Tis the season – we’re past the holidays – tis the season for career transitions. End of year bonuses have been paid, budgets have been set, and resource decisions have been made. Your first thought may be “oh no, there is turnover at our accounts, we don’t have good relationships with the new buyer!” While that may be true, this is also a flipside opportunity to nurture those in transition in your network. Invest in the person, not only the account. Play the long game and the relationship will lead to revenue growth – a key metric in today’s top Customer Success organizations.
Does this feel like a one-off task rather than a process? This is the first question in the Customer Advocacy Diagnostic Tool, and an indicator there’s room for improvement.
Caren Fleit, Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry, speaks to CMO tenure: “Today’s customer-centric CMO role is exceptionally complex and requires the right balance of left as well as right brain skills, and very importantly, a differentiated set of leadership competencies… CMOs with this unique profile are in high demand and are often recruited to lead the next transformation. Also, in some cases, short tenure can be attributed to the organization not being well aligned behind the change that the CMO is tasked with leading.”
What else do CMOs have? Growing budgets.
If these positions are not your buyers, they are firmly in the influencer category, and still vital to maintain. So where do we begin?
- Have a defined proactive customer success motion. This often includes face-to-face quarterly business reviews.
- Have a defined relationship management process. Each relationship has a defined owner.
- Have a defined career transition engagement program. Play the long game and support individuals.
Why Start With a Proactive Customer Success Motion?
Career transitions can be voluntary and involuntary, but either way, the individual often sees it coming and plans ahead. By instituting a proactive customer success motion, you build broader relationships outside of a single thread and provide value-based metrics as a partner. This mitigates the risk of losing the account when your main point of contact departs, and thus maintains the revenue. Through these quarterly business reviews, you deepen your trust level with the buyer and may learn early on when he or she is planning a departure. This is your golden ticket.
Next: Define a Single Owner
Without an owner, accountability and action fades. The key component of a relationship management process is driving accountability and action via a single relationship owner. That’s not to say only one person interacts with the buyer (single threaded is a no-no), but that single person holds both the opportunity and culpability of the relationship. This ownership drives clarity and resource balancing of the team. Note: buyers and influencers should be assigned owners, and the owners can exist in many functions in your organization.
Lastly, Capitalize on the Opportunity by Setting up a Simple Career Transition Engagement Program
Don’t go it alone. Do your recruiters only focus on internal job specs, or do they also have capacity to help buyers and influencers in career transitions? Use the tools already in your flow of work – quick actions on Linkedin can provide significant goodwill. For instance, seeing an event and tagging someone who may be interested – this helps the event organizer (aka hiring manager) promote their event and boost attendees. Or sending a quick note to a few colleagues in a target industry on behalf of the buyer or influencer. This is a win-win-win; the buyer gets an opportunity, the target hiring company gets a higher quality referred candidate, and you get an opportunity to have a “friendly” as a new buyer at current or prospect account. These are just a few ideas for engagement. The end result is high persona-lifetime-value (PLTV).
As a keen executive, I am willing to bet you already do this in pockets and have one-off success stories. But if you institute a program with rigor and accountability, this will lead to consistent revenue generation and a more fulfilling community. This program can be part of an overall Customer Advocacy Process leading to referrals and references too. To transform the output of Customer Success from NPS scores to revenue generation, start a program to engage buyers and influencers in career transition. You’ll be known for it.
Download the Customer Advocacy Diagnostic Tool to diagnose where you stand across the Customer Advocacy Process, gain ideas on what a comprehensive process may include, and compare to benchmark of your peers.
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