In this Chat and Learn series, we invited Taylor Johnston, Director for Customer Success at Salesloft, a sales engagement platform that helps sales organizations deliver better sales experiences for their customers. With the continuous growth of their customers and an increase in product complexity, Taylor challenged herself on how to best optimize her customer success team.
When they started, they only had ALL-IN-ONE customer success managers responsible for all of the adoption focus, making sure that customers were getting ROI, renewal of contracts, as well as expanding the account. However, product complexity and customer population are increasing rapidly, and that’s when they realized to have specialized roles to touch them in the different parts of their journey.
With the desire to deliver the absolute best customer experience, they came up with the development of the renewals team and expansion team. A move that gave the CSMs more bandwidth to do other functions.
They split the roles into three:
Renewals Manager – reports to customer success, retention is the ultimate goal
Customer Success Manager – reports to customer success, setting up interactions like QBRs, checking the pulse and sentiment of customers, health score
Expansion Manager – reports to Sales, mostly focused on growth, and plays an active role in the renewal as needed, harvesting opportunities for Upsell and Cross-Sell
How to make sure they are coordinated?
Role clarity is absolutely the key. However, in the first 6-8 months, as per Taylor’s narrative, there’s a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how to make sure who is touching the customer, when, and who’s making sure that customers are clear with those roles. Along with this is making sure that customers feel that they are valued at the center of the relationship.
Key Competencies in Hiring Renewals Manager
If your organization is ready and capable of hiring a renewal manager, here are the top 5 key competencies suggested by Taylor:
- Strong internal relationship-building skills
- Ability to see the big picture
- Creative problem solver
Diversify Skills & Interests
In choosing the right candidate for a renewal manager position, Taylor suggested two sections you can take note of which is: your segmentation, and complementary skills. Each section is divided into the following:
Consider your segmentation
- Small portfolio with large accounts
- Large portfolio with mid-accounts
- Renewals at Scale
Build a team with complementary skills
- Financial acumen
- Sales/CS experience
- Project management experience
What do you do to motivate your team? And make sure that everybody is aligned to achieve the same goals.
When asked this question, Taylor shared that she always thinks about the unique skills that someone can bring to the table to help scale and evolve the business. With this in mind, she gives her team the full autonomy to do and own the project. Whether it is simply creating collateral or developing a cadence, she believes that every small project becomes the intersection of their skills and interests that are in a clear need for a business.
Five Recommendations to Ensure Customer Success Optimization
Taylor had a remarkable experience in optimizing and scaling her customer success team, that’s why she shared her five recommendations to ensure success:
- Take baby steps, as it doesn’t happen overnight.
- Establishing role clarity around various roles.
- Coaching your team towards the culture of open communication to realign with each other.
- Take time to look at what is your customer base and the needs that they have.
- Technology – make sure to involve your finance team, systems team, and operational team, so you can then put everything you learned into something you can execute.
How CSM Practice can help your business!
CSM Practice offers Customer Success Process Assessment and Development that will give you well-defined customer success processes and policies to help your company scale while offering a consistent experience to all your clients.
CSM Practice specializes in the technology and services industry, and offers a portfolio of enterprise solutions, that wish to achieve successful and scalable results.
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.
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