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  • Writer's pictureCorey Schwitz

How to Use Salesforce for Your Customer Success Team

Customer Success is crucial to maximizing the lifetime value of your company’s impact. So why is it then that Customer Success teams often face an uphill battle when trying to enable, renew, and expand clients? Whether it’s inefficient manual processes, siloed product usage data, communications gaps, or simply not knowing what’s going on with the customer, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) need to be equipped with the right information at the right time to best serve your customers.


One key to world-class Customer Success is using your CRM tools properly, in conjunction with skills training. Salesforce is often seen as just a tool for the sales team, but when used right, it should manage all your customer interactions and data points, not just new business.


4 Keys to Using Salesforce for Customer Success


The point of Customer Success is for the customer to succeed at the job that your solution helps them do better. The way you help with that is to know how they’re doing at the job and to communicate effectively with them about how your solution can enable them to do better at it. Here’s what gets in the way and how to rectify it:


Customer Health Monitoring


Tracking “customer health” gives you tangible insights into how a customer is doing. There is value in quickly asking clients how they’re doing (via email/Slack/surveys), but there are also quantitative points to track. Looking at data like usage, renewal rate, attrition, lifetime value, and time to value are also critical to track.


Salesforce can track these things, identify risks, and help you proactively address concerns. You should take advantage of this.


Onboarding


Too often, there’s an uninformed handoff between sales and CS. But Salesforce can help you transition leads into customers with consistent knowledge transfer throughout sales to onboarding. To do this, consider using a dedicated Custom Object called “Onboarding” in Salesforce to manage the onboarding process. This object can be set up like a miniature project management object to avoid “overwhelming” each Opportunity Page itself with too much custom data only related to onboarding.


Things like Contract dates, terms, and other nuances can live here, along with a step-by-step process that CSMs can follow. This way, it’s far easier to review the health of the onboarding process across many different new customers at the same time for both CS Leadership as well as individual CSMs and AEs who care about their customers’ experience. 


Tracking All Customer Interactions


Talking to customers like individuals ensures they feel heard and that they're getting personalized attention. That’s why we use CRM software in the first place. Utilize Salesforce’s ability to track preferences, behaviors, and past interactions to target and personalize messaging.


Collaboration Across Teams


Customer Success is not an island. Sales, support, and marketing people all have relationships with customers. They need to know what you know and vice-versa. When it’s a few customers, and the whole team is packed in a small office, you can just talk.


But with 2,000 customers and a distributed team, we use technology to keep everyone on the same page. Salesforce lets you share all this data, but it's up to you and your team to leverage it. The biggest part of that? Don’t slack on your policies regarding data entry.


Using Salesforce Opportunities  to Manage Renewals


If you’re not tracking your renewal opportunities in Salesforce, you’re potentially at risk for dropping the ball on customer communication in advance of the renewal. Automating renewal Opportunity creation in Salesforce can make your life significantly easier, to let CSMs prepare for the next contract milestone. Here’s one way we’ve developed a process for managing this in SFDC:


  • Use a Salesforce Flow to automatically create a Renewal opportunity when the initial opportunity is Closed/Won

  • Establish a Target ARR To Capture or similar field, automatically noting the potential size of the renewal opp

  • Ensure that the renewal doesn’t also contain implementation or other one-time fees; instead, it should only contain the recurring amount

  • CSMs can then manually update the amount of the opportunity if there are upgrades or downgrades

  • You can store any net difference from the initial target ARR amount to the final renewed ARR once it’s confirmed to help establish your NRR metric

  • From a management perspective, you can review the upcoming renewals often with your CSM team so that within 180, 90, 60, and 30 days from the renewal decision date, the customer isn’t blindsided and the org has time to close gaps or solve any problems for the customer that might be necessary for them to want to renew with you


However, if you end up structuring this process, try to leverage automation for the initial opp creation. The goal is to ensure continuity of information and that renewals don't slip through cracks.


Make Your Customer Success Team More Powerful


Customer Success doesn’t need to be a frustrating slog. If you’re already using Salesforce, you’ve got everything you need. That’s where we come in: Skydog Ops is your dedicated partner for maximizing the potential of Salesforce. We specialize in Salesforce implementation, customization, and optimization, so you can harness the full power of the platform.


If you’re ready to find out for yourself how we can help your CS team use the form below to get in touch.


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