Customer success is a crucial element for business growth.
The formula is simple; happy customers mean less churn and more advocates for your business.
That’s why so many companies focus on developing customer success strategies to drive quality customer relationships.
But relationship building between sales reps and potential customers has changed significantly over the years. Now, it’s less about taking clients to lunch and more about showing what you can do to bring value to their business.
For customer success managers (CSMs), having a champion — an internal advocate for your product — in customer accounts — is one of the best ways to increase product adoption and customer retention.
So how do you track and use champions to drive product uptake and reduce churn? Using these tried and true customer success playbooks we developed here at UserGems.
Why champion tracking is essential for CSMs
Customer success has evolved from handling complaints and questions to that of an account manager. Besides building relationships, a CSM also provides strategic insight and recommendations to customers during every communication — whether via email, over the phone, or social media.
Their goal is to ensure users are successful, whether that be in helping them resolve an issue or suggesting a new product to better suit their needs. During quarterly business reviews and monthly meetings, CSMs are able to provide strategic recommendations on how to further your success with the product by either developing new workflows or providing new ideas on what’s working for other customers details.
The current economic situation has made these activities necessary because your customers care even more about the value your product brings to their business. After all, with tight budgets and more spending restrictions, they need to know they’ll get their money’s worth if they sign up for your product or service.
Your chances for success get an immediate boost when you have an internal champion. Not only will they advocate for you, but they’ll be able to answer questions from other internal decision-makers and educate their teams about your product.
For CSMs, champion tracking helps you to:
- Move the needle on customer success metrics such as churn and retention rates
- Upsell and expand your products
- Stay updated about what’s happening in your customer accounts, like when a champion changes jobs or there’s an opportunity to turn a new stakeholder to a champion.
All of these benefits work together to reduce pipeline anxiety and support efficient growth. That’s why it’s so important to include them in your overall customer success strategy.
How to track champions for customer success: 3 UserGems playbooks
At UserGems, we know all about champion tracking. Not only is it what our software is built on, but it's also a strategy we use ourselves to boost ROI, keep our pipeline full, and ease pipeline anxiety.
UserGems is also beneficial for CSMs who want to prevent churn and maintain great relationships with customers. We're sharing three of our best customer success playbooks for tracking champions to help you get started.
Scenario 1: When your champion leaves an account
What happens when your champion leaves an account? Because no one is there to spearhead the purchase or advocate for your product, you’re at risk for automatic churn..
In this scenario, your champion isn’t just a product user. They’re more of a buyer or decision-maker. For example, someone you meet with regularly who has invested time into your product. When they leave the account, no one’s left to drive product adoption internally.
At UserGems, this could mean losing the Head of Sales at an account leaving no one in charge of the sales teams that uses UserGems. On the other hand, the value of your product might be siloed into this one person. So, their absence could lead to less success of your product because no one is in charge of making sure the product is used as it should be - and other stakeholders start to consider your product a waste of budget.
How can UserGems help when champions change jobs?
If you don’t track champions, you’ll miss out on a ton of great opportunities to keep your pipeline full and maintain your relationship with an account. Here’s how UserGems can help:
- We alert your CSM if a champion leaves. Often, this happens without warning, leaving your CSM in the dark about job movements within an account.
- We trigger a playbook for your CSM to send out an email to a potential new stakeholder.
If you don’t know the new stakeholder, UserGems can also help you capture new contacts in the account. Here’s an email template you can use to get in touch with them:
My name is Justine, and I’m ACME’s CSM. I have been working closely with Harry for the last 2 years to drive [x success metrics] internally and provide a solution to [x problem]. Here are some initiatives we’ve implemented together: [list initiatives and results].
Would you be the best person to continue the partnership with, or can you help me with an introduction on who would be taking this over from Harry?
Scenario 2: New stakeholders in your customer account
New stakeholders joining a customer account could mean one of two things:
- Incredible expansion opportunities to grow your business into other departments or introduce new products.
- An even greater churn risk if the stakeholder joins and starts consolidating the tech stack or eliminating budgets. Remember, new executives look to make a big impact in the first 100 days on the job.
For example, if a new VP of sales joined your account and you have a significant presence in marketing but not as much in sales, it could be an excellent opportunity to say:
Welcome to the team. I’ve been working with marketing and achieved XYZ. I've kind of worked with your sales team, but I would love to have this partnership evolve further and more strategically into your sales realm to help you with pipeline generation.
Since I'm helping marketing with pipeline generation, would you like to be introduced, or would you like to be invited to our next monthly call on the state? I'm happy to catch up for 15 minutes beforehand and outline what we've been going through.
But what if the new VP of sales starts looking at the tech stack to figure out where they could make cuts or downgrades? In this case, you’re at risk of losing the account because they want to make a splash, which could mean eliminating your product. In our case, ending their relationship with UserGems.
However, even in this scenario, we have a strategy we employ.
How does UserGems help CSMs build relationships with new stakeholders?
- We capture missing key contacts within your customer accounts that your CSM should know about but may not be aware of.
- We alert your CSMs when new potential champions or detractors join their accounts.
You can use the same workflow for each scenario, and it should look something like this:
- Introduce yourself to the new stakeholder and congratulate them on the new role.
- Summarize what you’ve been doing, including any tangible success metrics.
- Meet with them separately for 15 minutes or email them to learn about their new initiatives. Then offer to include them in a future meeting.
It’s important to multithread effectively so you’re not left without a champion and any new executives clearly understand your product's value. Staying on top of this prevents your team from being surprised when a new stakeholder joins and immediately cuts your product’s budget.
Scenario 3: When past champions move to customer accounts
Past champions at existing customer accounts create opportunities to drive expansion and adoption. This could be beneficial for customers who might need more of a push towards adoption and could use another champion voice or multithreading across more teammates to get them onboard.
It could also be very beneficial if the current company you’re working with is struggling, but the champion came from an account that was performing better. This champion could offer a lot of knowledge about the account and drive the initiative internally since they already implemented your product at a previous account, which could have been the reason for their success.
How can UserGems help when past champions move to customer accounts?
UserGems alerts your CSM when a past champion, buyer, or power user joins their account, meaning another potential champion at their new company.
Here’s how you can approach this scenario::
- Introduce yourself and congratulate them on the new role
- Summarize what you’ve been doing so far and bring in any successes you saw at their previous company that you could replicate here
- Offer to include them in a future meeting to grow your champion team
As a CSM, this helps you drive better success in the account your past champion just joined. It also gives the champion a leg up because they implemented your product successfully at their previous role and can achieve the same results in their new position — with your help.
Improve your customer success metrics with UserGems
Customer success requires taking ownership of an account and communicating your product’s value to the team to drive product adoption and successful outcomes for your customer.
And having a champion who shares the same goals with the team as an internal advocate for your product is beneficial for CSMs who want to drive success in customer accounts because it gives them internal support and advocacy
Since 2019, Mimecast has used UserGems to prevent churn by tracking champion movement within their customer accounts.
UserGems is a pipeline generation software that helps revenue teams generate and protect revenue efficiently. With UserGems, companies can track and automate outreach when their champions change their jobs, and capture the buying groups to find the warmest path into every account.
Companies like Mimecast, Greenhouse, Medallia use UserGems to reach their revenue goals, quickly and efficiently.