Agile Customer Success: Changing the way Customer Success teams work


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My presentation from Gainsight Pulse Customer Success Conference May 2014.

How do we create an amazing customer experience for a new category start up at Influitve? We went agile! Agile Customer Success is all about maximizing the few resources you have, working efficiently and as a team on specific areas, empowering your customer success team and providing your customers with best experience possible

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  • Influitive helps B2B marketers recruit, mobilize and recognize an army of advocates that outsell the best sales reps.I’ve been in Customer Success specifically for almost 10 years and when I was at Eloqua, I would get bombarded with requests for references, case studies etc… Influitive takes care of that as We’ve created a web portal that it makes it fun for customers to advocate for you. When requests came at me, I would say, go ask our advocates. Who we are:Founded in 2010 HQ in Toronto, Palo AltoPrivate, VC backed, >$11M raised
  • Advocate marketing is very new – it’s a new category so what we need are really driven people. We hire for their attitude and not their experience. When I was at Eloqua, it was much different. I hired former marketers and former clients.At Influitive, we need to make it fun to be an advocate marketer, we have to be very flexible and we have to be light on process but have some sort of a structure. We need different type of people.It’s the Wild West as we’re writing best practices every day as we have modern marketers as customers who like to experiment with their advocates and share those results with us.One of my favorite sayings of Peter Drucker is that Culture eats strategy for breakfast. At Influitive culture eats every meal. We even bring lunches in three days a week.
  • How can we align our team to meet the demand of this new area of marketing?Of course we have the foundational items: -we have a support team that is exceptional at responding to customers. -We have customer success managers that are amazing at onboarding customers and making them successfulTeam wants to work on a bunch of items but we really need to move the needle and quicklyWe also want to create an environment of learning and we have few resources
  • We looked around and we saw that our development team used Agile Methodology to quickly and efficiently roll out new enhancements. They worked as a team to do this and they produced amazing results. We saw this in marketing in well.We wanted in, Why not Customer Success? This is a targetted campaign for 2 weeks – content and delierables
  • This is agile diagram. We just borrowed it from developersWe review our current challenges – what are the barriers to success? What goals are we not hitting and what can do to impact that? We review our ideas from our backlog? What has the CEO said is a priority?We have our Sprint planning meeting – what are the tasks, what can we reasonably do and who will do them. We record the tasks. The rest of the items go to a backlogSprint lasts for three weeks. We have a daily 9 minute stand-up meeting to review our progressAt the end of the sprint we have a retrospective and review what we accomplished and how we can improve the processWe keep the company updated via company wide presentations and updatesWe start over again with the planning process
  • Example of a Trello board we use to track the sprint and backlog
  • We’ve been very successful at maximizing our team’s capabilities and empowering the team to impact our overall results.Here are some of the outputs from the agile customer success process:Data driven recommendations – not just recommendations but having data to back it up is powerfulMore efficient onboarding – better materials, happier customersBlog posts – creating advocate marketing experts and helping our marketing teamSurveys – getting timely feedback from customersKnowledge base articlesBi-weekly customer webinars – education to build stronger usersShort tip videosImproved product adoptionProduct enhancements- providing input to our product team based on our research
  • Happy customers – examples from Engine Yard and OktaHappy employees – if they are happy, your customers will beAre we doing this 100% right? No, but that’s OK as it is a great framework for us and is something we constantly improve.
  • Agile Customer Success: Changing the way Customer Success teams work

    1. 1. Chad Horenfeldt - @ChadTev Influitive helps B2B marketers recruit, mobilize and recognize an army of advocates that outsell the best sales reps. Who we are: • Founded in 2010 • HQ in Toronto, Palo Alto • Private, VC backed, >$11M raised Director, Customer Operations, Advocate Marketing Expert Agile Customer Success
    2. 2. Our Challenges: • New category – we’re writing the book on advocate marketing • Customers need to see value QUICKLY • Continuous increase in customers • Extremely driven team • Create an environment of learning • Few resources
    3. 3. Agile CS is Born!
    4. 4. Agile Customer Success Methodology
    5. 5. Our Output • Data driven recommendations • More efficient onboarding • Blog posts • Surveys • Knowledge base articles • Bi-weekly customer webinars • Short tip videos • Improved product adoption • Product enhancements
    6. 6. Results: Turning customers into advocates