The Customer Success Elevator Pitch

Customer Success is a fulfilling and amazing career path. Then again, if you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that.

One thing CSM’s tend to run into frequently is having to explain what they do in order to not be confused with technical support or customer service.

Let me be clear, this post is not to demean or downplay the impact of support and customer service reps. They are valued and needed. If done correctly, Customer Success works hand in hand with these departments.

I recently asked the CS community on LinkedIn what their elevator pitch for Customer Success was. Here were some of my favorites:

“I love that customer success is a healthy balance of everything. Though, it’s proactive versus reactive. Customer Success focuses on predicting problems before they become a problem or mediating escalations. Along with other responsibilities, primarily focusing on 3 key items: Retention, Adoption, and Expansion. Whereas customer support and technical support focus typically in reactive situations that are often break/fix.” – Mike Larsen Gain Grow Retain Community Member

“My team includes customer support and customer success. I try to set expectations up front that customer support is for break/fix, reactive in nature topics. Your CSM is for proactive, consultative, and advocacy type of topics. The two skill sets and teams are complementary and both play a role into the overall perception of your organization to customers.” – Brian Hartley Senior Director, Customer Success at RFP360

“One of my go-to explanations is to use the Sherpa example. People don’t individually or even in a group attempt to climb Mt Everest. They are led by someone who knows the path and while typically not life/death for CS professionals, we are the eyes and ears for customers as they put forth the effort to reach the various milestones in their journey, i.e. base camp (training), next level base camp (adoption/engagement), summit (scale, advocacy), etc.” – Ronni Gaun Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Zoom Video Communications

“I usually compare it to Sales for people. Sales conceptualizes the vision for the customer and closes the sale. CS makes that vision a reality, and keeps/grows that customer’s account over time.” – Ben Winn Community & Events Manager at Catalyst Software

“To put it simply, we are a strategic long-term partner for driving value for every client.” – Diana De Jesus Customer Success Manager at Catalyst Software

And last but not least.. “Customer Success is designed for a more proactive and targeted approach to ensure on-going satisfaction and ROI for all our clients. It allows clients to have a main point of contact throughout their lifecycle. Knowing someone will always be there to help them. Someone who knows their specific needs.” – Me

What’s your elevator pitch?

Sales to Customer Success: Partnering through the Handoff

Have you ever bought a product and immediately regretted it? I’m sure it’s not just me. We’ve all done it. It’s part of being a typical consumer. Luckily, in the SaaS world, there is a process that if fine-tuned, can prevent this from happening to our new clients.

Let me introduce the Sales to Customer Success Handoff.

It’s imperative that sales and CS are able to work together so that every handoff can be seamless, efficient, and productive for the new client.

The Customer Success Leader Podcast recently interviewed Josh Fedie who had a lot of great things to say about the sales to CS handoff. One of the points he really emphasized is that the experience you give your brand-new clients is so critical. The company’s growth and the overall satisfaction of the client are dependent on it.

Listen to the full episode here:

Buyers remorse is a real thing even in the SaaS world. When a customer signs on and you, as the CSM, have the opportunity to speak to them for the first time, make the first experience a a memorable one.

Basically, make sure they get off your first call/meeting knowing they made the right decision.

One of the best ways to make a the first call/meeting memorable is to go in with lots of knowledge about the client. This can be done by collaborating with the sales rep before the call.

By doing this, you accomplish two important things that every CSM should have as a priority.

  1. You create a good, collaborative relationship with the sales team.
  2. You become more knowledgeable about your clients needs, positioning yourself as a Trusted Advisor rather than just a typical “Account Manager” (more on this in a later post).

When speaking with the sales team before your initial call with the new client, here are some questions to consider:

  • Are we replacing an existing solution or is this a new tool for them?
  • Who are the key stakeholders? Are there any personality stand points I should be aware of?
  • Were any additional line items added to the contract that I should be aware of?
  • What problems is the client trying to solve?
  • Are there any potential risks with this client that I should be aware of?

I’ve been with companies where the relationship between sales and post-sales is great and in companies where it’s not. The secret sauce for a good hand-off is open and respectful collaboration between departments, especially with management.

A strong partnership between sales and CS can make a world of difference for the company’s growth and culture.

Additional Resources