1. The minimum necessary experience

"Take a look at what is the minimum experience necessary for your customer to be super successful on your product. You get a lot of folks who want to build out these massive programs that are white glove and you know... everyone gets a named CSM.

Don't get me wrong, I love giving the best possible experience I can to every one of my customers, but I'm also not naive to the fact that there's a cost that comes with that. So really understand what is the minimum experience necessary for your customers to be successful. Successful means they're achieving their goals, there's a strong ROI story, and you know that you're going to be able to grow and expand with them."


2 - Monetizing customer success

"We have to start thinking about monetization of customer success and the customer platforms, especially with the larger B2B enterprise-type accounts. I can't ever suggest somebody to monetize customer success [across the board]. I was a HelloSign alumni, we had accounts that were free, some that were $9.99 a month, and some that paid thousands of dollars a month, right? [So], the price point has to be right. But if you're at that higher end, for the first time ever, folks need to really think about monetization.

I know services revenue has a very different valuation than subscription revenue. So be mindful and know how your board thinks about services revenue. But I am starting to notice that they're opening up a little bit to the idea of more and more services revenue.

The more PE people I talk to, the more VCs that I talk to. Yes, it's not the valuation that you would normally get. Services revenue can get like a 2X, 3X where subscription revenue historically has been 10X plus. But right now revenue is king. Revenue is revenue. That's going to help fund your team and also help your customers continue to expand and grow."

3 - Giving CSM's a CSQL metric

"So there are so many ways you can slice this. I have always had mixed feelings about having CS do the commercial renewal or the commercial upsell. However, I have no problem with giving my CS team a CSQL goal because if they're doing their jobs, they are the valued partner, the strategic thought partner. They're having regular cadence communication with the customers. They're surfacing the problem statements, understanding what their goals are for the next six to 12 months and really figuring out where are we right to partner more.

So, historically I've not had my teams negotiate the actual upsell because those things can take time. Sometimes it requires going to RFP and sometimes it requires these massive undertakings behind the scenes.

So my answer is, I think you should do what's right for your company. However, I do think your CS team and every CS team should be tied to CS-qualified leads and they should be thinking about strategic ways we can continue to grow with our customer base. That should be part of their goal.

Now, how do I bonus my teams is a good question. My CS teams now and historically have been bonused on two main components.

Number one is their gross dollar renewal. You have a hundred dollars up for renewal. Did a hundred dollars renew? That's 50% of their bonus.

Thing two is net dollar retention. You renewed the hundred dollars, but did you grow it at all?"

4 - The skillset CSMs need

"What I tend to look for, differs company to company, of course. But currently, I'm a big believer that I can teach hard skills all day. I can teach you how to do a pivot table, data aggregation. once upon a time, I could even write a little bit of code. But, I, I'm really big on soft skills.

Some of the things that I like for folks to bring to the table is an entrepreneurial spirit. They own things, they own it so extreme that everything is done with a level of quality like it would be their company, their business. It's the scrappiness. Like, you don't know the answer,
but you're not going to just be defeated. You're going to go find the answer. It's that grit."

Ready for more? You can listen to the full conversation with Maranda on episode 5 of SaaS Therapy via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or YouTube.

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