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Optimizing Customer Success: A Playbook from an Industry Expert

March 24, 2022

Every day, Emilia D’Anzica works with clients to enable high growth opportunities by diagnosing data-backed opportunities and building actionable playbooks. When it comes to setting up teams for success and making customers happy, Emilia has a lot to share.

Emilia’s customer success playbook touches on:

  • The modern sales cycle and how to keep it “always-on”
  • The biggest pain points experienced by CS and sales teams
  • The common mistakes to avoid as a Customer Success Manager

Solving the Hand-Off Between Sales and Success 

Emilia knows that one of the biggest friction points along the customer journey is the transfer from sales into success. Often, the sales team is selling something that the customer success manager (CSM) can’t deliver – resulting in a jumbled transition and a let-down customer. 

To avoid this, Emilia suggests creating an onboarding manifesto that ensures the sales and CS teams are speaking the same language, extracting the data, and collaborating not only with one another but also with the customer

The one-page customer success strategy document should include:

  • Three key goals the customer wants to achieve
  • Alignment on the story the sales and CS teams are telling
  • A list of answered and unanswered questions from the customer 

Once that’s created, make sure the customer is informed and “signs off” on the plan. Then, assign roles so that all players have clarity on what is needed to drive success. 

Optimizing The First Customer Touchpoint & Honeymoon Phase

Nailing the onboarding process is critical because growth and churn start at the renewal. 

As Emilia points out, 20 to 70% of customers churn within the first 100 days. 

How to keep them today and beyond? Focus on generating enthusiasm around the product and the process early in the relationship. “There’s a honeymoon period with a new customer,” Emilia shares. “It’s an important time to show up with high-impact conversations at key moments.” 

Here’s how to generate excitement and establish a strong relationship from the onset:

  • Set up a meaningful email drip campaign that correlates with key moments in the relationship, like when the opportunity closes or when a customer is assigned a CSM
  • Create a need-to-know brochure or steps right in the platform for customers to gain an overview of the product, process, and next steps without having to get on the phone
  • Story tell around the users, not the product, to create loyalty (Gong, the call recording software, does this by calling its customers Gong Jedis – the heroes of the Gong story)

Showing lots of love in the first chapter will help establish the organization as a trusted partner and instill customer confidence around the product investment. 

Building Scalable Customer Moments That Matter 

Psychology plays a key role in the evolution of the customer success journey. 

The sooner organizations tap into the minds and behaviors of their customers, the sooner they’ll be able to make an impact. Growing and strengthening the customer relationship requires:

  • Fielding and honoring feedback directly from your customers
  • Developing a content strategy that curates information for your personas
  • Fostering a culture of curiosity amongst CSMs to demonstrate a high level of care

After the so-called “honeymoon phase” Emilia says it’s time to show impact to the champions who made the decision to buy the product. But it shouldn’t stop at the progress report.

It should be leveraged as an opportunity to generate feedback and communicate about how to get better. “‘Teams should ask for honest feedback before sending a closing survey so there are no surprises,” Emilia suggests.

 “Once you have that input and you know what their goals are, you can set up a sequence that matters to them.” And a general email drip campaign is not the route to take. All email campaigns should be segmented by industry, interests, and phase of the relationship. 

“Building those personas for our clients is important, and then making sure that they develop content that’s relevant.” Emilia even admits that she’s become a paying customer after being won over with customer-centric and consistent content. 

When it comes to customer success, the little things matter. 

CSMs that turn on their cameras and ask for confirmation at each step will show up as stronger allies to clients. There will always be micro-improvements to be made as a CSM grows alongside the client, but if you can avoid these pitfalls, you’ll be on a faster track to success. 

“Educate your employees on how to have that curiosity going into meetings. Teach your team to ask questions like, “What does that X% growth mean to you?’ And then have them listen. It can be incredibly powerful for the client.”

🚀 We’re thrilled to announce that Baton has joined forces with ClientSuccess!