Usually, my blog posts center on leveraging some technical aspect of one of our products, but in this one, I wanted to take a look at how SparkPost handles Customer Success Management (CSM).  SparkPost has a large segment of customers who are in turn service providers to their own customers, so I thought it may be worth sharing how we run our very successful CSM operations.  I have heard from other CSM leaders that what we do here is non-standard, so perhaps I can describe something that will be new and useful for your own CSM team.

Have lifecycle relationships

One notable thing is the range of contact we have with customers.  A few years ago we made the conscious decision to bring Pre-Sales Engineering and Post-Sales Customer Success into one group.  Doing this allows us to maintain continuity with customers throughout their lifecycle from Prospect to Long-Time customer.  This group is called MECSM (Messaging Engineering and Customer Success Management) and assists with new business as well as renewals, and ongoing customer care.  It allows for a great deal of cross-training as well as a tighter long-term customer relationship.

Focus on your customer, not your product

People on this team are also generalists. Instead of specializing in a single product, they are trained on the full product range so a single CSM can focus on customer needs without having to defer to another specialist.  Likewise, our Messaging Engineers have broad product experience which enables them to focus on a customer’s business needs which may span several different products.

Our Messaging Engineers are not just focussed on Pre-Sales activity, but also help existing customers with the implementation of add-ons and expansions. Our Customer Success Managers are able to discuss and demonstrate adjacent products for expansion and add-on business.

Be your customer’s voice

The net here is that we concentrate our efforts on customer relationships, understanding business needs, and ensuring our customers are getting value from the right product set.  This often requires us to communicate enhancement requests to the product development team or sync with the support team on open cases. We spend time with Finance and Legal, as well as Sales and Marketing, to provide feedback and represent our customer’s voices inside our larger organization.

With all of this cross-over generalization, we are able to better serve customers and develop long-term relationships that benefit everyone.  Of course, this model may not work in every organization, but it has proven to be successful for us. We would be interested in hearing your success story too.  If any of this resonates, let me know on Twitter or LinkedIn.

~ Tom