This is the final post in a blog series on how we’re using our own platform to fuel success. This post is by Jackie Reale, a Customer Success Manager at SalesLoft. You can check out the other articles in this series here:
Nearly 75% of customers say “an extraordinary experience with one company raises their expectations of others.”
When you think about it, that’s both scary and exciting. At SalesLoft, we take realities like this to heart. And after nearly a year and a half as a Lofter, I’ve come to understand what motivates us every day: giving customers extraordinary experiences.
That’s the impetus behind the optimization cadence. We want to create a conversation that helps CSMs like me identify areas where our customers could be getting more from SalesLoft. And we want to provide them with tailored recommendations for improvement.
But we also want our communication to feel personal like we crafted it just for them. How do you scale that for thousands of customers? I thought you might ask.
Optimize or Become Obsolete
Once a customer signs on the dotted line, your work has just begun. How do you compete for their attention amidst all their other customer experiences, including B2C ones?
You need to ensure that people are making the most of your product or else, or why would they continue to pay you for it? Along these lines, we want customers to be able to pinpoint where they’re generating revenue, and also where things aren’t working. Ultimately, we want them to understand how, when, and where to fine-tune their processes to replicate success everywhere.
We built the optimization cadence with these goals in mind. We created a structured communication stream that we can follow for every customer. That’s the scalable part. And we peppered that cadence with personalized steps that I’ll share later.
We tried the optimization cadence with a chunk of customers, curious to see what kind of results we’d get. One thing became evident fast: the sooner you get in front of customers before the renewal date, the better chance you have at helping them optimize their platform, drive adoption, and secure the renewal.
Originally, we thought three months would be enough time. It turned out, anything less than six months wasn’t enough.
Anatomy of the Optimization Cadence
Each quarter, I run a report I built in Salesforce that allows me to see upcoming renewals. For any customers that are roughly six months out of renewing, I plan how I’ll communicate with them.
Because this cadence is designed to expose under-utilization, I dig into the customer’s usage stats to determine where they could be taking better advantage of the platform. This could be anything from automation rules they aren’t aware of to disconnected sync with Salesforce that prevents them from accessing reports there.
Then I create a short video using Vidyard where I mention three areas for improvement. I embed this video into the first email of the cadence.
Protip: Even though emails with video have better open rates, it’s critical to keep embedded videos as short as possible. I found that with anything longer than 22 seconds, people stop watching. Try to keep the video to 15 seconds if you can.
When I send the first email to the account’s main point of contact, the goal is to drive them towards an optimization call. During that discussion, we’ll review the three ways they could be getting more out of the platform and develop a plan.
What We’ve Learned From the Optimization Cadence
When you set up regular, personalized touchpoints with your customers, you never know what you’ll uncover. We’ve got a lot of positive feedback from this process.
First, customers often have questions about using SalesLoft, but the thought of reaching out and engaging in a time-intensive dialog prevents them from doing that.
I call this the Genius Bar effect. When your iPhone breaks, even though you desperately want it fixed, just the thought of heading to the Apple store on your lunch break (and bracing yourself for the wait) is overwhelming.
So, when we send proactive, helpful communication, our customers get really excited about it. By providing the tools and answers they need, we help them do the investigation on their own time. In this way, the optimization cadence acts as both an ice breaker and a pressure reliever.
Customers Gain Confidence
Another benefit we’ve seen from running this cadence is a mindset shift in our customers. When they receive these emails and understand they have a support network at the ready, customers stop being afraid to try new things. They gain confidence in using the platform — whether it’s in building an automation rule, testing a new cadence, or refining their processes.
One thing we make clear is that there’s a whole team of CSMs to back them. They don’t need to just rely on their assigned CSM. And there’s a single place for our customers to seek answers from human beings: firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if it’s not their CSM who answers the email, the customer is supported. We found that when they realized this, customers started reaching out and asking more questions.
And when we do have that optimization call, users are often surprised by what they’re missing in the platform.
Customers Are Grateful
When I send the first cadence email, I’ve received replies as quickly as 10 minutes later.
I’ve also gotten feedback from customers saying things like “I really needed this help.” Or, ”A couple of times a quarter with a CSM’s coaching would change my life.” Or, “I’m looking at a very beneficial long-term relationship with you, Jackie. Anything you can recommend that I can improve in my instance, I’m an active listener.”
Music to a CSM’s ears!
I’ve helped facilitate at least one renewal using this cadence and more will follow. In the meantime, I know we’re doing something right when customers are thanking us for emailing them.
We hope this blog series has fueled you with ideas on how to drive customer success with cadences.
As always, we’re here to help with any of your SalesLoft platform questions. Join SalesLoft experts for a live Q&A session during Office Hours, hosted twice daily. Bring all your burning questions on topics like Cadence Best Practices, Automation Rules, Admin Settings, and more. Register here.
Or if you prefer independent learning, check out the SalesLoft Knowledge Base.