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3 Things Customer Success Managers Need to Be Effective

[fa icon="calendar'] 14-Jul-2020 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Customer Experience, Customer Success

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When you're trying to introduce Customer Success (or Customer Experience) in your organisation, you're obviously going to need a team. 

That team doesn't just consist of leadership people who will set up the vision and plan for the Customer Success organisation but you also need those who will take care of your customers, most often called Customer Success Managers (CSMs) - also called Client Success Managers or Customer Success Executives (CSEs). 

I've never held any of these titles exactly but I've spent a good few years working in similar roles albeit through partners (that's another topic we'll cover later) or directly taking care of customers when I was working in PR and digital agencies which is the same as if you're working in Customer Success in SaaS. But I've learned a lot about Customer Success over the years both by doing the job and by operationally executing on programs to enable Customer Success teams to do their jobs better. 

So from everything that I've experienced, I want to cover the key things CSMs need to be effective in their day-to-day. If you manage a CSM organisation, consider these especially if you're just setting it up. 

3 Things Customer Success Managers Need to Be Effective

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The L.A.E.R. Model in Customer Success

[fa icon="calendar'] 21-May-2020 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Customer Experience, Customer Success

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A couple of months ago, I covered customer experience and the Cisco racetrack - or lifecycle across the customer journey that's extremely important for companies to be able to drive customer success.

Today, I want to show you one more model that's become more and more popular if you work in SaaS or Customer Success.

This model is called L.A.E.R. and stands for Land, Adopt, Expand and Renew. 

Each of these phases has a different focus and they are not just about customer success as in post-sales but also the intersect with sales pre-purchase and for the renewal stage.

At the end of the day, the model aims to ensure that when a customer buys a product or a service, they truly realise the value of the purchase and achieve the business outcomes or goals they were expecting to get to by buying this product or solution.

As a business, it's on you to deliver on that promise after the sale which will lead to customer happiness and loyalty. 

Let's take a look at the L.A.E.R. model.

What is the L.A.E.R. Model for Customer Success

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Customer Experience and the Cisco Racetrack

[fa icon="calendar'] 05-Mar-2020 07:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Customer Experience, Customer Success

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Would you say customer experience (CX) is one of the key corporate buzzwords in the last few years? 

I'd definitely say so. Alongside digital transformation, it's probably the biggest concern for a lot of companies. 

Why is that? 

Well, because the customer really has become king.

Consumers have never been so empowered as they are before - they have the internet at their fingertips, they make buying decisions on their own through their research and with the help of peer recommendations, they are vocal and complain when the product or service doesn't meet their requirements, reaching hundreds, thousands or millions of people so companies very much depend on the positive experience of consumers to drive sustainable growth.

Businesses have started building their own teams to deal with customer experience - customer success, for example, has never been as important as it is now. 

But what is customer experience and what is customer success? 

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What Customer Success Really Is - 27 Quotes from Crowning the Customer

[fa icon="calendar'] 20-Nov-2019 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Customer Experience, Customer Success

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I think I've spent the majority of my career working in Customer Success (or Customer Experience if you prefer). 

Even my days as an Account Manager at the PR agencies I worked at count as Customer Success because my goal was to ensure the client was happy and was achieving their goals. 

But if we look at the business world, very few companies are truly customer-first. 

The sales department and the sales quotas rule the world as that's how most businesses make money. 

And so many companies have never truly focused on putting the customer first, meaning completely shifting their business models. 

Doing this is actually quite simple, yet complicated within an entire organisation that's used to working another way. 

And if you don't believe me, go no further but to read Feargal Quinn's quick book called 'Crowning the Customer'

I read it on the plane to Lisbon a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. 

It was written in a simple to follow language, with plenty of examples (granted, many for the retail business but that make sense for any industry) and perfectly logical advice.

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19 Reasons Why You Can't Ignore Customer Experience Anymore [Infographic]

[fa icon="calendar'] 14-Oct-2019 06:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Customer Experience, Customer Success

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I've worked in Customer Experience or CX most of my career. 

My current job at Cisco is in CX, my first two and a half years at HubSpot were in Customer Success followed by two+ years reporting into Sales and before HubSpot I held several account manager roles in agencies which I'd still count as CX since I was responsible for the success of my client's PR campaigns and social accounts post their purchase of our services. 

Has it been easy to work in CX? Not always. And I'll tell you why. 

Traditionally, the powerful function of a company has been Sales. Sales has usually had the final decision-making and driven the company forward simply because Sales brings the money which is what execs look at. 

But over the last few years, there's been a shift towards the need for a stronger CX focus and organisation and I've seen first-hand how companies are beginning to invest a lot more in CX and listen to what CX has to say. 

As HubSpot's flywheel explains, existing customers have become the biggest source of new business and hence growth.

But few companies have transformed their business models and how they operate to reflect this new reality and nurture the customer journey.

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