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Lessons from Unbounce: How to grow a Customer Success team

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Unbounce is a high-growth, self-serve, landing-page creation, testing, and optimization tool. Though constantly evolving, Customer Success has been a priority at the company since it was founded. Ryan Engley, who has been with the company since its early days, has some interesting stories and lessons on building a customer success dream-team. Now Director of Customer Success, Ryan shared the challenges and successes he encountered in the process of building their current team.

A couple of years ago, when Ryan stepped back to assess the state of Customer Success at Unbounce, he realized three major obstacles stood in the way of taking his team to the next level:

1. No one outside of Customer Success knew what it was.

Other groups and teams inside the company did not know what Customer Success did. What was the role of Customer Success?  How was it different than Customer Service?

2. Inability to measure the impact of Customer Success on the business.

How did customer success affect revenue? Ryan found that he couldn’t measure the team’s impact on the business.

3. Diminishing morale on the customer success team.

The Customer Success team was delivering customer satisfaction at 96%.  But, people on the team weren’t motivated. They couldn’t see a common goal, how it benefited the company or their own growth potential inside the organization.

Ryan looked at the big picture and asked:

How do you build a motivated customer success team that visibly and measurably contributes to your company’s success?

Here’s are some lessons from Ryan on how he overcame those obstacles:

  • Build your own customer lifecycle Building a customer lifecycle helped other customer-facing teams – sales, marketing, customer service – understand Customer Success relative to their own role. Ultimately, the Unbounce team created a customer lifecycle that consists of 6 stages, illustrating the key teams that interact with the customer at each stage.
  • Identify & measure  KPI’sYou need to see if your stages and activities are effective. Develop KPI’s that show you if what you’re doing works.
  • Build your team around your KPIsOnce you have KPI’s that measure what works and what doesn’t, create a team that supports each phase and use that KPI to measure their performance. Ryan noticed increased team creativity and problem solving on his team after implementing this strategy.

As a result, Ryan saw a shift in his organization. Specifically, he saw that the methods and language Customer Success developed while building the customer lifecycle helped solve his first problem. People in other organizations teams at Unbounce now understood the role of Customer Success and incorporated it into their understanding of the business. Identifying KPIs allowed him to report on the impact Customer Success had on the whole business. And, the Customer Success team got energized and motivated by a common vision, KPI’s, and a clear path to success.

An interesting tip Ryan has for all customer success leaders: “Don’t focus on what you do.  Nobody cares. The rest of the company needs to know WHY you are doing the things that you do.”

Watch Ryan present all of his thoughts on growing a customer success team in this 15-minute video. Or, check out the condensed, 3-minute version.

Jill Rubin

Jill is a senior marketing and business development executive with experience leading successful teams in both large companies and startups. She has taken companies from early stage to strong revenue growth and propelled established businesses to industry leadership positions.

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