Customer Success | 9 MIN READ

How to Sell Customer Success Software to the C-Suite: A Guide for Customer Success Leaders

Actionable, intelligent ways to sell customer success software to C-level executives, including CEO, CTO, CFO, and more.

Niyathi Rao
Apr 6, 2021

How to Sell Customer Success Software to the C-Suite

If you are a customer success leader who’s being forced to use a sales tool that wasn’t built for you in the first place, we get you. Leaders in a C-suite are uniquely positioned to further company-wide policies and strategies. Customer Success (CS) teams are growing and need a good technical fit to give them the confidence to do better in their roles. In this blog, we will see why C-Suite Selling is important. how to sell your customer success tool to them.

Why Sell to the C-Suite?

The C-suite or C-level of an organization is made up of decision-makers. Selling to C-suite customers is important as it can provide:

  • Faster decisions, lesser bureaucratic hurdles, and large contracts, characteristics of a C-suite buyer
  • Less pushback on price by C-suite buyers
  • Higher impact on the company
  • Access to a network of potential clients
  • Improved understanding of the product due to corporate strategy skills

If you focus your business and aim at C-level executives, chances of growing your business are high. Instead of dealing with cost-conscious buyers, you will deal with decision-makers who understand the business.

The Impact of selling a customer success software to the C-suite

C-level executives have a wide range of professional networks and tend to have solid relationships with many companies. Just 40 C-level customers can generate nearly 70% of B2B business. They constitute a lion’s share in company profits. C-level executives can effectively guide you in expanding your business value. Also, there are increased opportunities C-level relationships can create including customer references, getting into various publications, and more.

Creating a case for CS software can help ensure that C-suite selling works by showing them value. A customer success software can have multiple benefits for a company across departments, such as:

  • Marketing – Can generate more leads as positive word of mouth spread from existing customers
  • Sales – Can close deals faster by having more case studies and references
  • Product – Can improve product experience and keep them customer-centric

How to Sell your Customer Success Software to C-level Executives

Below are some ways to sell a CS platform to C-Suite executives. With these powerful insights, you can focus your strategy around customer needs.

  • Seek and understand management objectives

This is the first and most crucial step to understand company goals. It will help companies feel understood and meet their needs. Understanding management objectives is important to solving them in the true sense.

  • Find out how you can improve their revenue

Can your offerings improve customer growth? Can you demonstrate that to the top line of management? This will help you determine if you can enable revenue improvement.

  • Reinvent customer relationships

Customers prefer products that help them meet their goals with honest interaction. Customers need to be more involved in the company and this is what C-suite employees are noticing. So, showing how you can reinvent customer relationships will help them seal the deal.

  • Discuss the financial case keeping their objectives in mind

Understand what the objective is and create a financial case around it. Is it revenue? If the answer is yes, work around customer retention and expansion revenue.

  • Support your statement with real examples and case studies

Have case studies that include the benefits of customer success. Show how a client grew revenue, achieved account growth, increased team productivity, improved retention percentage, etc. Support your strategy for them around relevant case studies.

  • Have the next plan ready in advance

Have your next steps in mind in case they want to proceed. Show how your tool can fight customer churn with real-time alerts and touchpoint management.

The key is positioning. Positioning the customer success software for each C-level executive is important. Understanding top concerns and sales strategies for C-level executives will help you with positioning.

Top concerns for Chief Customer Officer

  • Increase customer retention
  • Have a customer-centric culture
  • Drive customer behaviour
  • Make customer experience better

How to sell your CS platform to the Chief Customer Officer

  • Highlight how the customer journey is amplified
  • Showcase how customer experience is optimized
  • Make it easy to understand that time is saved when CS executives can provide targeted action
  • Show its use in protecting customers, increasing retention

Top concerns for Chief Executive Officer

  • Grow revenue
  • Improve customer goodwill
  • Increase company value
  • Manage risk

How to sell your CS platform to the Chief Executive Officer

  • Show how Customer retention improves revenue
  • Display the power of upselling and cross selling
  • Show how there is account expansion and growth
  • Put CS software in a position of enhancing scalability and effectiveness

Top concerns for the Chief Technology officer

  • Product innovation
  • Good data infrastructure
  • Protect and secure data
  • Make sure technology is scalable

How to sell your CS software to the Chief Technology Officer

  • Focus on understanding product adoption rates
  • Explain how surveys help understand product feedback
  • Show how easy it is to integrate with your application

The drivers for selling Customer Success software/tool to C-level suites

  • Discuss how the customer experience is optimized
  • Showcase the competitive edge over others
  • Emphasize how CS software enables customer retention forecasting
  • Discuss how it affects customer journey and NPS
  • Show impact on customer health score
  • Present how it helps in ROI and identifying expansion opportunities

6 Steps to C-Suite Engagement

Engaging with the C-suite is important in order to sell to them. As a B2B company, you can engage members of the C-suite like CEO, CIO, etc. by capturing their perspectives and proposing solutions accordingly. Here are some high-level best practices to engage with the C-suite for effective selling:

Engage strategically

Engaging with the C-suite needs to be strategic. They must be informed in a convincing manner that marketing and customer success investments are meant for long-term success. C-level personnel need to know how the business will help them strategically and empower their company in the long run. This will help them be receptive of new ideas and also form a bridge of engagement.

Keep the target in mind

C-level executives are usually hunters who seek information which will help them do the best for their business. Isn’t customer success the best one can do for their business growth? And to be successful in catching their attention, you need to be found. A great way to do that is by sprucing up marketing activities and being found. Instead of selling, you need to switch and be found. Earning attention is important rather than paying for it.

Show how you can help

Demonstrate how you can add significance or benefit with the product. Show this in terms of visual communication, art, videos, podcasts, or a PowerPoint presentation. You need to give the C-level a state of feeling empowered by the product.

Peer-to-peer communication might help

The C-level is elite and their experience is truly inspiring. These members like to learn from others in their bracket. Fostering links between C-suite personnel can help create a common connection and build trust in the product. The members of the C-suite look for fresh strategies to formulate plans that help their companies grow. These new ideas from other personnel can help motivate them to be involved with their peers.

Personalize it

Everyone knows the importance of personalization while communicating with the C-level. Each C-level executive is important and unique and personalization is important to have chances of increased engagement. With the right insights, you can personalize communication as much as possible. This will help connect a chord with the C-level and create engagement.

Keep the gatekeeper in mind

Usually, those in the C-suite have personal assistants. These personal assistants sift and sort things to protect their time and manage their slots efficiently. They need to know which communication is relevant and how to incorporate them. Knowing the relevance will ensure that C-level engagement continues.

The end goal is to ensure that C-level engagement continues without them feeling forced to communicate.

Possible Objections with Responses That Will Help

“Why can’t I use a CRM like I am doing now”?

If this is the company’s objection, you need to inform them about how CRM and CS tools are different. CRMs are for the sales pipeline and CS software is for customer lifecycle management and engagement. CRM tools do not adequately address the issues a CS team faces. CS tools help understand health scores, NPS, create tasks, set alerts, manage touchpoints, and behavioral data.

“How will the CS software help with customer expansion?”

CS applications will help customers never miss expansion opportunities. With the tool, it is possible to identify cross-sells, upsells, and scope for expansion. You will have actionable insights on who needs what, when, and where. This will help uncover customer patterns for product usage and trends.

“What is the ROI of Customer success software?”

Keeping in mind that it is 5 times more difficult to get a new customer than to keep one, the ROI of a customer success program is pretty high. Even close to 1% increase in customer retention can result in nearly 10 % company growth.

“Our metrics look good. Do I really need help?”

Customer metrics are never the same. They keep changing with each experience customers face and evolve continuously.  You need to optimize customer operations frequently to achieve more upsells, cross sells, and expansion revenue.

“Isn’t it the CS team’s job to ensure customer success?”

The CS team is not the only team responsible for customer success. Although they are the front liners, it is a shared responsibility of sales, marketing, and product teams as well. This joint effort can be furthered when there is a good customer success platform that intelligently helps them achieve customer satisfaction. At SmartKarrot, for instance, the touchpoint management system keeps customer success managers aware of every minute action in a timely manner. This helps CS teams take relevant action.

Bottom Line

Choosing an intelligent customer success platform will help companies fight churn, which is extremely important to C-level executives. Customer success software solutions help keep subscriptions alive and personalize the customer journey with timely, real-time, relevant touchpoints. SmartKarrots’s intelligent and actionable software helps optimize customer experience and increase product adoption.

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Originally Published April 6th, 2021, Updated April 16th, 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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