The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 11 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 to the revenue collective podcast. This is your host Tom Alamo and this is where revenue leaders come to learn the ticks the tips tricks and tactics that you need to be successful. Let's leave that one in. Um really excited to be here on this monday morning. Hope you're enjoying your morning coffee, you're walking the dog, your peloton, whatever is going on right now and uh really excited for this interview with dan Steinman. Before we get to dan, let's give a quick shout out to our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by quota path, a commission tracking software built for sales operations, finance and accounting teams. If running commissions and payroll has you running for the hills quota path is for you, quote a path helps organizations track and manage commissions and pay their teams accurately and on time every time. Keep your team motivated and on target. Simplify your commissions at quota path dot com slash revenue dash collectives and give your reps the gift of transparency. We got dan Steinman in the house, chief evangelist at gain site. I call him the godfather of customer success. I called him that to his face and he seemed to like it. He knows just about everything you need to know about starting a customer success team, you know, working with sales. Do we give him quotas? Do we not, do we hold them to renew als? How do we work with other departments? Every question that you might have across customer success dan Simon can answer. He's also running the customer success part of the sales impact Academy, which is a partner of revenue collective. So if you are a member of our C, you can get direct access to the sales impact Academy for free and learn more from dan. So without further ado, let's get straight 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 this conversation and I thought an interesting place to kick it off. We, we got connected via the sales impact Academy and the great team over there and I think it's kind of interesting and maybe even a little funny that it was 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 world and vice versa? Yeah, it's a great question and I kind of had that same question when a company called sales Impact Academy reached out to me, but if you think about the world that we live in today, this world of recurring revenue, the world that has created the need for a customer success and sales impact Academy, despite the name, is really focused on go to market, not just sales, so that means sales and SDR and marketing. And then the fourth piece of that puzzle is clearly customer success because in a recurring revenue world, customer success drives revenue because it drives renewal and it drives up sell if it's done well. So it really kind of fills out sales impact academies curriculums if you will, because they were already doing marketing sTR and sales and then they had the idea well, we should probably add customer success to the, to the pack and they reached out to me and now they're soon to have I think four different customer success classes as part of their overall curriculum. So it's pretty exciting because I really do think that it puts customer success where it belongs, which is not as a post 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 go forward. Yeah. And if we take it back, I mean, customer success is pretty hot in the streets now. It's, it's kind of one of the cooler topics. I feel like customer 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 the game sites, I'd love to just hear you talk about what point of gain said, Did you actually join the company and talk about the early days of kind of like trudging 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 they asked him How his sudden fame came along and he said, Yeah, I only worked 35 years before I became an overnight success. And in a way, customer success and 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 gets going, it has its own momentum and it keeps going. And so yeah, so, customers success has actually been around Kind of officially for just short of 20 years now. I joined Gain site nine years ago, but I joined the customer success world In its new phraseology of customer success probably 15 years ago when I took my first job as a VP of customer success. And then I was the first VP of customer success at Marcato Now, 12 or 13 years ago and then joined game sites. So I've seen the evolution almost from the beginning, it started at salesforce and I wasn't there, but I've talked to a lot of people that were, so when we started game site, it was pretty clear that customer success was a thing. And what really drove our assurance that it was going to become a bigger thing was the movement to the subscription business. In what teens how calls the subscription economy Teen was employee number six at Salesforce and now Ceo and founder at a company called Zohra, which is all about managing your subscription business. So as we kind of watched, looked at the landscape 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 your customers, you allow them to force you to earn your money from them, as opposed to trying to collect it all up front. And so when we looked at the world that was moving towards subscription, we knew that customer success was going to get bigger and bigger because that world requires some post sales focus on customers beyond just onboarding them and collecting maintenance fees. You actually have to take care of them and trying to maximize the lifetime value. So that's the journey that we've really been on a game site is just kind of preaching to the world how important customer success is. And promoting not just the idea, but the role of customer success manager as an important role, as an underpaid role, as a organization that will spur the ceos of the future because they'll grow up understanding customers, etcetera, etcetera. So, for the last nine years again, site, we've really embrace that community and tried to enhance the vision for that community and the value of that community in the eyes of Ceo is in venture capital, people and and employees who want to do something that kind of favors taking care of customers. Yeah, I have uh I've worked in both pre and post sales in my career and I've had a mentor that told me earlier in my career 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, you wipe 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's really this whole changing of the mindset that I feel like companies have had to make of how to build those really long term valuable relationships with customers and that's like at the heart of of customer success. Yeah. In fact teams out who I mentioned earlier I think was the originator of this quote. Something like it used to be...

...that the sale was the end of the relationship and in our world today the sale is actually the beginning of the relationship. Yeah, super interesting way of thinking about things. You had shared a white paper with me to check out before our conversation, which I did and it had nick meta is kind of like top 10 or maybe collectively kind of like the top 10 tips around customer success. And one of them struck me as a little surprising. I'd love to chat about this for a second. I don't have the exact terminology but it's kind of like the customers natural response is to churn. And um, just the verb image of that kind of like stuck with me a little bit. Kind of made me take a step back. I'd love for you to unpack that a little bit. Yeah, I'll just back up because I think the story of how that particular piece of content came about is pretty interesting at game site. We when we did our series, see the lead investor was a company called Bessemer Venture Partners, which arguably is the most successful investor in the SAS world with portfolio companies including Twilio and some really amazing successes. And hopefully hopefully they would put game site on that list. But best summer, about five years before that event had done a paper called The 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and it was a huge hit. Like every ceo of every software company in the world knew that paper inside and out because everything was moving to the cloud and becoming subscription. So when Bessemer funded our Series C at game site, they asked us, why don't you guys do a 10 laws of customer success as kind of a follow on to the 10 laws of cloud computing? And we thought that was a great idea. So I kind of spearheaded 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 about 15 of the visionaries, the VPs of customers success in the Valley at companies like box and intact and Exactly. And some of the more progressive kind of SAAS companies Marcato. And we got in a room and I gave them about 30 possibilities for the 10 laws of customer success. And through argument and arm wrestling and conversation, we came to a consensus on the 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 those people that were in the room when we made that decision and then nick our ceo at gains. I took one of them and I took one of them. So that's how we curated the 10 laws of customer success. And so the one you're talking about is actually one of my favorite ones because it sounds controversial on the surface. But when you think about it, it's so logical. And that is I think the way we were, that it was the natural tendency for customers is towards churn. And here's the metaphor that I use if you put too rowboats side by side in the middle of a lake with no one in either road boat and you came back the next day. What is the likelihood that those two boats are still 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 why is that? Well, they drift apart because of a number of things, wind and waves and 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 I think 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 in both of those rowboats that is actively rowing the two boats to stay close together, they will naturally drift...

...apart. The same thing is true for vendor and customer and the reason that customers will drift towards churn is one simple word change, because if I have you as a customer tom, let's say you're my customer and I'm the vendor, we might be really well aligned when we first get the deal done, which is most likely the case. Otherwise you wouldn't do a deal with us. But if I don't actively manage the relationship and you do the same thing, then all the changes that are going to happen are going to force us apart. For example, our product is going to change, so you may not use it in the first six weeks, but if you don't do any more than that a 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 with different people and different processes and by the way, your organization is also going to change. So we're going to have to work with different people and different processes and on and on and on. The product is going to change dramatically. The market's going to change, our thought leadership is going to change. In other words, everything is going to change. And unless there's a proactive effort to keep those two elements vendor and customer of the two robots, side by side, the forces of nature are going to push them apart. And the the result of that in a subscription world is that the customer will ultimately churn because they'll say, I'm not getting 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 getting maximum value out of that product. So, and I think we have 1000 examples in my career anyway, of customers who left to their own devices will always drift away from the vendor. That's just the natural tendency very seldom. Where will they naturally drift towards the vendor? So that's what that particular law of customer success means. Interesting. And that robot analogy, we're not gonna get too deep here dan. But that could, you know, relate to pretty much any sort of personal or professional relationship. And it's pretty uh I like I like where you're going with that analogy truth. I thought I would I do that one publicly. I'll always say this is free and you can'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 please take 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 take it whenever I get it. I'm curious in the early days of gain site and then maybe just throughout the duration, did you feel like you folks were more so marketing and fighting the battle of, hey, we're gain site. This is what we do versus trying to make the fight and make the case for why customer success as a whole, as a category is so important to a business. Do you feel like it was the former of the latter? Yeah, it's a super insightful question tom because it's more of the, it's more of the former. When we started game site. 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 some more later. But it was simply our idea that we should gather the community together to talk about this new thing called customer success. And we did that, not claiming that we were the experts, not claiming that we knew more than anybody else. Just saying, hey, we're part of the community to, and let's try to learn from each other. So that was our initial focus was we don't know any more, probably than most of the other people doing this in the world. So let's just get together and talk about it and let's try to build a community that could share and make one another better by doing that. So the first, in fact, the very first pulse, which had 450 people at it, almost nobody left that conference with any...

...idea who, who sponsored it. We didn't put up any signs about game site, we didn't show a demo, we didn't do any of that. We just said, hey, we're here to learn along with you guys over the years. We kept that kind of idea for the first three years and I'm not just talking 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, or here'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 we were just part of the community sharing. But over time we gained so much knowledge from the community and from our own experience that we kind of started 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 they are, even if it wasn't our idea might have come from the community, but we now have the obligation start to start preaching those things that we know work. And by the way, probably almost every other industry has gone through the same cycle, like Crm is a good example. Salesforce didn't invent the funnel, contrary to popular belief, they did not invent the sales funnel, they simply operationalized it, but they took that same tactic, which is let's operationalize this thing that we know lots of companies already doing an excel or however they're doing it and then over time they became the experts on how to operationalize it, how to think about it, how many sales funnel stages there should be, what a good suggestion for a template for what those stages could be, etcetera, etcetera. We're kind of following in that same path, which is, we started off not being able to say here's the right way and here's the wrong way, but over the course of nine years we can still say there's a lot of things that nobody is quite sure of the best way to do them, but there's a whole bunch of things that we are sure of, what the best way to do them is. So we have evolved dramatically over the nine years from being just a member of the community to kind of being the curator of 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 gathering those people together, we just learned a whole bunch and we felt it was our obligation to share them with the rest of the world. Yeah, I think that's that's great advice for any of the, you know, executives or entrepreneurs that are listening that are kind of forging their own type of path and trying to open up their own market. I'm curious like if I was someone listening to this that was, you know, a VP of customer success or chief customer officer at a growing budding startup where there's probably a ton of obstacles. I feel like 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 top salespeople and bring them in? and I'm going to take people from marketing? Do I need to hire people like with a bunch of CS experience from other organizations? Like how would you go about, like trying to, you know, find the right people, whether it's it's certain experience or attributes that they have. Yeah. It's a critically important question that you're asking tom And everyone ought to think hard and long about this question because as we know, sooner or later everything comes down to people and the quality of people that you hire now, it is in the real world, there are some differences in the ways different companies run customer success. So some of what I'm gonna say is generalization, but I think the generalization is pretty good overall. So who would I look for? I'll make a few comments. One is we found that there's a whole bunch of sales people out there who actually don't really want to be salespeople, but they love working with customers and that's why they ended up in sales. And I can't even tell you the number of people who used to be salespeople and became...

...customer success managers who have come to me and said personally, thank you for inventing customer success because I found my home. My first response is I didn't invent it. So thank you for saying that. But let's not pretend I invented it. I didn't. But I love the fact that you found your way home and what they meant by that was they were searching for a position that dealt with customers which they felt was one of their strengths but didn't necessarily carry a quota with it. They just wanted customers to be successful. Probably one way to say it would be more on the nurturing side than on the killer closer side. If you want to differentiate CSM and sales people kind of in a really general way. So I think X. Sales people have a lot of the great traits of a good CSM. The one thing that's probably missing is the need to go quite a bit deeper in how the product actually works than most sales people would have to. So that's one thing to keep in mind we found over the years that great see sms come from a variety of backgrounds. They could be from product, they could be from marketing that's probably less relevant. But I'll talk about what my three legged stool when I'm hiring a CSM goes like this in descending order of priority number one, domain expertise. If you're going to be dealing with customers, The most important trait that you can have is you understand the business they're in. So when I was at Marcato hiring customer success managers, I wanted people who had marketing experience because you want to 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 of customers success because I could look them in the eye and say, I know exactly what you're weak, looks like. I could map out your calendar and get almost every hour of your entire week, correct? Because I know exactly what that job entails 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 about it. If you're a customer of ours and we sell an accounting package, would you rather have a CSM who's an ex accountant or would you rather have a CSM who has a different expertise? But it's been a CSM for 10 years? I think the answer almost always is I'd rather have an ex accountant because he's going to understand my job. By the way, if I'm that vendor and I hire an ex accountant as our CSM, that person is going to be an expert on our product in no time because they know of the accounting business and they will make our product better because they'll look at it and say that's not solving the problem. You think it's solving it's only making it worse. So you get the best of both worlds, you get all this great product feedback and you get this expert talking the customer, second trait, domain expertise. Number one, Number two is product expertise. The job is to help you get more value out of my product, which means I have to know my product inside and out. So either hire people who know your product, if you're big enough, you could do that. If you're marquette or salesforce or somebody like that, you could do it. If you're not then you just need to hire people with an attitude towards whatever kind of technology you're selling. And then the third leg of the stool is pretty simple. One that is you have to have a customer facing skills. This is what an ex salesperson brings. They know how to run meetings, they know how to read people, they know how to prepare for meetings, 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 in common. So that's the three legged stool. There's two personal characteristics that really help. One is curiosity. This is probably true in almost every job. If you have a natural curiosity, you're going to be better at that 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 because we 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 of personality characteristics. The other ones are more of the kind of dynamics of your profession that will drive success. Now one situation that I've seen CSM s get into in the past that seems challenging is balancing the line of not being a support person, right? Like not being the person that maybe has to do all of their training for them or you know, solve the actual issue for them but also not forgetting that the whole point here is like you're trying to renew and grow your relationship with customers. So I guess how would you recommend that a leader in CS compensates or in some way motivates C. S. M. S. Or managers of CS around like renew als or is there should they have a quota? Should they get paid on up sells, you know, things like that that are usually reserved for salespeople? Yeah, It's another good question. One comment I'll make tom to that question is what is the expectation of CSM? This is a really, really important topic of conversation ongoing. 15 years in we're still having this conversation which means it's one that is super important and can be managed in a variety of ways. And that is the question of should a CSM carry quota kind of That's that's the core question. I always tell people who run customer success teams, if your company does well, you're going to get asked one of these two questions, probably more than once. One is why can't we give the CSM quota? And the other question or is can we charge for their time? Right. And by the way, if you have a good ceo and a good CFO, they should ask those questions because you want to get more out of every single person in your company and you think naturally that you could get more out of your CSM s if you put them on quota or you would get more revenue as a company if you could charge for their time. The answer to both of those questions, strongly in my opinion is no, no, you can't give them a quota and no you can't charge for their time. And I'll talk about why each one no, you can't give them a quota because you don't want them to be salespeople. Sales is a very different skill and if you ask CSM is to be salespeople to bad things happen. 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 that most CSM SRC sms because they don't want to be sales people and if you put them on a quota, you're asking them to be salespeople and it probably doesn't work out very well. The assumption behind doing that is while they're working with customers all the time, just like sales people do so they ought to be able to do it. The answer is, those are very different skills. CSM skills are very different from sales skills, and when you ask someone to do two different jobs, the ultimate result is almost always that they don't do either one of them very well. And here's a good metaphor. If you ask a CSM to do renewal's, they will probably do them, but they will optimize for customer satisfaction, not for money. They want the customer to like them at the end of that renewal process. That's the most important thing to them. If you ask a sales person to do renewal's, they will optimize for money because that'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 the fact that if I ask a CSM to do renewal's, they're going to not optimize for money. They're going to optimize for customer success or a customer sat and a salesperson will get...

...the most money out of the customer, but they'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 to think about that CSM is a very different skill set than sales. The other question is, can you charge for customer success? The answer is, you can, but here's what happens if the same person, let's say if I'm your CSM tom and there are some things I charge you for and some things I don't charge you for, our relationship is going to get pretty funky. Like every time I say yes, I can help you with that, you're going to have to ask the question, are you going to charge me for that or not? In other words, it's really, really difficult to manage the relationship if some of the things I do I charge you for and some of the things I do, I don't charge you for. The best thing you can do in that environment is to have a separate group of people maybe with 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 overlapping skills, but this allows me as the CSM to do another thing that great sales people do and that is to manage the customer through me being a manager of my own company's resources. What I mean by that is you can come to me and say the support team isn't responding quickly enough. Can you help me with this support case? My answer is no, I don't do support but let me go put some pressure on the support team to be a little bit more responsive and make sure 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 not dedicated 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 accomplish exactly what you're trying to do and you could be done with that by friday instead of by august. If you keep working with me might be the same set of skills, but time is really important. So if I can sell you something that accelerates the timeframe and in that world you should have a good option of basically choosing that. So a CSM has to manage all the resources. Sometimes the CSM says I need the CEO on my next call with you. Sometimes the CSM says I need the product manager on my next call with you. And sometimes the CSM does 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 call with this prospect because we need to get this deal done or I need the product 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 the customers or prospects journey with us if you will. So I think those are legitimate questions to ask, but I think we need to see customer success as a function that is separate from sales and separate from professional services. And if all of those things are done well all of them get optimized as does the customers lifetime value, which is really the job of the customer success manager. That's great. And and 11 last big one for you here dan. I'm curious. Like you've probably spoken to thousands of customer success leaders over the years. I have to imagine what's like the number one biggest mistake that you see new customer success leaders make. If there's anything that jumps to mind. Yeah, there's a few things on that list and I have talked to a whole bunch of them. So I have a pretty good idea. Uh some of 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 the CSM or the customer success leader is...

...making sure the entire company understands what that role means and what that organization does and does not do because some of the people may not be as familiar with it now. More and more people are becoming familiar with it. But if for example if I joined a new company as the VP of customer success, one of the things I'd observe is how old is the Ceo. And did they grow up in the enterprise software world or did they grow up in a SAS world? If they're 32 years old, then I probably don't need to teach them about SAS or how important customer success is. 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 customer success, why it's important and how it works. So number one is making sure that you're not an island. I had a good friend who did this metaphor Sometimes customers success has looked at this way, think about an assembly line building cars and at the end of the assembly line is the customer success manager. And their job is to teach the customer how to drive the car. It's to help the customer by their next car. But at the same time they have to fix every other screw up that happened on the assembly line before the car got to them. That's a recipe for absolute failure. There's no way. That's right because they have to also get the car out on time right. They can't delay the process. What has to happen is there may be a customer success manager that's kind of at the end of that assembly line but they better be putting a lot of pressure on everyone else in that assembly line to make sure they do their jobs really well. So I can do my job as a customer success manager or a VP of customer success. A big part of my job is putting pressure on the sales VP to make sure he's setting customer expectations properly that he is sharing with me and my team, every single thing he learns about a prospect before they become a customer and all of that knowledge gets transitioned to the customer success team so that they can be successful. In other words, the VP of customer success has to make the sales job harder. We have to require the salespeople to be better at their jobs or we won't be successful at our job. Similarly, the VP of customer success has to make sure that the product managers are better at their jobs like this product has to not just demo well so we can sell it. It actually has to work really well so we can renew it. So there's this kind of golden triangle, if you will be p of sales VP of product VP of customer success. And that better be a really well 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, making sure customers success isn't an island, that the entire company is committed to it. And then the last thing I'll say is like building a house, you got to get the foundation right. So if I'm running customer success, one of the first things I have to think about is what is the foundation? What are the pillars of doing customer success really well, one is getting the people right, But then there's a philosophy, you better have a philosophy and it doesn't have to be perfect, but you better have a philosophy that'll work. Like for example, the first thing I'm gonna do is make sure that we map out the customer journey, so we know what touch points we want to have with every single new customer for the first year, and then also for the second year, like we need to do on boarding, it needs to take six weeks, it's going to have these 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 business reviews, here's the data, we're going to watch to intervene with the customer if things are going wrong or if they're going really well. So I want to map out that cycle because then I can drive...

...discipline around living up to that customer journey. And by the way, if I don't do that, the customers, each one individually will choose their own journey. And we have a word for that. The word is chaos Because every customer will try to find a way to be successful. And if I don't map out the journey there on their own, that means they're calling their sales guy six months after the deal was done, because they're not getting what they expected their opening 10 support tickets a day because they're not getting what they need from the product. They're finding a whole bunch of bugs because the product isn't good enough. They're calling the Ceo because they happen to know him saying, Hey, I'm not getting enough support. I'm not getting value out of your product. That's chaos, right? But if I map out the journey and I show it to the customer, here's what you should expect from us. Now, I can live up to that journey and I'm living up to the customer's expectations. Now we have an orchestration going on, it won't be perfect. There will always be things that happen outside of that journey, but that's the discipline. And back to the crm analogy, this is the discipline that we instill. When we say this is our sales funnel, these are the seven stages, and here's the things that have to happen at each stage in order to move the deal to the next stage, right? That's the discipline of a prospect being managed. And all we're saying is that you need the same kind of discipline to manage a customer through their journey. And if you do that, things will be much better for both the customer and for you as an organization. So think about what your philosophy is and what your underlying pillars of success are and having the customer journey mapped out and figuring out how to make it a disciplined process is one of the fundamentals of doing customer success dan. This has been absolutely amazing. I've got one last quick question for you and then we'll talk for a second about, you know, where folks can catch up with you and learn more, but obviously we're on the Revenue Collective podcast. It's, you know, a go to market kind of community. I just be 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 because this is the Revenue Collective podcast and there's a reason we're talking customer success. And one of the things I said earlier is you shouldn't put customer success managers on a quota, which basically is saying they're not part of the revenue mission, right? Because they're not on quota. That is not what I mean at all. You have to view customer success as a revenue driving organization, even if they're not doing the sales transaction. And here's the way I put it. When I hire and manage CSM s, I will say this to them. I will never ask you to be a sales person. But every single day of your life I'm going to ask you to be sales savvy. Because if your customers are 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 about it. You're my CSM I say to you, if none of your customers ever turn, you're not going to get fired. But if most of your customers are not growing the size of their contract, you're not going to get promoted. In other words, you have to do both. You have to make sure they retain. You also have to make sure they grow. So customers success ultimately should be measured on a revenue number, what we call net revenue retention or that dollar retention. And that is the combination of renewing their contracts and buying more. And you can measure customer success on that. Even if you don't ask them to get the signature on the real contract or the signature on the Upsell, customers, success can make those things happen without actually doing the final kind of contract work the negotiation of the price and the closing of the deal. So the best see SMS drive all sorts of revenue without...

...ever closing any deals in their entire life. And that's one of the ways the world has changed in a subscription economy, sales and customer success have to work together, just like sales and marketing have learned to work together. So make sure there's no mistake 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 the analogies that works really well is most sales team have an account exact who's on quota and a sales engineer or whatever we call them. That's alongside of them doing the demos, having the technical conversations, interacting with 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 of the amazon quota, The other one is targeted on revenue number, but not specifically on a quota. Once the sale is done, there is still a salesperson usually called an account manager and they partner with a CSM in the same way one is unquote to the other, one is responsible for driving deals without being on a quota, right? And is ultimately bone ist on how many of those deals get done. So just to clear that up now, back to your question about networking. SMS love to network with each other in a way that's very different from almost any other industry I've ever been in because they're naturally nurturing and there are naturally driven towards community. So if you can get a group of CSS together, they will naturally share best 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 to tell you about it, but C. S M. S are like, hey, here's everything I've ever done that worked and here's everything I've ever done that didn't work. So there'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 conference that gain side hosts. There's a number of other conferences in the customer success world. CSM? S Love to go to those things for the networking and the sharing that happens online. There's a bunch of those two, there's a number of linked in forums for customer success managers. Some of those are pretty big. I think it's called. The customer success management forum is now somewhere around 40,000 people. A bunch of really great conversations going on there. So a ton of awesome networking opportunities there. So much like almost any other profession, you can find birds of a feather groups, whether it's meetups or online forums and that's just a great way to network ask questions, answer questions, interact with other folks pretty soon. If you sound smart enough people start asking you if you're available for a new job and things like that, which is flattering to everybody. Just becoming a customer success manager guarantees you that you get three or four calls a month from recruiters because that particular job title is in such high demand. But those are a couple of networking tips. I think that really worked well, awesome dan, the godfather of customer success. If I may call you that, I know we got the pulse conference, I think you mentioned june maybe ninth through 11th or 10 to 12. You're doing some great work with sales Impact Academy, which if anyone is listening to this and is a member of revenue Collective actually has access to sales Impact Academy for free, which is pretty amazing. And where anything else that's going on? Where else? Like if people have questions for you or want to connect with you, where would you point them? Yeah, you can find me on linkedin, just dan Steinman on linkedin. I would also not to plug this, but we also did write the book on customer success as tom mentioned and especially if you're a young C. S leader and you want to think about how do I make sure my company is customer driven, That's what the original book was about. Its not how to do customer success, it's how to make sure you're...

...company is customer focused, customer obsessed, if you will. So it's more of a philosophical book than it is a how to book. We wrote a couple more books after that, one of which is kind of a how to book. So if you find it on amazon it will suggest that you buy these other two books with it more likely so you can get the best of all worlds. But it's a great, it's a great resource for people who are new to customers success. So Yeah, come to pulse. I think we'll have 10,000 people at virtual pulse in about a month from now. Find me on linkedin and I'm happy to converse and answer questions if you have any and then through sales impact academy or a number of other forums where I am a frequent speaker or at least an occasional speaker, you can listen to me more if you're inclined to do 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 was listening to that just leveled up their customer success game quite a bit. All right. 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 this podcast and uh, it's my pleasure to kick off monday with you. One last word from our sponsors over at quota path, quota Path is the first radically transparent 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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