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Unless you have just returned from a round-trip to Mars recently, it’s pretty evident that we are now in a global recession. B2B businesses are already taking preventative measures that are directly impacting customer success team structures.
The modern customer success team structure includes the following personas:
Due to the changes in the economic climate, many of these positions are being eliminated altogether. The impact on the customer success team structure is huge. More and more responsibilities are being transferred to CSMs. They are now being asked to do more by CS leaders, who are also feeling the heat from the management. This new reality is creating multiple challenges for post-sales teams.
Here are three main ones.
Simply put, CSMs are being asked to take on more accounts, even while working for B2B businesses that are scaling up fast. This means that they have less time to invest in each customer, nurture champions, and pinpoint growth avenues. Customer relationships need to be monitored and tracked constantly, something that is becoming extremely difficult today.
The growing lack of time and resources means that more and more B2B businesses are looking towards automated solutions. This can be emailing tools, chatbots, AI-driven responses, and more. But who is feeding the machine and what type of data are you feeding it? CSMs need accurate solutions. Another problem with “over-automation” is the rise of false alarms in high-touch situations.
CSMs are looked upon as bonafide brand advocates and advisors, but are they really able to fulfill these responsibilities? Unfortunately, time-consuming chores and responsibilities force them into the reactive corner. They get trapped into acting as buffers between frustrated customers and stressed teams (product, engineering, etc.). CSMs are finding it hard(er) to shine in their true roles today.
Related: How to effectively build a modern CS tech stack
Relationships with customer accounts resemble marital ones in many ways. You need to keep an eye on your champions, track use cases, and attend to high-risk customers just like you do with your in-laws. Your team’s structure has to enable successfully all customers to the right experience they signed up for and are reaching aha moments sooner than later. Not an easy feat by any means.
For starters, old and reactive approaches simply won’t get the job done anymore. NPS and other surveys paint a partial picture, not to mention the data that can be outdated and irrelevant. Detecting friction and other risk factors are also crucial while scaling customer success.
When you look at it up close, every tier is going to require something different and these specific needs to be addressed in your scaling plans. Scaling it correctly with flexibility leads to stickier accounts, positive adoption, and increased NRR.
Timing is everything when it comes to scaling business functions and customer success isn’t different. Waiting for too long can lead to accelerated churn and brand damage that can’t even be fixed in the long run. If you are in a niche industry with a limited customer base, this can be a recipe for disaster. Many businesses get intoxicated with their early wins and fail to start scaling customer success on time.
As per a 2022 Saastr survey, 60% of respondents believe that a CSM is needed for every $0.5-1M of Annual Revenue Rate (ARR) as the business starts scaling up. This is contrary to popular belief that puts this number at $2M, a static and reactive estimate that doesn’t take many crucial factors into consideration – high touch accounts, market fluctuations, number of communication channels, and more.
The more you hire, the more proactive you become, assuming your ecosystem is built with the right solutions and the right amount of automation. Once you have high value accounts, you really don’t want to cut your post-sales budget. But as explained earlier, the ongoing economic turmoil is forcing companies to stay lean and avoid hiring CS professionals that are needed to scale up properly.
Related: A data-driven approach to balancing your CS team workload
To make matters worse, you have the traditional customer success approach.
Customer success has evolved, but old habits die hard. Most CS teams are still implementing outdated and ineffective techniques, at least partially. These reactive approaches are simply not able to power CS teams to glory anymore.
Here are three old and reactive methods:
So how can CS teams overcome these reactive approaches, especially with the streamlining of customer success team structures in 2023? The good news is that AI-powered technologies can help CSMs overcome the challenges of scaling customer success. These new capabilities help break down faster, generate insights that are unbiased, and automate many tasks. Too good to be true? Let’s find out.
Customer success scaling is best when done in a proactive and data-driven manner. Proper account health scoring is possible only with AI-powered solutions that are built especially for customer success purposes. Manual work won’t get you far. Smart, unbiased and standardized analysis of sentiment, engagement, and overall health is the name of the game in today’s tough economic climate.
Here are some key benefits of adopting AI-based CS solutions:
CS leaders can now get unbiased customer sentiment scores on 100% of customers, without requiring biased feedback from CSMs or account managers. When scaling up, this removes the need to constantly listen to calls and read long threads. You simply get the low down, including pinpointing the negative responses received for quick damage control.All of this helps CS leadership address negative sentiment drops faster.
Scaling your customer success operations? Remember that AI is not just about automation and customer success team structure optimization. It’s also about providing in-depth customer intelligence, sentiment scoring, relationship updates, and unbiased account analysis that leads to better business decisions. All of this needs to be achieved while maintaining maximal efficiency.
Only an AI-powered approach can help you reach 2024 in good shape. Try it out now.