Our guest today is Bernie Kassar, Chief Customer Officer for Xactly Corporation. Bernie pioneered the field of Customer Success as one of the first SVP’s of Customer Success five years ago. As companies scramble to catch up, Bernie is a veteran Customer Success executive to point out the pitfalls and the size of the prize. This show is for revenue growth executives who have launched a customer success team and are looking for ways to accelerate the impact.
To download the full transcript of the interview in a word document, click here.
Today we are demonstrating advanced best practices for Customer Success. Let’s start with the first question relative to thinking about segmentation in the customer base, “How does one go about segmenting the customer base?”:
“It really depends on your business. For us, what we found is if you look at your customer base by the revenue spend, it’s probably one of the easiest ways of doing it, and a lot of companies follow that. If you don’t have any sort of segmentation, that could be one way of starting. You’re looking for not only high spend, but also strategic customers. For us, we’d break it out into three simple groups by different revenue bands, but you could have somebody that just starts in a division, and it’s a multi-national corporation. You might want to put them in the strategic bucket because of the growth that’s capable over time.
As you get more sophisticated and you start looking at your business, you can start really segmenting by industry as well as size of company. A lot of the traditional things that have been done on the sales side can actually be used for customer success.”
Matt and Bernie discuss what tools Bernie and his team have in place for their CSMs to communicate value to their customers. As well as how Bernie’s team prioritizes renewals, cross-sells, and up-sells.
Bernie gives details on his Customer Success scoreboard and his team:
“First of all, you have to measure it. It’s surprising how many companies try to measure it to make it look better than it is, when in reality you just have to look in the mirror and measure your churn in a couple different ways. Revenue is really important, but you have to marry the two. You want to see the logos that you’re losing in what segment, because that will tell you a different trend of what’s happening. Maybe you want to get out of that segment, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The metrics that we look at are churn, by logos, by revenue, obviously the add-on business of what we’re selling, but also revenue retention, taking a subset of customers on a certain date and then fast-forwarding to a year from that. You can use whatever time period you want, and looking at that same cohort of customers and seeing if the value has gone up or down. A healthy company with anything north of 90% is going to be able to maintain itself. You can probably even go lower. I use 90 as a guide stick. Anything over 100% is fantastic, because if you think about it, that business is self sufficient. It just funds itself, and it can continue going for eternity. If you lose customers, but you have other customers buying more stuff, it’s not a bad metric to look at.”
Bernie goes on to use the outline of Situation>Opportunity>Results as a framework to share his current situation, where he’s implemented Customer Success, what he expected to gain as a result of his Customer Success initiative, and what have been the results of his Customer Success efforts.
Skip to the 24-minute mark of the video to watch Bernie explain the profile of the people he hires into Customer Success to make the best CSMs.
Could you benefit from implementing any of Bernie’s emerging best practices for customer success? If so, our experts are available to help. Consider spending time in-person at . To get a feel for what is covered in the workshop and get a copy of the workbook we use in these workshops. It’s filled with exercises, tools, and methodologies that will help you grow revenue faster than your industry and your competitors.