Customer success in enterprise sales

When should customer success become part of an enterprise sales process?

 

The earlier the better. Certainly after the key decision-makers and users are positive.

 

Startups stumble in the sales process to define value and impact for the customer.

 

In other words, what success looks like post-sale.

 

Generally because customer success (CS) is not engaged soon enough.

 

As stakeholders are positive, CS should be part of the team, define business and user milestones, with dates based on similar prior experience, and...

 

metrics of success

 

EX:

All users should be onboarded by <date>.

ADU (average daily usage) should be 1 hour one month after go-live.

ADU should increase to 3 hours per user per day 2 months after go-live, contingent on...

feature x delivered by that date

completion of training AI models at 98% accuracy or better

false positive rate of y% or less

average latency on user response to function z no greater than 900ms

explanations from AI acceptable to users

etc.

 

These metrics can be prepared by CS, with support from pre-sales, and reviewed by sales.

 

And openly discussed through the sales process.

 

Post go-live is a critical period when satisfaction can drop off quickly, usage drops off if users are confused, it's easier to go back to the old way, etc.

 

CS followup then becomes "is the client achieving x, y & z per the plan"? Not "just checking in, we haven't heard from you for 2 weeks, hope everything is ok."

 

It also helps the seller team be ahead of the curve. If a milestone will slip, then CS can adjust the rest of the plan, look at ways to de-risk further slippage, and proactively notify the buyer. That way, the seller team is openly highlighting an issue, AND bringing a solution in the form of a revised plan. What does the buyer team need to do? By what dates? What other things might go wrong and what can we both do to mitigate that risk?

 

Communications is so important in de-risking delivery and the relationship.