Building a SaaS application that delivers value to your customers is an excellent start, but your job as a member of the product team is never quite done. The next hurdle is making sure that features remain appealing over time to keep ahead of the competition. And your best ally in that process is the customer success (CS) team, who is responsible for providing support to users on their journey to hit product milestones and energizing customer growth.
In order to fully leverage the potential of that relationship between customer success and product management teams, it’s essential that all the key members work in tandem toward a common objective while having access to the same data to make strategic decisions. That’s possible when everyone uses the same solution such as a Customer Growth Platform™ which has the potential to take the hassle and guesswork out of data integration and user intelligence.
However, a shared commitment is required to implement this technology properly, as the platform should become the principal means to gather customer and product data across departments. Your CS colleagues, in particular, must be on board as they will want to make sure every product interaction adds value and increases the odds that users will reach the next stage in the customer journey. Let’s look at different ways for you to get and keep their buy-in.
Show that you understand their priorities
The end goals of all departments in SaaS businesses should be the same: fueling customer growth and establishing a healthier bottom line. That’s good news and makes it easier to align incentives, but priorities and targets are still somewhat different from one function to the other. And you must take that into consideration as you’re looking to gain others’ approval for a project. Inquiring about the day-to-day operations of the CS team can help you understand their needs. You might also encourage them to step into your shoes to find commonalities and emphasize the need for a shared customer intelligence solution. Here are a few questions you could explore with them:
– Which customer segments do they currently prioritize and why?
– Do they have a quick and reliable way to calculate customer churn rate?
– How do they balance automated communications (high-tech) and 1:1 interactions (high-touch)?
– Which KPIs do they use to evaluate whether customers are successful with the platform?
Put forward the benefits that will make their job easier
A Customer Growth Platform has capabilities that are especially relevant to the product management team, such as the ability to track feature adoption or take an overall look at how the product performs today compared to several weeks or months ago. Meanwhile, success teams will find customer health metrics and targeted engagements more helpful to do their job. For instance, they can be alerted in real time of an abnormal decrease in usage before it leads to customer churn and begin an engagement campaign to correct it. Or it can facilitate smoother customer onboarding with customized tours and training which can boost adoption and retention rates. These are the categories of features that will get them excited and more likely to say yes to investing in a Customer Growth Platform.
Convince the CS team member closest to the product team first
Having a champion from success on your side can speed up the approval process. So who should you be aiming for? Look for someone with a deeper understanding of product development and who already pays attention to the impact of new features on customer success. Chances are they would be delighted to have access to a solution that connects the dots between the two functions and allows them to map out causal relationships. You can approach this person as a starting point to discuss the benefits of a Customer Growth Platform. Both of you can then work out a plan to advocate the project to the rest of team, gather their thoughts, and overcome objection points. That person knows the CS team well and is seen as an insider and, therefore, a trustable source of information.
Check that everyone receives the value expected
Let’s say that all interested parties give you the green light to proceed with the implementation. That’s half the job done as buy-in is a process, not an outcome. Though the vendor has a significant role to play throughout the deployment to facilitate adoption, you might also want to set up regular feedback sessions with your CS colleagues to identify areas for further collaboration. The more data the Customer Growth Platform is able to gather, the more valuable insights become for you to optimize existing features and develop new ones, and for the CS team to maximize customer growth.
The synergies between product and CS teams are most valuable when both commit to using a Customer Growth Platform as the primary way to gather customer data. Each team can use the platform on their own, but alignment and buy-in from all the relevant parties is ideal to establishing strong customer growth strategies for the future. Schedule a demo with UserIQ to learn more about how our platform helps maximize collaboration between functions and boost customer growth.