After several years of relentless pursuit of new business, 2023 made it clear to many companies that growth at all costs is not a sustainable strategy. With acquisition costs proving too high in today’s constrained environment, many businesses are finally putting greater focus on nurturing existing customer relationships to ensure retention and expansion.
This shift presents a compelling opportunity for B2B enterprises to invest in tailor-made tools for their post-sales organizations and customer success (CS) teams. Forrester recognizes the value customer success platforms can provide to B2B companies looking to foster retention, growth, and advocacy.
The global market research company conducted its first Forrester Wave™ evaluation of top customer success platforms. The report provides a guide for buyers considering their purchasing options, arguing that “CS teams need to find alternatives to high-touch models and manual processes…” With digital-led programs, CS teams can meet customers’ changing business objectives, address shifting customer preference for self-serve content and community engagement, and gain more time so the CS org can focus on areas of greatest impact.
Totango recently shared how we envision the next generation of customer success evolving, and we see three prominent benefits of leveraging one of the most significant CS platforms reflected in the report.
1. Efficient and seamless workflows
According to the Forrester report, as sustainable growth becomes a priority, B2B organizations need enhanced workflow automation and digital strategies that leverage customer data to:
- Customize communications and recommendations.
- Offer self-service functionalities through community and knowledge centers.
- Deliver in-app guidance and content aimed at prioritizing user adoption.
The report also explains that advanced technologies, like AI and machine learning, also enhance the efficiency and impact of CS teams by:
- Extracting actionable insights from customer data to prompt customer-centric business decisions.
- Analyzing extensive datasets to forecast trends.
- Predicting customer churn or potential customer issues to inform corrective steps to optimize the customer journey.
- Refining post-sale strategies to better understand and meet the needs of customers.
All of these actions propel customers toward a faster realization of their goals while eliminating low-value customer success manager (CSM) tasks. CSMs can then embrace their strategic role as a consultant, devoting more time to coaching customers on how to achieve their business outcomes by maximizing product value. When customers achieve their goals, businesses will see more subscription renewals and expansion revenue from upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
2. Prebuilt programs and out-of-the-box reporting
CS teams need standard reports tailored to several user types, like CSMs, CS leaders, executives, and operations teams. According to the Forrester report, out-of-the-box reporting gives CS professionals insight into:
- Task status.
- Customer health.
- Usage statistics and patterns.
- Upcoming renewals.
- Expansion opportunities.
Those insights empower CS teams to proactively deliver maximum value to customers, reduce churn risks, uncover accounts with high and low engagement, and maximize growth through expansion revenue.
Reporting becomes stronger when multiple integrations consolidate data across the tech stack, such as customer relationship management (CRM), data warehouses, and product analytics tools.
3. Cross-functional collaboration
B2B organizations increasingly rely on multiple best-in-class tools to manage customer data as tech stacks expand. These organizations need unified data to gain a 360-degree customer view and enable proactive customer success — a focus on customer results, not reactive tasks to save a customer.
According to Forrester, “Top CSP vendors offer a collection of standard reports targeting multiple user types such as CSMs, CS leaders, and CS operations. Out-of-the-box reporting enables customer success professionals to understand task status, customer health, usage statistics and patterns, upcoming renewals, and expansion opportunities. These reports are made more robust through multiple integrations consolidating data from across the tech stack, such as customer relationship management (CRM), product analytics tools, and data warehouses; providing a unified view of the customer; and providing proactive capabilities to CS teams. Bi-directional synchronization with CRM tools allows expansion opportunities created in the CSP to appear in the CRM, strengthening the relationship between sales and CS teams through mutually beneficial collaboration, connecting the impact of the CS team’s work to revenue.”
At Totango, we’ve seen this integrated approach to customer data strengthen collaboration across the enterprise. For example, unified data bridges the gap between sales and CS teams. Enterprises have a better view of how CS efforts, such as prioritizing customer expansion and retention, directly link to revenue.
Some CS platforms are more successful than others in delivering powerful workflow automation and digital strategies, leveraging AI and ML, and offering flexibility for out-of-the-box reporting and integrations.
Totango designated as a “Strong Performer”
Forrester’s 2023 report named Totango a “Strong Performer.” The report states that our platform offers “laudable flexibility.” The report evaluated Totango alongside top providers in three high-level categories:
- Current offering: Engagement across the customer lifecycle, process and workflow, insights and reporting, data and technology, and support and guidance.
- Strategy: Vision, innovation, roadmap, partner ecosystem, pricing flexibility and transparency, and community.
- Market presence: Revenue and number of customers.
Totango received the highest possible score in the success planning criterion, with the report noting that our platform “is ideal for CS organizations that have a solid strategy mapped out and want maximum flexibility in their solution to support the strategy.”
Our proprietary SuccessBLOCs were noted as having “pre-built customer journey programs designed to enable faster time to value” and endeavoring “to provide more flexibility for journey orchestration, reporting, and portfolio management.”
To see how Totango stacks up against other vendors and learn more about the latest CS trends, download a copy of the “The Forrester Wave™: Customer Success Platforms, Q4 2023” report.