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If you are a customer success professional, you get to collaborate with many other departments in your organization. Customer success is not a siloed function. It brings many opportunities for other departments to leverage the customer data that it has access to. And when it collaborates with the
If you are a customer success professional, you get to collaborate with many other departments in your organization. Customer success is not a siloed function. It brings many opportunities for other departments to leverage the customer data that it has access to. And when it collaborates with the sales division, customer success qualified lead, CSQL, is what it produces to drive business growth.
Customer-centricity is the value that companies work with in all its departments. Whether it is marketing, sales, product management or customer service, all the departments have something or the other to derive from customer data.
When it comes to sales, qualified leads are what sales executives are after. They want to leverage every aspect of the lead generation to place and sell their product to the right customers. And while selecting the customer, they must ensure that the customer is the right fit who would stay with the business for long-term. So, who could provide them with such high qualified leads? It is the customer success function.
As the customers grow in size and capabilities, their needs for the solutions evolve over the time. But oftentimes, they are not able to recognize those needs that can be fulfilled by the solutions provided by their current vendor.
When CSMs are working closely with the customers, they become quite capable of anticipating those customer’s evolving needs. But many times, it can turn out to be detrimental in their relationship if they have to approach the customer with any sales pitch. Hence, they decide to pass on those qualified leads to the sales executives of their company.
These leads, when they come from CSMs to the salesperson, are called CSQL. These are the most effective leads that a company can act towards. CSMs are the most qualified personnel for understanding customer pain-points and challenges. And when they pass on this information to the salesperson, the salesperson is able to design their sales pitch for upsells or cross-sells most effectively.
But CSQLs are not just limited to upsells and cross-sells. It also extends to the brand advocacy which existing customers perform. The customer referrals brought by the loyal customers are also a form of customer success leads.
Since these leads are generated by the customers, for the customers, they have the highest conversion ratio. Hence, it is most essential for the customer-centric organizations to leverage this lead generation process to drive business growth.
So what is the process involved in generating the customer success qualified lead? How can the CSM make the most out of it and how should they go about it? Let’s look at those few ways.
When customers are using your product, it is important for the CSMs to have a closer look into their usage patterns. After a certain period of your product usage, the customer may need an upgrade in the product. This upgrade means they might want to use the advanced features in the product which are not covered in their current plan.
Hence, CSMs, by monitoring closely the customer usage, must identify those customer needs. And based on that, they can pass this information to the salesperson to approach customers with an upgrade opportunity.
Similar cases can also be derived for the cross-sell opportunities. And sometimes, approaching customer can also be done by the CSMs themselves if they are confident about not hampering their relationship with the customer. Interesting thing to note here is that 87% of customers are open to brands monitoring their usage activities if it leads to more personalized rewards.
Different customers have different depths of relationship with the brand. Few might be too satisfied with the brand to become its loyal customers. Others might be neutral, while the rest of them could be dissatisfied with the brand to become detractors. The most important indicator of this relationship status is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) which CSMs collect from the customers.
Loyal customers are always open for new opportunities. According to a survey, 57% of the customers spend more on brands they are loyal to. Hence, if you already know the customer’s sentiments towards your brand, you can leverage it to generate CSQL.
After working with customer for some time, the CSM tends to know what value means to the customer. Do they define value by revenue growth, or reducing the workflow process, or by saving time?
Approaching customer for any new sales opportunity would require a deeper understanding of the value proposition. Same product can be sold through different value propositions. Hence, it is important to know what value a customer is seeking and more importantly, how can you help them achieve those values. Once you find the gap between what they have and what they need, it becomes easy to generate a customer success lead.
CSMs need to work closely with the customer to guide them through the right milestones in their customer journey. They must know what would enhance their experience with the product and how their needs evolve over the time. During the QBRs, they must identify the gaps in the customer’s usage of the product and make a slight introduction about what more a customer may achieve. If the customer shows any interest, a proper sales pitch must be prepared to introduce them with the new product you would try to sell.
All the information exchange between the sales and CS team required to generate CSQL must be supervised by the sales leadership. There should be a regular meeting between the two departments to identify any upsell/cross-sell opportunities that have arisen in the due time.
Oftentimes the sales and customer success teams have to come together to discuss various customer events like onboarding, renewals or simple account expansion. Hence, a proper handoff is necessary to ensure smooth flow of information and proper execution of the tasks.19
If there is anything that demonstrates the power of cross-functional collaboration, CSQL stands as a major example of it. With an assured partnership between sales and customer success teams, you can leverage it to drive the immense growth of your organization.
Shoeb lives and breathes Customer Success and SaaS. He has a passion to research on the latest innovations happening in SaaS and Customer Success. Shoeb hails from a Software Architecture background where he worked for many years with Indian Tech Giants like Wipro and ITC building software solutions for their MNC clients in the UK and Denmark.
Published December 21, 2020, Updated February 25, 2022
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