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The new skills customer success teams must acquire in 2023

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Given the economic landscape, it's not enough for customer success teams to just be relationship-builders, they also have to drive revenue.  

17th Jan 2023
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In the ever-changing B2B landscape and economic climate, customer success teams are becoming increasingly responsible for customer retention and expansion. Because acquisition is far more expensive than retention, it’s not enough for customer success managers (CSMs) to just be relationship builders, they also have to implement tactics that drive revenue. 

So, how can a customer success team win in 2023 without sacrificing their role of trusted advisor? This article explores the skills every CS team will need to cultivate in 2023 in order to continue building relationships and driving revenue. Most importantly in order to get the most out of all of this data at your disposal, it’s important to be able to sift through the noise and turn it into actionable insights throughout the customer journey.

Communicate product value in concrete terms

In 2023, the successful CSM will be able to communicate product value effectively with every single customer. It is no longer enough to just come to the table with product usage data. CSMs must first clearly understand and define each customer’s unique business goals and outcomes, then present data strategically throughout the customer journey that shows progress toward those goals through product use. The ROI metrics tied to a customer’s specific goals will prove the product’s value.

The CS team of 2023 will need to work in the hunting-farmer mindset: be relationship builders while also growing net revenue retention (NRR). This means they’re not only sharing value-driving data and insights, such as ROI or product usage data, but also acting as subject-matter experts who can help their customers get even more from their product through expansion. In order to be successful at this, CSMs will need to be able to access data and make it digestible for their customers with data visualisations. 

Additionally, in the new year, expect benchmarking data to become increasingly more important and beneficial. When CSMs can show customers how they stack up in similar groups or with competitors, they can simultaneously establish their position as a trusted advisor while also providing concrete recommendations for improvement.

Scale account management programmatically

Now more than ever, CSMs need to be able to do more with less. In times when budgets and resources are strapped, CSMs have more on their plates, and they’re on the front lines of customer relationships. With this in mind, they’re expected to cover more ground in less time, and this often adds to stress and burnout. 

In 2023, leadership must do what it takes to ensure CSMs are okay mentally, which means recognizing red flags of burnout and understanding that these individuals may be impacted by the success of their customers. To avoid feelings of burnout, it’s important to make sure CSMs can work efficiently and have time freed up to build strong relationships. Automation can help, and CS teams will need tech that:

  • Is easy to implement.

  • Provides immediate value.

  • Makes it easier for CSMs to access data.

  • Speeds up workflows.

Ultimately, customer success teams are likely to be expected to do more in 2023, and this means they need to be able to scale processes and cut manual work down when possible. Teams should be checking efficiency through internal data on gross net retention, while making it easier for CSMs to connect with their hundreds of accounts.

Work cross-functionally 

In the new year, a CS team won’t be able to function on an island. This means they need to get better at building internal relationships with cross-functional stakeholders that help them do the work they need to do. 

CSMs need to work with other departments to obtain key data points and bring cross-functional teams on the journey. This may look like working with analytics or operations teams to show product value from a qualitative lens, or revisiting feedback loops to make sure actions are being taken on customer feedback. 

Iterate along the way

Finally, the successful 2023 CS team needs to understand that perfection can’t be the enemy of progress. New processes, such as standardising data-driven content or implementing new tech, won’t solve every challenge your team faces immediately. With this in mind, the CS team of 2023 needs to iterate on processes as they go, and learn from experience to scale them.

This also rings true in customer relationships — CSMs need to be able to iterate on strategies as customer goals and objectives may shift in the new year. They need to know and navigate their customers’ new or anticipated roadblocks. From a data-driven content perspective, if CSMs are new to the process, they should start small with basic account-level data, then build upon it with additional data to weave a more compelling narrative. Just because they don’t have hundreds of data points woven into comprehensive, yet digestible data-driven content right away doesn’t mean this information isn’t valuable. By sharing any form of data whenever possible, CS teams can work their way up to stronger data-driven stories.

 

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