4 Ways Your Client Success Team Can Support Revenue Growth
4 Ways Your Client Success Team Can Support Revenue Growth
by Melissa Rogozinski, Chief Executive Officer
A version of this article first appeared in the July 26, 2022 issue of Legaltech News.
The cost of engaging a company for legal services or products is a substantial investment for the client. They expect – and deserve – a premium return.
Throughout the 11-article “Lift Your Sales” series, we’ve focused on post-pandemic legal marketing and sales strategies. We started with foundationally understanding the new legal services buyer. Next, we addressed the historical disconnect between marketing, business development and sales and provided suggestions on how to properly align them. The most recent articles demonstrated how marketing analytics should lead to sales and dove deep into sales process, operations, and selling in a not-quite-a-recession environment.
But the sale isn’t over once you get the contract signed. What happens when the deal is done, and the project is handed off to the client success team?
As our own company has grown, we’ve been interviewing candidates for the role of Client Success Manager. When asked, “What do you consider best practices of a Client Success Manager to deliver quality service and retain clients,” they all responded with multiple iterations of the same directives:
- Customize strategy.
- Triage resources.
- Solve problems.
- Be proactive.
- Celebrate client wins.
Here are four ways your client success team can support retention and revenue growth after the sale has been made.
It’s no surprise that “communication” was the most prolific response from our candidates. According to renowned psychologist, Albert Mehrabian, communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words. Good communication is the key to anything that is truly successful.
Communicating the message that you are a partner and not a vendor should be echoed throughout the process by all sales and client success team members who play a role in the relationship. Be available, nice, positive, and upbeat.
When there are delays, a change in time or task or a need for clarification, reach out immediately. Don’t be pushy or defensive. Instead, ask questions, listen carefully to all sides, and share your expert point of view.
Email may be a great way to stay in touch more frequently and document the conversation, but it’s just words. Nothing replaces the sound and sensory of the human voice. Picking up the phone or planning to show up in person reminds them that they are important and valuable to you.
These actions go a long way to soothe and comfort the client, especially if there is an issue or misunderstanding.
2. Project Management Plan
Don’t you just love it when a good project management plan comes together?! Project management is a foundational communication tool for client success.
The Project Management Institute, the global organization that provides the PMP certification, defines project management as “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people.”
The job of a project manager is to organize the resources, workflow, deadlines, time spent and budget of a project as well as document nuances like delays or changes to the plan. Google “project management,” and Monday.com and Asana.com come up first with their ads, then kissflow.com follows with a list of the 15 best project management tools for 2022 (including our tool of choice, Zoho Projects).
Setting up milestones, tasks, dependencies, due dates, and assignments provide clear directions on how deliverables should be completed. Team members should also use project management to document the time spent, stage of a task and explanations for any slight diversion from the plan.
The beauty of maintaining a tedious project management plan are the reports that can be run weekly for the team and monthly for the client. Reporting provides transparent, two-way communication that keeps everyone in the relationship properly informed, mitigates risk and moves the project forward.
3. Deliverables and Results
As I write this article, we just completed a six-week onboarding process with a new client, which culminated in the submission of five, foundational deliverables. The results are a bible, as one of my consultants nicknamed it, and the complete growth strategy roadmap to help the client reach their business goals.
Preparing these deliverables is a true team effort as there are many moving parts. Multiple pre- and post-engagement meetings with the client provide valuable information from a dozen types of activities that helps us understand where the client is, where they want to be and how we’re going to get them there. Internally, there are several team members, who each have their own specialty, that contribute to the ultimate solution.
Although we set clear expectations at the beginning of an engagement, as the time for the final deliverables draws near, it’s natural that everyone – client and consulting team - gets a little antsy. The client has already paid a retainer, and the team is excited about the work they’re producing.
Triaging the project, quality, and consistency of the deliverables, along with all the people who have the information and skills to package up the solution in a calm and timely manner, can be a monumental task. That’s why it’s so important the client success manager maintains regular communication through email and Zoom meetings with everyone involved.
We’ve all heard about the 80/20 rule: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. As long as the client is engaged, regularly scheduled communication is a requirement for continued growth and success.
Whether you hold debrief meetings weekly, monthly or both with your clients, best practices suggest utilizing a timed agenda, prepared ahead, and distributed prior to each meeting. Make sure to have project, analytics and other metric reports pulled to share and discuss with the client.
Remember, the client hired you for a specialty they need but either don’t have, don’t understand, or don’t have the time to facilitate themselves. Speak with the client in language they understand, ask questions and be patient explaining challenging concepts. Most importantly, express gratitude at the end of every call and meeting. An occasional, handwritten card is a nice touch, too.
Gartner defines customer success as “a method for ensuring customers reach their desired outcomes when using an organization’s product or service. A relationship-focused customer success strategy includes involvement in the purchase decision, implementation and use of products or services and customer support.”