Selling the Cloud

Customer Success, Success - with Eileen Voynick

July 06, 2021 Ray Rike
Selling the Cloud
Customer Success, Success - with Eileen Voynick
Show Notes

Eileen Voynick has held senior operating roles and board leadership roles at companies including SAP, Oracle, Siebel Systems, All Scripts, Sparta Systems, and Chair of the Board at Jefferson Health.

In this episode, Eileen shares the evolution of Customer Success, both as a function and as a focus in the enterprise software industry.

Eileen's initial foray into Customer Success was formed in part by the large SAP partner ecosystem.  At SAP, Customer Success was focused on the business value that a customer can derive from the use of their software.  A consistent theme across every software deployment model is that business value and satisfaction have to be understood from the C-Suite all the way down to the individual user.

Customer Experience has always been important in the software industry and has an elevated role in the "Cloud".  Eileen highlight that if you look at the switching costs of Cloud deployed versus on-premise are very similar in highly regulated fields such as health care and financial services. "Customer Experience" may have a higher focus today however, that is not primarily due to the deployment model, but rather the evolution of software becoming more common across industries, functions, and processes.

Creating a "Customer Journey Map" which includes every touch from initial touchpoint to full implementation and deployment is a critical task to complete for every Cloud company.  This includes ensuring that customer touchpoints are also included post successful deployment to ensure that customer engagement is maintained across every customer stakeholder beyond one to two months before a renewal discussion.

We asked Eileen, "what's next?" in the world of Customer Experience,  Product Management becoming more focused on customer experience versus feature/function will become table stakes. Eilleen's example of how a vendor wowed doctors after watching how they performed specific tasks and then came back with a prototype that was met with astonishment by the potential customer.

At the end of the day, customer experience boils down to the "business value" that a software provider delivers to each customer. 

When the question "who owns an account after it's closed?" was asked, co-host Ray Rike responded with some benchmarks including, CS now consumes 11% of revenue at the median in B2B Cloud companies.  Ray shared that Customer Success should own customer value-based upon user engagement, the value received from using the software but CS should NOT own up-sells, and cross-sells,  it should be a "team" approach to ensure customer satisfaction and thus customer retention + growth.

Eileen views the CSM as a great facilitator that orchestrates priorities across their company to ensure customer success.  In the "land and expand" model, she shared that having an account management team that works closely with Customer Success to identify, nurture and close up-sells and cross-sells is a preferred model.  A caveat is that based upon the maturity of the company, this approach will vary.

The CRO needs to take leadership in establishing a sales-oriented, customer value culture that centers around the customer as job 1. This will go a long way towards building cross-functional alignment.

Lastly, we covered the role of the board of directors in helping companies make the Digital Transformation?  Eileen shared that over the last 10 years, her primary role as a board member has centered around product and Go-To-Market strategy which are both core to a successful digital transformation journey.  Eileen shared that as a board member, understanding the investor thesis and the company objectives to ensure they are aligned is one of her key responsibilities.

Finally, Eileen shared that being a lifelong learner with strong active listening skills are critical for early career profess