Customer success technology is sure to grow in importance and array. AI is hot. Non-stop for the past 25 years, technology for experience management and marketing have been super hot since CRM arrived on the scene. Especially in hard times like the 2009 global financial crisis and the 2020 global pandemic, demand for tech skyrocketed. I lived in Silicon Valley for the past 3 decades and saw the inside story across a wide variety of applications of customer success technology. We turn to tech for many reasons — and we expect a LOT from tech.
Why We Expect a Lot from Customer Success Technology
Why? Aside from wonderful capabilities, efficiencies, and solutions offered by customer success technology, usually:
- Tech is the first major decision of new leaders in CX, CS, and Marketing.
- It gobbles up most of the budget along with dedicated staffing to run it.
- Reliance on it affects customer experience, reputation, efficiency and effectiveness — as both strengths and weaknesses.
- Tech providers’ Customer Success teams strive to keep us engaged in a variety of meetings, messaging, webinars, etc.
- When executives ask for proof of ROI, there is a risk of losing funding — or losing a lot more than that.
On the tech provider side, new logos are a constant quest, but SaaS models mean renewals are a top priority. During a multi-year contract, a lot can happen in the client side: shifts in decision-makers and approvers and criteria make it dicey to get renewals. The ever-expanding customer success technology landscape means a wider set of competitors grapple for clients’ budgets.
On the consultant side, fast-paced change in tech makes fascinating studies to sell. Overwhelm, frustration, or expansion among tech buyers creates consulting gigs. Tech providers pay to play in a variety of think tank / analyst endeavors. So, there’s a lot of money at stake for everyone.
Solving Buyers’ Regret in Customer Success Technology
This week I was invited to comment about Gartner study findings: 60% of technology buyers involved in renewals regret every purchase. B2B technology buyer negative sentiment:
- Buyer renewal champions are managing a frustrating chain of decisions during renewals and expansions.
- Buyers prefer to have minimal interactions with sales teams.
- Champions seek online resources about increasing user engagement and satisfaction, optimizing tech implementations, pricing, ROI and service.
- Dysfunctional online buyer enablement creates negative sentiment and buying fatigue.
My recommendations for resolving this conundrum differ vastly from all other experts who commented, including Gartner. Everyone wants to revisit the buyer journey, increase empathy, and educate customers better. Here’s what I recommended (my customer success technology buyer guide advice to providers):
- Time is precious, so the more intuitive and issue-free B2B tech is, the more valued it is. While Customer Success builds-in onboarding, check-ins, etc., users prefer minimal interaction to save time. So, MVP and non-agile product design are at the root of this time-suck.
- Customer segmentation needs to be revised by natural expectation sets instead of roles and verticals. This is based on a recurring theme across the end-to-end journey. You discover these segmentation criteria by listening/mining what customers are saying. Then, you’ll find that instead of numerous role and vertical personas, there are actually 2-4 overall expectations personas. Cater communication and features according to these.
- Ideal Customer Profile needs to be revised to reflect expectations segments and personas, along with cost to serve. Don’t just look at lucrative revenue potential. Pair it with cost to serve, to identify the true sweet spot for your company’s growth. Otherwise, biz dev is putting a black eye on your reputation, because you’re selling to wrong buyers in the wrong ways. It’s causing friction and unnecessary costs.
Nobody else is talking about root cause solutions like this, but you’ll find MUCH more rare advice like this in my self-paced Customer Success Technology Buyer Guide e-consulting:
Customer success technology can grow monumental value in unexpected ways. ClearAction’s Tech Buyers Guide revolutionizes mindsets, metrics, messaging, motivations, and momentum.
You’ll know how in just 3 hours, in self-paced or live e-consulting.
- For buyers: expand value of your tech far beyond its functional objectives.
- For providers: ensure renewals, expansions, and magnetism through usage maturity.
- For consultants: lift mindsets above tech-specific models to strategic business impact.
Normally, you’d pay one of the big-name consultancies tens of thousands for advice like the 3 points I recommended above. However, this conundrum is too rampant, costly, and vital to experience excellence to have such a costly and time-consuming hurdle, and furthermore, their mindset is plainly not on this path.
In just 3 hours and for less than $100 per hour, you can radically change your outlook on customer success technology — with much greater value potential from your tech than you’ve ever imagined. See ClearAction.com/tech to learn more.
Image licensed to ClearAction Continuum by Shutterstock.