Customer Success starts with acquiring customers that have Success Potential.
Customers that have Success Potential are said to be good fit customers. This is the opposite of bad-fit customers that cannot get value from a relationship with us now or in the near future.
If you knowingly allow bad-fit customers to be acquired, nothing else you do in Customer Success will have the result you’re hoping for as those customers – no matter what you do – will never achieve their Desired Outcome.
You can’t solve upstream problems downstream.
To help you better understand and implement the concept of Success Potential in your business, here are some resources I’ve published on the subject.
Overview of Success Potential
This quick Success Potential Overview video is just under 6-mins, but could completely change your business.
Deep-dive on Success Potential
This article on Success Potential has evolved over the last few years and
Getting your customers to buy more from you is awesome.
Remember, you’re in business here and getting customers you’ve already spent money to acquire and serve to then expand their relationship with you – giving you more revenue – just seems like a super-efficient way to grow.
And it is.
But if you think for one minute you’re going to build a sustainable growth engine off the backs of unsuccessful customers, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Stop trying to upsell unsuccessful customers.
Unsuccessful customers don’t need – or want – to buy more of your stuff.
Obviously, right? Maybe… let’s explore this together.
Trying to upsell unsuccessful customers can have a lot of results, but none will involve you actually making the sale (without excessive concessions, undue pressure, and other things that don’t actually help the situation long-term).
Rather, by trying to sell more stuff to an unsuccessful customer,
Customers buying more from you is awesome.
I mean, you’re in business here and getting customers you’ve already acquired to expand their relationship with you just seems like a super-efficient way to grow.
And it is.
So when you have customers that don’t expand their relationship with you, it’s obvious that this is less-than-ideal revenue-wise.
But it’s more than that.
So much more than that.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
First, you must understand that expansion is part of the customer’s journey toward success.
Think about this… what do you sell customers on initially?
It’s most likely “do business with us, and you’ll become a better version of yourself.” We’ve all seen the Mario==>Super Mario meme.
So your customers come in assuming, since they bought your product or service, that they’re going to make that transformation.
But… most companies drop the ball right there. They don’t follow-through on that
If you want to grow fast, don’t do what most companies do!
When most companies want to eke out some quick incremental growth, they’ll often have their sales people turn to their existing customer base to make some sales.
After all, you have a captive audience that you can sell to with little to no real effort, right?
Yeah… and you’ll get little to no real results, too.
Look, your existing customer base IS incredibly valuable… assuming you leverage that asset the right way.
Most companies handle Account Expansion poorly and therefore experience very poor results.
If you don’t want to be like most companies and to actually grow fast, leaving incremental growth for the other guys, and doing so in a customer-centric (and therefore sustainable!) way, continue reading.
This post could change your business. Seriously.
Want to grow fast? Have one team dedicated to bringing in net new
When it comes to Customer Growth or Account Expansion (upselling & cross-selling), I assumed people knew that…
…you don’t have to hurt the relationship with your customer to hit your numbers.
…it doesn’t have to be a difficult slog that you struggle through to barely hit your numbers.
…giving CSMs or other non-sales people a sales quota is fraught with danger (on so many levels).
…expansion quotas – and, frankly, most expansion strategies – at best result in incremental growth, doing much damage in the process (which often offsets whatever “growth” they bring)
I assumed… but I was wrong.
I think it’s time to dive into why upselling hurts trust (when you do it wrong).
First, remember that there’s a huge difference between New Business Sales and Expansion. If you don’t know, start there.
Now, forcing products or services on customers when they don’t need, aren’t ready for, can’t be
If you missed it, I’m done talking about churn. If you have a churn problem, read this post and follow my directions. Churn won’t be an issue for you anymore.
Now we can move onto GROWTH!
And the first order of business is understanding the difference between Sales and Expansion and why knowing the difference is so important.
I’ve said that Sales is part of Customer Success before, and by that I mean Sales – like every other part of the company – should be governed by Customer Success as a philosophy.
But, when it comes to operationalizing account growth, where do you draw the line between sales and expansion?
Good question, let’s dig in.
In my experience, if you want to remain a small company, have your New Business Sales team also handle Expansion (Upsells, Cross-sells, etc.) sales.
However, if you want to grow fast, sustainably, and
Churn… ya boring. Yawn. Time to move on.
I’m so over talking about churn and if you really understand what Customer Success is all about, you should be, too.
Churn is so easy to get rid of… you just have to do five simple things.
If churn is a problem for you, this post will change that (if you’ll let it) and then you can move onto bigger and better things.
Once churn is a non-issue, you can focus on growth.
Let’s talk about Customer Engagement, specifically one part of the Communication Model, which is my BEAST Message Framework for creating messages that actually engage customers.
It’s really interesting that we communicate all day long – with our friends, with our peers, with our customers – but when was the last time you actually thought about what goes into communication?
Most of the time, we simply never stop to consider what needs to go into communication… we just do it.
If we do spend any time at all thinking about communication, we only focus on the message itself. But it’s truly important – imperative, actually – that we spend time thinking about all of the components of the Communication Model.
Whenever we try to send an email, have a call with a customer, set up a meeting with a customer, etc., we need to be thinking about communication and what
Let’s talk about Customer Engagement, specifically the Communication Model.
We communicate every day, all day.
We communicate with friends, family, co-workers, industry peers, customers, vendors, celebrities, trolls, politicians, restaurants, airlines, etc., every day.
We communicate more today than we ever had in the history of the world, and tomorrow, we’ll do it even more.
Yet despite all this communication going on, we really know very little about how to communicate effectively.
We think, since we do it all the time, we must be good at it, but as with most things, frequency should not be confused with proficiency.
So let’s dive into this whole Communication Model thing and figure out how to more effectively engage our customers by simply communicating better. Join me, shall you?
The History of the Communication Model
Going back a long time – I think in the 1950s – there was the Shannon-Weaver model, created
Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company.
If you focus on Customer Success, churn will not be an issue. At least in theory.
To take that from a simple theory to your Operating Model, you need to put systems in place, be able to monitor their effectiveness, and routinely perform root cause analysis when things go wrong (and also when things go well so you can replicate, right?).
So while our goal is to live in a world where churn doesn’t happen, while you have it, you really need to understand it so you can avoid it in the future.
To that end, I put together this Churn Classification system (or matrix or quadrant or whatever) to help you do that.
All Churn is Bad
All churn is bad, but some churn is worse than other churn.