If someone were to ask who at your startup owns growth and the customer experience, which people or teams would raise their hands? Or perhaps a better question is who wouldn’t raise their hand? In the early days growth and a positive customer experience are everyone’s responsibility. But as companies grow and employees continue to specialize, it makes sense to form teams to own certain responsibilities. The downside of specialization is siloed teams that have misaligned or even conflicting goals. Customer Success and Growth teams have sprung out for companies to offer a more compelling customer experience while driving new and existing customer growth. Both companies and customers benefit from Growth leveraging the knowledge Customer Success teams gain from collaborating with customers. The majority of the experiments and optimizations Growth teams tinker with fall under the umbrella of the Customer Acquisition (sometimes called Growth Marketing) funnel. We’ll use this funnel to take a closer look at how Customer Success can boost the work Growth teams do.
Growth Marketing Funnel
Reach potential new customers through distribution and acquisition marketing channels and capture interested people as new leads
Insights from Customer Success: Target people and companies that align with company’s ideal customer profile to increase the likelihood that the leads Growth acquires are more likely to result in successful long term customers.
Benefits to customer: Pursuing potential customers who are more likely to find value in your product reduces the burden of researching your solution for customers who aren’t a good fit.
Benefits to company: With SaaS companies spending a median of $1.13 to acquire each new dollar of new customer Annual Contract Value, targeting companies that fit your company’s ideal customer profile can greatly lower your Customer Acquisition Cost (source).
Motivate these new leads to sign-up for your product and become paid customers
Insights from Customer Success: Compelling case studies and testimonials that resonate with leads can increase sign-ups. Leads are more likely to buy into your company’s vision (instead of just a list of features), which can be helpful when implementation roadblocks arise during the Retention stage.
Benefits to customer: No one likes signing up for a product only to find out that it doesn’t solve the problem you “hired” it to do. Testimonials and case studies allow customers to see for themselves what they can expect to accomplish with your solution.
Benefits to company: Streamlining your targeting and messaging of potential new customers during the Acquisition and Activation stages decreases your Customer Acquisition Cost while increasing your Customer Lifetime Value. This means that you will be able to sign-up new customers for less money, and that these customers will bring in more revenue by sticking around for longer.
Onboard these new customers to expose the value of your product and create long term user engagement
Insights from Customer Success: Getting users to sign-up is just the beginning! For companies that have both a self-serve and sales owned sign-up process, Customer Success and Growth need to work together closely to create a consistent customer experience. Growth teams often drop in to optimize sign-up and implementation workflows that impact the work of Customer Success. The two teams should collaborate on identifying key actions that increase the likelihood of a customer being successful, and to use this data to create engagement campaigns that blend automation and a human touch.
Benefits to customer: Post sign-up customers are full of optimism and hope, and it’s your job to reduce their time to first value and keep them from falling into the “trough of disillusionment” (source). Properly onboarded and engaged users are able to use your product to solve their problems and receive maximum value.
Benefits to company: A great onboarding workflow has compounding benefits- retaining 15% more users from Week 0 to Week 1 has a cascading effect that will lead to a 2.6x increase from just a 15% improvement in retention (this article dives into more of the details of how optimizing onboarding can affect revenue).
Connect revenue to the value customers receive from your product through expansion, cross-sells, and upsells
Insights from Customer Success: Ideally your company should capture additional revenue as customers receive incremental value from your product and services. Customer Success teams directly impact this process by assisting customers in achieving the goals they have for your product, which makes them an integral part of a company’s growth engine. This growth can come in the form of expansion revenue (ie. a customer pays for more storage space as they add more files to your cloud storage product), cross-sells (ie. buying additional products or features that connect to your platform), and upsells (ie. purchasing additional seats for another internal team). Growth and Customer Success teams need to work closely together to ensure there is a pricing model that makes sense for your company and your customers. Additionally, Growth needs to support Customer Success’ efforts to bring in additional revenue, whether that’s through targeted in-app messages encouraging a customer to purchase more seats, or through import tools that make it easy for customers to expand their use case.
Benefits to customer: Customers will be pleased to hear from your team if you can offer additional products and services that allow them to solve additional problems.
Benefits to company: According to a Totango study, 70%–90% of a customer’s lifetime value is generated via renewals, cross-sells, and upsells (source).
Leverage the success of your current customers to drive growth through referrals
Insights from Customer Success: Customer loyalty and advocacy are cultivated by a Customer Success team that is focused on delivering value. Because Customer Success works closely with customers, they are able to identify which customers are most likely to act as references or collaborate on producing case studies.
Benefits to customer: Case studies and press releases can provide coverage and exposure that is mutually beneficial to you and your customers.
Benefits to company: 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral (source).
Ways Customer Success and Growth should work together
Great cross-team collaboration requires established goals and access to shared knowledge and tools.
In order to effectively work together teams need to establish shared goals and priorities. For Customer Success and Growth the overarching goal should be acquire and retain customers that see long term value in your company’s products. To this end, Growth and Customer Success teams focus on encouraging users towards behavior that they know drive long term successful customers. Both teams intimately know what their product’s value proposition is and what actions lead users towards seeing value. Growth seeks to acquire new customers who mirror existing customers Customer Success know are receiving value from your product, or fit the profile of new customer segments the company wants to target. Growth runs growth experiments that often affect current customers and as a result should work closely with Customer Success to ensure the customer experience is never being sacrificed in favor of short term growth hacks.
Shared knowledge and tools
Customer Success and Growth teams work cross-functionally with Marketing, Sales, and Product to bridge communication gaps between potentially siloed teams. As a result of all this cross-team collaboration, both teams have a great deal of tribal knowledge they can share with each other. As mentioned before, Customer Success is in a unique position to act as the voice of the customer in key internal discussions that will shape the customer experience of current or future customers. Growth teams are often focused on making data-driven decisions and have access to tools that allow them to leverage data to impact the Growth Marketing funnel at scale. Customer Success can benefit from having access to these analytics and marketing tools to uncover insights that will allow for cohesive and scalable messaging at each stage of the Growth Marketing funnel.
Examples of Customer Success and Growth collaborating:
- Growth manages an automated new user onboarding campaign in Marketo. Customer Success should be able to dig into the performance if this campaign to see how each message performed for different customer personas and reach out to users who did not complete all onboarding stages for additional training and feedback.
- Customer Success wants to automatically trigger an Intercom in-app message to customers who have reached their seat limit. In this message the CSM on the account suggests the user use the Calendly link provided to schedule a time to chat about potentially expanding their account. Growth should be able to analyze the performance of this campaign. If personal outreach is shown to increase account expansions it might be a good idea to A/B test introducing personal touch points from Sales or Customer Success into different stages of the Growth Marketing funnel.
Customer Success and Growth teams share the goal of creating a compelling customer experience that drives top-line growth. Customer Success teams need to have an open channel of communication with Growth in order to share their knowledge gained from working with new and existing customers. This feedback loop multiplies the impact of Growth experiments and optimizations to the Growth Marketing funnel. When Growth teams take the time to incorporate the insights the Customer Success team have gained from working with customers, both companies and customers benefit.
Originally posted on the Calendly blog.