Delta-v Roundtable on The Chief Customer Officer Playbook in Action: Driving Capital-Efficient Growth

July 12, 2023

EVENT RECAP

Companies are challenged to do more with less while customers are demanding more for less. How can Post-Sale leaders and Customer Success executives step in and step up to help achieve company growth goals? 

Join Rod, CEO of HelloCCO and author of The Chief Customer Officer Playbook. He's previously served as VP of Global Professional Services at Gainsight, SVP of Customer Success at Narvar, Global VP of Customer Success at Marketo, CCO at Sequoia, and Vice President of Customer Care at RingCentral. in an interactive discussion on how you can strengthen your approach to deliver predictable, repeatable results for your customers and meet the expectations of your executive team.

✅ Ideal for Customer Success Leaders and Founders

📈  Join to discuss:

  • Optimizing your current segmentation model to maximize growth and margins
  • Analyzing the cost-to-deliver and prioritizing investments
  • Identifying automation and self-service opportunities to improve productivity
  • Accurately assessing and driving down the cost of delivery (including implementation, support CS, and operational costs)
  • Segmenting customers with matching interaction models to best allocate scarce resources
  • Designing learning programs to lower implementation costs and accelerate time to value

We are happy to offer a free signed copy of Rod’s book to everyone who registers to attend the discussion. Please provide your mailing address on this form and it will be sent to you prior to the event. 

Video

Colin Barclay

Thank you all for being here. I’m gonna hand it over to Rod. We’ve got about 50 minutes to get through some exciting content. We’re not really gonna leave much time at the end for Q&A. So just jump in, you know, as questions arise. And again, hopefully this can be a collaborative session. And with that, Rod, the floor is yours.

Rod Cherkas

Thank you. Yeah, the reason we’re not gonna do Q&A at the end is we’re just gonna have a discussion along the way. So this is not intended to be a 45, 50 minute lecture. We’re gonna have some fun and I’ll cold call on some of you along the way. Anyway, thank you very much for the time. I’m looking forward to having our discussion here. I wanted to start with a little story. How many of you have a sibling? Raise your hand. Maybe you have a little bit of sibling rivalry. I’ll let you figure out whether this is my younger brother or my older brother.

Rod Cherkas

But anyway, my brother came out from the East Coast. I live in San Mateo, California and wanted to make sure he had a good time out here. We had gone out to Lake Tahoe, which he hadn’t been to before. It’s kind of beautiful if you’ve ever been there and wanted to show him that big brother still had it. And so I took him out, you know, we did some hiking and we also rented one of those boats where they pull you behind the boat. I don’t know if you’ve kind of ever done that. It’s a little floaty and they, you know, drag you.

Rod Cherkas

It feels like a hundred miles an hour and you’re banging up and down on the water, which is tons of fun. You’re screaming. It’s really exciting. Well, turns out that I ended up getting vertigo from the experience. I should have known that this was gonna happen. I’ve had vertigo before and it’s a situation where you kind of get out of balance. And even from looking at the inner tube here where it says airhead, I really should have known that I was gonna do that. And I was basically like, couldn’t walk, had lost my balance for about two weeks.

Rod Cherkas

Well, the reason that I’m sharing this story is because over the past year, a lot of us in our organizations have felt a little bit more out of balance than we have in the past. Maybe your company’s had challenges growing its revenue. Maybe there’ve been layoffs, slowdowns in certain parts of the business, or focus on improving productivity and operating metrics in a way that many of us haven’t had to deal with sort of systemically for about a decade.

Rod Cherkas

And so one of the things we’re gonna talk about today are some of the strategies that you may be able to apply in your businesses to help get your businesses on, kind of back in balance and to help you think about ways to allocate your resources, allocate your capital most efficiently to help your businesses grow in a way that meets your business needs. How many of you kind of feel this way? Feel like you’re a little bit out of balance.

Rod Cherkas

Can somebody share an experience that you have maybe over the past six or 12 months that’s gotten you a little bit out of balance? Harris, you raised your hand. What would you share?

Speaker 3

Yeah, I think for me, the share is more of transitioning into a new company in the last six months and looking how both our restaurant tech companies, where I was coming from and where I was going, some of similar pain points and problems experienced as a result of the pandemic leading to some hyper growth as well as some accordion-ing of customer bases. So for me, the out of balance has been transitioning into a new world with similar but different problems and adjusting into that flow.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, yeah. Steve, anything from you that you felt has gotten you a little bit out of balance in the past year that you’ve had to think through?

Speaker 4

Hey, sorry guys, just smashing Subway over here real quick. Yeah, we’ve had an interesting year. We’re segmented across the US into four segments, small, medium business, commercial, enterprise and large enterprise. And then we have a kind of strong international expansion underway into Europe and Canada and Australia. And we’ve had pressure in different segments. We’ve had a transition in industry verticals that are, you know, and we’re seeing budget available and shifting focus. So there’s been a lot of transitions this year for us.

Speaker 4

It’s been challenging, it’s been fun, it’s been interesting, it’s been a pain in the ass too. So there’s been many.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, you know, so I work with a lot of clients as was mentioned earlier. I’ve been a chief customer officer, I’ve run implementation teams and services teams, I’ve run success organizations, support education teams directly. And then I’ve had an opportunity to work across. And, you know, about two years ago, I started a consulting business working with fast growing companies like yourselves and the executive teams and the post-sale leaders to help them improve their.

Rod Cherkas

productivity, help them improve their customer experiences. And I can share with you that as I work with my clients, a lot of companies and a lot of leaders are struggling just to figure out because there’s so much change happening. There’s new pressures, there’s change in expectations for what, you know, overall the company needs to deliver. I’ll ask Kat in a little bit about her thoughts coming at it from a CFO perspective.

Rod Cherkas

And then, you know, being really being thoughtful about how you allocate your resources most efficiently to get the outcomes that you need to increase for customer facing teams, improve customer experience, to improve retention, to help contribute to expansion. So we’ll talk a little bit about that today.

Rod Cherkas

So, you know, the focus in my consulting practice and the work I do with leaders has been mostly around the post-sale experiences and helping folks that are, they’re sometimes called a chief customer officer and many times it’s a VP or SVP role that’s responsible for, you know, one or many of the post-sale experiences.

Rod Cherkas

And, you know, it’s been an exciting time over the last decade, particularly with the growth of SaaS companies that have these recurring revenue businesses, the importance of being able to grow your base, make sure you’re retaining it over time so that they buy other products and services from you. And so this chief customer officer role has been one of the fastest growing roles among over about 50 leadership roles that LinkedIn tracks.

Rod Cherkas

So there’s a lot of energy around it, a lot of focus on, you know, not just the customer experience but the top line financial impact. But one of the challenges is that there’s not yet, you know, a huge leadership sort of function across the world. There’s about 4,000, a little over 4,000 chief customer officers compared to, you know, over 50,000 CMOs and over 200,000 CFOs. So it’s become increasingly important. And, you know, one of the things I do in my practice is try to help evolving leaders be able to operate at that executive level.

Rod Cherkas

So, you know, I would like to do just a quick poll that Robert will pop up that’ll talk a little bit about your organization’s growth in 2023. And that’ll, you know, whatever use that to inform some of the topics that we talk about. But if you could just take a minute, I suppose there’s just a couple of us, you know, to talk about.

Colin Barclay

Rod, is this overall headcount or just within a team?

Rod Cherkas

Within your post-sale organizations, I would say. I suppose some of you are managing sales teams and some, you know, Kat, you mentioned your, you have a couple of teams. So just within your post-sale organizations, how would you describe that? And I suppose we can, you know, pretty much go around and just ask what your experience is. Like Steve, you’d mentioned that you’ve had a number of changes in your organization over the past year in terms of segmentation. How would you describe how you think about your organization size and impact?

Speaker 4

Yeah, so… I think that we’ve Yeah, so we’re still in high growth mode as a company. We’ve had to shift, I think, expectations on acquisition sales in certain segments and balance out where we can shift capacity to get higher growth. International has been a big piece of that for us. But, you know, we continue to grow our customer success, our post-sale team, right? We are signing a ton of customers and that team has to grow along with it. So we’re still in growth mode at the moment.

Rod Cherkas

Kyle, how about your organization?

Colin Barclay

Kyle’s actually a Delta VT member.

Rod Cherkas

Oh, got it, sorry.

Colin Barclay

Kyle and Hillary both.

Rod Cherkas

Oh, I see. Okay, sorry about that. And then Kat, how about yourself at Edited? What are you seeing in the post-sale teams?

Colin Barclay

So we’re, I mean, we’re growing, but very slowly. So it’s as and when we acquire customers and we’ve had a pretty difficult first half of the year. So we’re not really growing the team that fast. We’re reallocating or re-changing responsibilities more than growing.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, and then Steve, and how about yourself?

Speaker 4

Yeah, growing, but also slowly. It’s as and when needed. And we’re probably only growing post-sales because it was understaffed coming into this year. We saw a tremendous amount of growth through the pandemic and have a lot of customers that now have some problems. And so post-sales is having to grow because of that.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, and Harris, yourself?

Speaker 3

Oh, I was muted. Sorry about that. Our team were steady growth in terms of, or sorry, steady headcount from last year to this year on the post-sale side. Within my org specifically, the B2B marketing team supports our post-sale org and that org is remaining stagnant. There was some reduction last year from where they were coming from. So since I’ve been there, headcount has all been on the acquisition front as opposed to the post-sale front.

Rod Cherkas

What I’ve seen with a lot of my clients and a lot of SaaS companies is that the post-sale leaders are being asked to keep their headcount flat while they’re trying to support growth.

Rod Cherkas

I mean, in some cases, they’re being asked to lay off and cut back on expenses in certain areas, but the mindset has basically been figure out how to support ongoing company growth with flat or if you lose people, not replacing the headcount, which is forcing a focus on how do you improve productivity, how you think about segmentation so that you can reallocate your resources. And we’ll talk about a few of these opportunities today. So just quickly, I’d be happy to send all of you a copy of the book if you hadn’t received it.

Rod Cherkas

I know some of you have submitted a link and I’ve sent it out. But I basically wrote a book recently called the Chief Customer Officer Playbook, which is intended to help post-sale leaders and chief customer officers identify strategies that they can be building to grow their careers and also help them deliver the experiences and outcomes that their companies need. And it basically is organized around these eight strategies.

Rod Cherkas

And there is a series of different examples and tips in each of these eight chapters, one for each of these strategies that readers have found very useful in growing their careers and applying to their businesses. We’re going to… they relate to this idea of allocating your resources efficiently to help support growth. So the first one I’d like to talk about is this concept of how do you optimize metrics that are most important for your business?

Rod Cherkas

If you’re a CFO, like Cat perhaps at your company, there’s a number of outcomes that the post-sale teams are expected to contribute to help achieve the board level, company level impact, right? Affecting revenue growth, affecting profitability, affecting time to value potentially. And there’s a lot of ways that the post-sale leaders can be contributing to that. I want to talk specifically about one of these things that you can be doing today to help understand how you can best allocate your resources, how you can spend in the right areas.

Rod Cherkas

And it’s in this concept of understanding unit cost and your cost of delivery. So a lot of what I find when I work with clients is they have a big organization, maybe they have multifunction organizations, and then they deliver these experiences for customers. And these days, everybody’s looking for improved margins, improved profitability. So you go, okay, where are we making money in our organization? Maybe where are we investing more in customers than we think that they’re worth?

Rod Cherkas

So the concept that I encourage folks that I work with to do is to think through what are the different costs of your post-sale organization that could include your how much it costs to set up or support. Perhaps you have some type of CSM or account management organization, and there might be other costs that are allocated to your post-sale teams. And then think about how do you divide that by the number of customers, either across your whole business, or even better, you can look at it on a segment by segment basis.

Rod Cherkas

You can look at it by your cost of delivery for perhaps your enterprise business or your SMB business, or maybe you look at it as a US-based or international, whatever is relevant for you to understand your cost of delivery. Because you may find as you do this, that there’s certain segments of your business that are worth more to you and that you can deliver more efficiently, and you’ll figure out what that is.

Rod Cherkas

And then there may be other parts of your business where it’s like, they’re just not profitable and you need to think about, should you shift resources or where could you move people around? Kat, how do you work with your team? So as a CFO, how do you think about this? And do you expect your post-sale leaders to be understanding some of their financial metrics?

Speaker 5

I think it’s a bit harder with our product because it’s kind of one piece of software that everyone has access to it, especially the one product line. So you can’t really allocate the cost of it to a specific customer, nor does it have an implementation process. So it’s a bit harder for us to do a custom delivery per customer. And no, they don’t do it. We kind of have a proxy based on the size of the company and how much data, like regional data they’re buying, but no, our after sales.

Rod Cherkas

And I wasn’t necessarily intending that this is you look at it on a customer by customer basis, but you’d look at it by segment and you’d take all of the costs. And it could be just all of the costs of your post sale businesses divided by the number of customers. And then you see what it costs to implement or support or the operational piece. Because I find this, a lot of customer facing leaders are sort of thinking about their customer experience and they’re not very good at the finance or the analytics.

Rod Cherkas

I really encourage them, like coming out of even our discussions like this, to go reach out to their CFO or if they have a finance business partner and understand the P&L of your business, be asking these questions. They tend to be measuring the customer outcomes. Maybe it’s a resolution score, maybe it’s an implementation, maybe it’s, are you having your QPRs, maybe it’s your retention rate, but you’re not looking at the cost piece of it.

Rod Cherkas

And when you think about your resource allocation, you want to think about how much does it cost to service those customers. Does anybody think about or have done any analytics to say, one part of our business may be an enterprise business, is sort of higher margin, better for growth and a different part of your business may not be?

Speaker 4

So we offer a SaaS subscription service that is kind of two parts. It’s software and tech. It’s a platform you consume, but it’s also, there’s a service delivery angle. So we have a named concierge team that works very closely with our customers to interpret consume action recommendations from a security perspective. We’ve made a lot of progress recently in terms of getting to Uniconomics and our cost of delivery.

Speaker 4

And there’s some noticeable differences by segment in terms of, our bigger customers, higher on COGS from observations, our smaller customers, higher on COGS from a service delivery concierge perspective. And I think where we’re at is how do we start to look at changing service description, different classes of service for different segments. And that’s kind of the journey we’re on right now.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah. And as you do that, the financials, the unit costs can help inform, you know, where you’re allocating your resources. Harris, are you thinking about it in this way in your business?

Speaker 3

Yeah, with our business, we have a SaaS fee associated that’s equal across the restaurants. However, the volume with which they transact and in turn, our revenue sources do vary on how many transactions are occurring, how many deliveries and pickups. So we view it in the post-sale lens as classes based on their volume to better understand how impactful they are for the business.

Speaker 3

On the cost side, I don’t know that we’ve done enough of the analysis to look at the cost based on those different classes, but definitely in terms of that LTV or that ROI that we’re getting back. Yeah.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah. And the reason that this type of analysis is important is because when you’re asked by your organization and your budget is fixed and you’re trying to figure out where you allocate your next dollars, where you take that from, right? Are there resources you can allocate that same, whatever, $100,000 that helps drive higher retention, higher expansion, better outcomes for your customers, whereas if you allocate it to a different group, it may not be as worthwhile in moving the lever. So it’s just one way that I found is kind of useful to do that.

Rod Cherkas

And this is just a quick example. I’ll go through this, but when I worked at Marketo and we were thinking about our SMB versus our enterprise business, because…

Rod Cherkas

you know, Marketo grew out of a relatively small business. We sold like the average ARR at the time was about $15,000 in our SMB business, but we had relatively low retention because those companies would go out of business or they would lose the primary user, which is a different problem, right? You want to try and increase the retention rate. And so we’d started to look at all these different costs and see, I’m sorry, and kind of see where, you know, where we were getting to.

Rod Cherkas

And it helped us get to a decision that we would change how we were delivering our SMB business and how we should really focus on growing up market, right? So enabled us to think about subcontracting in our implementation. We put in place premium support for our enterprise customers and more focused on our self-service and helped us build out our education business where people didn’t it was like much more of a one-to-many type of solution.

Rod Cherkas

So it’s just a way that you can think about your unit economics to help you inform the decisions that you need to make. And you can still do this well, but it just said, Hey, let’s take some of these higher cost people out of the process because it wasn’t adding value. You could substitute through, you know, an online onboarding process or training resources that would enable customers to do things themselves, you know, and support resources that helped.

Speaker 4

Yeah. We actually at Stream got to the same point. Support costs is one thing that’s fairly easy to quantify. You know, you have a number of tickets and resolution time, and you’ve got the number of engineers who are working on it. And we found the same, even though the SMB customers submitted less tickets overall, their churn rate was so high that it’s just not worth it to put all the resources there.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great example. I was going to share just, you know, another model that you can use is around support, right? That might be another way that you can locate your cost model, right? You have your total cost of support, you have your number of support cases, which when you divide that gives you your average cost per case, and it might encourage you to say, okay, how do we address the underlying issues that are driving our support cases?

Rod Cherkas

Or, you know, similarly, if you were doing implementation, hey, how do we make it easier for the product to be implemented or to be set up with your restaurants or with your companies that are using your cybersecurity solution so that they don’t need this higher cost, higher touch type of resources? And we’ll talk about that, you know, in terms of improving your operational efficiency. But you can kind of do this math and it helps you focus your resources.

Rod Cherkas

So you, you know, you have different inputs for each different parts of the business in a support world. You want to decrease the overall number of support tickets per customer, right? Make your product easier, anticipate the issues, make it easier to find the, you know, find the answers. And then if they do have a problem, how can they solve it quickly? And that, you know, optimizing your cost of resources with locations, with, you know, onshore, offshore, with partners, driving to chat or self-service.

Rod Cherkas

There’s a lot of different resources that you can be thinking about leveraging. And, you know, I do this all the time with my clients. This is, you know, some of the services I provide, whether it’s around their support organization, whether it’s around implementation. We’ll talk in a couple minutes about the sort of the revenue growth, the adoption, driving retention with your CSM teams. You know, how many of you are feeling this, you know, that this need to improve your operational efficiency in your teams?

Rod Cherkas

Do you feel like you have good plans in place to get them in anything that you feel is working particularly well that you’d like to share?

Speaker 4

I think we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve identified the areas that we can go optimize. And I think we’re working through the implications of service deliveries, service offering, pricing, packaging, change, right inside of the base.

Speaker 4

And there’s a lot that goes into the next phase of it that we’re wrestling with. Excellent.

Rod Cherkas

Good. So on my website, I have a bunch of templates, both for this cost of delivery and a number of other resources that you can download, that whether it’s you or if you want to direct someone on your team, but key takeaways is the importance of understanding your cost metrics, building a really good relationship with your finance partner, your CFO as a post-sale leader, to help you think about where you best invest your resources, right? Maybe you can shift within your teams.

Rod Cherkas

Too many times, post-sale leaders think about, oh, I’ve got a support team and that’s my budget and I have to mix things within support of your CSM team. You know, if you’re a CCO or a VP across those teams, you can also be thinking about how you shift resources from one of those functions to another, right? Maybe you have one less CSM and you roll it into your education team to create some of those one-to-many resources, right? And they go, oh, well, I can’t grow my team.

Rod Cherkas

It’s like, well, you don’t have to keep all of your other teams the same size as well. They think about it as one big budget. So the next topic that I’d like to talk about is this concept of improving operational efficiency and productivity in your business. And there are a number of ways that when I’m working with clients, that they can be thinking about it. And I’ll give some examples of a couple of initiatives that I’ve worked on with companies. One of the really effective ways is to use, for example, your education or a university.

Rod Cherkas

This is a company called AutoMax that was growing really quickly. And basically the constraint that the CCO had was, just like we’ve talked about, you need to be able to support a very accelerated company growth, but you can’t grow your overall headcount. They needed to be able to start to be more operational efficient. And so one of the really great ways is to build out these set of one-to-many resources, right? So how do you create self-service learning paths?

Rod Cherkas

How do you drive value with your customers by introducing them to best practices and make it more proactive, encourage your customers to use these resources and then build it out in a way that helps them. Like if you have this persona, here’s the set of learning resources that you should be using. And not just how to use your product, but often how to do your job. A lot of companies find that really valuable and it’s not just a, like you’re not using it like a support website. I’m trying to do something. How do I learn to do that thing in my product?

Rod Cherkas

But you can provide even more value by helping them understand. And when I worked at Marketo, one of the reasons that I think Marketo was so successful, we made marketing automation software, was that we weren’t just teaching people how to use the product, we were teaching them how to be digital marketers. It was a new capability. Their bosses maybe at best worked at like a consumer package, a good company focused on brand marketing. And they didn’t really know how to do digital marketing.

Rod Cherkas

So we were needing to teach people not just how to do whatever lead scoring in Marketo, but why you need to do lead scoring in the first place, why that was helpful. And people really appreciated that. So that’s another way that as you build out self-service resources like a education or university portal, that you can provide value to your customers. And this is just some examples of building them out.

Rod Cherkas

One of the companies I work with is called Skilljar and they create a learning management system that makes it easy for companies like yours to build out these training portals, this learning path that can be very customized, very easy to manage for their organizations. Another set of resources that you can be leveraging in your post-sale teams for improving productivity is again, thinking about how to make your resources one to many.

Rod Cherkas

So what tends to create a lot of costs in an organization, and I think this is part of, when the cost of money was very low, companies were getting tens of millions in dollars in capital, they could hire people to have those interactions with customers. You had big CSM teams that were getting created, you’d each have 50 clients and you’d talk to them on a weekly or monthly basis, you do training. Well, a lot of that has stopped. You can’t grow your teams like that, you’re low end, it’s too expensive.

Rod Cherkas

And so, building out these resources that provide that same value, but in a one to many resource, right? You can be running webinars that provide that information, whether it’s product training, whether it’s best practices, helping with use cases, a lot of folks are starting to have a community that can be moderated where your customers can get answers to their questions from each other or from resources within your company. So that’s been a very effective way to support growth.

Rod Cherkas

And then whether it’s on your training portal and your support portal, just creating maybe videos around, self-service, how can you enable customers to get that same information? So instead of having a CSM just.

Rod Cherkas

saying the same thing to customers again and again about how to set something up or how to resolve an issue. You can create a short training video and put it on your community, putting on your website, maybe on YouTube to help share that. Are any of you have parts of your organizations that are doing more of these one-to-many or creating self-service resources? And how’s it working out?

Speaker 5

We’re doing webinars and they’re really, really successful. We have been thinking about community, but it’s a Pandora’s box.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah.

Speaker 5

Like it could end up being just a complaint form. So we’re thinking about it.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah. Tell me more about the webinars. What are you doing and what’s working so that the other folks in the group can learn?

Speaker 5

So it started with quarterly product feature webinars. So whatever new release we had, we would invite customers to every quarter to like demo the new releases. Now we’re not shifting, but we’re adding monthly training webinars. So today we’ll be looking at this feature or this use case. And yeah, we get a lot of signups, only about 50% of who said will sign up will actually attend, but it’s still good. Like the engagement’s still there. So it’s still working.

Rod Cherkas

That’s pretty common. And the value of that is otherwise your CSM team perhaps needs to share that same information with customers on a one-to-one basis, or your support team is getting calls or tickets about new products or features that they get introduced, but they don’t know what it’s about. And so you get an opportunity to own that communication channel. So anyone else been investing in or feel like these self-service resources are working for your business?

Rod Cherkas

Harris, what is your company doing around self-service one-to-many to improve productivity?

Speaker 4

Yeah, we have help desk and we have a full support mechanism for one-to-many for a majority of our clients, rather than having a dedicated one-to-one, in terms of coming from Residency, where we had more build out, we did have monthly webinars that were more product insights. We had a very interactive help desk and direct into the product chat support from customer, which allowed us to automate any articles that were relevant and push people towards direction.

Speaker 4

On the community front, it’s never been digital communities for me within the restaurant orgs. It’s more been the reality of our buyers are already intertwined in a deep rooted community. I’d say the network that exists of restaurant operators and that spillover of I used to be at this restaurant, now I’m here is a lot more closely tied than your standard business buyer, where they have to opt into networking groups.

Speaker 4

So it’s mostly been more in real life community influences as opposed to more of that digital, here’s a community board where people can interact and have chat forums.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, I think it’s a great point to think about what’s relevant for your customer base. So I had a client recently that was in the restaurant technology business called B-Bot, got bought by DoorDash and their primary users were not sitting at a computer all day waiting to watch a PowerPoint presentation or watch a training video. They’re at the front of the restaurant, they’re in the bars, they’re training their employees. And so you need to think about how that organization best learns and where they get their information.

Rod Cherkas

Their community might come from recommendations of peers more than reading a G2 crowd review. And so, kind of great example of that. Steve, what is your organization doing in terms of creating more one-to-many and increasing the productivity of your post-sale teams? I think this is an area of opportunity for us.

Speaker 4

I don’t think we’re heavily down this path.

Speaker 4

quite yet, Rod. So taking some notes over here to share with the team. I guess from your perspective, who owns creation a lot of this content and publishing and is it a shared responsibility model in most orgs or do you see CS owning a lot of this?

Rod Cherkas

I generally see that this is a CS owned type of function because they’re responsible for the customer experience, often responsible for onboarding new customers, expanding adoption, somebody may own the support organization within it.

Rod Cherkas

Some companies have an education team, sometimes there’s just a person that might be creating these resources and other times you might have someone in the customer success management team that’s responsible for creating content that can be used in this one to many, sometimes it’s called like a digital segment or your low end segment where you aren’t going to have a CSM with 50 named accounts.

Rod Cherkas

They might have 500 accounts that they’re sort of responsible for never on a one-to-one basis and they can’t possibly just kind of shave it down and they reach 500 in a short amount of time they have to think about, hey, I need to create videos or I need to build out and nurture a stream in HubSpot or Marketo or whatever, your iterable or your digital platform to communicate with them. But it usually is somebody in your post-sale organization.

Rod Cherkas

I’d be happy to talk with you offline and just help you think about if this can be a very, very effective way to drive productivity improvements while creating better experiences from your customers because they really value this. If you do this well, it can be a huge ROI from a bunch of different perspectives.

Speaker 4

Yeah, we have a lower costs, a couple of lower cost products we’re trying to improve our land and expand motion with, but part of that is trying to find ways to streamline the cost of deployment. It would be in that vein too.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, you can sequence these types of training, these recorded resources into an onboarding process. So rather than having somebody walk you through, how do you sign up for the cybersecurity? How do you sort of initiate the services that you provide? Sounds like there’s more like a managed service or an ongoing service part of your business there that you don’t have to have somebody walk them through it, right? There can be some common instruction that you can do at scale. Hey, Casey.

Speaker 4

Oh, I was gonna chime in that at Resi B2B marketing and onboarding led all of our owned the webinar work stream and use the video as part of automated sequences because there’s about a 30 day delay from signature to going live because you need to turn off your old platform and communicate it to your customers. And so we saw that it was emails that would lead to videos and high interaction there so that people could set things up on their own. And then that one-to-one onboarding support became more escalation or trouble areas.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, none of this takes a long time to put in place. It just requires either expertise within your organization or somebody who’s done this before to help you get it set up. What I find with my clients is they very frequently have content that’s already been created. It’s just in random places. The odds of needing to create all of these resources from scratch is really small. Somebody has done this.

Rod Cherkas

Your product team has recorded, overviews of new features for your sales enablement or somebody has set up a new higher onboarding string for a set of resources for their team members. It’s really just kind of assembling it, putting it in a sequence, cleaning it up a little bit to help you leverage it. And some of these, I happen to like this, is a company called Vitaly that has a really nice look and feel to their help center that is useful for new higher onboarding. It’s a nice set of like text and videos that are sequenced appropriately.

Rod Cherkas

I just find that to be a good example.

Rod Cherkas

The third and last topic I’d like to go through is how you can leverage particular elements of strategic thinking to improve how you allocate your resources and help you achieve your better results. And the topic I want to talk about today is this concept of segmentation. This tends to be something that’s relevant for most of the clients that I work with. And I saw this being hugely valuable in my own executive career.

Rod Cherkas

And the concept is, is that rather than providing the same experience to all of your customers, regardless of whether they bring you $100,000 in revenue or $10,000 in revenue, that you’re just starting to think about how you break up your customer base. And then what are the different services experiences or support experiences? Or, you know, for those of you in sales, you know, you may have a different sales model for those different customer bases that you’re building out. Because then you can figure out, like, well, what do your customers need?

Rod Cherkas

What do they expect from you? And then what are the different sorts of skill sets that you need on your teams to be able to, you know, to meet the needs of those customers? How many of you have some type of segmentation? Do you guys have segmentation already in your business? The common one tends to be sort of like an enterprise, some strategic or bigger customers and smaller customers. Do you have that type of model in your post-sale teams? Maybe one or two of you could just describe how that’s set up.

Rod Cherkas

Stephen, how does your, how does, how does Gitstream?

Speaker 6

Yeah, so ours is split up essentially between small, medium businesses and then enterprise. And then within enterprise, you know, there are certain key accounts that get the real white glove, white glove treatment. And essentially it comes down to how high the priority is of their requests and how much onboarding assistance and kind of office hours do we give them during their implementation access to our engineering team and so on. So, and it comes down to whether they’re a key account and how much, how much revenue they offer us.

Speaker 6

But pretty basic right now, just probably the three segments.

Rod Cherkas

Right. And then Steve, do you have this in your business yet? Yeah.

Speaker 4

So we, we segment on the acquisition side of the house based on size of company. So number of employees, typically small, medium business, commercial enterprise and large enterprise, different user bands. And then our customer success team is aligned in a similar fashion, slightly different segmentation lines. The part we’re trying to figure out is we have one service model today. So everybody gets the one flavor of ice cream, irrespective of if they want to eat the, eat the ice cream from a bowl or a cone.

Speaker 4

And that layer of service segmentation is what we’re trying to figure out next.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah. Yeah. Aaron, how about yourself?

Colin Barclay

Yeah, the, uh, it was more built out than it is a chow down, but, uh, chow down it’s segmented based on spend and ultimately how many transactions the restaurant was getting. What is their average gross food sales? A resi was slightly different sitting within Namex and being more of a card acquisition. We segmented in a less mathematic way, and it was more about the influence on a restaurant and the importance in terms of how we could program with them.

Colin Barclay

So, in terms of levels of service that were provided in the sale, it was went in with everyone was getting pulled support. And then as it was on earth, the importance of restaurant, we would ship the pitch to say, you’re going to get this 1 to 1 account manager. Who’s a consultant for your business and a higher touch quicker response times, uh, prioritized and service ticket queues, uh, et cetera. And we had for that model, a 4 tiered system.

Rod Cherkas

Yeah, I think that’s a good way to start to think about it. And, you know, it chow now you may get to a point that says, okay, what are there’s a combination of spend and maybe there’s individual restaurants or you have franchises, or maybe there’s, you know, like hotels or groups that span geographies where you can service them differently.

Rod Cherkas

So, I want to share a, uh, I want to share a model that, um, that again, I have on my website, but that I use with clients and Steve, you were just talking about what’s your service experience that you have for different groups of customers. And obviously, you can relate this to your own business, but as an example, you may think about your business as like, you have some strategic clients. You have some enterprise, you have some SMB. Sometimes companies have a digital model. And then what I do with my clients is on the left.

Rod Cherkas

Uh, we talk about like, what are the characteristics of those particular companies in that segment? And then what is the, uh, you know, we go into more detail about like, what is the interaction models that you have? You might in a CS function, you might have, you know, how many clients fit into it, how big your customer success map is. And that then can create like, uh, you know, your average ARR per client.

Rod Cherkas

so that it makes sense. And then you can figure out what your ratios are, right? How many CSMs you have per client or what the amount of error are that they can handle. That’s commonly one of the questions that I get. I think even one of the questions that you submitted was around how do you think about how many accounts an individual can manage? Well, it depends on the revenue that you have and sort of as benchmarks, it can be anywhere from like two and a half million per CSM to four, tends to be kind of a sweet spot for it.

Rod Cherkas

But you may have customers that don’t get a CSM, either get a pooled CSM or it’s just one to many model. But the thing I really try and focus on after doing the, you know, sort of looking at it like this, breaking it up, is this interim action model at the bottom of what do your customers need? And then how do you deliver these? And you could do the same analysis on your support side or your onboarding and implementation, but you might say, hey, your strategic accounts get a very high touch model.

Rod Cherkas

Your CSMs are kind of reaching out on a weekly basis, right? Maybe they’re even an extension of your client’s team in some ways. Maybe there is an executive sponsor that’s assigned that is connected because it’s worth $2 million for you or something huge. And then on the SMB side, you might be thinking, well, we have a limited amount of CSMs that we can allocate so they can’t be reaching out on a weekly basis. Maybe it’s a little bit more reactive, but the proactive strategic part is automated.

Rod Cherkas

Like you maybe have an email stream or maybe you have these webinars that Kat and her team are putting out. And you think about, you know, just focus on the renewal process. But the point is, is that you’re being conscious and deliberate about the service that you’re delivering to each of the customers. Does this make sense?

Colin Barclay

Yeah, this is great. Yeah, that’s a great view too. It’s helpful to just, you know, across our, you know, businesses grow and they’re all silos, right? And we all segment a little bit differently. It’s a good view to pull into perspective our acquisition sales CS and then our S2 teams collectively. Yeah.

Rod Cherkas

And Steve, you had mentioned something earlier about, you know, your sales team is set up in a certain way and your CS team is set up in like a similar way. You know, one of the things I see with my clients is it’s often very helpful for the CS teams to model after how the sales organization is set up. If they have like strategic accounts, enterprise accounts and SMB accounts that your post-sale teams can organize around it. And obviously there can be clients that switch segments, right? They came in as an SMB, but they grew really fast.

Rod Cherkas

So the AE that’s assigned might be out of the right segment. So you need to handle them differently. So I think there’s flexibility in how you service them, but the general contours of it can be common. Well, we just have a couple of minutes. So, you know, again, I have a number of resources including this template on my website.

Rod Cherkas

And, you know, as you think about related to the segmentation, align it to your objectives, think about how, you know, when you’re sort of under this pressure to improve productivity, how you focus on your high priority segments and then thinking ab