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What are the top 3 things that will provide value to C-Suites as a customer success manager?

3 Answers
Amara Okoli
Amara Okoli
MURAL Director of Customer SuccessMarch 22

As CSMs we are expected to be trusted advisors to our customers.  We gain trust by helping our customers address their challenges and achieve their business objectives. We become advisors when we learn to anticipate questions or concerns and we guide our customers toward successful outcomes. To gain credibility, our communication with the C-Suite must be concise, assertive, and informative. If you can explain the how and confidently tell me what to do next, that's incredibly valuable. 

  1. How are we doing?
    1. Help me see that you understand my business, our mission, and our goals.   When given the opportunity, don’t simply present adoption metrics, help me understand what they mean relative to what my business goals are and ask for clarification where needed. If we have achieved significant time to value and you have saved my business significant money or time, those are wins I’d love to know.  If things are stalling, help me understand why with concrete examples and ask for my help with clear actions for me or a member of my team to take.
    2. Were there any serious challenges we faced? What role did you play? Let’s face it, things don’t always go as we’d like. However, if you can keep the C-Suite informed and updated, you will earn their trust in a way that will influence how they view you as a key trusted vendor, in many cases even more so than when things go well.
  2. How are we doing relative to similar customers?
    1. The C-Suite regularly reviews industry and analyst reports (Ex: Gartner, Forrester) as well as intel to understand market trends and maintain a competitive edge. By regularly reviewing the same resources and providing thought leadership, you could help influence decision making throughout their organization
    2. As you support customers in similar industries or business segments or share anecdotes with peers, you’ll start to see certain similarities and differences. If your customer is operating in a more innovative manner that you believe has helped them realize value with your software and supported their business goals, definitely let the C-Suite know
  3. What are other things we could be doing to achieve the outcomes we desire?
    1. Once you have gained credibility with your customer by supporting them through a few milestones, you have earned the right to ask for a deeper partnership. So think deeply about what this new partnership will look like. How might integrating your solution with another one of their key business tools help them operate efficiently? How might using another module of your software help them save costs from a duplicate solution? If you can hone in on a few high-impact actions your customer can take and assert your position as to why these actions will help, your C-Suite might offer the sponsorship you need to make this a reality.
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Nicole Alrubaiy
Nicole Alrubaiy
Jellyfish Senior Vice President, Customer SuccessApril 9

Ultimately, the executive team wants to know that the business is healthy and growing, and that they won't have any surprises coming at them. I see a lot of discomfort / unfamiliarity with the Customer Success teams among executives because the field is still relatively new, doesn't always have consistent definition, and is sometimes not quantifiable enough.

Given that, here are a few questions that come to mind for execs when it comes to Customer Success and how your work helps to address them:

  • What is the true health of our revenue and what are we doing to improve it? Do we have a good handle on where the risks are? Are we running repeatable/proven plays to address risk? Is anything going to pop out and surprise me later?

    • Having good customer health indicators and keeping them clean

    • Running playbooks for risk (and building new ones)

    • Save plans for unhealthy accounts

    • Good hygiene in your CS platform <- builds confidence

    • Proactively flagging risks or things that might turn into risks

    • Having a tight renewals process to get them done on time and with high predictability

  • Are we getting customers to value quickly after they sign? Are we delivering more and more value over time?

    • Tracking key milestones along the journey for each customer

    • Using success plans and tracking value that the customer has achieved

    • Sharing stories internally regarding customers achieving value

    • Getting lots of customers to serve as references

  • Are we identifying areas to grow in our accounts?

    • CS Qualified Leads

    • Having reliable conversations with customers on where we're going next (often this is a QBR / EBR type conversation to understand their evolving business and how you fit into it)

Of course, as an old high school teacher used to say "Don't Tell Me, Show Me!" so all of this is only as good as the reporting/tracking you use to demonstrate it... and the results it drives.

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Alex Irina Sandu
Alex Irina Sandu
Alex Irina Sandu Business & Product StrategyFebruary 14

The most important things are the impact on business and product objectives, relevance to the market and the competitive position of the company and the cost to implement / change.

Here's how to provide value:

  • When you write a presentation or document for the C-Suite, tie the points that you want to make to the high-level business objectives and impact on the product. If you don't know what they are, ask your manager for the strategy documents for your business unit. 

  • Also think broader, beyond your company and identify what the implications are of what you are seeing and talking about to the sector that you're in and whether it has any impact on how the business is positioned and perceived by the marketplace. Explain how the implications will benefit the company.

  • Estimate the cost of the changes you are recommending and the impact on the organization of what it would take to implement a different way of doing things or different outcomes. Compare your proposed changes to the current costs and estimate whether it will also be more efficient from the financial perspective.

 

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