Notion Capital’s Customer Success Fundamentals, with Dan Steinman

To kick-off our relationship with Dan Steinman, Customer Success OG and Notion Expert in Residence, we did the obvious thing and started with the basics which we shared in a recent event with Customer Success professionals from across the portfolio.

“Everything built well in all of history started with the fundamentals - laying strong foundations - and Customer Success is no exception. If you don’t start with the right foundations and a good framework, your chances of success are very low.” Dan Steinman.

The six fundamental pillars of a scalable and meaningful Customer Success program. 

  1. Onboarding: 
  • The point here is simple and obvious, but so often overlooked – the first 90 days for a new customer are absolutely critical. 
  • Get the system configured and stood up properly, while building trust and credibility, and the likelihood of a long-term successful customer goes way up. 
  • Onboarding is like the first round of a golf tournament. You can’t win the tournament in the first round but you can certainly lose it.

  1. Segmentation: 
  • Because customers come in all shapes and sizes AND because we’re running a business, we can’t afford to treat all customers alike. 
  • It’s common sense – you won’t treat your $1M customer the same way you treat your $10K customer. 
  • This requires thoughtful segmentation of your customer base.
  • As an early stage business this may be hard - even impossible at first - and you will need to treat all customers equally, but over time segmentation becomes increasingly important.

  1. Lifecycle Management:
  • The reason we segment customers is so we can map out a prescriptive lifecycle for each segment. 
  • Our most valuable customers will get a much higher-touch journey while our lower-value customers may get a primarily digital journey.
  • The cost of the journey must be proportional to the contract value plus the opportunity to grow that customer.

     4. Data-Driven Proactivity:

  • In order to properly manage your customers, which is the job of Customer Success, you must first monitor them. 
  • With the plethora of data about customer behavior, there’s no shortage of monitoring inputs which, managed properly, will drive proactive outreach.
  • Make sure you are touching the right customer at the right time with the right information.

     5. Institutional Knowledge:

  • Take a page from the Sales playbook here. 
  • Every company now has a Marketing Automation tool and a CRM system that looks at the pre-sales pipeline. Between them, all knowledge about prospects is gathered and available to virtually anyone in the company. 
  • The same MUST become true for the post-Sales world. 
  • Deep and relevant knowledge about each and every customer must become institutionalized. That could be in your CRM system or in a purpose-built solution like Gainsight.

     6. Health Scoring:

  • Last but not least is building a health score for every customer. 
  • A customer health score is simply a proxy for loyalty and a leading indicator of the desire outcomes for customers – renewal and/or upsell. 
  • To play the Sales/CRM analogy again, health score is to customer outcomes what pipeline is to Sales outcomes. 

Dan is adamant that If you do these six things right, and make all of them an ongoing part of your process to manage customers, you will succeed. “I’m not guaranteeing that your company will succeed, but your Customer Success organization will be set up for success and, when combined with the right product, company success will surely follow.” 

Here are some links that might be useful:

The Ten Laws of Customer Success -

Getting started with Customer Success -

THE Customer Success Book -

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