Champagne Results on Juice Box Budgets: Winning Customer Success Through vCSM Engagement

May 11, 2018

Marley Wagner

Category: Customer Segmentation Strategy, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Strategy, Virtual Customer Success Management

Chartered to increase revenue and promote company growth, but don’t have the resources?

If this sounds familiar, you’re likely one of the many budget-strapped Customer Success (CS) leaders we talk to every day. Folks who know that to improve their bottom lines they need higher touch engagement with their customers — but don’t have the resources to make that a reality.

While attending this year’s Gainsight Pulse Conference, the significance of human-touch was made clear across the board. One case study showed that even just a minor increase in human-touch engagement resulted in increased customer software subscription renewals. Confirming what we already know: Following a strong CS model unequivocally delivers increased renewals, increased revenue from aforementioned renewals, and decreased customer churn.

But how do well-meaning CS leaders, who know today’s customers demand more attention, deliver mission-critical engagement levels?

We see two options:

  1. Max out overhead by hiring additional full-time CS managers
  2. Extend customer coverage with outsourced resources

The first option is great if a CS team has the money to bring on new hires, the track record to convince decision-makers to expand the team, a pool of qualified applicants to pull from, the resources to onboard new hires, and a proven CS model to ensure ROI.

Unfortunately, that scenario tends to better describe a CSM’s fever dream than reality. The sad truth is most companies we come across run into hurdle after hurdle when trying to extend their internal CS teams.

Bring in the vCSM cavalry

That’s where the cavalry, more commonly known as virtual Customer Success Managers (vCSM), comes in. vCSMs help CS teams to scale their proven, human-centric strategy across larger or lower-value tiers without the expense and stress of hiring internal resources. vCSMs provide the critical human touch that augments tech touch and bottom-tier neglect described in our blog post, 3 Customer Success Best Practices to Scale People & Automation.

A successful vCSM solution flips the “do more with less” philosophy on its head. It answers the call to reduce cost and streamline operations while delivering bigger bottom lines — a demand that typically pressurizes organizations to do more with less and a stress that automation alleviates but does not solve alone.

The 80/20 rule: Be a victor not a victim

If you’ve been following our white papers, you know we believe most companies follow the 80/20 Rule. In short, it’s the idea that most CS teams focus on their biggest customers, typically because of limited resources. Those customers tend to make up the top 20 percent of their customer base. The other 80 percent falls in the coverage gap — a place of no return where customers experience low-touch engagement if any engagement at all.

The ugly consequences of underinvesting in CS functions:

  • Over-extending CSMs
  • Strain on other organizational resources when customers seek out absentee help to fulfill their needs
  • High churn rates
  • Renewal loss

vCSMs deliver more customers who…

  • more extensively using your product
  • meet their desired outcomes
  • take advantage of upsells and cross-sells
  • spread positive word-of-mouth about your product and company

The added bonus of vCSMs focusing on low- and middle-tier customers is that existing CSMs can stay focused on key accounts and initiatives.

In short, Customer Success as a Service (CSaaS) drives better customer experience, which unlocks more sustainable growth for you and your customers. An idea illustrated in practice by SaaS Capital, which has found that businesses prioritizing Customer Success can see a 40 percent increase in revenue and 50 percent faster growth.

The five big ways vCSMs will supplement your CS team:

  1. Customer journey mapping and opportunity discovery
  2. A more agile business model
  3. Lower labor costs
  4. Conversion of customers into ambassadors
  5. Increased revenue

Take a more in-depth look at how the right CS partner can help you have your cake and eat it too when you have champagne-level needs on a juice box-level budget in our latest white paper, Building a Business Case for More Customer Success Resources.

Learn more – Building a business case to support the need for better technology or more CSMs doesn’t need to be difficult, but there are a few key things to consider first. This PDF tells you what you need to know.