“Customer Success Manager.” Sounds like some sort of discount store greeter on steroids doesn’t it? Sometime earlier this decade, software companies decided to move toward Software as a Service (SaaS) where you paid a recurring set fee to access their software. Think of Spotify, Netflix and other subscription services that you pay for. As the SaaS trend moved to more complex applications and more business to business services, the Customer Success Manager (CSM) role was established.
According to Wikipedia:
“The CSM acts as the main point of contact and as a trusted advisor for the customer from the vendor side as they are the one ultimately responsible and accountable for that customer's success. The function may share many of the same functions of traditional account managers, relationship managers, project managers, and technical account managers, but their mode of operations tend to be much more focused on long-term value-generation to the customer.”
At Print Audit I am the CSM to our Premier members. As a CSM, I am very proud to say that I have become that trusted advisor to many of them. Over the course of the past few years, I have provided many Premier members with connections to other office equipment dealers, as well as insights and advice about products and services from other companies that work within this industry. I’ve even gone so far as to assist office equipment dealers with hiring new staff as they grow.
But it is not always a cinderella story. At first many Premier members do not understand why I’m calling them or why I’m trying to schedule a quarterly review to see how their business is doing. Quite often, Premier members are used to being sold or upsold just like the plethora of other vendors out there trying to get part of that dealer’s income. Truth be told, I’m only here to help.
Engagement is the key to success! I tell you this for a reason. Success as a Premier member is driven by the member. Engaging me and the entire Premier team at Print Audit can yield excellent results. Since the beginning of the year, our Premier members have increased the number of devices they are tracking by a whopping 26%. These are either net new devices or they are tracking competitive devices to eventually manage or replace. Remember this if you are not a Premier Member...someone may be tracking you!
We have had an equally impressive growth in Print Audit 6 seats...31% growth over the same time period. To put this in perspective, these are new deals or enhancements to existing deals without impacting a Premier member’s bottom line. The key to this success is not as simple as adding another line item, it’s a strategic approach. It’s making sure you are offering something that is a differentiator.
I’ll give you an example:
I have been working with a specific Premier member in the South East on a strategy to retain their market share. The problem was the their competitors were coming in at a Cost Per Page (CPP) that was so low that we believed it to be unsustainable. Not to mention there were no minimums or overages in their contract. Together, we drafted an approach, presented the value proposition and installed software on the customer’s network for a 30 day period to collect data. Then we presented the findings. The approach was not to talk about CPP or lease costs on the equipment. Instead we approached the customer with data on how their users were actually using the devices and created a number of recommendations to reduce their usage.
This approach and the proposal were purely focused on a Seat Based Billing (SBB) strategy. This provided the customer with a document output solution and strategy that reduced their spend, increased their document security and provided them with an easy to identify per employee price that can be factored into the customer’s aggressive growth strategy. The customer liked the idea and signed a nice $35,000 a month deal for the next 5 years! That is $2.1 million in revenue from one customer! Not too bad considering the Premier member is at a nice healthy profit percentage and the customer expects to grow their own business by 30% over the same period.
Now I can’t take all the credit for helping to secure this deal. It’s been the result of a true team effort. The Premier member’s executive team made the decision to sign up for Premier. They notified their staff that this was the way the dealership was moving. Together we followed the onboarding process, their sales team attended Print Audit’s training and mentorship programs. Their technical staff completed their certifications, and together we established a recurring meeting to ensure they were on track with their goals with the program. I guess you could say I’m kind of like a quarterback, doing my part to ensure the team is working in lockstep, moving the ball down that field.
In my role as a CSM I love what I do for my customers. I don’t know too many people who can say that they are directly motivated by their customer’s success. The better they do, the better off we all are. If you are reading this and working with a provider that doesn’t have a CSM dedicated to your account you’re really missing out. Who knows, one day I may be working with you to help grow your business. I would really enjoy that!
Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you have any stories about how a CSM helped you to grow your business? Do you have any advice on what to look for in a good CSM? If you are a partner I currently work with, do you have any comments or advice for other dealers looking to improve their offering? Please leave your comments and join the conversation!