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, callingand hearing rejection. Want to create delightful customer experiences, you're in the rightplace. Welcome to customer success leader, where you'll learn about the successes andstruggles of leaders who are passionate about their craft. Trust me, you wantto stick around. Here's your host, Eric Crane. Hey, everybody,welcome back. This is Eric Crane from flat file and I've got another greatguest on the Customer Success Leader podcast today joining me as Jordan Silverman, who'sthe 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 aftera few days of rain. Where you calling in from? I amin 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 toWestchester, so in the suburbs now, enjoying a little bit of outdoor spacewhile I have it. Yeah, I've heard a similar story from alot of folks who kind of found ways to get out of the city abit, 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 havinga backyard has been a nice little change. Well, really appreciate you taking thetime to join me, regardless of the type of room that you're sittingin. Want to hear a little bit more about your background, so tellme about how you got out to be the VP of customer success at marketman. Walk me to your Customer Success Journey. It certainly isn't the averagejourney of going from CSM to enterprise, CSM to director. When I wasin college at University of Michigan, I started my own company. It wascalled Star toilet paper. I started it with my brother. He was mycofounder and it is what it sounds like. We did advertising in public bathrooms,printed toilet paper, printed paper towels displays advertising in bathrooms. We ranthe 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 knewI love building relationships and talking to customers, so I took a sales job atanother startup where I became the VP of sales and oversaw the sales andcustomer success. It was SMB and mid market SASS, and I pretty quicklyrealize that I liked the customer success side more than the sales side because Ilove building relationships with people and I find that you can do that a lotmore in customer success. So I joined market man a little over four yearsago 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 alittle bit more about your crappy experiences prior but I want to learn alittle bit more about how you define customer success. So what is your uniquedefinition for customer success? We have the classic definition of customer success that youhear a lot of people talk about, which is two things. Number One, successful clients and, too, happy clients. Our job is to makesure 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 ablank account, a blank software and platform to a fully built up and runningplatform 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 accountin a successful and happy way. So tell me about what some of thosegoals are like. How do you define those goals? Do you do thatwith the customer? What type of guidance you provide them? Like? Tellme more about that. Like. Okay, success right, success can be meana 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 singleone of our clients, SMB all the...

...way up to enterprise, has adedicated 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 whydid they sign up for market man, why are they paying us every monthand how can we help them achieve those goals in the best and fastest waypossible? And what are those goals typically for your customers? We work inthe hospitality industry, restaurants, grocery stores, hotel chains. Our clients come tous 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 tohelp them either streamline their operations and save time or save money on their bottomline in terms of profit. So when you're talking to a custom right it'susually one of those two things, or maybe a combination of both. Likehow 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'salways awkward that first handoff, that kickoff call, when sales is handing thedeal and handing the customer off to customer. Success can be awkward and I've hadmy fair share of awkward ones, but it's really important to have thatkickoff call show them that you're a real person and that you were there tosupport them and help them. We are always and only there to help themin every way we can and I can't believe it's any more awkward than theexperience of trying to sell someone advertising on toilet paper. So tell me alittle bit more about your experience, sort of like as an entrepreneur working inthis you know kind of unique niche advertising space and the way you've applied someof those lessons to customer success. So first off, I think we've allbeen 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 youngentrepreneur in college. Amazing experience and I ran with it. I still applya lot of the things that I learned there to sales, to customer successand everything I do. There's no better teacher for sales, for customer successor anything. And door to door sales, colds, calling and hearing rejection,and I think building up that base has really made me a good customersuccess manager and a good leader. So some of the skills that I thinkit really taught me were hard work. When you get hit, you getback up, and then how important it is to be organized. When you'remanaging a book of two hundred, Fifty, three hundred accounts, you need tobe hyper organized, and being the CEO of the startup is, asyou know, is the same thing. You've got so many things going onand being organized is so important. So one of this of the systems doyou use to say organized. Our lifeblood is our CRM, so we usedtwo tango on the CRM side. We use it for everything, Task Management, health, scoring, one too many email campaigns. But one of thelesserknown tools that we've really benefited from is a tool called text place. Sowe are big fans of building out playbooks and how organization and scalability is reallyimportant. 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'sa great way to have link shorteners for all of our fa q articles arevideos. So that's one of the tools that really helps us not only stayorganized but take out some of the leg work of trying to find the samefa q article over and over. I love it. Right we're supposed tobe using technology to find efficiencies, to not have to repeat the same thingover and over again. So tell me a little bit more about where technologyhas failed you. I want to know, like where you're doing things on arepeated basis so that anyone who's building...

...a tech company this happened to belistening can get some ideas here. We are still a startup company, soI joined the company a little over four years ago and I remember when Ijoined we were in excel and a white board and as customers moved from onboarding to first value, to desired outcome, we had to post it on thewhiteboard and we would move them literally from on boarding to first value asa great visual tool that we could use. But now that we are on FIFhundred customers and continuing to grow, one of the things that we stillstruggle with is analyzing customer journeys as intricately as we wish we could. Soanalyzing customer journeys is one place that we find technology could be enhanced and couldreally help us more. So, knowing what you could know about the customerjourney, 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 andsay the right things. As you're scaling up your SMB customer success, onetoo 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, andmake sure that they're getting the right messages at the right times. And Iknow you work with quite a few customers globally, so not just, youknow, based in the United States here, but also around the world. Sohow 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 balancingthe needs and requests of different countries and different types of people. So whathappens and what works in the US might not work in the UK, forexample. So in the US doing zoom conversations is very commonplace. It's agreat way to train customers, as opposed to in the UK or South Africa, which are huge markets for us. They like facetoface, they like shakinghands. So I think it's about finding...

...the balance of scalability but also notbeing 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 marketman, what are you looking for in those folks? I want someone thatis a hustler and organized. My ideal hire is someone with six to twelveto eighteen months of sales or customer success experience that knows what it's like topick up the phone and colds call knows what it's like to have to dealwith that day to day grind, because customer success is amazing, but it'sa day day grind sometimes, and having someone that knows resiliency and can dothat and also manage a book of business I think sets them up so wellfor customer success. And So, speaking of that book a business, I'dlove to learn more about how you've structured the customer success role, because Ihear a variety of different answers, whether it's we have CSMS who are actuallyresponsible for up cell, whether CSM's just identify upsell opportunities, and sometimes CSM'sdon't even think about revenue at all. So tell me about how you've positionedyour 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. Likewe are still very early in our customer success experience and our customer success surekney. We are constantly building and improving being a sales leader, a customersuccess leader. I don't think customer success is a cost center. It isa revenue generating model. So for us net churn is the number one KPIwe're looking at. We want to make sure, not only for the companyoverall, but also Percsm, that their book of business, their portfolio,is growing every month and every quarter, not contracting. So when do yousee customers churning and how do you respond...

...to that? recency bias is goingto play a part in this answer. With covid going on and all therestaurants going out of business, we've obviously felt that. So right now ournumber one reason for customers leaving us is, unfortunately, them going out of business. Hopefully things will turn around. I think we can all agree onthat. But really what we see for our customer base is an inventory solutiontakes time to set up. Once we get customers up and running, onboarded, seeing first value, very rarely do they leave us. So forus, 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 surethat as many of our customers, if not all of our customers, aregetting to that first value, getting to that first wow moment, because ifwe 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 italmost 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 thatthey're going to turn yeah, absolutely, and it's something that about two yearsago we hired an onboarding team and that on boarding team is whore to whatwe do and making sure that we get that done in the best and easiestway for our customers. That's great, I mean that's something like you getto design your organization around the goals and objectives of your customers, or customersuccess might be a formalized function in many businesses, but I would argue thatcustomer success is also the ultimate objective of any business as well. If yourcustomers aren't able to achieve their goals, then they're not going to stick aroundas customers of yours. Too many businesses than customer success is ticketing. It'snot. 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 bestand easiest way. So tell me about your favorite experience in customer success thusfar. So give give me a story. I want to hear one. SoI'm going to tell two stories, if that's okay. I joined Marketmana little over four years ago and I was the second higher in the US. Our head of sales, Matt, started a week before me. ThenI started. Still both there, but we had this really troublesome customer whowas 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 fourdays within me taking the account. I did not know close to enoughabout market man and I think I learned really quickly how important it is toknow your own platform in order to help your customers, and I think thatsuch 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 ofmy first experiences in this new role that taught me a lot. Thesecond story I want to tell is we have a customer who has a chainof restaurants and their numbers just weren't lining up in market man and I spenta couple hours every week reviewing the numbers with him until we finally realize thatthe 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 hischefs were stealing from him. So what that taught me was you as thecustomer success manager, you as the customer success team, not only can havea fundamental impact on someone's business, but you should be willing to invest asmuch time and energy as the customer, because if you do, good thingswill happen. Yeah, it's like the stewardship of the business to and that'swhat really lays a foundation of trust is...

...saying hey, I care about yourbusiness as much as you do, or maybe I can't possibly, but atthe very least I'm going to try my damnedest to do so. The moreyou can insert yourself into being a part of your client, of your customersbusiness, the more returns you'll reap long term. So I mean what typicallygets in the way of forging that strong relationship? One of the things thatwe're dealing with on a daily basis is we are a SASS company. Teachingtechnology to a very outdated industry. I don't think people would describe restaurants andhospitality is the most tech savvy or early adopters. For us, it's aboutbuilding 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 forour 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 allmy guests, which is, throughout your time in customer success, what isthe best piece of advice related to the role or the position of customer successthat you've ever received from someone else? I've said a few times now howimportant organization is, and the best advice I got was how important it isto build good habits. That's not only for yourself and for your customer successteam, but that's also for the customer. So if you can build good habitsthat allow you to have the best day possible and you set the customerup with easy to follow, good habits for them to utilize the software inthe system on a daily basis, you're good to see great feedback. You'regoing to see great results. So it's all about building good habits, andI 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 wasJordan Silverman, the VP of customer success at Marketman. I'm a are cranefrom flat file. Thank you for listening to this week's episode. You dependon the fastest time to value for your...

...customers, so I light data onboard and sell you down. Stop emailing spreadsheets, creating CSP templates or settingup FTP transfers. Create collaborative, secure work spaces with your customers and theirdata, saving you time while providing a memorable onboarding experience. Oh and there'sno code required. You can go to flat files IO CS leader to learnmore and get started for free. Thank you so much for joining us forthis episode. Customer Success leader is brought to you by flat file. Ifyou're a fan of the show and want to help a share these conversations withothers, leave us a rating on apple podcast. Just tap the number ofstars you think the show deserves. That's it for today. Catch you inthe next one.

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