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Customer Success for the Enterprise Luncheon Creates an Interactive CS Experience in The Bay Area

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The Customer Success for the Enterprise, luncheon held on Nov. 6th, in Palo Alto was an invitation-only event hosted by Totango, the leader in Customer Success (CS) software for the enterprise.

The event brought together executives from leading enterprises in the Bay Area including SAP, Symantec, Oracle, FireEye, Juniper Networks, PayPal, and Akamai Technologies, enabling them to convene over mutual goals, learn from like-minded individuals and network with other senior CS leaders.

Moderated by Jamie Bertasi, Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at Totango, the panelist consisted of a well-rounded group of CS leaders and executives bringing to the table their own unique perspectives on the state of CS today.

Creating Customer Centricity Within the Organization

The panelist discussed how they create a company culture that values customer centricity. “Getting buy-in from the organization for a CS software can be hard, and you can get shut down. Defining the KPI’s to help sell the story and show value is important,” said panelist Marilee Bear Rhodes, Area Vice President, Sales and Customer Success at Akamai Technologies.

Amit Ronen, Senior VP of Customer Success at Wind River Systems captured a sense of what it takes to align around the customers’ needs. “Customer Success isn’t just with one team in the organization. At Wind River Systems there are several teams interacting together to make sure the customer is successful,” said Ronen.

Creating a Customer Journey in the Customer Centered Economy

The topics consisted of approaching key issues in monitoring, measuring and managing customer health along the customer journey. Many of the key Customer Success, Sales, and Marketing teams were concerned with how to deliver value resulting in usage growth.

Alberto Rodrigues, Customer Success at Symantec talked about how their goals are for a smooth onboarding and adoption experience. “Our main goal is to ensure that our customers get the maximum value out of their Symantec solutions while enjoying a great experience and ensuring a positive and increased retention rate,” said Rodrigues.

He pointed out that customers expect nothing less than a personal experience “As consumers of technology we and our customers are used to an easy, minimalistic and smooth experience and in Symantec we want to ensure we don’t offer anything less than great. We still have work to do but so far we are succeeding to achieve our goals,” Rodrigues added.

Implementing Customer Centricity for Impactful Business Results

The discussion also went into how to create a CS team and harness technology to predict and understand the customers’ next move and prevent issues before they arise to maximize the sales cycle and customer experience.

Jon Fotheringham, Director of Customer Experience Operations at Workfront, discussed their strategy for success “We’ve segmented the team into Strategic CSMs, those servicing our largest accounts, and Enterprise CSMs, those above a certain ARR threshold. We also have one resource dedicated to those customers in our mid-market that have given cancellation notice or are at high-risk. Over the past year, one of Workfront’s CS Team members retained 100% of the accounts protecting millions in revenue.”

Fotheringham added that his organization ensures they are customer-centric in everything they do “Workfront is extremely customer-centric, one of our values is Obsess Over Customers, we constantly share customer success stories with the entire company, our conference rooms are named after customers, our executives are constantly visiting customers, our C-Suite contacts every NPS detractor within 4 hours, and customers are invited and often visit our HQ, ” said Fotheringham.  

Guy Nirpaz, CEO and Founder of Totango spoke around who their customers and prospects are. “In our on-demand society, how impossible it is to think about a massive 18-month rollout of a platform, and how relevant incremental sprints are for the success of a software implementation,” said Nirpaz. 

Marilee Rhodes, AVP Sales and Customer Success at Akamai, explained her organization wants to focus more on CS moving into the new year “At Akamai, we are in year two of our field-facing CRM practice. We currently have 10 CSMs supporting 20 sales reps and approximately 200 accounts, with their main focus on the top 50 of those 200 accounts,” said Rhodes.

“Given the customer industry they support is fairly mature for Akamai, they are mainly concentrated on the Adoption and Retention motions of the Customer Success cycle, while the sales reps focus on the Expand in selling new product into the whitespace. We are working to expand the Customer Success team to additional industries within Akamai, and have baked the growth into our 2019 plan,“ said Rhodes.

Look out for More Totango Events in the Future

The event went over in time as there was a very interactive Q&A session in the end and the panelists and attendees alike were very invested in the conversations around CS.  

It proved to be an impactful day for the thought leaders who enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the topics that are of most concern to them, and here at Totango, we can’t wait to host our next CS luncheon!

More about the event here.

Learn more about Totango here.

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The Chief Customer Officer Fall, 2018 (CCO), held September 12th-13th in San Diego, is an
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