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How to Turn Customer Success From a Cost Center to a Revenue Center

How to Turn Customer Success From a Cost Center to a Revenue Center

By Sangram Vajre, CEO, GTM Partners

This blog post is part of the INBOUND Speaker Insights series: where industry leaders share their expertise, actionable tips, and innovative strategies for success in sales, marketing, leadership, and more.

In today's business world, growing efficiently is the name of the game.

We've moved past the era of expanding blindly. Forget leaky lead funnels and a laser focus on net new customer acquisition; now it's about metrics like customer lifetime value (CLTV) and net revenue retention (NRR).

Building relationships that grow over time, leading to stronger partnerships, more product usage, and mutual success means that customer success will play a bigger role than ever before.

In fact, customer success isn't just a support department anymore; it's a vital part of how we do business. By integrating it into everything we do, we're ensuring sustainable growth and maximizing the value of every customer relationship.

Better yet: customer success starts to move from being a cost center to a revenue center!

  • Make CS a Strategic GTM Partner: Marketing, sales, product, customer success, and the executive team should ALL be focused on making your customers successful. This is not a siloed job or department any more. Just as every other team has CS responsibilities, it’s also important to ensure that they LISTEN to CS in order to leverage cross-functional insights for revenue generation. Customer success teams also have direct insight into customer needs and challenges that should inform product development, leading to improvements or new features that can drive additional revenue.

  • Identify Upsell and Cross-Sell Opportunities: Train your team to identify opportunities where they can upsell or cross-sell products or services either in conjunction with a sales or account management team or more independently.

  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Use data analytics within a customer success platform to understand customer behavior, identify trends, and make informed decisions that lead to more targeted upselling and cross-selling.

  • Shift Performance Metrics: Shift the team’s performance metrics from traditional support metrics like response time and resolution rate to metrics that are tied to revenue. If you want CSMs to help with renewals and expansions, incentivize them accordingly.

  • Improve Customer Time to Value: Improving customer time to value is a strategic process that should involve your whole GTM team, but it’s well worth the effort. Paying attention to how quickly your customers achieve desired outcomes will allow you to spend less time on retention issues. Retention should be baked into the customer journey.

      • Step 1: Identify and document the “as is” customer experience: review the end-to end-customer journey and map out the number of touch points (website to each sales call, identify the hand offs, time in each stage, onboarding, CSM, renewal).
      • Step 2: Use the 5 D’s framework to identify and document the areas across the buyer / customer journey that are preventing customers from experiencing value.

      • Step 3: Begin by assessing steps 1 and 2 to pinpoint the areas with the highest impact and lowest effort, enabling significant improvements in time-to-value for customers. Ensure alignment within the GTM team regarding the value proposition for customers. Break down the value and outcomes for customers in a manner that facilitates quick wins, rather than waiting until the end to quantify ROI.

The landscape of business growth is undergoing a profound transformation, where the emphasis is shifting from acquisition to retention and value creation and customer success shifts from a cost center to a revenue center.

By prioritizing customer success and adopting a holistic approach to customer relationships, companies can unlock new avenues of growth and secure long-term success.

Get the latest go-to-market research, data, and insights from Sangram with GTMonday by GTM Partners.

Sangram Vajre

Sangram Vajre

CEO, GTM Partners

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