Customer Success Operating Model Design

Designing a world class Customer Success program starts with putting in place the right operating model; it is vital to delivering the customer experience and driving financial performance.

Building this foundation includes setting the organizational structure, chartering the teams and aligning performance measures to the charter.

Companies often find it difficult to put in place the comprehensive, cross-functional operational blueprint needed to deliver the customer experience. Our proven analytical approach to operating model design will provide you with the organizational model and operational framework you need for successful execution. Each operating model recommendation we make is grounded on the economic impact it will have on your business.

Waterstone’s approach for operating model design focuses on five key areas:

Define the Charter for Sales and Post-Sales Teams

Key aspect of the operating model is defining the strategic intent for post-sales teams i.e. the relative priority in driving product adoption vs. maximizing renewals vs. driving up-sell / cross-sell vs. client advocacy. Explicitly defining the strategic objective for each post-sale team brings clarity to the various roles, guides the strategy for engaging with customers and helps shape the appropriate organizational structure.

Clarify Account Engagement Responsibility

Based on the strategic intent and the target customer journey, touch points across the customer lifecycle needs to be defined along with specific activities for each role. The handoffs between roles should be clarified within a lifecycle phase as well as moving across phases. Lastly key metrics that track customer progress and satisfaction level as they traverse each phase of the lifecycle needs to be put in place

Segment Customer Base and Define Touch Models, Coverage Ratios and Assignments

Designing a scalable customer success operating model entails tiering customers based on attributes such as their investment levels in your products, propensity to adopt and expand, nature of products purchased i.e. mature vs. emerging etc. This segmented view of the customer base allows a differentiated customer engagement model for each tier and consequently enables the post-sale team to cover and engage accounts in each tier appropriately.

Reconcile / Optimize Roles and Responsibilities Across Functions

Across the customer lifecycle, the role of post-sales teams needs to be clarified relative to sales teams. Key questions to be clarified include responsibility for new logo acquisition vs. installed base expansion, primary and supporting roles for driving up-sells and cross-sells, responsibilities for managing renewal strategies vs. renewal transactions, clarification of roles to execute adoption services, capacity model necessary to manage expected growth in installed base, etc.

Define Organizational Structure and Metrics

We have observed a handful of successful organizational models across post-sales that enable teams to deliver efficiently on the target customer experience, ensure hand-off between teams are smooth, and overall facilitate an integrated and cross-functional delivery approach. Equally important is to ensure the right performance measures at the team level and individual level are put in place, in line with the strategic intent for the particular team.

5 Key Elements to Defining Your Customer Success Operating Model

Hubert Selvanathan outlines the five key elements that must be designed and implemented correctly to get the right customer success model in place.

Redesigned Post-Sale Customer Engagement Model to Boost Adoption and Retention

$100M high growth marketing automation software company wanted to better drive greater adoption of its platform, and maximize renewals and expansions within the installed base. We re-designed the end-to-end post-sales customer engagement model, mapped roles and responsibilities for all post-sales functions across the customer lifecycle, and updated the post-sales organization model to deliver on target customer outcomes.

Read the Case Study

Hubert Selvanathan, Partner

Optimize Your Post-Sale Operational Model for Success

Getting the right operating model in place is paramount to success in the world of subscription and as-a-service models. We can help you sift through the numerous choices and decisions that need to get made.

Contact Hubert