Take charge of Growth, CS.
BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION FRAMEWORK - FOR CUSTOMER SUCCESS
A very well-established growth model framework is the business model innovation framework. In the legacy sales process and strategy discussions, customer success never had a direct role in a growth framework that involved defining Key customer personas, the cost structure, and the channel to reach customers.
Such legacy models relied heavily on a few leaders' insights, either based on inputs from external consultants or successful businesses but never from their customers.
It was a very flawed strategy.
Any business model innovation introduced to grow a business must come from its customer base and insights collected from such. And hence, in the modern world, no growth will be possible without a customer success team.
Let us explore how customer success must operate to help this.
The key to running a successful business is to understand three aspects that form its foundation:
Customer: The fundamental philosophy in doing business is to do business ONLY with people whose business values and problems you understand. We live in an era of the intelligent customer, where the power is with the buyer. Customers are looking for identity and association. The rest of the information they know well ahead of the purchase cycle.
As a customer success team, it is vital to form a group of customer "informed" architects and customer success SPOCs. Contrary to what we see in social media, it is critical to have the product knowledge and to be savvy about the technology the customer is indulging in.
A typical analogy for running a bunch of customer success professionals that are not technology savvy is having a bunch of English professors as warriors on a battlefield.
Businesses tend to lean more towards customer success as a consulting function for their critical decisions.
CS leadership needs to build a team that understands the customers intimately, train them to anticipate customer issues proactively, and equip them to innovate efficiently.
As a customer success manager, do you know the cost of doing business? Why is this important for the customer success team?
A business delivers value only when it progressively passes cost efficiency through product and process. Legacy business models focus on maintaining the status quo to build stickiness and sustain revenue.
However, we live in a world where innovation is happening at a breakneck pace. And the primary purpose of the invention is to drive Efficiency and reduce cost.
And, Efficiency cannot be conceptualized in a drawing room; Efficiency comes with practice. It comes with combining day-to-day practical insights and data with a vision for the future.
Customer success teams must be trained to look for optimizations continuously. It is not just Net Dollar retention, NPS, and C-SAT that matter - what matters is the amount of Efficiency and cost savings we have passed to the customer Year-on-Year.
When Customer success managers take on cost efficiency and optimization through technology as a measurable target, wonders happen to the business.
Channel is how well and quickly a business can make its products available to the customer.
Take the case of Apple. Apple designed its store in a way for the human experience - customers can see, touch and experience Apple products. Just feel the WOW firsthand.
What about your product?
Can customers source the product quickly? When a business makes it challenging to purchase its products, it loses to its competition faster than it can imagine.
This is why a Customer Experience team needs to be instituted as a subset of the customer success team. The experienced team must bring in a dimension of user experience across purchase, usage, and support.
There might be times when traditional distribution methodologies might be hurting the growth of a business, and new models need to innovate. This insight was never considered critical in legacy sales processes.
Now, with customer success focussing purely on the customer journey - a dedicated, experienced team introducing innovative distribution channels for the product is critical. The strategy could be direct to the customer, or strictly through third parties, a mix of all, online, or a drone.
But it is crucial to distribute through every channel that gets your product faster in the hands of a customer.
With several B2B businesses demanding the same customer experience as a B2C market, Customer success functions need to drive metrics that matter to the C-suite and represent the customer across product, cost, purchase, and support.