The Importance of Focusing On Customer Success

John Haniotis

VP of Product Management at MarqetU



"The problem I am going to talk about is that my company had no way to measure how successful the roll out and adoption of our product line was. Without tools to measure data specifically around customer usage rates and behavior throughout the year, we really weren't in a position to prepare to analyze annual renewal rates. Thus we couldn't accurately identify if our expansion was high enough to be giving us the revenue we were wanting."

Actions taken

"We got together with our product and sales teams to identify what we were trying to achieve by going through an investigation or an action plan addressing this issue. First agreement was we wanted to identify what levers we needed to push to increase our adoption rate above 90% and our renewal rate above 90% (90% adoption means at least 90% of available licenses are being used actively over the course of a year. 90% renewal means they will renew at 90% or higher of the licenses they bought the previous year). Secondly, we wanted to investigate at product level, through Sales Force, to find out what kind of data we already had about our customers, what their usage rate was, and their usage rate overtime. The investigation surfaced some interesting results. But unfortunately we had very little data that was useful to make this determination. There was anecdotal evidence in some reported evidence that was entered in SF by sales people, but didn't give us data that we could aggregate or analyze in a systematic fashion. It was clearly a glimpse at customer interactions at certain moments in time. From this first try at investigating, we determined we needed to implement an action plan that would create a clear picture of how the rollout and adoption happens with the customer. To capture these things we used both data we could capture with our system, for example log in and log out to see how long people were in the system. But we also went back to the companies using our software, since we realized we really needed to understand the customer, how they use the software, what their various roles are, in order to correctly analyze and compare usage patterns. We then needed to take those learnings back to the system to see what of this we can capture, what additional software changes do we need to make to track all of the data points we need, before we even got into the analysis. We then did an experiment, setting up the typical profile of a customer and typical company setting. Over the course of 30 days we had various customer support people log-in under these profiles to simulate what typical customer patterns would be. From this we could start to make modifications to software to capture our additional data points. We needed to figure out where we wanted to see data reported, so we decided to push the data to SalesForce and run these analyses in their system. We would then pull reports focusing on specific data: usage over time, time in the system, company role/persona etc. The analysis at the report level started to give us an indication over time how many people are logging in, how many new users are being added to the system, the roles and personas of the customers already in the system and new ones being added, where are they spending the most time in the software etc."

Lessons learned

"In our analysis we noticed there was lots of activity in the first 30-60 days, which makes sense with on boarding, and after that activity seemed to slow down. We realized that relying on the company administrator's to train our customers, and then for these customers to self-motivate to use our system only gave us so much success. We learned we needed to pivot the organization from customer support focused to customer success focused. So we built a team of customer success managers to go out into the field to spend time at the companies and with the customers to really train people to roll out the system at different points in the organization. We needed to show the success and value to the organization and customer to encourage long time and constant usage, instead of seeing drop off after their on-boarding training was complete. From this whole experience I learned we should have made this a broader problem brought to the top of our entire company. Instead of focusing on solving this only with the product team we should have made this more about the customer and the people, instead of just technology."

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John Haniotis

VP of Product Management at MarqetU

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