I can’t count how many times my team has scrambled to manage client expectations and/or delay an implementation to give the dev team time to throw together a solution to fulfill a sales promise. These often half-baked solutions then wreak havoc on your code base. …which wreaks havoc on your implementation team … and CSMs … and support team … and ultimately results in lower NPS and higher churn.
So burn all Account Executives (“AEs“) at the stake, right? AEs, don’t worry, I’ve got your back…
Between my junior and senior year of college, I decided to study Kung Fu with Shaolin Monks in China. I Googled a westerner-friendly school, bought a flight, notified my parents, touched down in China, and hired a driver to take me to a mountain school east of Mongolia – all in the span of about two weeks. Needless to say, my parents freaked, expedited their passports, and stood ready to make my extraction.
I could have better prepared them for my journey by mapping out the entire summer, managing their expectations at each stage and ensuring timely check-ins. Instead, I came back to harried parents with my Steven Seagal ponytail – not good looks for any of us… but I learned from both mistakes.
I have a friend with a Lamborghini. His social media is filled with photos of him in and around this mean looking vehicle. But that’s about as far as the envy goes. This “Lamborghini” is actually a kit car built on a Fiero frame and 2.6L engine. As long as his car is not running… and viewed from a distance… under soft lighting… by a non-car person… everything is good. Otherwise, even racing against a Yugo would be ill advised and laughable.
Many of today’s SaaS companies are operating on this “kit car” approach. They know the right things to say and the right way to position, but when it comes to putting the pedal to the metal, there is a lot to be desired – without the right engine, you won’t go far.
If nothing else, read this: I guarantee there is no one magic key to unlock customer success. Many new customer success professionals consult blogs, Meetups, LinkedIn groups and other social media for advice on how to implement customer success in their organization. Rather than attempt a trite 140 character answer, I will try to formulate a more cohesive response over a series of posts here on LinkedIn. I hope some find this helpful.
While attending a holiday party filled with Michael Bubble cheer and red wine, enduring small talk and multiple rounds of group selfies, I was happy to find myself in a discussion with several SaaS colleagues over the merits and future of Customer Success.
The crux of the debate centered around if Customer Success was a rebranding of existing functions (account management, sales, support, training, etc.) or if it truly had a revolutionary impact. It’s hard to tell if my wine-enhanced argument held any weight at the party, but perhaps I can help clarify it here.