Pods in Customer Success vs. Sales: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Pods, a collaborative team structure, have been around for several years but have become increasingly popular in both Customer Success (CS) and Sales, especially as the former has become even more efficiency-focused in the past year.

The Role of Pods in CSM Coverage Models: The Evolving Landscape

The concept of “pods” in Customer Success Management (CSM) continues to evolve, offering a flexible approach to structuring CSM teams within an overall coverage model strategy. Here’s a breakdown of how pods can fit into your CSM coverage models:

Pooled CSMs: Benefits, Challenges, and Requirements for Success

The concept of pooled CSMs, where a pool of CSMs manage a portfolio of customers without dedicated account ownership, has emerged as an alternative approach to CSM org design. Here’s a breakdown of the current thinking on pooled CSMs, including the key requirements for success. Potential Benefits of Pooled CSMs Potential Challenges of CSM Pools […]

Beyond Touch Levels: Scaling Customer Success through Appropriate Experience (AX)

There’s no such thing as a ‘tech-touch’ or ‘high-touch’ customer. There are only customers and their Appropriate Experience (AX). This is the modern take on Customer Success Management that leaders of world-class CS organizations operationalize around.

The Goal Discovery Framework for Customer Success Management

In the realm of Customer Success (CS), understanding customer goals is the cornerstone of building meaningful relationships and driving long-term value. Traditional customer interactions often involve direct communication, allowing for immediate clarification of needs.  As I’ say all the time: No Goals. No Customer Success. Know Goals. Know Customer Success.

Storytelling in Customer Success: Use the Power of Goal Discovery

The Goal Discovery Framework is an invaluable tool for storytelling in customer success, enabling you to demonstrate value beyond the traditional focus on Return on Investment (ROI).  By combining data, storytelling, and this framework, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can effectively showcase the true value proposition of their product or service. Here’s how to apply the […]

Bridging the Engagement Gap: Keeping Customers Actively Invested

Did you know that a significant portion of your customers, even those who seemingly appear satisfied, consider exploring alternatives before renewing their contracts? This statistic highlights a crucial reality in today’s competitive SaaS landscape: customer engagement is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity for survival. 

Build a Social Proof Machine: Consistently Generate Real Advocates at Scale

As a Head of Customer Success, you’ve heard the benefits of advocacy. You get that it’s somehow the golden ticket—a game-changer that’s supposed to turn the business flywheel faster than ever. But somehow, the magic hasn’t happened for you. Your advocacy program is more of a flicker than a flame, and you’re wondering if the […]

The Untapped Potential of Social Proof through Earned Advocacy

Hold on a second. You’re smart; you’ve got your finger on the pulse of Customer Success, and you’re up to your ears in metrics, strategies, and buzzwords. But let’s cut through the noise for a moment. If you’re not focusing on genuine, earned customer advocacy, you’re leaving an unparalleled opportunity on the table. You know […]

From KPIs to Connection: Transforming Metrics Into Meaningful Relationships

Customer Success isn’t a monolith; it’s a symphony of moving parts. Think of it as a well-oiled machine with gears both large and small. The larger gears—your customer-level KPIs—offer those broad-stroke indicators that often make you nod in satisfaction. “Yes, we’re on the right track,” they seem to say. Then there are the smaller, more […]

Every Department Must Recognize the Value of Customer Success

Customer Success teams continually strive to advocate for their significance, often finding themselves undervalued by other departments. Heads of Customer Success are no strangers to this feeling, and while the importance of their roles is crystal clear to them, they sometimes feel isolated in this perspective. This sentiment isn’t a reflection of their desire to […]

Retention: Shifting from Reactive to Proactive to Stop Chasing and Start Leading

Let’s get real. You’re swamped, your team is overwhelmed, and you’re juggling the constant demands of retaining customers while chasing that elusive long-term success. You’re in firefighting mode—again. You know you need to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive one. Deep down, you feel the urgency, but the ‘how’ eludes you. It’s like […]

Why High Usage Doesn’t Guarantee Customer Success

You’re feeling pretty good about your customer engagement metrics. The data shows that users are logging in daily, clicking around, and seemingly making the most of your platform. But hold on. Your churn numbers are still concerning. Contraction at renewal is creeping up. And expansion is way lower than it should be. Something doesn’t add […]

Scaling Your Customer Success Team Without Losing Control

You’ve built your Customer Success team from the ground up, and you’re rightfully proud of it. You’ve always had your hands on the steering wheel, ensuring smooth rides for your clients. But now your team is growing. The very thought of scaling conjures up fears of losing that intimate control you’ve had—over your team and […]

The Art and Science of Continuous Goal Alignment in Customer Success

Every Customer Success Manager (CSM) and Head of Customer Success has felt it at some point: the nagging sense that although Goal Discovery is essential, something is missing in the process of keeping those goals continually aligned. You know it’s important, but somehow staying in-sync with your customer’s evolving goals seems elusive. Perhaps it’s the […]

Goal Discovery: The Essential Task You Never Had Time for (Until Now!)

You get it; Goal Discovery is essential. It’s not just another buzzword or a fleeting trend in Customer Success. It’s the foundation of everything we aim to accomplish with our clients. But here’s where the frustration mounts: you have clients to manage, meetings to attend, fires to put out, and an inbox that never seems […]

Aligning Customer Success and Sales: Bridging the Great Divide

You know the feeling – it’s a shared frustration among many in Customer Success. Another seemingly ‘bad fit’ customer is passed to us, and we’re left questioning the Sales team’s understanding of what a good fit really is. It’s easy to think: “Why can’t they just get it right?”. But perhaps we’re addressing this from […]

Motivating Action: The Hard Truth of Driving Customer Engagement

Every Customer Success Manager (CSM) knows the struggle: you have an incredible product that can truly enhance the work of your customers, but they resist. They feel overwhelmed, underprepared, or simply unwilling to take on the new responsibilities that come with implementing your product. Sound familiar? Then buckle up. We’re going to unpack the challenges […]

Customer Retention: Proactive, Reactive, and At-Risk Analysis

How often have you found yourself scrambling at the last minute to save an at-risk account, pouring time and resources into what could often be a losing battle? You’re not alone. Many Customer Success Managers (CSMs) fall into the trap of reactive retention. It feels like part of the job, right? The truth is, there’s […]

What is a good SaaS Churn Rate?

What is a good SaaS Churn rate? The easy answer is as low as possible. But there’s more to it; that’s what this post is for.

Customer Success: High/Low/No Touch Customer Segmentation

The traditional Customer Success method of simply looking at what a customer pays us and giving them a particular level of ‘touch’ is old and outdated. It’s time to logically segment customers based on Appropriate Experience (AX). For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook […]

Customer Success: Incorporating High/Low/No Touch into Onboarding

Proper Customer Onboarding isn’t done to prevent churn; it’s done to ensure the customer achieves their Desired Outcome. Retention comes from that. But what is “proper” customer onboarding? Let’s find out. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video […]

Customer Success: How to help Salespeople with Customer Segmentation

The age-old issue of Customer Success and Sales alignment, only this time focused on segmentation. This is my attempt to definitively address this eternal quandary. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that […]

Customer Success: Determining Which Customers on which to Focus

From a Customer Success perspective, this is the wrong question to ask. You must “focus” on all customers since proper Customer Onboarding is critical for all customers to achieve their Desired Outcome. The way you operationalize around all of your customers to ensure they’re all Onboarded in an Appropriate way will come down to logical […]

Customer Success: Who Should Handle Upsells?

One of the great Customer Success questions – regardless of how many answers are given or by whom – that refuses to ever actually be answered is who should handle upsells… sales or Customer Success. This is my attempt to definitively answer this question. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer […]

Customer Success: How to Reset Mismanaged Expectations

Carefully. One of the biggest drains on Customer Success Management resources is customers that have not had their expectations properly managed and having to work around that. Avoid that where you can by doing things correctly from the outset, but if you’re there already, maybe this will help you. For context, on Friday, May 19, […]

Customer Success: Customer Engagement Across the Entire Lifecycle

Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company. Those interactions occur across the entire lifecycle. I define Customer Success Management as the process of moving customers toward their ever-evolving Desired Outcome. Again, across the entire lifecycle. You can’t have Customer Success without engagement across the lifecycle. For […]

Customer Success: Working with Customers that don’t like Technology

Luckily this type of thing is rare, but with Customer Success as our operating philosophy, or Customer Success Management as our operating model, we need to work within the confines of our customer’s comfort zone… not ours. This is a thought-provoking question with, hopefully, an equally thought-provoking answer. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, […]

Customer Success: How to Tell Customers What to Do

For many Customer Success Management teams, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘just let your customers figure it out.’ In fact, it’s easy to think that’s in their best interest. Leave them alone and they’ll discover what they need to on their own. But in most cases, that’s the exact opposite of what […]

How to Get Customers to Help Define Engagement Models

Don’t hide from your customers. Don’t pretend you know everything. Talk to your customers and figure out from that discovery process what your engagement model should look like. You can then extrapolate segment-based models or, for some customers, create unique engagement models just for them (if it makes sense). For context, on Friday, May 19, […]

Customer Success-driven Marketing: Targeting Offline Customers

Customer Success should drive everything your company does, including sales and marketing. When it comes to targeting customers that aren’t online, first, I’d push back on the assumption that your customers aren’t online. Second, I’d remind you that Customer Success-driven Marketing means understand the customer’s Desired Outcome so you can craft a message that gets […]

Lincoln Murphy Customer Success AMA Transcript and Video – May 19, 2017

On Friday May 19th, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below, along with the questions that were asked and my answers. Yep, if you don’t want to watch or listen, no problem! I got the entire AMA transcribed (and cleaned it […]

The Process for Discovering your Customer’s Desired Outcome

Customer Success is when your customer achieves their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company. Desired Outcome is Required Outcome + Appropriate Experience. Each customer segment will have its own Appropriate Experience (AX) – even if they share the same Required Outcome – and this will tell you the type and level of coverage […]

Customer Success: How to Close the Feedback Loop with…

Customer Success Management, Marketing, Sales, Product, and the Executive team all have unique information about the customer. This includes how the customers talk about what they do, how they talk about and use our product, how any of this aligns with our strategic direction (or not). So creating feedback looks among all of those parts […]

Customer Success and Upgrading Grandfathered Customers

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you likely have customers that you’ve “Grandfathered” into old pricing tiers or feature sets that are obsolete now. How can you get Grandfathered customers to move to your current pricing model in a customer-positive way? I have some ideas for you… For context, on Friday, […]

Customer Success in Early-stage Startups

Early-stage startups think Customer Success isn’t for them. Wrong! Not only is Customer Success for startups (along with established companies), it’s also your key to growth without the friction of churn and bad-fit customers distracting you from rapid expansion. Let’s talk about how to apply Customer Success in early-stage startups. For context, on Friday, May […]

The Best Customer Success Management (CSM) Software

What is the best Customer Success Management (CSM) Software on the market today? As you might imagine, that question comes up frequently for me. Below, I try to give you the best answer I can on this very important piece of your Customer Success strategy.

Why Aligning Sales and Customer Success is Critical

The goal of Customer Success for your company is to get customers to stay longer, buy more, and advocate for you. So it’s critical to remember that Customer Success begins at the first interaction with prospects by your sales team, continues across their entire lifecycle, and is required for scalable, repeatable Account Expansion. Which means […]

Customer Success and Charging Setup Fees

So, do Setup Fees jibe with Customer Success? Are they mutually exclusive? Can they play well together? Is there a time or place where they’re more appropriate? The answer is, of course, yes. And no. Don’t worry… I unconfuse it all below. For context, on Friday, May 5, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask […]

The Biggest Customer Success Mistake (and How to Avoid it)

Spoiler Alert: The biggest mistake you can make in Customer Success is not putting the customer first – this is CUSTOMER Success. If what you’re doing isn’t designed around the customer’s Desired Outcome, I have no idea what you’re doing. You’re doing something, but it’s not Customer Success. But let’s talk about why this matters… […]