Erika Childers: Hi everyone, welcome to today’s webinar. We’ll be talking today about accelerating customer time to value through lifecycle nurturing. I’m Erika Childers, I’ll be your moderator today. I am the content marketing manager here at UserIQ.
Just a quick overview of what UserIQ does. UserIQ empowers SaaS companies to deliver what each customer needs to be successful in every moment starting with adoption. With our platform, you can effectively scale onboarding, increase feature usage, accelerate time to value and ultimately drive more revenue throughout the customer journey.
Erika Childers: Before we get started today, I just wanna cover a couple of housekeeping items. The webinar is being recorded and we will send out the slides and the recording after the webinar, so keep an eye out for that. If you have questions, there will be a Q and A with the panel toward the end of the webinar, so if you have questions for the panelist as we go through the content today, feel free to chat those in the chat box or in the questions pane on your go to webinar control panel. And also, if you have any technical difficulties, if you get dropped or if you can’t hear or anything like that, you can also send those in through the chat box to the organizer.
Erika Childers: All right, so we’re gonna jump right in with our first panelist, I’m gonna give a quick introduction. So our first panelist is Brett Andersen. He’s the director of Client Success at Degreed. As Director of Client Success at Degreed, he is leading a team of client success managers on a mission to inspire transformative learning practices in companies around the world. Just really such an inspiring thing to say, I love it. He has about 15 years of experience and he has consulted with multiple Fortune 500 companies like Bank of America, Microsoft, Symantec, and he’s also led teams in client success, technology implementations, professional services, and change management. He’s also, which something I think is interesting, and it’s that he’s held roles in organizational development and talent management, but he’s also been an adjunct faculty member in psychology and personal development.
Erika Childers: Not 100% business though, he also is a volunteer soccer coach, he loves ice cream, he loves books, he really likes to travel. So that’s Brett. Brett, are you on the line?
Brett Andersen: I am.
Erika Childers: Awesome, great to have you. So I’m gonna jump in. I’m gonna have each panelist answer a question first to kind of help level set and understand what we’re talking about today. So Brett, can you talk to me about what is lifecycle nurturing? How does it contribute to company growth? Why are we having this discussion today?
Brett Andersen: Yeah, and I love the word nurturing, and I know we use it in sales. But the reason why I like it specifically for customer interactions is because to me, it kind of implies a natural process, right? It’s not a forced thing. And I even just think of any kind of natural development, we’re developing clients in this situation. But if you think about how a child develops, there are different stages to how a child develops, and being able to help progress that child emotionally and physically and in all ways, developmentally, you have to understand them in that stage, and how you can help them progress to the next stage.
Brett Andersen: So that’s the way I think about client development and nurturing clients through the lifecycle. For our team, one of the kind of identity markers that we use is that we are cultivators. Which again kind of gets to that point of we are not just taking action today to get a result tomorrow. The question we ask is, what seed are we planting today that might produce something six, nine, twelve months from now? So it’s really a process, not forced events. And asking the question, what’s the ideal journey of progression, or the natural evolution for our customers?
Brett Andersen: So I’ll give you just a quick snapshot into what ours looks like. So, for example, post-implementation we have four stages. The first is curiosity, which is really around testing out our product as something new to their environment, getting acclimated. Then they move into a capability stage which is about advanced knowledge, developing more skill with our platform. Then they move into commitment, which is making decisions around embedding our product within their processes, within programs, within the culture. And then the fourth is conviction, which is getting them to that point where they can sincerely advocate for our mission and for our product.
Brett Andersen: So that’s kind of an example of how we see clients develop and progress and naturally evolve as we try to nurture those relationships.
Erika Childers: Awesome. Thanks Brett, that’s really helpful. That’s a really good, that snapshot that you provided of those four stages that you guys have in your company, I think is really helpful and kind of a good overview or a guide of some of the things that we’re gonna cover today. So thanks for being here.
Brett Andersen: Absolutely.
Erika Childers: All right, so our next panelist is Ashley Michael. She is the Director of Revenue Operations here at UserIQ. She earned her communications degree from Auburn University and then began her career as kind of a marketing generalist before really discovering her love and passion for marketing technologies. She’s worked with a wide array of sales and marketing technology platforms and really thrives off of piecing those things together, the way these disparate systems work in order to increase workflow efficiencies and revenue. And when she’s not nerding out about those things, you can pretty much find her cooking up a new recipe or seeking out an outdoor adventure.
Erika Childers: So that’s Ashley. Ashley, are you on the line?
Ashley Michael: I am, thanks for having me today, Erika.
Erika Childers: Awesome, thanks for being here. So, I’m gonna ask the same question of you and have you give us a little overview or a little insight into what you think of as lifecycle nurturing and how it can contribute to customer growth.
Ashley Michael: Absolutely. So, we define as nurturing as the act of serving a personalized, an intentional interaction throughout the buyer and customer journey.
Erika Childers: Hey Ashley, just real quick, I didn’t mean to cut you off, but you’re a little bit choppy, can you bring your microphone up to your face just a little bit?
Ashley Michael: Yeah. Is that better?
Erika Childers: Yeah, that sounds better.
Ashley Michael: Okay great. So, I was just saying that I find my lifecycle as the act of serving up personalized interactions throughout that buyer and customer journey and to do this right, you really need and end of knowledge of your prospect and your buyers personas and segments and to speak to your question about how it contributes to customer growth, well, I’m sure many of heard that [inaudible 00:07:08] new customers are anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one and the data clearly shows that investing in your customers in this way is a fruitful endeavor to the business as a whole and when you invest in knowing more about your customer [inaudible 00:07:27] help and see that immediate value.
Erika Childers: Awesome. So, you were kind of choppy there for some reason. I know we had tested this right before and it was working fine, but you’re a little choppy in your headphones, but I can hear most of it. So, Ashley was just kind of as a recap real quick. So, Ashley was kind of talking about how she defines lifecycle nurturing as this act of serving up personalized and intentional interactions through the buyer and customer journey and how it’s really important to have a pretty in-depth knowledge of your prospect and buyer personas and segments in order to do that and that helps ultimately contribute to company growth because we’ve all heard the stat that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. So, that data is definitely telling us that investing in your customers is a really fruitful endeavor and ultimately leads to an increase in time to value or a decrease I guess in time to value for those customers.
Erika Childers: Thanks Ashley, that was very helpful and then we have our final panelist, last but not least, is Emily Traxler. Emily is an Innovative Customer Success Leader who began her career actually in technology sales. In her role, she’s the VP of Customer Success at SingleOps, which is an end to end operational software for field service companies. In that role, she’s responsible for building efficient implementation processes and is able to apply her sales experience to building an effective growth strategy. Emily always like to joke that given time she may eventually automate herself out of a job as really she’s ultimately working toward more lean solutions that benefit the customer and the company.
Erika Childers: So, Emily, are you there?
Emily Traxler: I am here. Can you hear me okay?
Erika Childers: Yeah, you sound good. So, I’m going to jump into the same question that I’ve been asking. Emily, how do you view lifecycle nurturing and how it can contribute to company growth?
Emily Traxler: Well, I view lifecycle nurturing similar to nurturing sales leads as mentioned before. It’s about building relationships with buyers and with project champions to make sure you understand their business needs and how those needs actually change over time. Ultimately, we want, at SingleOps, raising fan client through to references, but really it’s a status you have to maintain and promoting this kind of proactive outreach keeps the account on track for expansion revenue, which is ultimately how it contributes to your company’s growth.
Erika Childers: Awesome, thanks for that Emily. All right. So, we’re going to jump into the content for today and dig in on some of the things that we’ve talked about so far. So, our first panel wide question. So, now that we know more about what lifecycle nurturing is and why we think it’s important, I want to take a step back. What are some of the key trends that we’re seeing in customer expectations about how they engage with a company? And Emily, I’m going to start with you on this one.
Emily Traxler: Okay. So, we can learn so much from sales and marketing teams, so sorry. Can you give me a moment? Let me just stop.
Erika Childers: Sure.
Emily Traxler: Sorry, we just had a group of sales guys walk in and I had to jump out and say yeah. Sorry about that-
Erika Childers: No worries.
Emily Traxler: I locked myself in here for a reason, but yeah, the key trends that we’re seeing and it’s been happening for years is that the customers expect pretty immediate responses from the team. So, after implementation, I think that people used to think or after sales that they were pretty much done and like I said before, maintaining that reference status or happy client status, it’s really a process that lasts forever, you have to maintain it.
Emily Traxler: So, continuing to follow your clients through their journey and make sure that you have someone available to them for quick responses and more immediate responses is super important.
Erika Childers: I love that. Thanks Emily. So, something that we touched on a little bit when we were discussing this topic was customers, they start in the sales process and then they move their implementation and they’re graduated and then they go live, but like you mentioned, just because they ended the sales process doesn’t mean that they don’t still, or the implementation process, doesn’t mean that they don’t still need answers to their questions and need to be finding value on a consistent basis.
Erika Childers: So, I think that’s great. Brett, I’m going to ask the same question of you. What trends are you seeing that are contributing to changing customer expectations and how customers engage with companies?
Brett Andersen: Yeah and I think, you know, kind of start with what I think for most of us is going to be obvious which is customers aren’t buying a product anymore. They are evaluating, buying and expecting the experience that they get with the product and it’s often a key differentiator when selecting a vendor or a product or a service, but I think for us, what this is doing is it’s forcing us to focus more on asking the question of why do customers stay? And getting further away from the question why do customers buy? Right? Our sales team is doing a really great job of being focused on why do customers stay, that’s what we sell to and then once we get to that and understand what are the ingredients for customers staying, we dissect that experience, what is it? What are the ingredients of success? And being able to clearly understand those.
Brett Andersen: So, that’s a little bit of context. The other aspect I think is understanding that the vendor community in general is massive and it’s growing and it will keep growing. So, clients, our clients collectively as we serviced in different clients are getting more and more exposure to how different vendors work and so, their expectations are evolving as they get that increased exposure. So, for us, this is continuously pushing us to innovate to differentiate. We see those expectations to deliver value, more value more quickly, to have more memorable experiences, to delight them more frequently. These are all the trends that are coming up that I’m seeing.
Brett Andersen: The other, which I just summarized, a former sales leader that I worked with, he talked a lot about soonest, muchness and sureness and I think it comes from some book, but I think the point that he was trying to make for sales, which is equally relevant, you know, in post-sale is that the expectations around how soon we deliver value, how quickly, how much value is received or realized and how confident or sure our clients can be and that value is there, those are the questions that we still have to answer and I think having data and insights, more data and more insights has given all of us as different vendors the ability to do that, to push these expectations higher, right?
Brett Andersen: So, I think those are just a couple of different factors that are playing into increased expectations around an incredible customer experience.
Erika Childers: I think that’s so interesting that you’re talking about, obviously, we know that the vendor community is huge and it’s growing, but you talked about why customers buy versus why customers stay and I love that mindset shift, right? We know why customers buy because they want to solve a certain pain point, right? Of course that’s what they’re looking for, but what is it that’s keeping them to stay and then ultimately how can we sell to those things that are keeping our current customers? That was really great, thanks Brett and then Ashley, I’m going to ask the same question of you. So, what are some trends that you’re seeing the space that you think are contributing to these changing customer expectations?
Ashley Michael: Yeah. [inaudible 00:16:17] For me is the way that premiums and trials are redefining onboarding and really calling into question when the transition point between sales and customers [inaudible 00:16:30] and for that, trials have become, most often times for both a company and for the user because it’s that first impression from the second that they log in that time to value clock starts immediately.
Ashley Michael: So, we’re at a time where companies are trying to find that balance between wanting to guide users to success while also being reasonable about the customer success resources that they’re spending on those non-paying customers and I think the last thing that I’ll add to that is just that organizations that I have seen overcome that successfully are leading technology and leading technology to identify where they submit and guide users based on usage data and analytics and this is really enabled them to make decisions like which accounts might require more personal hand-holding and frequently, which accounts are worth that resource investment versus where they can truly benefit from leveraging customer success technology, engagements and automation in an effort to avoid letting any customer slip through the cracks.
Erika Childers: That’s a really good add and something I think is interesting. I think we don’t talk about premiums and free trials and how they impact the buyer to customer journey. So, I think that’s a really interesting topic that trials are a really tense time. If you’re trying to get people to try out your product and make sure that they love it, you’ve really got to nail that time to value and I think that’s something that gets missed. We always think about the buyer to customer journey as more linear than it really is and I think people skip around and need different resources at different sections and I think it’s interesting how some companies are really making the most out of those trials. Thanks Ashley.
Erika Childers: All right. So, we’re going to move into our next question. So, we talked about this earlier and then we talked about how sales and marketing teams have been using a nurture system for a while, right? In the effort to get prospects to become buyers. They’re nurturing those prospects and trying to help them, give them the best content and resources and things that they need to make the best decision and I think that there’s definitely something to be learned.
Erika Childers: So, for the panel, what do you guys think customer-facing teams like customer success or customer support, what do you think those teams can learn from the sales and marketing efforts about how to nurture customers? And Ashley, I’ll start with you here.
Ashley Michael: [inaudible 00:19:04]
Erika Childers: Hey Ashley, it sounds like you’re still a little bit choppy. So, for the room, Ashley and I are right next to each other. Ashley, do you want to pop over into my room and maybe we can hear you a little bit better?
Ashley Michael: Yeah.
Erika Childers: Awesome. Thanks. So, in the meantime, while Ashley’s moving over, can we move over to Emily and I’m going to ask the same question. So, what can customer-facing teams like success or support learn from sales and marketing about how to nurture customers?
Emily Traxler: Of course. So, in my experience, in sales, we can learn a lot from sales and marketing. I work very closely with my sales and marketing team. I started my career in sales and moved over to customer success and you know, in sales, you get notifications about what a prospect is doing. So, you open an email, they, there’s all kinds of things that you get notifications about and it triggers an action. So, similar actions can be used in customer success and actually, we use a few different ways in UserIQ to make this really easy for us by we pin pointed some places in our customer journey where we know this means that our client is struggling or they added some users that’s really exciting for us or they started using a new feature and we want to give them a pat on the back about it and offer up some additional training.
Emily Traxler: So, we do follow that nurture platform in UserIQ specifically to make sure that our clients are continuing to be nurtured and yeah, I pulled that from my sales background really.
Erika Childers: Yeah. I think that’s interesting, that comparison, obviously. So, we’ve talked a bit about that and that’s the question, but these triggers, how customer success teams can learn a lot from how sales is implementing these triggers across the technologies that they’re using for the leads that are important to them, kind of getting triggers of hey, this lead is looking at this piece of content, maybe followup with this or things like that and I think customer success has lots of room for opportunity to do similar things with notifications to let them know hey, this is what, here’s an important thing that’s happening with the customer that you’re working with and trying to find these journey maps or to use these journey maps to help map in what a customer success person can do to respond to those.
Erika Childers: So, that’s really great. So, Ashley’s in the room with me. I’m going to pass this back over to her. Ashley, what do you think customer facing teams can learn from sales and marketing?
Ashley Michael: So, in terms of what I think we can learn from sales and marketing, there’s no doubt that marketing and sales teams today are more data driven than ever when it comes to their buyer cycle and I believe that the best customer success teams are going to care more and more about having those data backed insights that inform their efforts. So, what we were just talking about, triggers there and thankfully with today’s technology, we can start to perfect that path through identifying behaviors of an advocate versus detractor for example and really refining our customer journey in this data driven way.
Erika Childers: Yeah, I think that’s great. I think we’re seeing so much in this space around people talking about the importance of customer success teams being data driven and that hasn’t always been the case, but to your point, there’s so much opportunity there.
Erika Childers: All right and finally Brett, I’m going to ask the same question of you, what do you think that we can learn from sales and marketing teams about how to nurture our customers?
Brett Andersen: I 100% agree. I think going back to the point about having different triggers that will help us take specific actions, you know, and getting more data backed insights, I 100% agree with that. I think, you know, just looking back at the context of all this, right? The function of sales itself has really iterated quite a bit over several years and it’s become really disciplined and while I think customer success and post sale teams are getting there, I think we still got a long ways to go, but as we get access to more tools that provide us with those automated triggers, the data and the insights to make quicker decisions, the more disciplined we can become.
Brett Andersen: On top of that, you know, when I think about some of the best sales reps that I’ve worked with or some of the best marketing leaders that I’ve worked with, they’re also some other components that I think are very relevant to customer success. One being and this ties to the point we’ve all said, which is getting insights into the health of a customer, right? And understanding what are the ingredients that makeup the health score for a client and setting up those triggers to be able to say, “Okay, you know what? They’re adoption dipped passed a certain threshold, which has been certainly an indicator for us to take action. So, I know that’s my priority today or tomorrow or whatever it might be.”
Brett Andersen: The second which is related to that is personalizing, right? Which if you think about sales, any sales reps you work for, the top performers don’t just go in with the same pitch every single time, right? They adapt that message, they personalize the message and it’s no different post sale. We have to have the right content, the right assets to personalize the message and the tools that they need to be successful and two other things that I want to mention quickly, it has to do with and we’ve seen studies from [inaudible 00:24:53] and now Gartner research around the challenger customer, right?
Brett Andersen: It’s not just one buyer, one decision maker, it’s a collection of decision makers and the sales cycle, again, it’s no different post sale. Our influence and our stickiness within these organizations comes from becoming, getting deeper, getting broader into the customer relationship into those organizations and having a variety of ways to make that touch often with those different contacts and the last thing I’ll mention, which again, I think of sales as this is a skill set that differentiates that function that we need to replicate, which is disciplined execution, right?
Brett Andersen: The most effective sales reps are not the ones that had these discovery sessions and then wait a week to send out more information to the prospect and we need to be the same way, right? We need to, as we gather information, as we take action, regularly communicate. Even if it’s not the result yet, regularly giving the no update updates just so that interaction, that touches there.
Erika Childers: Absolutely and the last thing you said, the no update update. So, I just heard that term for the first time recently. I’ve experienced it many times, but didn’t really know what to call it and I love the no update update. I want to know that what I’ve asked or what I’ve said has been heard even if the answer isn’t available right away, kind of closing that loop I guess. So, I think that’s really important and certainly just one of the many things that we can learn from how sales and marketing teams nurture customers.
Brett Andersen: Yes and that goes back to what we were talking about earlier too, right? The expectation of the customer. They expect to hear from us. They get that interaction at other places, not only in the consumer world, but also starting to see more of it in the B2B world and it’s an expectation that they have some sort of update to know what’s going on.
Erika Childers: Absolutely. All right. So, for the audience, we have one more question before we move into Q and A. So, if you haven’t submitted your questions, go ahead and do that and we’ll spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes going through a few questions, but for our last formal question, non-Q and A question, I just want to end with a few actionable takeaways for the audience and I’m going to ask each panelist what are some effective ways that you’ve seen or used yourself to nurture customers and ensure that they’re finding a quick time to value? And Brett, I’ll start with you on this one.
Brett Andersen: Awesome. Sorry. I guess I’ll just answer this into two formulas, you can call them. One is in order to stay relevant, we need a combination of continuous alignment to the customers needs, goals and expectations coupled with a deep understanding of our way and what I mean by that is what is that, going back to my earlier comment, what is the natural customer evolution that takes them to the point of achieving success with your platform, with your product?
Brett Andersen: So, I think and I’ll explain a little bit. So, aligning on the context of the customers business, understanding who they really are, how they operate, what they really need and how we can be extremely relevant to that need and this is a common thing that I’ve seen. Just because you see how your product or service aligns with the customer and what they need, doesn’t mean that they do, right? And especially as we understand business environment, businesses evolve, needs change, we need to keep up with that and so, discovery is not just a sales thing. We need to continuously ask questions and validate and verify and refine the way that we approach our customers regularly to stay relevant and then the second part of that, our way is again, continuously doing research, understanding why customers stay, why they grow, why they become an extension of our mission and understanding that natural evolution.
Brett Andersen: The second formula that I’ll mention, which I found to be really a differentiator, again, considering this competitive vendor environment, is coming with strategic surprises and to me, the best way to do that is the combination of insights and action. So, getting the right tools, investing in the right tools to create dashboards, to get different data points, to give you real-time information to make quick and smart decisions, but then more importantly acting on it, reaching out, sharing that insight with the customer, what you found, why it matters to them and then being prepared and this is where the surprise can come in, is not just telling them what they need to do, but saying, you know what? We’ve got X, Y, and Z that will help you do that and I’m here to help you make it happen.
Brett Andersen: So, those are the two formulas I would say that are some takeaways for nurturing customer relationships.
Erika Childers: Those are great. Thanks Brett and then Ashley, moving this question over to you.
Ashley Michael: So, I think there are a lot of ways to nurture customers and it can be intimidating when you start to think about it, but I like to see is the first step in that is mapping out your customer journey and identifying what the expectations and goals are at each stage for both you and the customer. Who needs to be taking what action at each stage? And the best example that I’ve seen of this personally was when I was evaluating a data intelligence platform last year and throughout the trial process, they first identified what the desired outcomes were for myself as well as my CEO and then they leveraged our usage data inside the application to identify which desired outcomes we had not reached yet and then used an app engagements and emails to ensure that we found the value that we needed to purchase their product.
Ashley Michael: So, they were sending us reports and giving us examples of how their customers leverage these reports and why that information is valuable to make sure we were truly understanding the value of their product and that same level of service and expectation setting really remained consistent throughout my relationship with their onboarding and customer success teams and it’s really been a great example from start to finish for me.
Erika Childers: That’s awesome and so, I work with Ashley as we mentioned earlier. So, I remember when Ashley was going through the onboarding process with this particular software and we shared it internally how much we really appreciated their deck. They gave a really great overview of the things that were to come during onboarding, what Ashley could expect and I think that’s so important.
Erika Childers: Not only did they set those expectations upfront, but that they always reference back to those expectations and that even though I remember you had gone through an implementation which was separate from actually having a customer success manager, but that experience remained consistent and those expectations were always what you could rely on. I think that’s not just how do we ensure that value upfront, but how do we always ensure that we’re providing value? That’s awesome.
Ashley Michael: Yeah, exactly.
Erika Childers: All right and then Emily, what are some effective ways that you’ve seen to nurture customers and drive that quick time to value?
Emily Traxler: Sure. So, I completely agree with Brett and Ashley about aligning with that customer journey and providing value to them by just taking action and showing them the data. I will say, so, one way that we do this, we collect NPS surveys on a quarterly basis and we really take these so seriously that we take their feedback and we make product updates based on it. So, they’re guiding the direction of our product as we go into different verticals and different user types and things like that and we share this data with them and we usually do it before the next NPS survey just to continue to get more and more attention on them, but we share it with them so that we can say, “Hey, you’ve been heard,” and so, on the product side, that’s just one extra way that we find that nurturing our customers post-skills wise is really helpful for growing our business and also their usage of this product.
Erika Childers: That’s awesome. I think that’s such an important, it sounds small, you know? We always think, sure, I always release notes or I see when bugs are updated and things like that, but really closing that feedback loop is so important. If they’re taking the time to provide that feedback and you’re making product changes on your end to address that, I think it’s so important to make sure that they actually know that you’ve done that and it can definitely get lost sometimes especially in the world today, we’re moving so quickly to make sure our products are the best they absolutely can be and maybe sometimes we forget to even let people know that we’ve released all these awesome features, but it’s so important to making sure that our customers are not only finding value, but they’re continuing to find value, especially as products evolve.
Erika Childers: Awesome. All right everybody. So, we are going to move into Q and A and you guys have sent in some really good questions so far. There are a couple that ask specifically for a specific panelist in some of these, but most of them I’m going to leave it open for you guys. So, the first question we have today is from Kristin and she asked what are some of the key KPIs that we use to measure our lifecycle nurturing program? How do we know that our lifecycle nurturing programs are working? And again, I’ll leave that open for the panel for whoever wants to jump in first.
Ashley Michael: I’ll jump in-
Emily Traxler: I can-
Ashley Michael: Go ahead.
Emily Traxler: Sorry. I was just going to say one that we use obviously is Retention. So, no one likes turn and we also, our platform is user based. So, they pay per user. So, increase in users and the more pages they’re using, the better and so again, just following them and getting notifications about what they are aren’t getting use out of in the platform.
Ashley Michael: And I was just going to add when I think of nurture programs, I think of going back to mapping out those desired outcomes from the start for each segment because then you very clearly know what those milestones are and then you can leverage that usage data to identify which milestones they’ve met and which ones you still need to guide them to.
Brett Andersen: Yeah, similar to that, I think the advantage of having different stages and I will tell you too, I’ve stepped into roles where our customer experience, customers who’ve been with us for two months, the experience was really not that different than those who’ve been with us for three years. So, having the ability to say, “Okay, what is that natural evolution? What are the stages of the evolution?” Gives an advantage to KPIs because than you can start tracking the time between when they enter that stage, when they progressed the next stage. So, that to me is in addition to the others that were mentioned. Time to value, adoption, is being able to see how quickly are they progressing and how, what things can we do to decrease that time to get them to the ideal stage or the target stage?
Emily Traxler: I also forgot to mention that raging fan reference that we also measure based on how many reference customers that we have and how long we can keep them as references.
Erika Childers: That’s awesome. That’s definitely, so that’s that advocacy piece which definitely doesn’t get, I think people don’t, we don’t always get to that stage. We’re so focused on making sure our customers are adopting, making sure that we’re not experiencing turn and we’re retaining them, hopefully expanding them, but I think that advocacy piece or the references piece that you just mentioned Emily is a really good indicator. I mean, if your customers are your advocates, that’s a great KPI for the work that you’re doing, that your customer success team is doing.
Erika Childers: Awesome. So, we have another question from Andres and he specifically asked this of Brett. So, Brett, listen up. So, Andres says we have a large client base of low touch customers with a limited number of customer success managers and the customer success managers are focused on more high touch customers. So, how do you think the lifecycles should differ between the two types of high touch versus low touch and he says also considering the low touch customers wouldn’t have that personalized service as much as high touch would and they are also more exposed to more self-help material and resources.
Erika Childers: So, again, the question is, what do you think is the difference between a lifecycle for low touch customers versus high touch?
Brett Andersen: Yeah. That’s a great question. So, I think it all starts with in fact we’re going through this right now as we’re updating our segmentation. It all starts with truly understanding client needs and I will say that what I have seen in multiple companies has been more of a focus on internal metrics than true customer needs. What I mean by that is sometimes we look at do we segment by ARR or MRR? Do we segment by employee size or number of licenses sold? Which are very helpful, but we shouldn’t start there. We should start with in order for this type of customer to be successful with our platform, what do they need? Right?
Brett Andersen: Now, I get it, right? They maybe, it would cost more than what we have to invest in that, which is why we have the tech [inaudible 00:39:28] tomorrow or the lower touch model, however I think going through that exercise of asking what do these clients truly need that’s different from this other segment? Can you clearly articulate what the differences are between the segments that you created and are your segments accurate?
Brett Andersen: The second piece is when I think about our own customer base and the client journey map that we’ve outlined, I don’t think that the journey map that we’ve created for our more strategic or enterprise higher touch clients needs to be that much different than our lower touch clients, right? We still want to see them naturally progress with our product and there’s certain indicators that will tell us whether they’re doing that or not.
Brett Andersen: I think the difference is obviously the channels through which we do that. The higher touch obviously requires more of a human interaction and I wish I had a whiteboard to draw this out, but if you think of a rectangle, you split it in half diagonally, you know, you eventually want to get to a point with your customers where they were more self-sufficient, which you can still personalize through automated messages that happen in response to certain actions that they take. That’s still strategic surprise. They don’t expect it, but it’s something that could be automated in certain ways based on the behaviors or actions that they’re taking.
Brett Andersen: So, I don’t know if that’s, that’s a big question, it’s a great question, but those are just some of the initial thoughts.
Erika Childers: Yeah. I think that’s good and I love that you, so, what I was waiting to say as you were talking was talking about how [inaudible 00:41:19] they’re going to be the channel. So, they’re receiving the same sorts of information, but the channel through which they’re receiving it is different and Andres, even in this question, says the lower touch customers are more exposed to self-help material and resources and they have to be a little more self-sufficient, but I think all of those resources still exist for high touch even though it’s not personal human to human necessarily, but still having all of the nurturing capabilities. Maybe you’re doing that within your product and providing updates as needed within your product or maybe your product is or you’re working with a technology like UserIQ for instance that is trigger messages based on certain actions that help with that strategic surprise, but ultimately it’s all the same thing, it’s just that channel is different.
Erika Childers: I love that you spoke to that. All right. Brett, thank you for that one. So, we’ve got another question. We’ve got one from Nick, sorry, from Kristin, a different Kristin and she asks how do you differentiate? So, going back to the customer journey and how we map that, she talks about how you differentiate between implementation, customer success, account management support? Where do each of these things come in? How do you think that, are there ways that you guys have seen companies effectively combine some of those efforts? And I’ll leave that open for the panel.
Emily Traxler: I can start with this one. Everyone does do this so differently because customer success really does encompass that implementation and onboarding the account management of the client and the technical support. As our company’s grown, we’ve started to segment each of those teams off, but in the beginning, we were each a one man show.
Emily Traxler: So, really, I think for us it’s been a process of everyone doing everything to deciding what you’re best set and how to serve our clients better and that was to separate out each of those roles from implementation, account management and support and we’re all combined our customer success team.
Erika Childers: So, Emily, when you talk about that, so, how do you differentiate between implementation, customer success and support? Is it kind of, are you thinking about it as a timeline? So, someone, when they first sign with implementation and then they’re with customer success and maybe they need to pull in support occasionally, how do you define those individual roles within the customer success team?
Emily Traxler: Right. So, implementation is directly responsible for making sure that they’re in an onboarded in a certain amount of time. We go ahead. Ideally, we have introduced them already to their account manager, that person who has the relationship with the decision maker of the company. So, implementation might be working with a project champion and then they are handed off into that account management pool. Our support is really reactive where that account management, I’ll use that term, that customer success is more proactive of the team. Does that make sense?
Erika Childers: Yep, yeah, that makes sense. Thanks Emily. So, I think we have two more questions from the audience. So, this one is from Amy and this one’s open to the panel. How do you identify your customers ah-ha moments? So, as you’re going through and you’re mapping the journey, how do you identify their ah-ha moments so you can ultimately get them to that time to value faster? How do you define or how do you understand where’s the point in which customers just get it? When’s that ah-ha moment and how do you define that?
Ashley Michael: So, I’ll share for us here at UserIQ, we actually spend a lot of time interviewing our customers and mapping out what our different personas are. So, again, with sales and marketing and making the similarity to how they look at their personas, we were really trying to understand what our archetypes are and how each of those finds value and which features they would be leveraging the most and which features would be most important for them to leverage first and so, when we were able to identify that, we can then leverage our technology to guide each user based on those archetypes whenever they first login to our platform.
Erika Childers: That’s awesome, thanks Ashley. So, I would have responded pretty much the same way is that we’ve gone through and as you’re doing dirty mapping, it’s really important not to forget that your customers are part of that journey. So, it can’t just be internal. You know, we think we know what the journey map looks like or even necessarily just looking at data, but interviewing customers and getting their perspective and trying to understand for the majority of your customers or if you’re segmenting, the majority of each segment, you know, what, where they think their ah-ha moment, what was the moment that really sold them after they’d already purchased, most likely, but what was the moment that they really found that value and said this is my wow moment, this is my ah-ha moment? So, I definitely encourage that, Amy.
Brett Andersen: I’ll just add real quickly too. I think and just adding on that and I’m really glad you asked the question too. One of the things that I like to emphasize is going into every customer interaction, we should look for creating those ah-ha moments, even if it’s just a tiny and new insight of something they didn’t know, but I think how we realize that happened really there could be a mental ah-ha, but if nothing’s done with it, than there really is very little if any value in it. So, that goes back to what they were just saying is the depth of the ah-ha I think is seen in the actions or the user behaviors that we can get through different [inaudible 00:47:47] insights.
Erika Childers: Definitely agree. That’s a good add. Thanks Brett and then this one is for Brett as well. So, this is our final question. This is from Illini and she wanted to or they wanted to revisit what you were talking earlier about curiosity, capability, commitment, conviction. Can you talk a little bit more about those or maybe just reiterate what you were talking about at the beginning? What those steps were and how you define them?
Brett Andersen: Yeah. So, there’s some context for any who may have joined a little bit late. So, what those are, are our stages of evolution or essentially our customer journey, right? And I’d like to talk about it as evolution again, kind of going back to the word nurturing, that it’s a natural development cycle, it’s a natural development process. It’s not forced.
Brett Andersen: So, what each of these are, I’ll go into it a little bit with more depth, curiosity and what I’m talking about is the post-implementation, post-launch journey for us. So, similar to what was mentioned before, we have an implementation team that’s handed off to our customer success team and so, these four stages are post-implementation.
Brett Andersen: So, in that first phase is what we call the curiosity phase. The intention of that phase is to give our clients space to experiment, to test, essentially to acclimate to this new product, but also everything else in their environment that changes because of it. Process, if there’s cultural impact. We are there to support them as they go through this change and we do quite a bit of change management training around that, but we give them the space to do that because it’s healthy.
Brett Andersen: Again, which one of us is going to have someone, we buy something new and someone just stands next to us and says, “No, you should use it that way and that way?” Right? So, we give them some space, give them support to be able to acclimate and experiment. Guided experimentation I should say.
Brett Andersen: The second stage than is capability, which is on top of what should of had and what does happen during implementation where they should learn the basics of the product, have everything setup technically, they have initial training completed, if there’s anything better within process or integrations that has happened, but on top of that, we’re building capability in advanced knowledge of how they can use it, additional use cases and in skill, right?
Brett Andersen: So, with our particular audience, they don’t have a lot of experience or skill set around marketing campaigns. So, we provide that expertise as support and help build that skill set sufficiently so that they can help launch and increase adoption.
Brett Andersen: The third stage is commitment, which is really a sign that our clients have committed by saying all right, Degreed is now part of our annual learning strategy and so, we want to have a strategic planning session to kick off 2019. We’re going to embed it with these 12 different leadership development programs, we’re going to embed it within these processes. Once they make that decision to embed us within who they are culturally, process, programs, to us, that’s a sign of commitment. They’re getting deeper and stickier with us and whether executives are committing to join us in our executive business reviews and other types of engagement in our annual conferences. That’s a sign of commitment as well and the final, which we’ve all talked about today, the stage that we talk about is conviction, which is essentially that advocacy stage.
Brett Andersen: Are they convinced that Degreed and when I say Degreed and hopefully all of us have this, it’s not just a product, but we represent a mission as well. So, are we creating advocates that extend our mission which just happens to be attached to our product? And that’s really the goal for us is to create that where we can capture and say, you know what? They have helped create case studies, they’ve spoken at conferences with us, they have participated in these events, they are referencable, all of those are indicators that they’ve gotten to that most mature stage as a client.
Erika Childers: Awesome. That was so insightful. I really appreciate you recapping that and digging in a little bit more. I particularly really love the curiosity stage that you talked about because I think the idea of giving customers space is I think almost wild to me. We’ve gotten them to purchase. Lets jump in and give them as much value and lets drive that value, but if we’re not giving them that space to make these changes and to your point, you know, this might be something that’s different for different types of companies, but if you’re in the business of change management, which many of us in customer success are, it’s really important to make sure that they have had the space to process what they’re about to do and that they’re thinking forwardly about it, but the idea of planning that in your customer journey and giving that space I think is so interesting.
Brett Andersen: Yeah and the point I want to emphasize too because it should not come across as we just let them go and do whatever they want to do, right? It is guided, deliberate kind of experimentation. We give them things to experiment with. We give them things to talk about, to wrap their heads around. So, it is very deliberate. It’s not just an open space for them to do whatever they want. We do want to give them that support.
Erika Childers: Sure. All right. That’s awesome. We had a few other questions come in, if we didn’t answer your question today live on the webinar, we’ll try to follow-up with anyone to get those questions answered for you. We really appreciate everybody jumping on and hanging out with us today. Thank you to the panel. It was great to have everybody and hear all of your perspectives. Keep an eye out for the recording for the audience, keep an eye out of the recording. We’ll send that in an email with the slides. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and otherwise, I hope you have a great Wednesday and a great rest of your week. Thanks everyone.
Emily Traxler: Thank you.