By Fred Penteado and Patrick Hulse: Market-leading companies will ultimately shift their 2020 revenue plan to make a larger portion of the number from their existing accounts. To execute this effectively, they have to reprioritize their accounts, adjust their Go-To-Market coverage, and enable their teams to execute.

Appointing a Chief Customer Officer Who Owns the Retention Number


Corporate leaders around the world are all reacting to the tragic events and economic impact of the past few months. In order to weather the storm and come out on top of the competition, you will need to do everything possible to protect your base, ensure your customers’ success, and keep retention as high as possible. Now is the time for a long-term view of your best customers.


While the sales leader you hired has the skills to lead your team out of this black-swan event, you need a Chief Customer Officer to build empathy, secure renewals and develop your digital strategy around the ever-changing landscape. Take a proactive approach to retention, and your team will come out the other side of these events stronger than ever. [Watch this to see what a world-class CCO sounds like]


For a clearer view of the contributions from your Chief Customer Officer, take this 3-question flash survey.


Focus on Retention to Weather the Storm


Due to the ongoing impact of Coronavirus, we are seeing market leaders pivot their focus for 2020 away from new logo sales for three reasons:


1. During times of economic uncertainty, there is a bias towards the “status quo”



Bringing in a new vendor is always risky, and in an unstable job market, people will always take fewer risks. We are seeing stronger hesitancy from our network to disrupt their business with new suppliers, technology, and solutions. Inevitably, win rates with pure prospects will shrink as potential customers focus on essential business. We need to fill this shrunken pipeline by focusing on our core and winning more renewals where possible.


2. Market leaders are using the COVID crisis to get closer to their customers; this will create higher emotional switching costs


The best customer success leaders have already implemented plans to demonstrate empathy and provide for their best customers in this trying time. Ongoing outreach efforts from top organizations are creating deep-seated brand loyalty. It will be challenging to overcome these emotional barriers and win against competition where customers are developing loyalties.


3. Buyer preferences for vendor consolidation will accelerate, creating cross-sell and up-sell opportunities


To mitigate operational risk, buyers are moving towards single sources for solutions. Not only does this keep their costs down in a time of economic uncertainty, but it gives them a single point of contact that they can rely on to keep their businesses running efficiently.


Inevitably, you and your team will see headwinds for new logo growth in 2020. Nevertheless, there is a significant opportunity to use customer success to reduce churn and promote your business as a brand that took care of its customers during a crisis. There is no better time than now to bring in a Chief Customer Officer to own customer success and position your company for future success. 


The Way Forward: A Chief Customer Officer to Own the Frictionless Customer Experience


While you and your peers mitigate risk during the crisis, a CCO can help develop your go-forward strategy for accelerated Digital Transformation. For better or worse, COVID-19 has been the catalyst for a digital transformation that will fundamentally change how customers engage with vendors. This is an opportunity to listen to the market and create a better way to buy. This includes digital, as more customers, particularly in the “long-tail” prefer to buy this way.


Most B2B transactions today still have a high degree of friction. A good CCO will focus their efforts during this time to revitalize each customer touchpoint creating a seamless buying process to ensure your business is ahead of the curve.


COVID-19 has effectively accelerated Digital Transformation, and frictionless customer experience is vital to succeeding in the new world.


Answer SBI’s 3-question flash survey to know what your Chief Customer Officer should be focused on over the coming weeks and months.




Customer Experience should be top of mind to set your company up for success during and following this global pandemic. The time is now to hire a Chief Customer Officer to ensure your team is doing everything possible to maintain the base and set up your business for the rapidly evolving Digital Landscape. Showing empathy and focusing on customer success will build deep-seated loyalties with your customers and lead to growth when markets return to normal. Focus on your customer, and together you will weather the storm.




Watch our latest webinar for how to protect your revenue base and make your number through your existing customers.


To engage with similarly minded individuals for ideas and insights on running a market-leading Go-To-Market function during a global pandemic, join our Linked-In community.


If you’d like to speak with one of our experts in Revenue Growth or are interested in being featured in one of our upcoming webinars or videos around COVID response, please reach out to our Revenue Growth Help Desk.



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Fred Penteado

Guides private equity portfolio companies in a variety of industries on how to make their number.

Prior to joining SBI, Fred held a variety of leadership positions with multinational Fortune 50 companies. He has worked in product/program/channel management, sales operations, and served as a Chief of Staff.



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