As it has been widely known, due to the constant and current news, the most diverse companies from various market segments realize how important cybersecurity is in their business. As a result, companies that provide information security services, such as Tempest, have been experiencing exponential growth for projects where we can provide support to these companies.
In this context, the importance and need for services in areas such as Customer Success (CS) have become even more evident in order to contribute to the achievement and delivery of results and expectations of these customers hiring our services.
Thus, in order to achieve the goal of this article, as defined above, we believe it is essential to start by knowing the role of the professionals involved and who are part of this important process:
- Customer Success: More than a department, it’s a change of mentality. It’s the protagonist who proactively seeks to develop the customer with the contracted product or service. Its primary function is to establish good communication with the customer and the technical areas, to monitor and track the customer’s success in his journey within the company.
- Technical/Delivery Areas: These are all the areas that provide support to the CS team during the customer’s lifecycle. They are responsible for the expected deliverables during the customer journey and operationalizing the services and products that the customer has purchased. This includes the entire operations team, which has the technical expertise.
- Customer: The contractor or user of the products and services provided by an organization/supplier.
- B2B Relationship: Business-to-business (B2B) is the denomination of commerce established between companies, where the service relationship between the supplier company and the customer (contracting company) is named B2B. In this article, we’ll address this context, in which customer success will be based on B2B.
It’s worth pointing out that the main challenge is to establish good and fluid communication between the interested parties here (Customer, Customer Success, and the Technical Area) as they travel together on the journey from the investment made in the act of creating the contract (which aims to avoid or solve the problem) in order to achieve the expected results, as shown in Image 1.
How is the client journey?
To understand the customer journey from a Customer Success point of view, let’s take a step back and talk about the relationship with the customer before the sale (pre-sales) and the signed contract.
The company needs to present to the customer the possible journeys to be taken and the deliverables expected in each journey for a particular service or product.
At this stage, the journey can be dynamic and adaptable for each type of customer, so it’s imperative to ensure a contract that meets the customer’s real needs, ensuring that what is built in the Customer Success journey is aligned with the customer’s expectations.
It’s essential to make clear to the customer, at the time of purchase, what he needs to acquire your products/services, the requirements, and his obligation to support the contract. Because if the customer doesn’t fit exactly into what you have to offer, he will have problems enjoying the contracted benefits. Thus, it will be challenging to make him realize the value of the contracted products and services. Moreover, he will hardly have an excellent experience during the Customer Success journey if he doesn’t meet the requirements to receive the expected products and services properly.
Today, many companies still don’t have well-defined and mapped journeys for each service/product in their portfolio. Thus, when the customer buys something without a clear path to follow, the probability of not having a good and long-lasting relationship is high. The customer only sees value when he understands his journey and the steps to follow to achieve the goal.
Each service/product in the company’s portfolio should have a standard journey to be taken by the customer because, although some steps vary from customer to customer (due to the business model) according to the moment and the specific needs of each one, others are common among several contractors (customers). Thus, the company must understand how many and which types of journeys are being offered to accompany its customers. Therefore, the company must separate its customer base and focus on its journey(s).
As we can see in Image 2, the customer arrives at Customer Success with the signed contract. Note that the customer’s life cycle and path already exist and are intrinsically related to the scope of the contract. In other words, the journey is fixed, with well-defined deliverables, guided by the technical area that directs the path, with Customer Success following the customer’s performance.
On the other hand, the relationship with the customer is dynamic and personalized, and the way the journey will be traveled depends a lot on the way the customer wants to do it. The metrics and indicators generated by customer success help measure the customer experience, the pace of the process, as well as whether the journey is being traveled efficiently. In addition, it’s also essential to indicate whether what was contracted is being delivered. To achieve all this, it’s also important to have an engaged customer who consumes the contract smartly.
Phases of a journey
The customer journey in Customer Success in the B2B context is the path the customer takes during their lifecycle within the company after the contract has been signed, as we can see in Image 3. This path is composed of deliveries and experiences, with many interactions, in which the customer service model is “high touch”, where the relationship is humanized and 1:1, from the first contact in the kick-off phase until the renewal or expansion of the contract and new sales, whether up-sell or cross-sell.
- Kick-off: First contact with the customer, presentation of the scope, alignment of the contracted product/service, and schedule of the expected activities. In this first phase, we are already able to extract the first value for the customer, making clear and visible the activities to be performed and the team that will provide the necessary support.
- Implementation or Onboarding: This is when we implement what the client has contracted. When the customer arrives at this stage, expectations should already be well-aligned; initial engagement strategies should have been outlined, and the customer’s next steps within the company should have been mapped out. To come into focus the next phase of Adoption/Ongoing.
- Adoption or Ongoing: The client will have all the advisory and strategic support daily; the relationship will be long-lasting, with high frequency and many interactions. The main goal is to keep the client active and engaged.
- Renewal: Contract expansion, new sales, or renewal of the same service/product for another cycle within the company.
Whenever we talk about the journey, we’ll keep in mind the expected deliverables (what), when it is delivered, and how (where). Just as important as the previous questions are to know why the client hired you. For this reason, it’s extremely important that communication is aligned at all stages, from the moment of the sale, because getting this information and understanding the client’s needs and what they’re looking for can make all the difference in their journey, as we can see in Image 4.
You will notice during this article that the “why” of the customer is the same as the “why” of CS because the purpose is the same since both seek success in the journey.
Success is very relative, varying from customer to customer and changing as they go through the journey. Success can change, for example: at the beginning of the journey, the customer has low maturity, and as they go through it, they have gained enough strength to increase their level of maturity; with this, success for them is no longer the same, in other words, to take the next step, their idea of success can change. Another example is when there is a change of players and contract management on the client’s side so that what was once a success for the former manager may be different for the current one. So, note that the journey is of the customer, and the success defined by him will guide the journey to achieve the desired result with the use of your product or service.
Characteristics of the Journey:
Mapeada através de Customer Success e áreas técnicas. O Customer Success aponta se a jornada está funcionando. E as áreas técnicas observam se o cliente está consumindo corretamente o serviço/produto. A jornada tem pontos bem definidos e o relacionamento com o cliente é dinâmico, por isso, é importante o trabalho de mapeamento, para saber onde estamos e para onde devemos ir.
Mapped through Customer Success and Technical Areas. The Customer Success points out if the journey is working. In addition, the technical areas look at whether the customer is correctly consuming the service/product. The journey has well-defined points, and the relationship with the customer is dynamic, so mapping is vital to know where we are and where we should go.
Built with four hands (technical area and customer success) in order to deliver what was pre-defined in the contract. The customer will go through the journey, which will be efficient if communication is well-aligned and there is an agreement between what the customer bought versus what the technical area is delivering. The customer journey must be built together with the technical area, ensuring that all the steps required are executed and present in the journey, ensuring the delivery of what was sold to the customer.
Related intrinsically to the contracted scope, it is the company’s obligation to fulfill what was promised in the sales and purchasing process, which will be required by the customer.
Directed by customer success and the technical area to ensure a well-traveled journey, with a clear view of the stages and expected deliverables, showing the customer its progression and development. Thus, the transparent journey goal, with objectives and targets to be achieved, pointing in the right direction, will be the key to achieving the desired result.
When the customer understands his journey and travels it efficiently, in other words, a journey well-traveled will generate value for him. Independent of what he bought and what he will buy, the more value we add with our deliveries and posture, the more the customer will see the relevance of the contracted company.
Customer Success and the technical area have an essential mission in the journey, which is to accompany the customer during its entire lifecycle, from kick-off to contract renewal, gaining the role of co-pilot of the customer, and being a partner in the strategy and even in its results. Therefore, it’s necessary for customer success to keep track of the customer every month (at least), see if the customer is engaged, and train the customer to use and consume the service/product in an intelligent way.
Having clear and mapped steps also helps customer success in observing the points of attention to improve their service and understand the customer’s scenario and moment. Passing on information about the customer, his challenges, concerns, expectations, and feedback should be present in the communication of all parties involved throughout the customer’s lifecycle.
Through the journey, we can extract and measure the experiences and results of customers and know if the journey is being well-traveled and generating value for the customer. The customer success team manages this data because it also serves as a strategy for the supplier company to know if they are on the right track, or even for decision making if they need to restructure/innovate and customize the service from the customer’s needs, as well as identify opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling during the lifecycle/customer journey.
What do we expect from the technical areas?
Well-defined and mapped journey without losing the timing and quality of the deliveries.
The path to be taken during the journey has to be foreseen by the technical areas so that Customer Success can visually demonstrate to the customer its process and encourage him to go further, anticipating what the future expects. In this way, the customer will have a clear view of the path and can walk it with confidence, based on strategic data, “cards up their sleeve”, to make more assertive decisions and even request new quotes and justify the value of the service internally to the executive board.
The technical areas have to keep in mind that the customer’s journey is traveled every day when he is in the Ongoing phase and that one cannot lose the timing of the mapped deliverables, goals, and targets set, ensuring the delivery of what was sold to the customer. So, even depending on how the customer decides to go through the journey, who says if the customer is consuming the service/product correctly is the technical area.
If the technical areas don’t have a journey mapped out, and don’t deliver what was promised to the customer, what can often happen is the need to be “putting out fires”, and if this happens, it leaves a wrong impression on the customer, namely that we don’t know where we’re going.
Proactive mindset and positioning
The technical areas need to be aligned with the client’s expectations to know if they are going in the right direction because sometimes the service/product is the same, but the client’s moment is not, either due to lack of support or team restructuring. If the customer is not consuming and going through the journey efficiently, we have to be dynamic and proactive, adapting the steps of the journey and the deliveries without waiting for the customer to complain or request the churn of the service. In order to do this, the technical area must say what the customer needs and then move on to the next steps of the journey.
Otherwise, the customer won’t see the value in the service/product, creating resistance and difficulties in the relationship.
Definition of a Responsibility Matrix
If the company/technical area has to live with the firefighting role, it means that it didn’t do and/or didn’t prioritize what it should have, meaning that it didn’t have a journey and responsibilities mapped out. With this, customer success won’t be able to provide good experiences and positive results for the customer, making it difficult for the company to retain and expand its customer base.
Technical areas should have a RACI matrix specifying each person’s role during the journey: what, who does what, and what is the part of the customer and the company in the deliverables.
Finally, we can say that the technical area needs to provide a proactive journey, with clear steps for the customer, not a reactive one created based on complaints.
What do we expect from the customer?
The customer as a contractor also has a crucial role. Depending on how he decides to go through the journey, we’ll know if we are efficient; because a partner and engaged customer contributes to good results.
The customer needs to assume the contract they signed, consume the service, be engaged, participate in weekly or monthly follow-ups with CS, and be cooperative in delivering the pending issues on their side so that the company can provide the results.
Required Result x Desired Result
The customer needs to have in mind that to achieve the desired result, he needs to cooperate with the company to deliver the required result.
The required outcome is based on meeting what’s in the contract and, for example, a RACI (Responsible / Accountable / Consulted / Informed ) matrix, defined between the client and the company providing the services.
The desired outcome is why the customer hired the company and is going through the customer’s proposed journey.
In this way, the client needs to make sure that the contract includes everything he needs to meet his needs. Thus, it’s essential that the client knows the contract and follows the journey mapped out, working together and aligned to see results.
The client usually hires a service by half and leaves the other half of his problem uncovered. And when an incident happens, precisely in the uncovered part (risk always exists), the desired result is not achieved. So, be aware that the required result has to be in the same line as the desired result, so it’s essential that the customer understands what was contracted and will be delivered so that, during the Customer Success journey, he won’t demand what wasn’t previously contracted.
Finally, the people involved must be protagonists in their role during the journey; only then we’ll be able to go through it efficiently to guarantee to visualize the value in what was contracted. Thus, we’ll have more protected, satisfied, and loyal customers, generating retention, new sales (Cross-Sell), increase in the contract (Up-Sell), indication, and success for both parties, where everyone wins (customer and company).
When we talk about presenting results, we remember the follow-ups with the client. We think about “giving visibility”, and then we think about the deliveries because it’s from our deliveries that we generate value and consequently results for the client.
Although the value is very relative from client to client, let’s think that when a client hires a cybersecurity company, we can say that for him, the value is to be protected, meaning not having a financial loss at the end of the month, and also increasing his revenue and reducing costs and expenses.
In addition, it’s important to know that through the deliveries made by your company, he finds proactive solutions and that the company is in control, identifying threats, monitoring your environment and your brand, and providing input/data for security controls to be implemented. This way, it’s possible to close gaps, and by giving visibility of the environment (through information obtained from the contracted services and products), the client can make more assertive decisions to prevent fraud, cyber threats, data leakage, and a possible bad reputation of the brand, among other multiple threats.
It’s worth remembering that we can only protect what we know. That’s why it’s crucial to put yourself in your client’s shoes and provide a clear picture of what was contracted versus the added value for their business. Because the client expects to receive strategic data that will generate the required and desired results, as mentioned above, this information, when analyzed, can extract content for more assertive decision making and consequently generate the result, as shown in the image below:
The attackers are always active and renovating themselves every day. Have you ever stopped to think that the success of these criminals lies in sharing information? In other words, they communicate and connect all the time. Likewise, thinking like this, the deliveries that your company provides to the respective customers generate value for them. Everything in the contract communicates and connects to generate the required and desired result.
During the follow-ups, the client wants to have visibility of his environment and obtain strategic data, showing what he needs to prioritize in order not to impact his business. Thus, he will be able to understand the next steps of the journey based on qualitative information and not only quantitative.
Your delivery has to generate content for the customer, which will become action, not just information.
Our seven tips for delivering strategic data to cybersecurity clients:
1- Know the client’s business well;
2- Collect data on all the services/products contracted;
3- Centralize this data;
4- Correlate the information;
5- Make a critical analysis based on possible risks within the client’s profile;
6- Generate metrics and priorities;
7- Deliver proactive results, not reactive ones.
Having a well-traveled journey means that the customer has a clear view of the next expected deliverables and decides to travel through it efficiently, and that, in addition, both the experience of traveling through the journey and the content of the delivery are of quality, so that they will serve as an action to achieve the desired result. The technical area and Customer Success make this visibility possible and achievable, following the customer journey in the Ongoing phase during the contact with the customer and more formally in the follow-ups, whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Therefore, the importance of a participative and collaborative customer.
To follow the customer journey in search of strategic data is to actively travel through this journey, having good communication between the professionals involved, ensuring that the customer is successful with what he hired.
From the moment you follow your customers on their journey within the company, measuring and managing their experiences and deliverables/results (because that is what a journey is made of), you will also realize that it’s possible to grow “from the inside out”, in other words, investing in the care of the customers you already have in your base.
Everyone involved must fulfill their respective roles during the journey to achieve the desired result.
The journey belongs to the customer, and the success defined by him will guide the path.
Having a well-mapped journey, defined, traveled efficiently, understanding the moment and needs of the customer, delivering experiences and quality content contribute to a lasting B2B relationship, ensuring what is most important: the satisfaction and success of our customers.
DAMIN, Hiram B. Customer Success: O sucesso das empresas focadas em clientes. São Paulo: DVS Editora, 2019.
Disney Institute. O jeito Disney de encantar os clientes: do atendimento excepcional ao nunca parar de crescer e acreditar. 1. Ed. São Paulo: Saraiva, 2011.
TILI, Alexandre Souza. Jornada do Cliente para empresas de Tecnologia. outmarketing, 2019. Available at: https://outmarketing.com.br/jornada-do-cliente-para-empresas-de-tecnologia/. Accessed on: March 17, 2021.
SILVEIRA, Scheila. O que você precisa saber de Customer Success – e ninguém diz. exactsales, 2017. Available at: https://www.exactsales.com.br/academia-exact-blog/tudo-sobre-customer-success/. Accessed on: March 18, 2021.
LIPINSKI, Jéssica. Jornada do Cliente: Guia Completo. csacademy, 2020. Available at: https://www.csacademy.com.br/jornada-do-cliente-guia-completo/. Accessed on: April 09, 2021.
FILGUEIRAS, Fernanda. Customer Success: usando a jornada do cliente para alavancar vendas. mkt4sales. Available at: https://vendas.mkt4sales.com/customer-success-alavancar-vendas/. Accessed on: April 09, 2021.
MOLINA, Gabriel. Como criar uma Jornada do Cliente. sensedata, 2020. Available at: https://blog.sensedata.com.br/jornada-do-cliente/. Accessed on: April 09, 2021.
FOCANOCLIENTE. Aprenda o que é e como desenhar a Jornada do Cliente. focanocliente. Available at: https://focanocliente.com.br/jornada-do-cliente/. Accessed on: April 09, 2021.
RESULTADOS DIGITAIS, Customer Success Manager: o que é e como é o trabalho de CSM. resultadosdigitais, 2020. Available at: https://resultadosdigitais.com.br/blog/customer-success-manager/. Accessed on: April 09, 2021.
BESSA, Lucas. Como a Experiência do Consumidor se Relaciona com a Jornada do Cliente?. ingagedigital, 2021. Available at: https://blog.ingagedigital.com.br/experiencia-do-cliente/. Accessed on: April 09, 2021.