Kristin and Kristin are joined by Etumos Founder, Edward Unthank to talk about Customer Success Operations, CSOps.
Catch this slightly lengthier but also interactive episode to learn more about customer success operations including why it should be part of Rev Ops, what a pilot program can do for your organization, and getting started with understanding your customer set.
Jump to 44:08 to hear the three takeaways on CSOps.
A reminder that we have an open call for guests. Submit your buzzword using this form or type the link into your browser – https://bit.ly/must-contain-pitch. We can’t wait to hear what topics you want to break down with us in Season 3.
Hosted by Kristin Anne Carideo(KAC) and Kristin Crowe (OGK)
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:01)
Hey, Containers, it’s Kristin Crowe. I just wanted to give you a heads-up that this episode might sound a little different. It was recorded live at our MOPsCON event in September. So bear with the technical difficulty we had while Edward was attempting to share his whiteboard. Spoiler alert it didn’t work out. So you’re not missing anything. Not being able to see us all on video. So sit back, relax and enjoy this episode with Etumos founder, Edward Unthank.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:01)
Hi, I’m Kristin Crowe.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:03)
And I’m Kristin Carideo.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:05)
And this is Must Contain the podcast from Etumos where we help explain the how of marketing. Although we can’t always explain the why.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:12)
Join us every two weeks as we break down marketing and corporate topics and discuss what they really mean.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:18)
And if you enjoyed this podcast, please remember to like follow or subscribe in all your favorite podcast platforms. And welcome everyone to our very first live episode of Must Contain. Are you nervous, Kristin?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:38)
I have been less nervous. In my lifetime, but we’re we’re amongst friends here at MOPsCON.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:47)
Absolutely. These are definitely our people. If we were to ever have people, these would be them. And thank you to all of our people for joining us today. We have a very exciting episode planned, as I’m sure you can already see who our guest is, but it is the kind of topic a lot of our episodes have circled around. We were discussing that an approach is a must contain thesis if such a thing were to exist. And here to chat with us, is it Etumos founder Edward Unthank. Edward, what’s the topic at hand?
Edward Unthank: (02:17)
Hello. Hello. Welcome. Thanks for having me. So today I was looking to talk about customer success operations specifically kind of where I think the future of marketing operations is going, as is martech is evolving. I see this is where marketing operations persons and sales operations persons and generally where I see the focus of marketing operations starting to come into play as the second goal.
So customer success operations, the idea is basically anything that’s been doing customer and beyond kind of marketing as you some may call that under strategic umbrella of product led growth as well. But it’s basically the idea is when somebody becomes a customer, how do we extend them to maximum possible value?
And kind of what I’m bringing to this is the thesis that under the revenue operations umbrella of marketing operations, sales operations, I think there’s also a third one called Customer Success Operations. I’ve hinted that this for a few years, but I think it’s where the market’s going and kind of kind of the new technology that’s coming through. And here come the comments.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (03:29)
Well, speaking of the comments, if anybody has questions as we make our way through the episode, please do feel free to put them in the chat. We may have time to answer a few at the end, depending on .what goes on with Edward’s whiteboard. So
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:45)
Because it’s coming, the whiteboard is coming.
Edward Unthank: (03:51)
Okay, what’s. So that was the primary on that. What I think, so, I think what’s been interesting, as I say this, you know, as I mentioned, customer success operations, I think has been many years in the coming and we’ve seen that there have been companies like Gainsight, there’s existing what people call customer success operations.
But I think there’s currently a view of the customer marketing world as there’s a current model where it’s scaled with customer success managers, which is to say if you have high quality customers right now, then, you know, that you’re trying to get those people to renew, upsell, everything else like that. The way that that’s currently being approached is by throwing customer success managers at a problem. And it’s in that kind of a high touch service model.
But I think current buyers also aren’t necessarily just fit for that model as well as that doesn’t scale. You can’t just say every CSM holds 50 accounts, you can’t you can’t logarithmicaly grow to the next step without also just linearly scaling the actual people a.k.a the cost in order to service that much of the customer funnel fully. So I think is that this is going to be moving towards nurturing actual customers and having actual product funnels. I think from the techno- all the technology on the market side of what’s happening now, I think the operations persons who are actually doing the building and everything. That is where I see it turning into customer success operations, which is currently been kind of a little niche thing, but I think is going to be more and more you can see will be able to take the intelligent marketing automation that we’ve been using for prospects and be able to actually apply it to customers at scale, automated at scale and not just be able to say in order to to service all of these, we don’t need to just scale with people. We need to scale with technology and process that makes sense that makes intelligent sense. A.K.A customer success operations.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (05:52)
So Edward, let’s talk about CSOps as I think you have yet to use the acronym, but I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re going with this.
Edward Unthank: (06:02)
CSOps. It’s CS Customer Success. Customer success is very well established as an acronym, as a field. I won’t fight that.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (06:11)
You’re not making up your own?
Edward Unthank: (06:12)
Customer success ops. No- working on that later.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (06:14)
CSOps sounds like some sort of government military.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (06:19)
Edward Unthank: (06:20)
All of them do.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (06:20)
Edward loves acronyms POPs, COPs, I figured he was going to come in strong with, like, a brand new-
Edward Unthank: (06:27)
CSOps, you know? Yeah, I’m going with the CSOps.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (06:30)
So tell us a little bit more, Edward, about why companies should be taking a harder look at how they’re treating their customer segment from an automated perspective.
Edward Unthank: (06:43)
Yes, great. Great question. So natural companies respond to the natural ebbs and flows of the economy, right? So and that means that different company leaders, different company strategies have different focus at different points. Up to this point in tech, we’ve seen a very pretty significant up until the last few years, I’d say we’ve seen a pretty significant focus on grow at all costs. And the way that you do that is by blanketing the world with prospect and with marketing and sales in order to hit full capacity. Now, that’s been a grow at all costs – that’s really expensive. And so what happens is when the economy is good, when you’re spending that money and that resources into is, you say a tailwind that will be that will be good because it’ll get you further. The same dollar spend will get you further. But then once it starts to when the economy starts to turn into people protect mode, then it becomes protect your customers as well as grow profitably and intelligently, not flagrantly at a loss. And so I think the adjustment has been we’ve seen naturally in the market a focus on grow at all costs because it’s been very successful in the previous market. I think now as as we’re starting to see, it’s such shift into the company owner saying where’s our revenue come from? Well, 80% of a company of an existing company’s revenue, most companies, is existing customers. You’re just talking to the existing customers. So in times when times get hard, it turns into protect those customer base. Hold on to that customer base. And that turns into customer success marketing. And also in terms of overall market trends, we’re seeing, you know, there was a move, I’d say ten years ago, we had inbound marketing as a big thing, then content marketing, and then we had in between there, there started being account based marketing, which is to say hard core sales and doing sales really deeply and intelligently and well. And I think now the next trend that you’re seeing in the market is product led growth, which I think in my opinion, this is where operations becomes practically helpful in this world of product led growth is product led growth is a specific strategy that a company can pursue, which is a focus on on existing products and excellent product experience and an upsell from that as the as a strategy but primary as the primary strategy to to run their companies. And I think what that’s happened before is we’ve seen ABM people switched when ABM account based marketing saying stop fishing with nets, all you need is a spear, you just need to get the ten whale accounts. That’s all that you all that matters. Everything else is a pittance. Like what we had seen from that is companies who took their marketing resources of content marketing, inbound marketing, and pivoted all of them into the ABM market. That ended up being a significant over shift for those persons, those companies. And they had to find it’s not just one strategy leads all it’s not ABM is now the way that marketing and sales is done. It’s not that product led is now the way that the world is done. It’s saying these are the strategic focus areas and our strategic play and we can say ABM is very significant in that. And I think we’re going to start to see, based on the economy, everything else like this, a focus into customer marketing and therefore product led growth will be a natural outpouring of this. And I think where the product led growth actually hits traction is when we’re talking about automating these systems in the same way that we’re talking about marketing systems and product analytics, everything else like this, we can we can come up with a very intelligent way to do time human resource allocation of SCRs or CSMs in this world into having intelligent tiering and profiling and scoring based on the people who are actually in the system. And that in itself would be just ginormous. You could you could 2x the results at nearly the same cost just with saying let’s do it smarter instead of just scaling at scale, scaling as fast.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (11:12)
I was going to say scaling at scale?
Edward Unthank: (11:13)
Scaling at scale.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (11:15)
So let’s like dive a little bit into it. What you see as automatable in the customer success world, like the scoring models that you’re thinking about, what goes into those? How should folks kind of start looking at their customer set from a more precise scored scientific view?
Edward Unthank: (11:35)
Okay, that’s a great question. And with that, I’m going to transition into whiteboard.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (11:42)
What everyone’s been waiting for, it’s here.
Edward Unthank: (11:45)
Think had a prettier one in here somewhere too. I’m just going to go with this one. Okay. Excuse me while I walk away. Is that forward or backward on my screen? Do I need to mirror that?
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (11:56)
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (11:56)
Edward Unthank: (11:57)
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (11:57)
And as a really quick side note for anybody listening on the audio feed, well, we’ll post some video or screen capture here. So all is not lost.
Edward Unthank: (12:09)
Okay. So I’m walking over with my mic and everything’s here.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (12:18)
This is how we make the sausage everyone, here it is.
Edward Unthank: (12:22)
This is how it works. Okay, so customer success operations. I’m going to pivot into what are the actual framework. I think I think one of the ways that we have done this and I’ve looked into doing this before, this has been common in SAS in a previous model or early world class in a B2C world as well as a freemium model. So freemium model pay to use. These are really excellent ways that you want a customer success operation…
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (12:53)
Oh, Edward, let’s, let’s up your mic.
Edward Unthank: (12:57)
Up my mic. This better? No worse. Okay just a second. Hold on with me.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (13:07)
Oh, there you are. Fancy mic.
Edward Unthank: (13:09)
All right, try this. Better.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (13:13)
Thanks for the bode of confidence, Joe, in the comments. It would be weird if we were the experts sitting here.
Edward Unthank: (13:20)
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (13:24)
We’re working on Edwards audio. Hold on, hold on. We’re getting there. All right. I’m going to go back to I’m going to go back to this. All right. Pretend I have a whiteboard in front of me. Okay. So maybe I can actually sell this. So the primary things that we are looking at in customer success is the foundations basically. How do you come up with a revenue model specific to and similar and akin to what we’ve been doing with prospect marketing, we have a generally what we’ve say is in is in the past into a world of, okay, making sure you can all hear me. It was in the past we had the serious decisions model marketing accepted, lead marketing qualified sales, accepted sales qualified customer.
So what, what’s been done previously is, you know, that’s been the standard way that things have been done. But still the product led companies, the companies who were more freemium everything else. SAS tech companies have been working on this for a long time. And so, you know, we ended up setting this up for Optimized Lead back in the day when they were doing a freemium model was their primary method of of any sales. And so it was what is the method? How do you get somebody into a customer and what’s the definition of that? Especially when you have a loose definition. Like if you’re talking about a per use customer, then their definition of being a customer is that when you have their credit card, is that when they run out of free trial thing accounts, is it when they spend a dollar, is it when they spend $100? Is when they spend $10 a month, everything else like that.
So those kinds of questions have already been in here. And so the paths that have have have been construed from this are basically to say that there are a few different paths. There’s like a fast track lane and then there’s a traditional slow lane and then there’s a how do we use the get the most value out of things like advocates for this. So what I’d say all customers imagining that customer automation at that point you still have Marketo just for based technologies to imagine with me Marketo Salesforce customer in there.
If you have that in there, then we have to start a new funnel and that’s actually what we do. And in previous worlds we have instead of saying we have one serious decisions funnel, we also create a funnel for existing customers and what we want that customer more of expansion funnel to look like, you know, it doesn’t make mathematical sense is to say that we need to actually build that out. What we’ve done before is you have to decide what’s the existing into the point. So if you’re an old school B2B, that can be really clear with a huge contract signed or you can be into the SAS world where you have a product. And as I say, one of them was if you have a free trial product, where do you actually go with that?
It’s first we had a definition of that early stage of customer is that somebody starts a free trial and that’s what we had determined was that piece. The second stage is that they had input, valid credit card credentials. As in they’re there, it’s like it’s pinged it’s not like you actually pay anything, but it’s like this isn’t a fake credit card. This isn’t someone this isn’t a fraud. This isn’t whatever. This is actually a piece there. And then what you had done after that point is we say now we have 100% of customers who have gone through this theoretically, hopefully at this point, because you’re trying to find the universal path for customers.
And so at that, we had seen commonly you’re looking for what’s called the inflection points on when customers in their usage after a certain amount of actions, you can basically say, yeah, they’re stuck here, they’re going to be our customer for a long point. And there’s a certain amount of activity that you have to do before that in order to determine in order to determine where they’ve been in the path and determine what the next the actual metric that you want to line up against time. So, for example, it could be the amount of spend per customer would be a good example of that.
So we had determined that at the inflection point, if somebody spends $1 with us on an ongoing recurring monthly thing, if they spend $1, that means they’ve successfully implemented, they’re happy, they know how it works and they’re actually testing it. And to have spent that $1 also for that company, it meant that a significant tech investment was already in purchase put into place to show the intensity of their decision to move forward. So that, for example, after looking at the data, we said if somebody spends a dollar, they’re locked forever for for practicality, forever for a long term customer. And so what you find was, is whatever that inflection point, what we found is it was $1 spent in other situations.
It’s been when you hit a certain onboarding threshold, if you have it actually configured or whatever would be applicable to the company. But it’s finding what those significant pieces are in the onboarding process, totally automating the onboarding process, scoring up people based on their profiles, and then being able to put them into different nurture paths based on what’s going to make sense to them. Not everyone makes sense to upsell.
The other thing is what I have found is as the on the receiving end of these CSMs in these worlds, is we know, large tech companies, when you have a multi-year contract, when you have a three year contract but your CSM life time at the company is a year and a half that means the user experience is that my actually talking to a CSM is just hi, here’s your new contact I’m quitting and that as an example is kind of a pissed off customer idea is we can actually be able to the idea would be able to put in measurement of how people might be annoyed and then be able to plot that against what the behaviors are. I’m rambling now give me a give me questions now.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (19:15)
I mean, I think during some of our prep sessions I had shared that I worked for an organization that did a little bit of this. This was way back in like 2012, 2013, where they sort of negatively scored things that they felt were proxies for bad customer sentiment. And they called it the CPO, the customer pissed off score, which, you know, I was the loyalty marketing operations manager. So it was my job to kind of figure out some of those proxies. That was things like, you know, their implementation was taking past the average number of days that an implementation should take. Their CSM had not reached out in X number of days to check in on them that we received a low NPS score from the customer. Are there other sort of sentiments, kind of metrics that you are thinking about? In the customer success realm?
Edward Unthank: (20:06)
Yes, yes, absolutely. So I think the so I think this is kind of ripe for sciencing and data sciencing and turning into real science and less art and less feel good-y in terms of the marketing to customers and beyond. And I think the way that we’ve been able to and I, I joke about it with every other executive founder CE person, executive person that I talk to is NPS, the net promoter scores. It’s on a 1 to 5 click a button. How much would you recommend us to your friends? I think that’s that’s just comically, comically bad, comically untrustworthy. Or the anyone who brags about NPS, I look at and I asterisk because that’s a shady way to interpret metrics. And I’m remembering that for later on how you see things.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (20:56)
Not a fan of NPS.
Edward Unthank: (20:58)
Yes, very gameable. Extraordinarily gameable. Doesn’t mean much. And so, for example, we can start with an NPS scoring system in an automated system. You could, for example, make a little campaign program that on a frequent ish basis sends out what your NPM survey is and then can actually score that. You could log people score, you could track it in cohorts. You could see generally how that works on a more scientific basis than as a snapshot. Right now customers like us a lot 3/5.
So instead of that you can have individual people with NPS scores and you could track how much and what you want to do with low promoters as opposed to high promoters. And then ideally the next step is that we stop using Net Promoter Score because it’s a joke and we come up with something that’s actually scientific and not so laughably gameable as a as a promotional vanity metric. So other examples would be the equivalent of behavior score. So as Kristin mentioned and this an always been an idea in like marketing is like what is the how do you score unsubscribes and how much people like actually may kind of hate us even though they’re not saying it they’re just kind of going with empties. The non-response.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (22:12)
Quiet quitting? We.
Edward Unthank: (22:14)
Yeah yeah quiet quiet quitting prospects and so yeah looking at those being able to actually have a scientific measure on what their activities are and score them intelligently, great, the other things, profiling people just into company buckets as well as person individual buckets. What I finally what I find is the customer success marketing ops, it’s generally done is we look for upsells and we look for feel and we’re like customer service. Pat You’re on the back. Feel good. We’re here to help without quantifying exactly what is helped in what way, except for the cases where it’s just renewal. And then we feel that too as prospects and that sucks too.
So it’s being able to have basically all that is to say, we have a one size experience right now. One size doesn’t fit all. It turns out there are profiles, different people, like different types of treatment. We can do that, do that marketing automation all the time. We can similarly do that with existing customers. We can see that, you know, Edward doesn’t want to be talked to by a human and just wants the automated route entirely.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (23:20)
That’s true, everyone.
Edward Unthank: (23:21)
That’s true. And so, you know, for me, I would put me into an automated track and low touch automated track. And similarly, we can we can get the same kind of things, especially if you’re looking at existing customers. I mean, most of this you have data on how engaged they’ve been and how much they’ve engaged with your previous marketing funnel at this point as well, theoretically. So you should be able to be able to glean some insights and not come in blind with a CSM onboarding that is tone deaf and and and doesn’t actually take into account the expertise of the people in the room and etc. etc..
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (24:00)
Yeah. So I’m actually going to jump in with a question from the audience because it kind of pertains to what we’re doing here. So Amy, thank you for that. So she was talking about aligning on communications and recognizing the importance of creating that alignment. So you’re not pissing people off and they’re not getting disparate communications. Yes. From various groups of people or various tools. But she’s asking, where do you see the overlap or the coordination between marketing ops and CSOps? How do they work together?
Edward Unthank: (24:33)
So it depends on the it depends on how your org defines this. So really what the answer is is going to be org specific, which is such a cop out answer to start, but it’s going to be org specific on seeing either is there an organization whose roles and functions are based on the customers on the point in the cus- prospect, to customer journey because that’s commonly a one way to distribute it. So for example in I think in current systems where there exists customer success and there exists marketing both in significant size, scale and quality, the merging of those two becomes the same kind of a kin of lifecycle handoff.
What we need to do is we need to come up with an overall agreed upon approach to this, and that means an end to end lifecycle. We’ve done the prospect to sales and then you need to continue the path and determine where is it from customer to the next point and what is it where we talk about, you know, who are those that depends on individual funnel stages. You should objectively automatedly define what those are in the same way that we can do exactly that with the pre with the prospect funnel. So I think it’s first everyone get in the room, determine what the responsibilities are, make sure that coverage of the funnel is 100%, including post customer.
I think that’s a primary point of importance there. And then it you know, another segmentation model that people go after is on the highest level is based on what tech tools people are using. So in the same way, the tech tools such as, you know, if you’re talking about Gainsight, Marketo and salesloft, outreach, iterable, all of those things, you have to determine who owns which and which part of it. Sometimes it makes sense to have system admins and that be the primary function of it, but I think probably what would make more sense is and overall make sure there’s no black holes and that we have a holistic experience from prospect to forever customer advocate, and that’s automated from prospect to forever advocate. And then determining that, you know, if the equivalent of a product qualified lead, which is a term I’ve heard PQL, I don’t love it. It’s what it is, but which is to say of the customer.
That’s the idea that if it’s a customer, it’s a free trial. If they become qualified, they if they sent in their credit card, that would be a product qualified lead. As I currently hear it, I’m not stuck on that changing it would probably help, but what that means is, for example, the PQL could mean that goes into outreach and now becomes an outreach job or maybe becomes PAL into PQL is onboarding experience and therefore we need to assign a CSM whose primary is judged on percentage of people in and people out successfully onboarded. Dividing that into product accepted and product qualified, you would have a clear path.
The only way you go through there is you hit the first point of saying your customer ish and then you go into the next qualifying piece and then you can have someone assigned as well as automation tracks as well as marketing as well as whatever else you want, actually programed into that and then from PQL to a beyo- beyond, I think there’s other other metrics. It depends on the company. For example, a lot of this becomes account based, in my opinion, at the step after PQL, PQL and beyond is account based or and kind of a for in the process there. So that model means that also we need to expand into the other people because that’s usually another piece of stickiness is like if you have one person in the company using the tool, that’s fine until that person leaves.
If you have five people using a tool and three are consistent, then you’re sticky and that’s good. And you can you can continue to work with that. So I think it’s coming up with what those are and just aligning aligning them in first funnel, second stages responsibilities, third automation. How do we optimize in between each of these paths and then it’s now how do we optimize that flow? And I think one of the other things that you see from this, which is I was going to irks me a bit, is the people who don’t nest in customer success. I find some of the most successful sources of customer success is making advocates for brand advocates for a company advocate for you, and that is not necessarily people are going to pay you the same.
They’re not going to mean that by the people who most love your brand are the ones who, by your math scoring, are going to by your, you know, value scoring are going to be ignored, basically. So that to me has always said that’s an opportunity for an advocate engagement track where we can use, you know, use these people and expand their interest in in our company and our product and our advocation of a way of doing things. All of that is like that’s I think first is make more money path for the actual customer funnel. But the step after that is we have gold in the advocates here. We have people who love us and are convinced by all the things that we’ve done.
So it’s how do you market to them for advocate, for case studies, how do you put them to being helpful and further advocating in the work? How do you advance their careers and get them into better positions as well? How do you truck people, track people across careers as well? So all of these I see as being customer success operations and where where it actually starts to happen.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (30:16)
Yeah. And I think a lot of what you’re talking about is really where the rubber meets the road on a lot of the concepts. So I don’t know for those folks that were at the Adobe Summit in 2019. Right, it’s, you know, CX the customer experience all up and down. Right. And that’s, you know, really what you were talking about, aligning that journey from the moment that somebody comes in contact with your brand all the way through to when they tell their buddy about how great your product is. Right? Like that’s the you know, that is what it is. And I think, you know, a lot of our episodes I talked a little bit about this in our funnel episode, Kelly Jo talked about this in our Rev Ops episode.
You know, ignoring the fact that these operational proxies and metrics are really important in determining which customer segments you are focused on, both from a value perspective and from an advocacy perspective like that tends to be a pretty big miss, I think, in a lot of, you know, modern demand gen oriented, or ABM oriented SaaS companies. It’s not a question, it’s just a statement, something that is a personal pet peeve.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (31:23)
And you find everyone having the zoom because that’s.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (31:26)
That’s yeah, I’m going to pull up another question because I think it relates a little bit to what you said about moving after PQL into sort of more of an account based world. So Casey asks, what do you think about account based tools like 6sense? We use 6sense for prospecting on the AC Q side, but we are also looking at having a customer funnel that gathers intent data without the manual scoring models within a marketo or a map thoughts or experiences, there.
Edward Unthank: (31:56)
Account based prospecting. So it depends on what you of course, if if your next goal basically of your org becomes if the next stage of your org becomes expansion, then that would be a great purchasing those enrichment tools. And you’re talking about like you need to not as I said, not one person, but five people in the in this company need to really be familiar with that. That would be a great use for account based tools like 6sense I think honestly, you can just deal from sales ops basically is like these are all should be and theoretically they should be in Salesforce.
And so if there are existing intent signals that you can keep in a marketo source and pipe them into Salesforce, then you could use those as well. But yeah, I think account based tools, I think the main there is I think reaching for the third party cookie and third party database intent structure out of existing customers. I feel like that’d be pretty low gains just by math percentages, like you’d be looking at basically 2% at any point would maybe be highlighted of like having a relevant need out of your existing customers as opposed to 2% of the prospecting world, which is a huge actionable number.
So I could I can see that it probably depends on the it depends on what the individual site is. If you need if you need expansion into the accounts and different people, then you need to figure out how it is, who it is, and you need to figure out, you know, is it seven people and then you need to determine how many out of seven have you successfully conquered or converted. So I think that even in itself would be a way to do that, use like account based data and say we have these eight people to go after. Now you could do that. But in terms of the like, you know, people are looking at a complementary product. I don’t think I haven’t seen much value in that in the customer only side.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (33:58)
So Edward, let’s talk a little bit more turkey. So there’s a lot of components of this. We’ve talked about customer funnel and stages and various tools and scoring models and measuring sentiment and some of it’s, you know, you want to make it all analytical as much as you can get the data and be scientific about it. So as we know, most companies and organizations aren’t doing very well with automating their their CSOps. So if a in org wanted to get started, they just wanted to put something in place. How could they pilot something like this?
Edward Unthank: (34:33)
Yes, this is. Yes. So the common you’ll see they see this kind of approach as an answer a lot. And the corporate world as you’re doing these, which is to say you need a pilot program, you need a you need at risk capped, you need a value cost cap, you need previous success criteria of if it’ll succeed or fail. And you need a criteria of after how much how much time and effort you going to put in to quantified six months usually. And then what is your your kill switch criteria at the end.
So two ways that you could do it. One, you do a big pilot and it really depends on where you are and what your primary ROI that you’re trying to measure is. So the first and easiest and like low hanging fruit and not the best reason is because it’s just the best weight, it’s the cheapest, it’s the cost efficiencies. And so you can do that as a pilot, for example, you say the my core hypothesis is that we can automate 80% of this entry auto conversation, CSM stuff and we would not see a neg, we would not see any any I don’t want to say statistic you asterisks statistically any economically significant difference in the retention and lifetime value of these customers.
And if you do a six month pilot, three month to setup when an automated path, take your best customers and just take their best templates the same way that you do with SDRs and then do the same thing with CSMs and onboarding scripts. And then randomly cohort out a certain amount or percentage of people. So that half ish ones use halfish it’s nicer than 50%, half go into the existing CSM model where they get personal touch and half go into the automated auto CSM path and go auto CSM, auto CSM path and the auto CSM path hypothesis that once they hit PQL the same percentage ish is going to be there. It’s not going to be negligibly different.
You we can look at it and say definitely not statistically significant. So what’s the economic difference in it primarily? So that would be a pilot that you could do. You could run a that would be the cost savings. And the idea is if you can do it automated with a fifth of the human resources, then you need to put those human resources to do better things in your organization and to spend them doing things like making templates and making paths for people to go down that are automated paths. So pilots is what you can do and you can do a pretty I think it’s basically how do you just spin up exactly what you’re doing?
If you have Salesforce, you can redo it. And if you have Marketo, you can read to it in that and it’s like coming up with an auto SDR, pseudo-human sales drip or marketing drip, same thing with onboarding. Then at the end, what I have found in all these situations is at the end you say you look at the difference, you say they’re practically the same and you say, why are you spending 1000 times more on the way that you’re currently doing it if they’re exactly the same and we can do it, automated path or not, it’s the same.
And similarly, you might not find that and other things that you can do from that is you can see, great. Maybe after that you get four extra CSM time and so you say that segmented out 80% of the people don’t want to be touched and so 80% are automated. And then you just upgrade your CSMs to focus on enterprise or high value or new go to market and do a different area or the, you know, the CSM who’s coming up with the new like go to market template for every single place that they’re going. So I think that turns into now you have not doing the campaign of the week equivalence that happens sometimes in marketing. It’s like, why are we sending why are we reinventing subject lines?
We don’t need to reinvent subject lines. It’s a waste of time. We don’t need to reinvent the touch cycles and everything else like this. It’s a lot of these can be automated entirely at this point, and it’s what we would consider low level sophistication in the marketing operations world.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (38:43)
But I would think automating kind of the CS flow is going to take a lot more care and consideration than automating like an SDR flow, right? Like you want that to be somewhat intelligent and pulling from signals that you either have already in your salesforce instance have from your product or, you know. Yes, you know, like that in first.
Edward Unthank: (39:04)
Yeah, it does. Yeah. Of course, the worst and easiest implementation of this is is you just made a six email drip and called it CSM. That’s not what I’m exactly proposing. I think that, you know, actually, I think that that would actually probably be fine in a lot of cases. More than you’re considering would be fine for me, honestly. But it’s probably just what you’re doing right now. Same quality. But yeah, exactly. It’s the idea that you can have automated things. So for example instead of a path that’s that’s human touch based. I’d rather if you’re just marketing to me only, only me’s in the world I would say just automate that into intelligent value added emails. What is my use right now.
Like what what’s my like my compared to like the onboarding flow? Like are you into like, oh my God. Like, I think you’re not going to do it then you’re not going to actually fully on board. That could be valuable insights. It can gleam and act on glean and act on voice. But yes, there’s of course, the easiest way is auto SDR. But that’s the same thing as saying you shouldn’t do sales, because if you just do sales, it’s going to be a shitty SDR who does just like six emails, and that’s what they do and you just spend a bunch of money on it. Now everyone who’s in sales says, Well, yeah, if you want a quiet quit, go for it. But, but that’s not really the path to doing things better, as we know.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (40:41)
Awesome. I’m going to pull one more question up and then I think we’ll probably go into kind of our wrap and takeaways. So Dave asks, in the CSOps world, have you seen success in using intent data to identify accounts that are at risk of churning? And then subsequently, if a customer showing intent signals that they’re researching competitors prior to renewal, there’s assumptions that could be.
Edward Unthank: (41:07)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yes, yeah, yeah. And that’s like in the old CS I didn’t talk too much about this is like the old scout analytics gainsight. This is basically the idea of like how do you just use predictive scoring that identify pre churn? And that’s the most common of pseudo scoring, pseudo deep learning scoring that you can do is to determine churn risk in terms of having outside data.
Yeah, it’s the same thing as any other model any way that you think would if you can viably say if I did that, would that mean that I’m probably going to go away soon and just going through that path, coming up with scores and scoring through them? A
nd if you can purchase intent data from third parties like Dave’s talking about, that’s that’s absolutely can be value but usually I see the the most valuable data is intent is actual product usage data which you have you better have so so that’s the primary like in terms of looking elsewhere, you can see if they’re not using your tool, then they’re they’re not happy about things or if they’re not hitting benchmarks, falling below things, if slow to do things, I think is another thing. That’s one that I think about is like, what’s the speed to do a thing, a unit, a thing that we call a campaign? Does it if it takes one person 8 hours to do it and takes another person 2 minutes to do it, that means that the eight hour person is struggling.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (42:31)
Yep, for sure. Right. I think. Well, hold on.
Edward Unthank: (42:38)
That’s a good one from Tucker. Yeah.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (42:39)
Yeah. All right.
Edward Unthank: (42:40)
If you’re looking for renewal. Yeah.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (42:42)
Yep. So, Tucker, asks we were actively looking at a platform competitor, we requested info on our renewal date and received this note almost immediately. I feel this is a perfect example of how you can automate this process. Typically, when customers ask about their contract, they have some questions. Do you have some time to connect this week?
Edward Unthank: (43:01)
Yes. Yeah, that’s a great one. Yeah, that’s a great one. The other thing that I’ve started to figure out, too, in terms of like the contract cycles of where people are flighty is every every product based on its products that has a certain amount of work back stickiness where you need to decide to get out of that. So for example, if your change in your CRM, you need to decide six months before. But if you’re really slow… If you really want to stress out your team choose six months in ahead. So so yes you got to determine.
It depends on what it is. If there’s the other thing that I like to do is fun as you can determine when you lost a customer based on the annual contract date of what your competitors do, and then set a reminder on the churn customer, on the people who didn’t, because you know that they do three year contracts. That means if you speak to them at two years and one quarter, then they are interested. Maybe that’s your only time to end. Basically, other than later.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (44:02)
And with that, I think we’ll wrap it up here and we’ll talk takeaways as we do at the end of every episode. So our three takeaways from our CSOps session with Edward are:
One, as some of our guests have noted before, customer operations should be a part of your rev ops team. For many organizations, it isn’t yet. But if you are in an environment where it’s possible to create some customer scoring or analysis in a pilot format, it’s advantageous to bring these functions into the centralized operations team.
Two, pilot programs can help prove the value of being more intentional and operational around how you approach your customer set. Pilot programs should be relatively short and simple with a clear success metric and testing criteria. Create a controlled trial and see what happens. Customers that are scored and bubbled up as being high potential or high potential of churning. Are they generating more revenue or more leading indicators to revenue than your control set? That’s a good place to start.
Three, it has to be said again, even though we’ve said it a lot, customers are driving your demand. You need to ensure you are able to understand your customer set their needs, their issues and how they are moving through the funnel of onboarding, to success, to advocacy, creating advocates drives demand and you can use these skill sets of marketing operations team already has to better understand and operationalize this process.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (45:29)
And I think that’s a wrap for our very first live episode. No whiteboard, sad face. That’s okay. We pulled it out at the end.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (45:39)
We did it.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (45:40)
We did it.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (46:50)
This episode was produced by Kristin Crowe, Kristin Carideo, Ali Stoltzfus, Lindsay Walter, and Claudia Lopez with special thanks to our MOPsCON team and a big thanks to Edward Unthank. That’s it for Must Contain. I’m Kristin Crowe.