We just completed a project for a mid-market company whose outside sales reps were over loaded with opportunities. They could not cover the accounts they were assigned and, quite frankly they should focus on the larger customers to ensure they make their goals. For years they slapped the label “run-rate-business” and looked the other way.  “Uh… did you know that there is an additional $40M if you proactively worked with this ‘segment’ of your base?”

 

Another client’s senior leadership knew the opportunity associated with reducing the churn by replacing “account management” with a proactive approach, they just couldn’t quantify it. We did; guess what, they were missing another $14M on a probable all-in investment of about $800k.  Hmmm…

 

If your company is still clinging to the notion that growth comes from “sales”, don’t make the change.  If your CRO is stuck in the 90s and equates Client Success with Customer Service, makes statements like “leave the selling to the reps”, or feels like you should “flip the big opportunities to the outside team” then don’t waste your time.  Your transformation will fail.

 

Don’t try to fool your customers, placate your investors or try to make your account management team feel better by simply changing the name.  You will miss the opportunity to truly capture hidden revenue.

 

The best definitions as to what Customer Success is all about centers around getting the buyers of your product and service to fully realize the value.  Why? Because they buy more, pay higher prices, reject competitive advances, expose you to new opportunities and advocate for you when you are not there.  In short, they like you – and that is at the heart of every relationship.

 

Customer Service vs Customer Success

 

The reality is that most businesses are paradoxically perfect yet ill-suited for the transformation to Customer Success.  It starts and succeeds with the attitude and culture of the company.  Trying to transform attitudes is difficult. Perhaps consider removing, demoting or reassigning those that look at “run-rate-business” and don’t see the potential in your core business.

 

Do you think it’s time?

 

Download this Customer Success Readiness Assessment tool to better evaluate.

 

Customer Success Readiness Assessment

 

Final proof point; a friend who in my estimation is the ultimate farmer, took over a large retail client in the role of Customer Success Manager. Retail is dying, right? Within one year of her arrival all the contracts were renewed (for 5-year terms and with significant price increases), the account grew by over 27% and there are enough opportunities in SFDC to grow by another +20% in 2018. How? Refer to table above. The company’s $250K investment will return about $10M. Even with all that success, there are marginally performing Sales Reps that make more money because of a Neanderthal-belief that hunting is more valuable. We have so far to go.

 

Download the Customer Success Readiness Assessment now to evaluate if you are ready.

 

Also, leverage SBI’s “How to Make Your Number in 2018” Workbook to access emerging best practices for Customer Success. It starts on page 411 of the Sales Strategy section. Get started with the Workbook’s interactive tool.

 

Sales Revenue Growth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Auer

Sales and Marketing is a Science, not an Art. It can be perfected and success can be repeated.

John’s has a rich background in a variety of sales, marketing, and senior management positions which provide a unique perspective to solving his clients’ growth challenges.  He has a passion to find the root causes preventing sustainable revenue, market share, and market penetration goals.  His focus is to put in place the operational efficiency, effective infrastructures and emerging best-practices needed to drive revenues faster than his client’s competitors and industries.

 

Prior to SBI John was a Division Vice President at incentive supplier ITA Group. In 2016 his team drove a 137% y/y growth rate that accounted for over 70% of that company’s new business.  This is the “results focus” he used to succeed as a GM at Cintas and as a growth leader at Maritz and BI Worldwide.

 

His mantra; Sales and Marketing is a Science, not an Art.  It can be perfected and success can be repeated.

 

John’s primary expertise is in technology industry.  He has worked with nearly every major technology OEM, Distributors and many of the secondary manufacturers to design go-to-market programs that increase sales and capture mind share.

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