Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Leader

Episode · 1 year ago

How Organized Customer Success Decreases Churn w/ Jordan Silverman

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

One thing you learn as the co-founder of a bathroom advertisement business is the importance of organization.

 

Jordan Silverman, VP of Customer Success at MarketMan, joins Eric on this episode to discuss organization in customer success. Plus, they talk about… 

 

- Unique challenges of customer success for the hospitality industry

 

- Entrepreneurial skills that can be transferred to customer success

 

- The importance of being a good steward of customers’ businesses

 

For more info, check out customersuccessleader.com or send a message to hello@flatfile.io.

 

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Customer Success Leader on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

There's no better teacher for sales, for customer success or anything. And door to door sales, colds, calling and hearing rejection. Want to create delightful customer experiences, you're in the right place. Welcome to customer success leader, where you'll learn about the successes and struggles of leaders who are passionate about their craft. Trust me, you want to stick around. Here's your host, Eric Crane. Hey, everybody, welcome back. This is Eric Crane from flat file and I've got another great guest on the Customer Success Leader podcast today joining me as Jordan Silverman, who's the VP of customer success at Marketman. Hey Jordan, how are you doing? Ay, Eric doing great. How about yourself? Thanks for having me. Yea, I can't complain too much. It's finally sunny here in Atlanta after a few days of rain. Where you calling in from? I am in New York currently. Is that New York City or New York State? Great Question. When all of us started, I went from New York City to Westchester, so in the suburbs now, enjoying a little bit of outdoor space while I have it. Yeah, I've heard a similar story from a lot of folks who kind of found ways to get out of the city a bit, especially the middle of the pandemic. Seems like a pretty wise idea. They're going from not leaving a one bedroom apartment with my wife to having a backyard has been a nice little change. Well, really appreciate you taking the time to join me, regardless of the type of room that you're sitting in. Want to hear a little bit more about your background, so tell me about how you got out to be the VP of customer success at market man. Walk me to your Customer Success Journey. It certainly isn't the average journey of going from CSM to enterprise, CSM to director. When I was in college at University of Michigan, I started my own company. It was called Star toilet paper. I started it with my brother. He was my cofounder and it is what it sounds like. We did advertising in public bathrooms, printed toilet paper, printed paper towels displays advertising in bathrooms. We ran the business for four or five years and...

I was the CEO and Co founder. After that I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I knew I love building relationships and talking to customers, so I took a sales job at another startup where I became the VP of sales and oversaw the sales and customer success. It was SMB and mid market SASS, and I pretty quickly realize that I liked the customer success side more than the sales side because I love building relationships with people and I find that you can do that a lot more in customer success. So I joined market man a little over four years ago and have been running the customer success and post sales team ever since. That's so cool seeing a journey like that. And don't worry, we'll touch a little bit more about your crappy experiences prior but I want to learn a little bit more about how you define customer success. So what is your unique definition for customer success? We have the classic definition of customer success that you hear a lot of people talk about, which is two things. Number One, successful clients and, too, happy clients. Our job is to make sure our clients are successful and happy. A little bit more in depth, our job is the post sales team, is to take a client from a blank account, a blank software and platform to a fully built up and running platform where they are achieving their goals renewing, hopefully upselling and giving us referrals. So it's about taking them on the journey from blank account to full account in a successful and happy way. So tell me about what some of those goals are like. How do you define those goals? Do you do that with the customer? What type of guidance you provide them? Like? Tell me more about that. Like. Okay, success right, success can be mean a lot of different things. In customer success there's reactive and proactive approaches. We try to be extremely proactive with all of our clients. Every single one of our clients, SMB all the...

...way up to enterprise, has a dedicated CSM, a dedicated account manager who's responsibility it is to make them happy. Every client starts off with a kickoff call where we try to understand why did they sign up for market man, why are they paying us every month and how can we help them achieve those goals in the best and fastest way possible? And what are those goals typically for your customers? We work in the hospitality industry, restaurants, grocery stores, hotel chains. Our clients come to us for one of two things, save time or to save money. Those are our clients goals. They're buying market man and using market man to help them either streamline their operations and save time or save money on their bottom line in terms of profit. So when you're talking to a custom right it's usually one of those two things, or maybe a combination of both. Like how do you understand what's most important to that customer when you're speaking with them? So what are the ways you kind of draw that out of them? It's all about asking really good questions and building a relationship with them. It's always awkward that first handoff, that kickoff call, when sales is handing the deal and handing the customer off to customer. Success can be awkward and I've had my fair share of awkward ones, but it's really important to have that kickoff call show them that you're a real person and that you were there to support them and help them. We are always and only there to help them in every way we can and I can't believe it's any more awkward than the experience of trying to sell someone advertising on toilet paper. So tell me a little bit more about your experience, sort of like as an entrepreneur working in this you know kind of unique niche advertising space and the way you've applied some of those lessons to customer success. So first off, I think we've all been there right you're in the bathroom reading your phone looking for something to do, and that's exactly how the initial idea...

...hit me and I was a young entrepreneur in college. Amazing experience and I ran with it. I still apply a lot of the things that I learned there to sales, to customer success and everything I do. There's no better teacher for sales, for customer success or anything. And door to door sales, colds, calling and hearing rejection, and I think building up that base has really made me a good customer success manager and a good leader. So some of the skills that I think it really taught me were hard work. When you get hit, you get back up, and then how important it is to be organized. When you're managing a book of two hundred, Fifty, three hundred accounts, you need to be hyper organized, and being the CEO of the startup is, as you know, is the same thing. You've got so many things going on and being organized is so important. So one of this of the systems do you use to say organized. Our lifeblood is our CRM, so we used two tango on the CRM side. We use it for everything, Task Management, health, scoring, one too many email campaigns. But one of the lesserknown tools that we've really benefited from is a tool called text place. So we are big fans of building out playbooks and how organization and scalability is really important. So we use text blaze, which is a text expander tool, to help our team have pre drafted email kits and templates, but also it's a great way to have link shorteners for all of our fa q articles are videos. So that's one of the tools that really helps us not only stay organized but take out some of the leg work of trying to find the same fa q article over and over. I love it. Right we're supposed to be using technology to find efficiencies, to not have to repeat the same thing over and over again. So tell me a little bit more about where technology has failed you. I want to know, like where you're doing things on a repeated basis so that anyone who's building...

...a tech company this happened to be listening can get some ideas here. We are still a startup company, so I joined the company a little over four years ago and I remember when I joined we were in excel and a white board and as customers moved from on boarding to first value, to desired outcome, we had to post it on the whiteboard and we would move them literally from on boarding to first value as a great visual tool that we could use. But now that we are on FIF hundred customers and continuing to grow, one of the things that we still struggle with is analyzing customer journeys as intricately as we wish we could. So analyzing customer journeys is one place that we find technology could be enhanced and could really help us more. So, knowing what you could know about the customer journey, how does that affect the way that you work with those customers? It's about how do you insert yourself into the conversation at the right times and say the right things. As you're scaling up your SMB customer success, one too many communication becomes critical. So the better you can understand the customer journey, the better you can reach out to them both manually and automatically, and make sure that they're getting the right messages at the right times. And I know you work with quite a few customers globally, so not just, you know, based in the United States here, but also around the world. So how do you cater your flows and your messaging to folks in different markets? It's one of the biggest challenges of having a global customer base is balancing the needs and requests of different countries and different types of people. So what happens and what works in the US might not work in the UK, for example. So in the US doing zoom conversations is very commonplace. It's a great way to train customers, as opposed to in the UK or South Africa, which are huge markets for us. They like facetoface, they like shaking hands. So I think it's about finding...

...the balance of scalability but also not being afraid to put boots on the ground when it's required. That makes sense. So when you're hiring or looking for CSM's to join a business like market man, what are you looking for in those folks? I want someone that is a hustler and organized. My ideal hire is someone with six to twelve to eighteen months of sales or customer success experience that knows what it's like to pick up the phone and colds call knows what it's like to have to deal with that day to day grind, because customer success is amazing, but it's a day day grind sometimes, and having someone that knows resiliency and can do that and also manage a book of business I think sets them up so well for customer success. And So, speaking of that book a business, I'd love to learn more about how you've structured the customer success role, because I hear a variety of different answers, whether it's we have CSMS who are actually responsible for up cell, whether CSM's just identify upsell opportunities, and sometimes CSM's don't even think about revenue at all. So tell me about how you've positioned your CSM's to contribute to the Revenue Organization, especially given your background in sales. At market man we are still in the second or third inning. Like we are still very early in our customer success experience and our customer success sure kney. We are constantly building and improving being a sales leader, a customer success leader. I don't think customer success is a cost center. It is a revenue generating model. So for us net churn is the number one KPI we're looking at. We want to make sure, not only for the company overall, but also Percsm, that their book of business, their portfolio, is growing every month and every quarter, not contracting. So when do you see customers churning and how do you respond...

...to that? recency bias is going to play a part in this answer. With covid going on and all the restaurants going out of business, we've obviously felt that. So right now our number one reason for customers leaving us is, unfortunately, them going out of business. Hopefully things will turn around. I think we can all agree on that. But really what we see for our customer base is an inventory solution takes time to set up. Once we get customers up and running, on boarded, seeing first value, very rarely do they leave us. So for us, the way that we've designed the customer experience, in the customer journey, is we're investing a tremendous amount of resources into on boarding and making sure that as many of our customers, if not all of our customers, are getting to that first value, getting to that first wow moment, because if we can get them there, they're going to stay with us for a while. Yeah, time to value is crucially important. I mean I've seen it almost every SASS business I've been in, which is just there's a direct, linear correlation between the time it takes someone to on board and the likelihood that they're going to turn yeah, absolutely, and it's something that about two years ago we hired an onboarding team and that on boarding team is whore to what we do and making sure that we get that done in the best and easiest way for our customers. That's great, I mean that's something like you get to design your organization around the goals and objectives of your customers, or customer success might be a formalized function in many businesses, but I would argue that customer success is also the ultimate objective of any business as well. If your customers aren't able to achieve their goals, then they're not going to stick around as customers of yours. Too many businesses than customer success is ticketing. It's not. Customer success is proactive account management, helping your clients achieve their goals. It's not just customer service and ticketing.

That's of course part of it, but it's really about that desired outcome and getting your customers in the best and easiest way. So tell me about your favorite experience in customer success thus far. So give give me a story. I want to hear one. So I'm going to tell two stories, if that's okay. I joined Marketman a little over four years ago and I was the second higher in the US. Our head of sales, Matt, started a week before me. Then I started. Still both there, but we had this really troublesome customer who was struggling with our current service. So I said give me the account. I was about two to three weeks in. The customer left, I'd say four days within me taking the account. I did not know close to enough about market man and I think I learned really quickly how important it is to know your own platform in order to help your customers, and I think that such a big difference between sales and customer success. Sales selling benefits customer success. You better know what every button does. So I think that was one of my first experiences in this new role that taught me a lot. The second story I want to tell is we have a customer who has a chain of restaurants and their numbers just weren't lining up in market man and I spent a couple hours every week reviewing the numbers with him until we finally realize that the reason the numbers weren't lining up or because his chefs were stealing from him. And he was literally able to use our tool to find out that his chefs were stealing from him. So what that taught me was you as the customer success manager, you as the customer success team, not only can have a fundamental impact on someone's business, but you should be willing to invest as much time and energy as the customer, because if you do, good things will happen. Yeah, it's like the stewardship of the business to and that's what really lays a foundation of trust is...

...saying hey, I care about your business as much as you do, or maybe I can't possibly, but at the very least I'm going to try my damnedest to do so. The more you can insert yourself into being a part of your client, of your customers business, the more returns you'll reap long term. So I mean what typically gets in the way of forging that strong relationship? One of the things that we're dealing with on a daily basis is we are a SASS company. Teaching technology to a very outdated industry. I don't think people would describe restaurants and hospitality is the most tech savvy or early adopters. For us, it's about building not only a software but also a process that fits those core customers. So how do we make sure we are simplifying our messaging in our product for our customer base? Love it and we're getting enough close to the time here. So I do like to make sure I ask a final question to all my guests, which is, throughout your time in customer success, what is the best piece of advice related to the role or the position of customer success that you've ever received from someone else? I've said a few times now how important organization is, and the best advice I got was how important it is to build good habits. That's not only for yourself and for your customer success team, but that's also for the customer. So if you can build good habits that allow you to have the best day possible and you set the customer up with easy to follow, good habits for them to utilize the software in the system on a daily basis, you're good to see great feedback. You're going to see great results. So it's all about building good habits, and I think that's the best piece of advice I got. All right. Well, thank you so much for sharing that with our audience everyone. That was Jordan Silverman, the VP of customer success at Marketman. I'm a are crane from flat file. Thank you for listening to this week's episode. You depend on the fastest time to value for your...

...customers, so I light data on board and sell you down. Stop emailing spreadsheets, creating CSP templates or setting up FTP transfers. Create collaborative, secure work spaces with your customers and their data, saving you time while providing a memorable onboarding experience. Oh and there's no code required. You can go to flat files IO CS leader to learn more and get started for free. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode. Customer Success leader is brought to you by flat file. If you're a fan of the show and want to help a share these conversations with others, leave us a rating on apple podcast. Just tap the number of stars you think the show deserves. That's it for today. Catch you in the next one.

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