This week on The Winning Zone, Hilmon Sorey is joined by Nils Vinje, author, top customer success influencer, and CEO of Glide Consulting to discuss how improving leadership can lead to increased customer success.
The Genesis of Glide
Nils founded Glide, the first customer success consulting firm in the world. Prior to starting Glide, Nils had a long history of working in customer success. He was passionate about it and very successful, moving through the ranks very quickly. He felt like he knew where he fit in the professional world, and that alignment and passion fueled his desire to become a consultant and help people build their customer success orgs. Listen at 00:41 to learn more.
What is Customer Success?
The single most important thing in a recurring revenue business is the recurring revenue. Now that consumers are in control of what and where they buy from, the value of your business will “...be directly related to how efficiently you can renew and expand your customer base.” This means that the customer success organization has the single greatest influence on a company’s ability to renew and expand its customer base because they are the closest to the customer. However, the company as a whole must work together to ensure the customer experience to keep them coming back. Continue listening at 05:36 to learn more.
The Customer Strategy Method
At 09:11, Nils explains that no company has a clearly defined, documented, executable customer strategy, so he created one and calls it The Customer Strategy Method. Any company that wants any chance of renewing and expanding their customers needs to have a customer strategy method.
"If you think about companies, everybody has a sales strategy, right? Everybody has a product strategy. Everybody has a marketing strategy. How many companies actually have a clearly defined, documented executable customer strategy? You need a strategy to apply to your customers if you want to have any chance of renewing and expanding them."
There are five elements to a customer strategy method. The first element is to be prescriptive. This requires writing and dictating the experience that your customer is going to have before they even have it. This creates the perception of being a trusted advisor with a likelihood of success. It creates a level of comfortability and a feeling of being heard. Hear an example and learn more at 10:21.
A Clear Transformation
The second element of a customer strategy method is a clear transformation. The transformation represents the target that you are working to get your customer to. In order to do this you must really observe and analyze your customers’ behavior and why it is they get so much out of your solution. You have to combine the characteristics of the best customers and the characteristics of the things you would do if you had full knowledge and control of your solution, and this will give you an absolute short list of the characteristics you need in order for someone to have a high likelihood of renewal. Continue listening at 14:39 to learn more.
A Well-defined Fresh Start
At 19:19, Nils explains that once you know what you need to do to get your customers to the end target, you must bring in the third element of the customer strategy method, which is to go back to the beginning with a well-defined fresh start. The fresh start must capture the energy and enthusiasm of a seamless transition from the sales side to the CS side. Then you have to set clear expectations of what is going to happen now, similar to an onboarding phase. The third piece of the well-defined fresh start is that you must set expectations for how you are going to continuously engage in a value-driving way. Continue listening to learn more.
The Engaging Middle
The engaging middle is what can be done. This element needs to be planned and scripted, otherwise, it reads like a big black hole; an empty conversation; a missed connection. You must offer value to keep them engaged. Learn the most common tactics to achieve this at 23:28.
The fifth element of the customer strategy method is to have defined milestones. No one ever quits when they are seeing progress. Define the milestones at various stages so that it is clear where they should be and whether or not they are on track. Learn more at 28:10.
The 30-Day Leadership Playbook
The inspiration for Nils's book, The 30-Day Leadership Playbook, came from almost losing his consulting business to the pandemic- it was a gut check for him. He decided that he wanted to try to reach a broader market, so he made a pivot; he wrote the book. His passion and expertise in leadership were his driving force. He then began a training program that took the concepts in the book a step further. Continue listening at 31:03 to find out more about the programs that were sparked by The 30-Day Leadership Playbook as well as how to get in touch with Nils.
00:41 The Genesis of Glide
05:36 What is Customer Success?
09:11 The Customer Strategy Method
10:21 Being Prescriptive
14:39 A Clear Transformation
19:19 A Well-defined Fresh Start
23:28 The Engaging Middle
28:10 Defined Milestones
31:03 The 30-Day Leadership Playbook