Customer success isn’t merely about support, nor is it a traditional service. This notion seems to be a consistent topic of discussion in the world of Software as a Service (SaaS). It raises a crucial question – should customer success teams own revenue targets? While this discussion often takes center stage, the truth is that whether or not customer success owns revenue targets should depend on the specific go-to-market model of each company.
But here’s the core message: customer success is, at its essence, a commercial function. It’s a revenue center, not a cost center. Therefore, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) must don multiple hats:
- Sell Value: CSMs should be adept at demonstrating and selling the value their product or service brings to customers.
- Challenge Objections: In the face of objections or doubts, CSMs need to be skilled in addressing them effectively and turning them into opportunities.
- Manage Stakeholders: Successful customer relationships often involve various stakeholders. CSMs need to manage these relationships and align customer objectives with business goals.
- Coach Customers to Change: Sometimes, customers need guidance to make changes that will benefit their business. CSMs play a pivotal role in coaching them through this transformation.
- Position Against Competition: In a competitive market, it’s essential to position your product or service effectively against competitors. CSMs should be equipped to do this.
- Provide Guidance on the Product: Customers may require help in making the most of your product. CSMs should provide insights and solutions to maximize product potential.
- Provide Guidance on Common Practices: Sharing best practices within the industry or across similar customer profiles can add substantial value.
This doesn’t mean there’s no service involved. Just like sales should aim to serve customers while working with them, service is an integral part of the customer success journey. However, the core purpose of customer success is to align with the customer’s business while balancing their own.
In these challenging economic times, the role of customer success is evolving. It’s more crucial than ever for CSMs to understand that their function is intertwined with revenue generation. Many customer success leaders have begun embracing the responsibility of revenue in 2023, with several CS teams moving under Chief Revenue Officers (CROs). This shift signifies a change in the way we perceive and harness the power of customer success.
So, has this year brought changes to your approach to customer success? If so, what are the pros and cons you’ve encountered? The evolution of this field is an ongoing discussion, one that’s fundamental to understanding the changing dynamics of the business landscape.