Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Plutora Blog, Vormetric Blog, Jason Bloomberg

Blog Feed Post

Customer Success Driving the Top Line Part 1: Building Long-Term Relationships

image_pdfimage_print

Customer success has become an integral part of nearly every company, but an area which traditionally does not receive much attention in the enterprise software industry. Why not? SaaS companies focus on reducing churn, a major hindrance to growing subscription-based companies, so why don’t more companies focus on ensuring their customers’ success?

At AppDynamics, we quickly realized the possibility to gain our customers’ loyalty by not only giving them the tools to become successful, but also through a thorough customer success program which converts a product into a full-fledged solution for the customer. We knew that by becoming innovative in this area we could take on some of the larger legacy players in the industry. Fittingly, we coined this advanced customer success methodology “Customer Success 2.0”.

For some reason, customer success is not usually deemed a competitive differentiator among technology companies. It seems odd that one of the fastest growing, most innovative, and forward-thinking industries is so antiquated in an individual department. At AppDynamics, we showcase and brag about our customers’ love for us. There is a reason our NPS score is 84 when the industry-average is 19.

The NPS score is just a number, however. What it represents and what it leads to is much more substantial — referrals, references, and upsell opportunities.

Bottom line, customer success has a huge impact on the top line. We focus on high renewal rates, high expansions in opportunities, and high customer satisfaction. In fact, renewals and expansions resulted in nearly half of our previous quarters’ overall revenue.

This will be the first of a three-part series detailing how we support our customers and build long lasting relationships.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 9.15.43 AM

Building Long-Term Relationships

Clearly, the goal for any company (not just software) is to create long-lasting relationships with its customers. Referrals, word of mouth, and genuine testimonials go a long way to increasing sales and growing your company. These also happen to be sales enablement areas you can’t fake and need to create through organic relationships.

We have seen that by enabling our customers to succeed and use our product to help them solve their own problems, we in turn succeed. Our customers not only renew their license subscriptions, but also become advocates and help us grow through word of mouth.

At AppDynamics, our customer success is based on the following core principles:

  1. help your customers solve their business problems using your tools

  2. they renew and spread the word

  3. continue helping

  4. repeat steps 1-3

Long-term relationships also mean something extremely important for software companies, renewal rates. Our high renewal rates is a strong testament to our customer success team. Not only does our product work wonderfully, but the customer success team is able to drive adoption and enablement among our best customers.

Quality Support

Most companies (should) offer some sort of support mechanism. However, the quality of this support can vary drastically. We have all been on hold with an outsourced call center who don’t really understand how to help you. The employees getting paid pennies on the dollar are not specialized or experienced enough to provide the support customers need. AppDynamics has no 1-800 number. There is never an endless cycle with support agents transferring customers to the “right” person.

What we do, and obviously recommend, is hiring the right type of people who can help a customer on the spot. The support team at AppDynamics is full of articulate engineers with years of experience with technical software. They are basically your typical nerdy engineers; however, they all have the ability to speak to your technical level and help solve the problem in ways you understand. Because every support member can solve the issue themselves, new support members are rarely introduced to an issue, creating a pact between the customer and the support process.

A positive byproduct of having such skilled engineers is their ability to realize inefficiencies in the support system and create the tools to fix them. We incentivize our teams to create such tools to help scale and improve the overall process. Promoting self-service among our customers or building scripts to automate menial tasks are just some of the examples team members have accomplished.

Technical Account Manager (TAM) Model

We have two customer success teams who each serve a specific purpose. The first of which is our Technical Account Manager (TAM) team. These are highly-technical success managers with around 10 years of experience. TAMs handle accounts with the highest complexity, typically our larger accounts due to the deployment size. These also tend to be highly technical solutions where the TAM will need a very specific skill set — more than simply customer service.

Previously, customer success teams were largely reactive — only interacting with customers if there was an issue or if it was time to renew. Our model changes that approach. The relationship begins with the onboarding and each TAM member has 3 goals:

  1. enable people

  2. enable process

  3. enable product adoption

Along with regular communication, they schedule checkpoints at 2, 4, and 6 months to ensure the customer is getting the most out of the software and see how AppDynamics is solving their issues. Another goal for the TAMs is to provide value every time they communicate with a customer. Whether it’s a great tip, resource, or guide it will be tailored towards their specific use case and be beneficial for the customer.

Customer Relations Manager (CRM) Model

Our other customer success team is the Customer Relations Manager (CRM) team.

CRMs check in at least once a quarter and discuss usage statistics and how the customer is experiencing the product. They also focus on success metrics such as the overall NPS score and satisfaction scores. They use these satisfaction scores to analyze how to do their job better and help their customers succeed further.

The CRMs also send out customized emails detailing how the customer currently uses the product and tips and tricks how they can achieve the most success. A common theme among all the teams is delivering value and enabling the customer with the right tools.

In the end, long-term relationships are some of the most valuable ROI assets derived from the customer success teams. Through high renewal rates and expansions, these success metrics will have a direct impact on the company’s top line.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Customer Success 2.0 series, ROI Focused Adoption.

The post Customer Success Driving the Top Line Part 1: Building Long-Term Relationships written by appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog from AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally. DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

@CloudExpo Stories
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
"SOASTA built the concept of cloud testing in 2008. It's grown from rather meager beginnings to where now we are provisioning hundreds of thousands of servers on a daily basis on behalf of customers around the world to test their applications," explained Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
BMC Software plans to acquire assets of CDB Software, Inc., a mainframe data management company that has developed utilities for managing IBM DB2 databases with virtually no outage. Focusing on the availability of mission-critical applications is strategic for BMC as it continues to help its customers transform IT into a competitive advantage for their business. CDB's technology complements BMC's existing mainframe data management portfolio, which includes software utilities for DB2 administrat...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
OneCloud Software has launched the OneCloud Partner Program. Responding to demand from prospective partners, the Program offers managed service providers (MSPs) and resellers the resources they need to grow their business with the OneCloud Recovery solution. OneCloud Recovery is an automated solution for disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC), which leverages Amazon Web Services as the disaster recovery site. “This is a tremendous opportunity with an innovative hybrid cloud-based DR pro...
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
Axios Systems on Tuesday announced it has selected CenturyLink Cloud as the hosting platform for Axios Systems’ IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions in Canada. CenturyLink, a global provider of communications and IT services, joins other leading technology providers across North America, Europe and APAC to help Axios’ international customers drive efficiencies and innovation across their service management provision. The arrangement with CenturyLink enables Axios to further strengthen its pres...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...