where historical customer data and past behavior will drive actions. One thing that will not change is the CSM’s value. The human touch will not be displaced or diminished. The customer values the human touch, and that will not fundamentally change in the upcoming years.

Over the next five years, the way we work with enterprise customers may change, where there is a team that is focused on renewals, so sales can focus on new business.


customer success management value

How can CSM Practice Help! 

At CSM Practice we accelerate SaaS companies’ profitable growth through customer retention and expansion selling strategies. Whether you’ve already begun to create a customer success strategy, or you’re just about to, our Customer Success Strategy Assessment will help you boost the process of creating customized retention management strategies to reduce churn and help your users achieve success.

CSM Practice specializes in the technology and services industry, that offers a portfolio of enterprise solutions to achieve successful and scalable results. CSM Practice offers a customer-centered approach that helps you to develop a winning plan for the success of your client.

Take it to the next level!  Ask CSM Practice about the services we provide and learn how we can help you transform your organization into success.

Written By:
Denson Jade G. Natividad

Denson is a researcher, educator, and certified Customer Success Consultant. Working as a writer at CSM Practice, he authors in-depth blogs about customer success and strategies that teach professional teams and corporate individuals ways to manage, grow, and scale their day-to-day business operations. Denson obtained his bachelor’s degree in communication in 2017. Right after graduation, he continued to pursue his master’s degree in Communication major in Applied Media Studies.