When to introduce the CSM in the customer lifecycle
Let’s start with what’s easier to determine: The latest point to introduce customer success would be right before the onboarding.If you reach out to a new customer who is poking around in the dark for 2 weeks already you don’t need any software telling you there’s a high churn risk.
But the worst thing is not even that the customer might not get done anything. It’s the customer’s experience that you don’t care about them at all. Which you simply can’t afford in a buyer-centric world.
The onboarding stage is where arguably the most SaaS companies introduce the customer success manager to the customer. But bringing them on earlier in the sales process, at the so-called “sales-qualified-opportunity”-stage offers unknown and unexpected advantages.
The qualification of leads and opportunities plays an important role in every sales process. After all, you don’t want to spend your resources on customers who don’t convert into a sale.
If you introduce customer success managers to SQOs you’ll create CSQOs – customer success qualified opportunities. Why does that make sense? Because who could better determine whether an opportunity is qualified than the people who are working with dozens of customers every day?
In an ideal world you would convert 100% of the opportunities you deem to be qualified. It obviously will never happen. But introducing the customer success manager at the SQO stage can help you to close deals you would have otherwise lost.
Because whether the customer signs- up or not depends on their perception of value. A CSM who visibly understands the customers’ problems and might even be able to discuss possible solutions right away can definitely turn the tides.
On top you will get a lot of insights to improve your daily work with actual customers. Even though your contributions won’t help closing every deal you will talk to a much broader audience. And you’ll learn way more about pain points and their roots, how their processes work, the solutions they currently use and more.
A future investment
How can you afford spending time on customer calls with a sales rep with your busy schedule? Consider it as an investment that pays off in more time. Time you spend with firefighting, dealing with inevitable churn from customers who would not have passed the CSQO stage, optimizing for the wrong goals etc.
And the time you’ll save then can be reinvested into helping customers grow their value and LTV in return.