In an era when customer success (CS) has become pivotal, it’s no longer enough to have a team dedicated to CS. More importantly, you need an organizational strategy that ensures your customers don’t just come to you but stay, thrive, and become your biggest promoters. To transform your organization to reach this next level, enterprises often need a change agent who can help both functional teams and customers shift their behaviors to drive better results in the post-sales journey.
In a recent webinar, I explored how CS Operations professionals can be the ideal change agents to help drive this transformation and unlock new business growth. In an all-star line-up, I was thrilled to discuss this hot topic with experts Christina Brown, Customer Success Operations Manager for CDK Global, Mariana Lynch, Customer Success Manager for ACA Group, and Claire Carlson, Manager of Digital Growth and Operations for Sezzle, to learn how their roles in CS operations have been game-changers for their respective organizations and how they leverage Totango to elevate their CS strategy and drive customer growth.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation, and don’t forget to watch the entire lively discussion here.
Drive business outcomes leveraging Totango
The first topic we discussed was how each of our experts leveraged Totango to drive business outcomes within their respective organizations. Christina started the conversation by sharing how, for CDK – a software solutions provider that helps automotive dealerships improve customer experience – data visibility and understanding how their products deliver business outcomes for their customers continue to be the main challenges for her team. One of the first ‘a-ha’s’ that Christina noticed with Totango is that it provides clear visibility into which of CDK’s core four products any given dealership has, noting that they can then feed that information back to the Sales team via Salesforce.
This really is the first time that our Sales team and our CS team have been able to see at a glance which of these core four products this dealership has so that they can very easily guide a conversation about how the CDK tech stack can help that dealership meet their particular business outcomes,” Christina said. “Being able to find their customer, to know who their customers are, and to very quickly see what of those four core products are available to the customer has certainly been a game-changer.
– Christina Brown, CDK Global
Echoing Christina’s sentiment, Mariana shared that her team is going through a transition. ACA Group’s CS team is shifting its focus to post-go-live interactions, meaning that the team has to build out what the new post-go-live journey will look like for customers and CSMs by cleaning up their data and putting what they need, such as segmentation, contract value, use cases, patterns, and more, into Totango. From there, they can use that information to build workflows to increase efficiency on a day-to-day basis, ensuring customers receive the right messages at the right time.
I’m a true believer that once you have that customer journey mapped out and you’re leveraging that automation through Totango, you start to see glimpses of time savings,” Mariana said. “Your team is able to do more with less, you have more time with your Ops team to reanalyze and reiterate on processes, and hopefully, that makes you more efficient every day.
—Mariana Lynch, ACA Group
Claire also discussed how her team is focused on customizing their customers’ onboarding journeys to provide merchants with a consistent experience appropriate to their tier and improve the percentage of merchants going live with their product. Sezzle, a payment platform service, uses both a high-touch onboarding process powered by Totango with tasks and automation but executed by CSMs, as well as a digital onboarding process supported by Totango campaigns and self-service resources for their merchants. She noted how Totango has helped Sezzle customize their digital merchants’ onboarding experiences based on different data triggers that ensure they’re getting the correct messages at the correct times and access to the right resources when needed.
Year-over-year, we’ve actually seen that the percentage of merchants going live within the first 90 days of this program has increased 20% compared to the same time last year, so that was a big goal for us and something that we can point to the churn reduction piece,” Claire said. “More merchants are going live; we’re not losing them in the onboarding process, and then outside of this, we also saw an increase in engagement metrics from our merchants watching self-service videos.
—Claire Carlson, Sezzle
Promote cross-functional collaboration to bolster business results
Next, we discussed how these organizations encourage collaboration between the CS Ops teams and other teams across the company to move business results in the right direction. Claire kicked off the discussion by sharing that “The collaboration between the CS Ops function and the CS leader is so critical and so important. Most every CS leader wants to achieve or improve the business outcomes for their team, but the CS Ops person is really the one that drives it.”
“It’s imperative to talk with CSMs to get their boots-on-the-ground feedback about what’s working and what’s not and where we can iterate.” — Mariana Lynch, CDK Global
“We also work with our engineers all the time to bring more usage [data into Totango], so we have more visibility into how our different customers are using our different modules,” Mariana said. Further, she shared how her team actively collaborates with the Professional Services and Product teams to ensure everyone is on the same page and sending the right messages to customers during the critical moments of onboarding and product adoption.
Echoing the importance of getting key cross-functional partners like product teams aligned with customer goals, Christina chimed in, saying, “I think it’s finding a middle ground [between CS and Operations] that helps you create a process that is meeting your customer’s needs but also helping your CSM alleviate some of the noise so that they’re only engaging where it’s value-driving.” She also discussed the importance of CS having a good relationship with the Sales Operations team.
Given that Sales Ops is who sets up the foundation of data, they’re the ones that put in our contract details and are the ones having the initial conversations with customers about why they’re buying this product, and all of that information is so valuable, but sometimes they’re not going to build it in a way that’s going to be helpful for the post-sales world. So, building that bridge between the pre-sales operations functions and your post-sales operations functions is paramount.—Christina Brown, ACA Group
Utilize Customer Success Operations to foster growth in 2024 and beyond
I firmly believe that more organizations finally understand that leaning into your customers and investing in operational excellence is the way of the future and growing revenue, and that gives me so much excitement and inspiration as we continue to lead the industry into the next generation of customer success.