The Gist

  • Your objective. My objective. Customer success teams can drive retention, expansion and renewal opportunities by tying product-level goals and features to larger business or financial outcomes, creating shared objectives across product and customer success, and relying on data to predict customer expectations and expansion opportunities.
  • CX superheroes. To unlock data-driven customer success superpowers, you need to use both product data and value-driven KPIs to discover opportunities for growth, and proactively invest in a strategy that includes scaling channels for delivering customer help and education.

Many SaaS companies rely on product data to inform their customer experience (CX) and customer success (CS) strategies on some level. However, effectively acting on this product data can be the best way to generate revenue. This is particularly true in a potential economic downturn, where every expansion and renewal can make a major impact on the bottom line.

With the right strategy in place, SaaS companies can position customer success as a strategic growth lever for the company. Data-driven customer success teams can use key information to generate high-value customer conversations, improving retention, expansion and renewal opportunities. Here’s how.

1. Tie Product-Level Goals and Features to Larger Business or Financial Outcomes

If customers achieve their definition of value through your product, you’re more likely to retain them. To some extent, the customer’s adoption and usage of your product’s features helps them reach that value. However, customer success can drive increased understanding of how product usage is tied to the actual business outcomes the customer cares about most.

Customer success teams can help customers bridge the day-to-day use of the product to the business value it is driving. Quantifiable value is the best way to drive both positive outcomes for the customer and for your company. The key takeaway is to make your product a must-have by knowing how your features map to key business goals, and ensuring your customers also understand this relationship.

Related Article: Why Your CX Investments Might Be Seesawing With Customer Satisfaction and ROI

2. Create Shared Objectives Across Product and Customer Success

When customer success and product teams go through planning and objective-setting exercises in silos, you miss out on the potential to drive increased impact. Think about opportunities to create value-driving, shared goals across teams and understand which role each team plays in moving these objectives forward. One example lies in product usage — the first step is to align what successful or healthy usage means across both teams. We rely on the “active usage” metric, or what percentage of users are actively using our product, across both product management and customer success.

If you don’t take the time to make sure your workstreams are complementary, you could unknowingly duplicate efforts or create plays and assets that drive customers to sub-optimal usage patterns. Instead collaborate and orchestrate each team’s role in striving for mutually agreed upon metrics.

For example, one of customer success' key roles is to drive healthy and successful customer onboarding. Your product team likely shares a similar goal. By defining a shared primary metric (e.g. time to first moment of value at the admin and user level), customer success and product can work to develop complementary initiatives to move that metric in a positive direction. Product can focus on increasingly reducing friction by making key steps in the journey more effortless, and customer success can develop the services, training, enablement and risk mitigation plays needed to effectively guide customers to success.

3. Rely on Data to Predict Customer Expectations and Expansion Opportunities

If customers can purchase your product via self-serve channels, they are likely also more comfortable with finding help and support on their own. Proactively investing in a strategy that includes scaling channels for delivering customer help and education can both meet your customer’s expectations and increase your reach.

Learning Opportunities

If you see a high-potential customer struggling with adoption, you can invest in time-bound training or enablement engagements to help them get back on track. In addition, you can create one-to-many bootcamp workshops and target them toward high-potential customer cohorts/segments. Finally, you might choose to invest in admin or program owner resources and enablement to drive a "train the trainer" amplifier model within your customer’s organization.

In addition, there are likely product usage signals that can indicate when a self-serve customer might benefit from a higher touch customer success approach, or be ready to expand. For example, proactively identifying accounts with a high product fit and potential can lead to a small initial purchase growing into a larger expansion. Investing in making these customers successful at a smaller scale can lead to higher confidence to expand.

To get started, develop a matrix of spend today vs. potential for the future. How do you strategically invest in accounts based on these two things? Consider factors like company size, current point of contact, departmental use cases, and product fit as you assess how quickly you can develop value and drive growth.

Related Article: Top Customer Experience Trends You Should Watch in 2023

Unlocking Data-Driven Customer Success Superpowers

Are you using your customer success team as strategically as you’d like to for growth? The answers about how to unlock customer success superpowers may be hidden in your data, and how you use it to improve your customer relationships.

When done right, customer success can use both product data and value-driven KPIs to discover opportunities for both retention and expansion. Ask yourself, how can our data be used as a conversation-starter with our most important customers?

fa-solid fa-hand-paper Learn how you can join our contributor community.