Customer Success | 6 MIN READ

A Guide to Leveraging Partners to Drive Customer Success

How to align a partner around customer success to enhance a common motive. This blog clears it all for SaaS companies.

Niyathi Rao
Jun 7, 2021

Customer-Success-Partner

Customer Success Partner

Working with partners can improve your operations and provide services that are beneficial to customers. This can mean from the sales perspective to driving businesses quickly. In customer success, you can manage post-sales and improve the customer relationship. A good partner success strategy can help decrease the failure of bad alliances and help overcome challenges. It must be noted that 60% of strategic alliances fail. Technology companies can scale up their customer success function and drive better customer engagement while reducing churn. A good partner is one aligned to achieve customer success.

Some challenges include consumption, driving adoption, and localization. When customer success needs to grow, it is important to navigate well to handle customers. There is an opportunity for great partner relationships to align ecosystems around customer success.

  • Shared positive customer outcomes
  • Better alignment on customer journeys
  • Improved playbooks
  • Shared meters for customer health like adoption, advocacy, NPS, and more.
  • 360-degree view of customer journey

Customer Success for Partners

Tech companies have stood on partner channels to make products better valued in customers. System integrators, consultants, value-added resellers, and distributors can recommend products to customers. After the initial sale, you need to make sure the product is being used correctly and customer is happy. Partners focus on channel activity, top bookings, and services to move towards customer success. Here is the recommended playbook for driving customer success-

Profile your Partners

As vendors roll out CS programs, they must prioritize time effectively. Start with a small team and prioritize factors-

  • Are services an important part of the business model?
  • Is a ‘lifecycle’ or ‘adoption cycle’ in practice?
  • Will the partner derive a higher ROI?
  • Are these customer success focused people or roles?

Establish ROI

Work with prioritized partners to expand CS programs. Some sources of ROI to a partner include-

  • Growth in product revenue
  • New revenue from customer success
  • Attract new customers

Derive Customer Insights

You can go digital to build a 360-degree view of clients, NPS data, and usage. This is what partners need to understand which clients to follow up, find time and reasons. You can also find the renewals that are coming up and find more easy ways to understand data types.

  • Facilitate buyer-to-customer conversions
  • Nurture renewals
  • Keep track of utilization and low adoption rates

Offer Enablement

You need to enable ROI models and customer health data. What playbook would be better for the partner to adopt? What are the KPIs that a vendor focuses on? When is the next renewal coming up? What happens when adoption declines?

Measure Effectiveness

You need to hold partners accountable. They need to generate real value to customers via recommended playbooks. You can pay partners based on their outcomes and growth. The effectiveness of CS investments can be measured. These must be KPIs mutually agreed upon to reduce being unproductive. These customer health metrics can help determine dynamic margin percentages. You can do that if you have the shared tools for ease of effort and investment.

Top Tips for Aligning Partners Around Customer Success

In a B2B ecosystem, you need to continuously evolve. Empowering partners is a key shift in the vendor-customer relationship. To make the most of customer success partnerships, you can follow these tips.

Educate Partners

You need to train your partners to do something aligned as per your business. If you educate your partners, they will know the company better. You must provide direct training and certification to partners in the areas of customer success. Companies with better training to partners have shown better growth rates. This will also help you understand your partners better and integrate with business.

Reduce Competition between Partners and Company

Many companies are not aware of the partner channel conflicts and the potential negative impact to the business. You need to have clear function roles and segment customers and markets accordingly to get the best of resources. Proper engagement needs to happen as per funnels to facilitate customer success. By having a funnel system, you can create individual lanes for partner growth to eliminate conflict.

Share Customer Success Tools

Companies must share tools that will enable for productive CS functions. This will result in better technology revenue, drive cooperation, and enhance results. Sharing tools drives better revenue and aligns companies with partners. You will know what the capacity of the customer vs is the purchases. You can also know which features and functions are better supportive. You can also know the issues and problems the customer is encountering. You can also know of renewal dates, milestones, and other updates that will help expand subscriptions.

Pick the Right Partners

It must be kept in mind that partners must be chosen wisely. A partner cannot change their fundamental business plans to meet your company needs. So, it is important to look at partners who are in the same value bracket and are ready to expand their capabilities in your area. A great way to check that is by the LAER customer engagement model. LAER is Land, Adopt, Expand, and Renew that will help customers drive adoption. The core is customer success. Both partners need to discuss business outcomes for better results.

These tips will help in mutual customer success, improve productivity, and enhance positive customer outcomes. In simple words, Partner Success = Customer Success.

Bottom Line

We need to recognize that the rise in subscription economy has increased the need to protect customers. An effective way to scale customer success is by collaborating with the partner ecosystem. You need to protect your brand through the customer lifecycle. The top elements in this include shared responsibilities, shared tools and resources. Also, engaging the partner and vendor across customer engagement points in the journey will help. Finding a common base is also important. You also need to motivate partners via success stories to drive transformation and enhance the overall customer success strategy.

Through this relationship, all the three parties- vendor, customer and partner will focus on customer success.

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Originally Published June 7th, 2021, Updated June 7th, 2021

Niyathi Rao

Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.

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