The new customer success partnerships

Customer Success teams in SaaS companies (mostly what I am focusing on here) probably like to think they are the spearhead for making customers successful (as the name suggests). In truth, its not that simple (is it ever).

First a little context on the two DanelDoodle’s I shared in this post. I use the Paper App (iOS) for my Doodles. They have a Paper Store where you can buy Workbooks. I purchased one on Data Doodling. Check out a video of the workbook. Basically it’s a set of instructions and practice steps for creating data doodles.

As part of the practice you create a mind map to break down a topic and then you start to define sources from that breakdown for your data doodle. So that is what you see in the two doodles. What a fun exercise it was and I plan to do more.

Now a few extra words about the subject. I chose it since I am a practicing professional in the space and wanted to explore some recent changes. As mentioned, Customer Success Managers will often take a lead in making customers successful. But since this is a relatively new role in many companies, it will often fall to other roles until CSM’s get up to speed. Even when they do, its a team game.

Mind map

In the mind map I tried to plot all of the functions that typically interface with the customer and even some that don’t normally, other than in some minor way. I also tried to add some new aspects to the typical roles and how they have evolved to work with customers. I’m not saying this mind map is in any way complete or even correct – it was done as part of the exercise and was a spontaneous process, no science.

Once you create the base mind map, you look to identify relationships that can be explored in the data doodle. These are the larger circles which I believe represent the old and new relationships working to serve customers.

Chart

I used one of the template charts from the work book and plotted a change in value the relationships were creating over time. These are then further categorised into new and old. The new and old reference does not imply that some partnerships are disappearing or will be replaced by other newer ones. And the trends are also a non scientific view I have, based on my experience in the customer success role since roughly 2012.

Things are definitely on the move and this view may not stand the test of time very long. Take Microsoft where I work (disclosure), we have just announced a major change in our Customer Success function. I cannot go into it but this public post by a long time and trusted Microsoft journalist at ZDNet gives some detail: Microsoft makes changes in its field sales, support groups as FY’21 begins.

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