The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

Ep 87: The Keys To Customer Success, w/ Dan Steinman

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 87: The Keys To Customer Success, w/ Dan Steinman 

Part of the TGIM ("Thank God It's Monday!") Series hosted by Tom Alaimo.

Thank God, it's monday. Welcome back tothe revenue collective podcast. This is your host Tom Alamo and this is whererevenue leaders come to learn the ticks the tips tricks and tactics that youneed to be successful. Let's leave that one in. Um really excited to be here onthis monday morning. Hope you're enjoying your morning coffee, you'rewalking the dog, your peloton, whatever is going on right now and uh reallyexcited for this interview with dan Steinman. Before we get to dan, let'sgive a quick shout out to our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by quotapath, a commission tracking software built for sales operations, finance andaccounting teams. If running commissions and payroll has you runningfor the hills quota path is for you, quote a path helps organizations trackand manage commissions and pay their teams accurately and on time every time.Keep your team motivated and on target. Simplify your commissions at quota pathdot com slash revenue dash collectives and give your reps the gift oftransparency. We got dan Steinman in the house, chief evangelist at gainsite. I call him the godfather of customer success. I called him that tohis face and he seemed to like it. He knows just about everything you need toknow about starting a customer success team, you know, working with sales. Dowe give him quotas? Do we not, do we hold them to renew als? How do we workwith other departments? Every question that you might have across customersuccess dan Simon can answer. He's also running the customer success part ofthe sales impact Academy, which is a partner of revenue collective. So ifyou are a member of our C, you can get direct access to the sales impactAcademy for free and learn more from dan. So without further ado, let's getstraight into my conversation with dan Simon. All right dan, Good evening,Welcome to the revenue collected podcast. How are you? I'm doing well,thanks for having me. Absolutely, really excited to have thisconversation and I thought an interesting place to kick it off. We,we got connected via the sales impact Academy and the great team over thereand I think it's kind of interesting and maybe even a little funny that itwas through the sales impact Academy and you're known for being, you know,kind of the guru of customer success. So like, let's start there, why, why,why is customer success now getting mingled into uh, into the sales worldand vice versa? Yeah, it's a great question and I kind of had that samequestion when a company called sales Impact Academy reached out to me, butif you think about the world that we live in today, this world of recurringrevenue, the world that has created the need for a customer success and salesimpact Academy, despite the name, is really focused on go to market, notjust sales, so that means sales and SDR and marketing. And then the fourthpiece of that puzzle is clearly customer success because in a recurringrevenue world, customer success drives revenue because it drives renewal andit drives up sell if it's done well. So it really kind of fills out salesimpact academies curriculums if you will, because they were already doingmarketing sTR and sales and then they had the idea well, we should probablyadd customer success to the, to the pack and they reached out to me and nowthey're soon to have I think four different customer success classes aspart of their overall curriculum. So it's pretty exciting because I reallydo think that it puts customer success where it belongs, which is not as apost sales cost center, but as an ongoing sales of revenue driving engine.And we'll talk about more more about what that means. I think as we goforward. Yeah. And if we take it back, I mean, customer success is pretty hotin the streets now. It's, it's kind of one of the cooler topics. I feel likecustomer success and sales development...

...and kind of have their time to shine.But you were in CS long before. It was like the cool thing and early in thegame sites, I'd love to just hear you talk about what point of gain said, Didyou actually join the company and talk about the early days of kind of liketrudging up that mountain before people probably believed in the mission? Yeah.In a way it reminds me of a musician once was being interviewed and theyasked him How his sudden fame came along and he said, Yeah, I only worked35 years before I became an overnight success. And in a way, customer successand almost any kind of new thing is kind of like, that takes a long time.It's like that old analogy about getting the flywheel started really,really hard to get that big heavy flywheel started, but once it getsgoing, it has its own momentum and it keeps going. And so yeah, so, customerssuccess has actually been around Kind of officially for just short of 20years now. I joined Gain site nine years ago, but I joined the customersuccess world In its new phraseology of customer success probably 15 years agowhen I took my first job as a VP of customer success. And then I was thefirst VP of customer success at Marcato Now, 12 or 13 years ago and then joinedgame sites. So I've seen the evolution almost from the beginning, it startedat salesforce and I wasn't there, but I've talked to a lot of people thatwere, so when we started game site, it was pretty clear that customer successwas a thing. And what really drove our assurance that it was going to become abigger thing was the movement to the subscription business. In what teenshow calls the subscription economy Teen was employee number six at Salesforceand now Ceo and founder at a company called Zohra, which is all aboutmanaging your subscription business. So as we kind of watched, looked at thelandscape and said, man, this subscription thing is going to be huge.It is the right way to do business with customers. If you actually respect yourcustomers, you allow them to force you to earn your money from them, asopposed to trying to collect it all up front. And so when we looked at theworld that was moving towards subscription, we knew that customersuccess was going to get bigger and bigger because that world requires somepost sales focus on customers beyond just onboarding them and collectingmaintenance fees. You actually have to take care of them and trying tomaximize the lifetime value. So that's the journey that we've really been on agame site is just kind of preaching to the world how important customersuccess is. And promoting not just the idea, but the role of customer successmanager as an important role, as an underpaid role, as a organization thatwill spur the ceos of the future because they'll grow up understandingcustomers, etcetera, etcetera. So, for the last nine years again, site, we'vereally embrace that community and tried to enhance the vision for thatcommunity and the value of that community in the eyes of Ceo is inventure capital, people and and employees who want to do something thatkind of favors taking care of customers. Yeah, I have uh I've worked in both preand post sales in my career and I've had a mentor that told me earlier in mycareer that, you know, once you make the sale, that's really when, you know,it used to be like, that's when it's over. You know, you make the sale, youwipe your hands and it's like, okay, we're onto the next one now. It's like,that's like the beginning, the very beginning of the process. And it'sreally this whole changing of the mindset that I feel like companies havehad to make of how to build those really long term valuable relationshipswith customers and that's like at the heart of of customer success. Yeah. Infact teams out who I mentioned earlier I think was the originator of thisquote. Something like it used to be...

...that the sale was the end of therelationship and in our world today the sale is actually the beginning of therelationship. Yeah, super interesting way of thinking about things. You hadshared a white paper with me to check out before our conversation, which Idid and it had nick meta is kind of like top 10 or maybe collectively kindof like the top 10 tips around customer success. And one of them struck me as alittle surprising. I'd love to chat about this for a second. I don't havethe exact terminology but it's kind of like the customers natural response isto churn. And um, just the verb image of that kind of like stuck with me alittle bit. Kind of made me take a step back. I'd love for you to unpack that alittle bit. Yeah, I'll just back up because I think the story of how thatparticular piece of content came about is pretty interesting at game site. Wewhen we did our series, see the lead investor was a company called BessemerVenture Partners, which arguably is the most successful investor in the SASworld with portfolio companies including Twilio and some reallyamazing successes. And hopefully hopefully they would put game site onthat list. But best summer, about five years before that event had done apaper called The 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and it was a huge hit. Likeevery ceo of every software company in the world knew that paper inside andout because everything was moving to the cloud and becoming subscription. Sowhen Bessemer funded our Series C at game site, they asked us, why don't youguys do a 10 laws of customer success as kind of a follow on to the 10 lawsof cloud computing? And we thought that was a great idea. So I kind ofspearheaded that project. And what is also interesting is the way we did it.We did just sit down and write to 10 laws. What I did was I gathered about15 of the visionaries, the VPs of customers success in the Valley atcompanies like box and intact and Exactly. And some of the moreprogressive kind of SAAS companies Marcato. And we got in a room and Igave them about 30 possibilities for the 10 laws of customer success. Andthrough argument and arm wrestling and conversation, we came to a consensus onthe 10 that belonged on that list. And then when we actually wrote the article,I farmed out eight of the 10 laws of customer success to eight of thosepeople that were in the room when we made that decision and then nick ourceo at gains. I took one of them and I took one of them. So that's how wecurated the 10 laws of customer success. And so the one you're talking about isactually one of my favorite ones because it sounds controversial on thesurface. But when you think about it, it's so logical. And that is I thinkthe way we were, that it was the natural tendency for customers istowards churn. And here's the metaphor that I use if you put too rowboats sideby side in the middle of a lake with no one in either road boat and you cameback the next day. What is the likelihood that those two boats arestill side by side on that lake? The answer is somewhere Very close to zero.There's almost no chance that those two boats are still side by side. And whyis that? Well, they drift apart because of a number of things, wind and wavesand balance of the boat and whatever else. There's a whole bunch of reasons.But those two boats, we're going to drift apart. Well, our claim is, and Ithink it's 100 true vendor and customer begin their relationship side by side.But if you don't have to go back to the metaphor, if you don't put somebody inboth of those rowboats that is actively rowing the two boats to stay closetogether, they will naturally drift...

...apart. The same thing is true forvendor and customer and the reason that customers will drift towards churn isone simple word change, because if I have you as a customer tom, let's sayyou're my customer and I'm the vendor, we might be really well aligned when wefirst get the deal done, which is most likely the case. Otherwise you wouldn'tdo a deal with us. But if I don't actively manage the relationship andyou do the same thing, then all the changes that are going to happen aregoing to force us apart. For example, our product is going to change, so youmay not use it in the first six weeks, but if you don't do any more than thata year from now, you're not going to know how to use our product. Secondly,our organization is going to change, so you're going to have to work withdifferent people and different processes and by the way, yourorganization is also going to change. So we're going to have to work withdifferent people and different processes and on and on and on. Theproduct is going to change dramatically. The market's going to change, ourthought leadership is going to change. In other words, everything is going tochange. And unless there's a proactive effort to keep those two elementsvendor and customer of the two robots, side by side, the forces of nature aregoing to push them apart. And the the result of that in a subscription worldis that the customer will ultimately churn because they'll say, I'm notgetting any value out of that product, not because the product isn't any good,but we haven't made the partnership works such that we're still gettingmaximum value out of that product. So, and I think we have 1000 examples in mycareer anyway, of customers who left to their own devices will always driftaway from the vendor. That's just the natural tendency very seldom. Wherewill they naturally drift towards the vendor? So that's what that particularlaw of customer success means. Interesting. And that robot analogy,we're not gonna get too deep here dan. But that could, you know, relate topretty much any sort of personal or professional relationship. And it'spretty uh I like I like where you're going with that analogy truth. Ithought I would I do that one publicly. I'll always say this is free and youcan't hold me to it, but leave your own marriage advice into that metaphor,right? If there's not too active partners trying to stay close together,it ain't gonna work. And I'm not charging you $300 for that advice,anyone is listening to this podcast. You don't owe me anything, but pleasetake that into your personal relationships as well as tom alluded to.Yeah, well I definitely am and I, I appreciate the free advice. I'll takeit whenever I get it. I'm curious in the early days of gain site and thenmaybe just throughout the duration, did you feel like you folks were more somarketing and fighting the battle of, hey, we're gain site. This is what wedo versus trying to make the fight and make the case for why customer successas a whole, as a category is so important to a business. Do you feellike it was the former of the latter? Yeah, it's a super insightful questiontom because it's more of the, it's more of the former. When we started gamesite. One of the first things we did was we did a conference called Pulse,which this year, I think will be the 10th pulse. We can talk about that somemore later. But it was simply our idea that we should gather the communitytogether to talk about this new thing called customer success. And we didthat, not claiming that we were the experts, not claiming that we knew morethan anybody else. Just saying, hey, we're part of the community to, andlet's try to learn from each other. So that was our initial focus was we don'tknow any more, probably than most of the other people doing this in theworld. So let's just get together and talk about it and let's try to build acommunity that could share and make one another better by doing that. So thefirst, in fact, the very first pulse, which had 450 people at it, almostnobody left that conference with any...

...idea who, who sponsored it. We didn'tput up any signs about game site, we didn't show a demo, we didn't do any ofthat. We just said, hey, we're here to learn along with you guys over theyears. We kept that kind of idea for the first three years and I'm not justtalking about pulse, but in all of our thought leadership, it was really,here's something that others are trying that looks like it might be working, orhere's an experiment that we've run and it didn't work at all, So don't do this,or here's something we're doing that looks like it's actually working. So wewere just part of the community sharing. But over time we gained so muchknowledge from the community and from our own experience that we kind ofstarted to change the way we talked about thought leadership, where we said,you know what, there are some things that really work and we know what theyare, even if it wasn't our idea might have come from the community, but wenow have the obligation start to start preaching those things that we knowwork. And by the way, probably almost every other industry has gone throughthe same cycle, like Crm is a good example. Salesforce didn't invent thefunnel, contrary to popular belief, they did not invent the sales funnel,they simply operationalized it, but they took that same tactic, which islet's operationalize this thing that we know lots of companies already doing anexcel or however they're doing it and then over time they became the expertson how to operationalize it, how to think about it, how many sales funnelstages there should be, what a good suggestion for a template for whatthose stages could be, etcetera, etcetera. We're kind of following inthat same path, which is, we started off not being able to say here's theright way and here's the wrong way, but over the course of nine years we canstill say there's a lot of things that nobody is quite sure of the best way todo them, but there's a whole bunch of things that we are sure of, what thebest way to do them is. So we have evolved dramatically over the nineyears from being just a member of the community to kind of being the curatorof all of the ideas in the community, good and bad, including some of our own.So I think not because we're smarter than anyone else, just because of the,of the place we hold in the community where we're listening and gatheringthose people together, we just learned a whole bunch and we felt it was ourobligation to share them with the rest of the world. Yeah, I think that'sthat's great advice for any of the, you know, executives or entrepreneurs thatare listening that are kind of forging their own type of path and trying toopen up their own market. I'm curious like if I was someone listening to thisthat was, you know, a VP of customer success or chief customer officer at agrowing budding startup where there's probably a ton of obstacles. I feellike one of my first questions is, okay, who who am I bringing in to this role?Who how do I staff my team? Like am I going to take some of the topsalespeople and bring them in? and I'm going to take people from marketing? DoI need to hire people like with a bunch of CS experience from otherorganizations? Like how would you go about, like trying to, you know, findthe right people, whether it's it's certain experience or attributes thatthey have. Yeah. It's a critically important question that you're askingtom And everyone ought to think hard and long about this question because aswe know, sooner or later everything comes down to people and the quality ofpeople that you hire now, it is in the real world, there are some differencesin the ways different companies run customer success. So some of what I'mgonna say is generalization, but I think the generalization is pretty goodoverall. So who would I look for? I'll make a few comments. One is we foundthat there's a whole bunch of sales people out there who actually don'treally want to be salespeople, but they love working with customers and that'swhy they ended up in sales. And I can't even tell you the number of people whoused to be salespeople and became...

...customer success managers who have cometo me and said personally, thank you for inventing customer success becauseI found my home. My first response is I didn't invent it. So thank you forsaying that. But let's not pretend I invented it. I didn't. But I love thefact that you found your way home and what they meant by that was they weresearching for a position that dealt with customers which they felt was oneof their strengths but didn't necessarily carry a quota with it. Theyjust wanted customers to be successful. Probably one way to say it would bemore on the nurturing side than on the killer closer side. If you want todifferentiate CSM and sales people kind of in a really general way. So I thinkX. Sales people have a lot of the great traits of a good CSM. The one thingthat's probably missing is the need to go quite a bit deeper in how theproduct actually works than most sales people would have to. So that's onething to keep in mind we found over the years that great see sms come from avariety of backgrounds. They could be from product, they could be frommarketing that's probably less relevant. But I'll talk about what my threelegged stool when I'm hiring a CSM goes like this in descending order ofpriority number one, domain expertise. If you're going to be dealing withcustomers, The most important trait that you can have is you understand thebusiness they're in. So when I was at Marcato hiring customer successmanagers, I wanted people who had marketing experience because you wantto be able to say to your end users, I know what you do all day every day.It's why I became chief customer officer at gain site, selling to VPs ofcustomers success because I could look them in the eye and say, I know exactlywhat you're weak, looks like. I could map out your calendar and get almostevery hour of your entire week, correct? Because I know exactly what that jobentails and it's so powerful to say to a customer, I use her, I know your job,I know exactly what you struggle with and here's a simple way to think aboutit. If you're a customer of ours and we sell an accounting package, would yourather have a CSM who's an ex accountant or would you rather have aCSM who has a different expertise? But it's been a CSM for 10 years? I thinkthe answer almost always is I'd rather have an ex accountant because he'sgoing to understand my job. By the way, if I'm that vendor and I hire an exaccountant as our CSM, that person is going to be an expert on our product inno time because they know of the accounting business and they will makeour product better because they'll look at it and say that's not solving theproblem. You think it's solving it's only making it worse. So you get thebest of both worlds, you get all this great product feedback and you get thisexpert talking the customer, second trait, domain expertise. Number one,Number two is product expertise. The job is to help you get more value outof my product, which means I have to know my product inside and out. Soeither hire people who know your product, if you're big enough, youcould do that. If you're marquette or salesforce or somebody like that, youcould do it. If you're not then you just need to hire people with anattitude towards whatever kind of technology you're selling. And then thethird leg of the stool is pretty simple. One that is you have to have a customerfacing skills. This is what an ex salesperson brings. They know how torun meetings, they know how to read people, they know how to prepare formeetings, they know how to follow up on meetings etcetera etcetera, right?There's so many traits that C. S. M. S. And great sales people have to share incommon. So that's the three legged stool. There's two personalcharacteristics that really help. One is curiosity. This is probably true inalmost every job. If you have a natural curiosity, you're going to be better atthat job. And the second one is empathy...

...as a CSM you do have to have empathy.You have to be able to say I'm sorry for what you're going through becausewe have bugs in our code, I understand it, we're going to fix it. Trust me,I'm gonna help you get through it. So empathy and curiosity are the kind ofpersonality characteristics. The other ones are more of the kind of dynamicsof your profession that will drive success. Now one situation that I'veseen CSM s get into in the past that seems challenging is balancing the lineof not being a support person, right? Like not being the person that maybehas to do all of their training for them or you know, solve the actualissue for them but also not forgetting that the whole point here is likeyou're trying to renew and grow your relationship with customers. So I guesshow would you recommend that a leader in CS compensates or in some waymotivates C. S. M. S. Or managers of CS around like renew als or is thereshould they have a quota? Should they get paid on up sells, you know, thingslike that that are usually reserved for salespeople? Yeah, It's another goodquestion. One comment I'll make tom to that question is what is theexpectation of CSM? This is a really, really important topic of conversationongoing. 15 years in we're still having this conversation which means it's onethat is super important and can be managed in a variety of ways. And thatis the question of should a CSM carry quota kind of That's that's the corequestion. I always tell people who run customer success teams, if your companydoes well, you're going to get asked one of these two questions, probablymore than once. One is why can't we give the CSM quota? And the otherquestion or is can we charge for their time? Right. And by the way, if youhave a good ceo and a good CFO, they should ask those questions because youwant to get more out of every single person in your company and you thinknaturally that you could get more out of your CSM s if you put them on quotaor you would get more revenue as a company if you could charge for theirtime. The answer to both of those questions,strongly in my opinion is no, no, you can't give them a quota and no youcan't charge for their time. And I'll talk about why each one no, you can'tgive them a quota because you don't want them to be salespeople. Sales is avery different skill and if you ask CSM is to be salespeople to bad thingshappen. One is they're not very good at it, and number two, they won't like it,which means they'll leave their job. So nothing good comes out of doing thatmost CSM SRC sms because they don't want to be sales people and if you putthem on a quota, you're asking them to be salespeople and it probably doesn'twork out very well. The assumption behind doing that is while they'reworking with customers all the time, just like sales people do so they oughtto be able to do it. The answer is, those are very different skills. CSMskills are very different from sales skills, and when you ask someone to dotwo different jobs, the ultimate result is almost always that they don't doeither one of them very well. And here's a good metaphor. If you ask aCSM to do renewal's, they will probably do them, but they will optimize forcustomer satisfaction, not for money. They want the customer to like them atthe end of that renewal process. That's the most important thing to them. Ifyou ask a sales person to do renewal's, they will optimize for money becausethat's how they get paid right. They will leave customers sat on the table.Neither one of those is right or wrong. But you have to be conscious about thefact that if I ask a CSM to do renewal's, they're going to notoptimize for money. They're going to optimize for customer success or acustomer sat and a salesperson will get...

...the most money out of the customer, butthey're probably going to leave the customer less happy at the end of it.And in the long run, this isn't what CSS want to do. So I think you have tothink about that CSM is a very different skill set than sales. Theother question is, can you charge for customer success? The answer is, youcan, but here's what happens if the same person, let's say if I'm your CSMtom and there are some things I charge you for and some things I don't chargeyou for, our relationship is going to get pretty funky. Like every time I sayyes, I can help you with that, you're going to have to ask the question, areyou going to charge me for that or not? In other words, it's really, reallydifficult to manage the relationship if some of the things I do I charge youfor and some of the things I do, I don't charge you for. The best thingyou can do in that environment is to have a separate group of people maybewith the same skills as the CSM, but there are things that they charge for.We call those people professional services might be a lot of overlappingskills, but this allows me as the CSM to do another thing that great salespeople do and that is to manage the customer through me being a manager ofmy own company's resources. What I mean by that is you can come to me and saythe support team isn't responding quickly enough. Can you help me withthis support case? My answer is no, I don't do support but let me go put somepressure on the support team to be a little bit more responsive and makesure we're living up to where else Ls or you come to me and say, geez dan,we're working on this thing, but it's taken a long time because you're notdedicated to me as a customer. Can we move it faster? My answer should be yes,we have a package of services that we can sell to you that will accomplishexactly what you're trying to do and you could be done with that by fridayinstead of by august. If you keep working with me might be the same setof skills, but time is really important. So if I can sell you something thataccelerates the timeframe and in that world you should have a good option ofbasically choosing that. So a CSM has to manage all the resources. Sometimesthe CSM says I need the CEO on my next call with you. Sometimes the CSM says Ineed the product manager on my next call with you. And sometimes the CSMdoes the call by themselves. This is exactly what a great salesperson does,right? There are certain calls where they say I need the CEO on my next callwith this prospect because we need to get this deal done or I need theproduct manager or I need the VP of R. C I. O. On that call or whatever. Right?So great salespeople, great CSM is both manage resources to optimize thecustomers or prospects journey with us if you will. So I think those arelegitimate questions to ask, but I think we need to see customer successas a function that is separate from sales and separate from professionalservices. And if all of those things are done well all of them get optimizedas does the customers lifetime value, which is really the job of the customersuccess manager. That's great. And and 11 last big one for you here dan. I'mcurious. Like you've probably spoken to thousands of customer success leadersover the years. I have to imagine what's like the number one biggestmistake that you see new customer success leaders make. If there'sanything that jumps to mind. Yeah, there's a few things on that list and Ihave talked to a whole bunch of them. So I have a pretty good idea. Uh someof it depends a little bit on where the company is in their cycle. For example,if it's a relatively small startup company, one of the biggest task of theCSM or the customer success leader is...

...making sure the entire companyunderstands what that role means and what that organization does and doesnot do because some of the people may not be as familiar with it now. Moreand more people are becoming familiar with it. But if for example if I joineda new company as the VP of customer success, one of the things I'd observeis how old is the Ceo. And did they grow up in the enterprise softwareworld or did they grow up in a SAS world? If they're 32 years old, then Iprobably don't need to teach them about SAS or how important customer successis. If there are 58 years old and their last 27 years were spent at oracle,then I'm going to have a lot of work helping them understand customersuccess, why it's important and how it works. So number one is making surethat you're not an island. I had a good friend who did this metaphor Sometimescustomers success has looked at this way, think about an assembly linebuilding cars and at the end of the assembly line is the customer successmanager. And their job is to teach the customer how to drive the car. It's tohelp the customer by their next car. But at the same time they have to fixevery other screw up that happened on the assembly line before the car got tothem. That's a recipe for absolute failure. There's no way. That's rightbecause they have to also get the car out on time right. They can't delay theprocess. What has to happen is there may be a customer success managerthat's kind of at the end of that assembly line but they better beputting a lot of pressure on everyone else in that assembly line to make surethey do their jobs really well. So I can do my job as a customer successmanager or a VP of customer success. A big part of my job is putting pressureon the sales VP to make sure he's setting customer expectations properlythat he is sharing with me and my team, every single thing he learns about aprospect before they become a customer and all of that knowledge getstransitioned to the customer success team so that they can be successful. Inother words, the VP of customer success has to make the sales job harder. Wehave to require the salespeople to be better at their jobs or we won't besuccessful at our job. Similarly, the VP of customer success has to make surethat the product managers are better at their jobs like this product has to notjust demo well so we can sell it. It actually has to work really well so wecan renew it. So there's this kind of golden triangle, if you will be p ofsales VP of product VP of customer success. And that better be a reallywell oiled machine that's putting a lot of peer pressure on each other.Otherwise the company won't be successful. So that's one thing, makingsure customers success isn't an island, that the entire company is committed toit. And then the last thing I'll say is like building a house, you got to getthe foundation right. So if I'm running customer success, one of the firstthings I have to think about is what is the foundation? What are the pillars ofdoing customer success really well, one is getting the people right, But thenthere's a philosophy, you better have a philosophy and it doesn't have to beperfect, but you better have a philosophy that'll work. Like forexample, the first thing I'm gonna do is make sure that we map out thecustomer journey, so we know what touch points we want to have with everysingle new customer for the first year, and then also for the second year, likewe need to do on boarding, it needs to take six weeks, it's going to havethese touchpoints in it, then we're going to transition to customer success,we're going to do monthly meetings, we're going to do quarterly businessreviews, here's the data, we're going to watch to intervene with the customerif things are going wrong or if they're going really well. So I want to map outthat cycle because then I can drive...

...discipline around living up to thatcustomer journey. And by the way, if I don't do that, the customers, each one individuallywill choose their own journey. And we have a word for that. The word is chaosBecause every customer will try to find a way to be successful. And if I don'tmap out the journey there on their own, that means they're calling their salesguy six months after the deal was done, because they're not getting what theyexpected their opening 10 support tickets a day because they're notgetting what they need from the product. They're finding a whole bunch of bugsbecause the product isn't good enough. They're calling the Ceo because theyhappen to know him saying, Hey, I'm not getting enough support. I'm not gettingvalue out of your product. That's chaos, right? But if I map out the journey andI show it to the customer, here's what you should expect from us. Now, I canlive up to that journey and I'm living up to the customer's expectations. Nowwe have an orchestration going on, it won't be perfect. There will always bethings that happen outside of that journey, but that's the discipline. Andback to the crm analogy, this is the discipline that we instill. When we saythis is our sales funnel, these are the seven stages, and here's the thingsthat have to happen at each stage in order to move the deal to the nextstage, right? That's the discipline of a prospect being managed. And all we'resaying is that you need the same kind of discipline to manage a customerthrough their journey. And if you do that, things will be much better forboth the customer and for you as an organization. So think about what yourphilosophy is and what your underlying pillars of success are and having thecustomer journey mapped out and figuring out how to make it adisciplined process is one of the fundamentals of doing customer successdan. This has been absolutely amazing. I've got one last quick question foryou and then we'll talk for a second about, you know, where folks can catchup with you and learn more, but obviously we're on the RevenueCollective podcast. It's, you know, a go to market kind of community. I justbe curious what's your number one tip for networking professionally? Yeah,Before I answer that time, I have to have to go back just one second becausethis is the Revenue Collective podcast and there's a reason we're talkingcustomer success. And one of the things I said earlier is you shouldn't putcustomer success managers on a quota, which basically is saying they're notpart of the revenue mission, right? Because they're not on quota. That isnot what I mean at all. You have to view customer success as a revenuedriving organization, even if they're not doing the sales transaction. Andhere's the way I put it. When I hire and manage CSM s, I will say this tothem. I will never ask you to be a sales person. But every single day ofyour life I'm going to ask you to be sales savvy. Because if your customersare not only not just renewing their contract, but also buying more from us,then you're not as good as you need to be. Here's another way to think aboutit. You're my CSM I say to you, if none of your customers ever turn, you're notgoing to get fired. But if most of your customers are not growing the size oftheir contract, you're not going to get promoted. In other words, you have todo both. You have to make sure they retain. You also have to make sure theygrow. So customers success ultimately should be measured on a revenue number,what we call net revenue retention or that dollar retention. And that is thecombination of renewing their contracts and buying more. And you can measurecustomer success on that. Even if you don't ask them to get the signature onthe real contract or the signature on the Upsell, customers, success can makethose things happen without actually doing the final kind of contract workthe negotiation of the price and the closing of the deal. So the best seeSMS drive all sorts of revenue without...

...ever closing any deals in their entirelife. And that's one of the ways the world has changed in a subscriptioneconomy, sales and customer success have to work together, just like salesand marketing have learned to work together. So make sure there's nomistake about the fact that customer success is right in the revenue funnel.It has to be part and parcel of the revenue funnel. In fact, one of theanalogies that works really well is most sales team have an account exactwho's on quota and a sales engineer or whatever we call them. That's alongsideof them doing the demos, having the technical conversations, interactingwith the C. I. O. Getting through the security questionnaire or whatever.That might be right to help close the deal. So that's a partnership. One ofthe amazon quota, The other one is targeted on revenue number, but notspecifically on a quota. Once the sale is done, there is still a salespersonusually called an account manager and they partner with a CSM in the same wayone is unquote to the other, one is responsible for driving deals withoutbeing on a quota, right? And is ultimately bone ist on how many ofthose deals get done. So just to clear that up now, back to your questionabout networking. SMS love to network with each other in a way that's verydifferent from almost any other industry I've ever been in becausethey're naturally nurturing and there are naturally driven towards community.So if you can get a group of CSS together, they will naturally sharebest practices with each other. Salespeople. Be a little bit more like,well I think I know something you don't and I'm pretty sure I'm not going totell you about it, but C. S M. S are like, hey, here's everything I've everdone that worked and here's everything I've ever done that didn't work. Sothere's a lot of ways to do that when we get back to doing live conferences,there's a number of those customers success meetups, the pulse conferencethat gain side hosts. There's a number of other conferences in the customersuccess world. CSM? S Love to go to those things for the networking and thesharing that happens online. There's a bunch of those two, there's a number oflinked in forums for customer success managers. Some of those are pretty big.I think it's called. The customer success management forum is nowsomewhere around 40,000 people. A bunch of really great conversations going onthere. So a ton of awesome networking opportunities there. So much likealmost any other profession, you can find birds of a feather groups, whetherit's meetups or online forums and that's just a great way to network askquestions, answer questions, interact with other folks pretty soon. If yousound smart enough people start asking you if you're available for a new joband things like that, which is flattering to everybody. Just becominga customer success manager guarantees you that you get three or four calls amonth from recruiters because that particular job title is in such highdemand. But those are a couple of networking tips. I think that reallyworked well, awesome dan, the godfather of customer success. If I may call youthat, I know we got the pulse conference, I think you mentioned junemaybe ninth through 11th or 10 to 12. You're doing some great work with salesImpact Academy, which if anyone is listening to this and is a member ofrevenue Collective actually has access to sales Impact Academy for free, whichis pretty amazing. And where anything else that's going on? Where else? Likeif people have questions for you or want to connect with you, where wouldyou point them? Yeah, you can find me on linkedin, just dan Steinman onlinkedin. I would also not to plug this, but we also did write the book oncustomer success as tom mentioned and especially if you're a young C. Sleader and you want to think about how do I make sure my company is customerdriven, That's what the original book was about. Its not how to do customersuccess, it's how to make sure you're...

...company is customer focused, customerobsessed, if you will. So it's more of a philosophical book than it is a howto book. We wrote a couple more books after that, one of which is kind of ahow to book. So if you find it on amazon it will suggest that you buythese other two books with it more likely so you can get the best of allworlds. But it's a great, it's a great resource for people who are new tocustomers success. So Yeah, come to pulse. I think we'll have 10,000 peopleat virtual pulse in about a month from now. Find me on linkedin and I'm happyto converse and answer questions if you have any and then through sales impactacademy or a number of other forums where I am a frequent speaker or atleast an occasional speaker, you can listen to me more if you're inclined todo that after this. Our awesome Thanks dan. I really appreciate you coming on,being very generous with your time and your wisdom. So anyone that waslistening to that just leveled up their customer success game quite a bit. Allright. Thanks for checking out that episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Again.I'm tom Mallamo add me on linkedin. I work over at dawn. I co host thispodcast and uh, it's my pleasure to kick off monday with you. One last wordfrom our sponsors over at quota path, quota Path is the first radicallytransparent end to end compensation solution from sales reps to finance.Get started for free at quarter past dot com slash revenue dash collective.It's monday. Get after. It will see you next week. Mhm.

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