Assess the 5 questions in this article to discover if you may have an opportunity to improve your Customer Success capability, and yes, your selling capability.

I recently attempted to learn to golf – again.  I visited a Pro Shop and confidently told the Pro that I was pretty good with my Driver, 4 Iron, 7 Iron, and Pitching Wedge, but not very good with my other clubs. The Pro, visibly annoyed, nodded politely and told me that it’s not the clubs but the swing. “Once you have the right swing, only minor adjustments are required”.  I’m not sure he knew what he was talking about because after 15 minutes of watching video of myself swing I decided to stick with racket sports.  But it’s a great analogy for customer success – once you have the right swing, only minor adjustments are required.


For a more detailed list of Customer Success assessment questions, download our Customer Success Assessment Tool.


SaaS Client Example


A leading SaaS company was having trouble acquiring new logos and retaining current clients, but doing very well with up-sell.


When asked why, we identified three potential clues:


  • Pricing – inconsistent and unclear pricing (0%-95% discounting)


  • Product Launch – lack of product awareness, S&M budget as a percent of revenue was 10%, well below 30% of comparative companies


  • Org Design – Enterprise rep motion with an Average Selling Price (ASP) of $15K


Easier to Bullseye Womp Rats in Your T-16 Than to Move an Account from Prospect to Cross-Sell with the Wrong Target Identified. 


But still this SaaS company had fantastic up-sell results.  For those following along at home – they had a fantastic product for a select micro-segment of customers.  Once the ideal customer was identified, then all became clear, and the client was able to modify its critical go-to-market motions (lead gen, prospecting, inside sales, and customer success) accordingly.


So what does all of this have to do with Customer Success capabilities assessment and its relation to cross-sell and up-sell next year?  Well for starters, if you want to cross-sell or up-sell next year, then you best sell this year. In addition, Customer Success no longer starts with the customer but rather the lead.  Just as the buyer is 60% complete with their buying journey before ever making contact with a sales rep, the Customer Success motion is 60% complete before ever signing a customer. 



The importance of Customer Success in SaaS is hard to overstate.  Once understood that the goal of Customer Success function is to increase Customer Lifetime Value not to decrease cost-to-serve. A successful Customer Success organization can drive both short term revenue and long-term profit via feedback to product marketing and development.



All SaaS organizations have some type of Customer Success motion – spanning from Customer Support to Customer Experience. Understanding where your organization lies along the Customer Success spectrum is critical to understanding what value it offers to cross-sell and up-sell.


Here are five questions to ask to better understand the impact your customer success organization has on potential cross-sell / upsell:


  1. Customer Segmentation – We clearly understand where our revenue is concentrated by customer, which current accounts have the most white space, and what the cost to serve is by segment. We effectively prioritize our efforts on the existing accounts that are mission critical to our company making the number.


  2. Touchpoints Analysis – We have an end to end view of the Customer Journey, from the time they begin considering alternatives, the buying process, usage, and any challenges they may run across. We understand each touchpoint in terms of customer expectations, pain points, delighters, and overall importance to their journey


  3. Opportunity Management – For our expansion (cross-sell and up-sell) and renewal opportunities we have a documented opportunity management process. This process is aligned by customer observable exit criteria.  Each process stage is supported with job aids, and each role in the organization understands their role in each process step.


  4. Roles & Responsibilities – We have a clearly defined RACI between Customer Success and other Functions of the organization, and have a processes to facilitate hand offs between Customer Success and Sales (and other groups). All groups meet regularly to review customers at risk and discuss expansion opportunities.


  5. Compensation & Quota – Our Customer Success Team members have customized compensation plans that include a retention component, a cross-sell / up-sell component and a customer health and/or satisfaction component.


If you were hesitant in answering any of the above 5 questions then you may have an opportunity to improve your Customer Success capability, and yes, your selling capability.


For a more detailed list of Customer Success assessment questions, download our Customer Success Assessment Tool.



Additional Resources


For a further discussion on this topic, come visit my friends and I at SBI’s Studio. 


Located in Dallas, TX, our facility offers state-of-the-art meeting rooms, lounge, full-service bar, and a studio used to tape our TV shows. SBI provides the location and facilitators, all at a compelling price point.


New call-to-action