Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Leader

Episode 20 · 1 year ago

Providing Value to Skeptical Customers w/ Mike Egan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Do you struggle with providing long-term value for skeptical customers? Mike Egan, VP of CS & Integration at BenchSci, suggests driving every single conversation and customer interaction with the outcomes most important to the individual.

In this episode of Customer Success Leader, Mike offers even more tips for winning over skeptical customers. Plus, he and Eric discuss…

- Why it’s essential to always keep customer outcomes in mind

- Obstacles he faces when working with some of the world’s top scientists

- Why it’s important to share customer successes internally, too

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.

You can add lots of tools all the time, but if your process is not set up to support the tool or doesn't help you know, if they don't work hand in hand, then what you're doing is unfortunately changing too often. So I think the longer term picture, rock, obviously, is to continue to refine process and then have the tools much the process. 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 all, this is Eric Rane, CEO and Co founder of flat file. I'm here this week on customer success leader with Mike Egan. He's a VP of customer success at Bensi Hey, Mike, at you in to day. I'm doing well, Eric, are you? I can't complain too much. I hear calling in from Texas is still a hundred degrees out there. Luckily no, but it's not far off. We're about eighty five today, but hopingly hoping to work our way in the right direction toward autumn. So in his ski season coming up in East Texas. Huh? Yeah, and not happening. And you know, it's funny working for a for a company that's based in Toronto, where I got to spend quite a bit of time last last winter and was fortunate to do so. I appreciated it because we don't have much winter in Texas at all. Yeah, that's something I missed. I remember I lived at in San Francisco for a while and I just really got the missing seasons. You know, a little bit of snow here and there never hurt anybody and follows pretty nice, especially right now, this time of year. Yeah, yeah, I do Miss Seasons and at obviously summer for us is long, so we kind of slogged through summer with with a very shortfall, and then winter for us is really mild. Yeah, here you well, I'm not here to talk to with you about the weather, although we could do all day. Love to talk to you a little bit more about what you got going on at Bensie. It sounds really interesting, so I'd love if you could just describe to our listen there's a little bit more about what bench side does. Yeah, absolutely. I joined bench side earlier this year and early this year and basically...

...bench side is where what we do is we decode the world's biomedical experiments and really help scienists bring drugs to market faster. We know that obviously experiments of the Lifeblood of preclinical R and D and and what we've basically done is we've built the world's most advanced biomedical Ai to decode data from over ten million biomedical publications at this point, with the mission to bring medicine to patients fifty percent faster, by two thousand and twenty five so ambitious goal, but we definitely have have the platform to do it. That's really exciting, especially right now in the midst of a global pandemic right. So, can you tell me how that's affected a business over there? It's been very interesting. Obviously our customers are the largest Pharma Stut of companies in the world and working with them on a daily basis as they're both building therapeutics and trying to put vaccines together to fight this pandemic has been good to see. But it's also it's been a challenging environment, obviously because they were out of the lab for a long time and we were obviously, from a customer success perspective, having to try and really be adaptable to kind of the methods by which we stayed in touch with those customers. Yeah, and you've got a different profile a customer than folks he typically come on this podcast. They could tell me a little bit more about the customers that you work with and how you define success with them? Absolutely, you know, we have the the users of our platform are some of the smartest scientists in the world. So you know, obviously, from from a platform perspective, we've built that around really the expertise internally that we have. From a from a scientist perspective, we have bench scientists in many bench scientists in our organization who have helped build the platform, helped design the AI and then obviously start to really dig in at the at the detail level with with this experimental platform and from a customer success standpoint. It's interesting because we are training a batch of users that tops in their fields, but...

...they are incredibly intelligent and in a lot of respects, skeptical to so it we really are on boarding team is actually a batch of PhD scientists who help on board and train from the perspective of knowing because they were bench scientists themselves. But yes, it's definitely not the not the typical user base. For sure. Yes, I how do you leverage that skepticism tea or advantage? It sounds like that's something that's inherent in your PhD. You know, scientists customers. So what do you do that kind of help ensure that their skepticism is a well founded but be also something that they don't necessarily need to have when approaching Bensie as a solution to some of their problems? I think I think the biggest thing that I can say is that we really focus on a show me, don't tell me, kind of mentality. We have to really show them the platform, show them the power and the value of the platform and really with the ultimate goal of their outcome. Their outcome is, you know, obviously we're trying to drive them to and obviously what we're trying to do internally as well. We have to be focused on the outcome, and the outcome is for them to run successful experiments and for us to be an enabler in that and to make that faster and easier and more efficient. So we really have to we really have to be able to demonstrate that at all times. It makes sense that a hypothesis driven approach would probably work pretty well with your customer base. How do you approach the business level conversations as well, though, because I could imagine there might be a little bit of a disconnect between the scientists who are working on the bench and those that are working in, you know, the front office US trying to run these pharmaceutical companies. Absolutely, and I think you know, for us it's very much about having that value conversation at all levels, right, because the value across different parts of the organization is different and I think that the beautiful thing about our platform is that we have the ability to show value not only to the end user, because they see it in their daytoday, but also to the business because we can equate that to time and value and what that means, what...

...that means for basically speeding that process up for them from a business perspective. What typically gets in the way of the speed of that process? A lot of things. I think the the the most interesting thing is that there's a lot of the percentage of experiments that pass in the process of, you know, doing the science of obviously trying to get drugs to market. The percentage of success rate there is interesting in the fact that if we can improve that success rate for those experiments by giving them the appropriate data, then that's obviously going to speed their process, speed that, you know, speed that along to getting that to market as well. So I think it's it's really driven basically by the value that we can bring in the efficiency of the process. And so where do you find like blockers to understanding and delivering that value and how do you work around those blockers? For us, we have to make sure that our conversations are driven by value. I mean I really pushed my teams to drive value at every interaction and to try and one not only say something but analyze what we're doing on a regular basis. It becomes the blocker is not necessarily the skepticism or what the platform can do. The blocker becomes really more in building trust around one the relationship and to how we can make sure at every level of what they're doing, we can show them the appropriate value of what the platform can bring. Do you have like frameworks or tools or process enforcement that you use to ensure that that is actually being fulfilled with each customer? Yeah, as you might imagine, being a hypergrowth startup company, we are evaluating process and tools and the way and mechanisms by which we engage customers on a regular basis and obviously for the ultimate goal of making that as smooth the process while still giving the appropriate, what I would say three hundred and sixty degree visibility of where we are with each one of those customers...

...on a Ragar basis. We have lots of tools in place. We have tried lots of tools and have switched out a lots of tools, as you might imagine. For us, you know, we do have standard crm in place and a lot of things around that. We are implementing a customer success platform to kind of help us take that what I would say usage insight and really drive that to engaging users where they need us most. And certainly along with the tools comes the process, because I think you can add lots of tools all the time, but if your process is not set up to support the tool or doesn't help you know, if they don't work hand in hand, then what you're doing is unfortunately changing too often. So I think the longer term picture rock obviously, is to continue to refine process and then have the tools match the process. Our lesson there is getting see this, but I was smiling because that is the same approach I always take with the team. They'll say like hey, here's this tool, we should use it, and they all the answer is always why? I like, what problem is it solving for us, and is that problem the most important problem to be solving right now? And if you can answer those two questions, we're not going to use a tool right so taking that value drive an approach, only with your customers but also with the tools that you select, is a really important part of scaling up your sees or one of the things that we talked about a lot to is looking at the activity that we're doing and make suing that the make sure that the activity that we're doing is that has the highest impact, in the highest value for the customer. Sometimes you can get caught up in so much you know things to go do, but but if you're spinning your wheels on things that don't that are not the highest impact or the highest value, then in a let's a lot of time wasted and I think you can fix some of those things with process. You can fix some of those things with tools, but they absolutely have to be together. Yeah, totally agree. And where do you feel like those tools are falling short, like if you could pick up a couple processes you feel like you're doing manually run over again, today, that could serve as inspiration for someone listening here to try and come up as something new. You know, I've always had this this idea that the three hundred and Sixxty of the review of a customer...

...is like the panacy and everybody's trying to get to it right, because sometimes you may have sales working in one tool and you may have marketing working in another tool and then you have customers success sitting in the middle between them and product and engineer and trying to, you know, kind of bring that big picture together. And what that unfortunately means is you're doing a lot of things in the middle. That's you're building spreadsheets, you're building decks with qbrs, you're, you know, all of these called, as you know, one off things, but it's really hard to say what's the true, you know, three hundred sixty the view of what's going on with that particular customer from end to end, right from things that they see being reported from an issue standpoint, how those are addressed, how we then get that information back out the customers. It's everything. It's the it's the communication, it's the activity. So really trying to see that three hundred sixty review. We still use a lot of spreadsheets and a lot of places where we analyze outside of a tool because, you know, we have to and I think that, you know, it's a necessity. But as we get more intelligent from a process perspective, as we look more and have the head the ability to look more what we're doing and and find those those things that we can do to bring that together. You know, the other thing that that drives me crazy a lot of times is duplication of effort. Right, we all do it, or we're us and another team or not having enough communication to see that we've been doing the same analysis from a slightly different perspective and really, you know, just a simple conversation would smooth that process over. Yeah, one of those early indicators that you're kind of getting out of step with another team. They're internally. You need to like recenter a hundred percent and I I do not take cross functional relationships for granted. I think it's I think it is, it is key, especially in customer success, because if we're not in lockstep with sales and lockstep with product and engineering and lockstep with the message that's going out from a marketing perspective and then being able to to visibly show all of those things together internally to your leadership team. And otherwise what you just gives you the opportunity to miss step or to spend time on something that that...

...maybe is not the best place to be spending time. SADDY's celebrate shared success with your customers. You know, that's a that is really a great thing to call out because I think sometimes we get sometimes the success is get lost and externally sharing those successes gets lost. We we have a great opportunity as we work individually with some bar users, some of these scientists on a regular basis. We are very careful to collect that feedback, to share those we build time into our qbrs that we have with our with our steering committees, at our custom and recites and and really spend time celebrating those successes because they're tangible and they're specific to that particular customer and I think that, you know, doing that obviously keeps the relationship at that place but also lets them understand that we're making sure that we have quantitative feedback and qualitative feedback to be able to back up the things that that we talked about regularly from a business perspective. Yeah, it's also one of the more rewarding parts for working in customer success. Right. It's just the ability to share wins and any even the losses with your clients, right, because then you get the chance to develop empathy and develop relationships that often time lasts well beyond your time specifically working in one business. Yeah, we've we've actually built a very good structure internally too, because I think the other piece of that is sharing customer wins internally with the team as well, so that the team knows that all of this part work that they've been putting in, you know, across multiple teams is actually having, you know, having the impact that it's supposed to have. So we you know, we've we are very careful also about sharing those wins internally, to which I think is is sometimes often overlooked. Yeah, you don't want the celebrating to stop at the first voice being paid. Right, exactly. For our listeners here who aren't in customers success, what is your like three sentence pitch for why someone should think about moving into success as a career...

...path. You know, customer success is a it's a special place to be. I think part of it is for those of us that have lived at different parts of organizations. I'm an old tech guy, you know, I've I've been on the process of building and I then always with this pensiont for have for being customer facing and building relationships. I think customer success is special because we do get to really build long lasting relationships with customers. Our goal is to drive, you know, their long term value and we have to do that through continuous engagement and I think there's creativity there. So people who who love to engage in making sure that that you stay on top of what you're doing, but from a creative perspective and also what that means for for how you build relationships. Relationship builders can really thrive in customer success. You know, for the long term outlook for customer success, the industry is only on the upswing. I think. You know, it's interesting because for those of us that have been in kind of a SASS world for a long time, I don't take it for granted because I've also, you know, been in other parts of the industry from sales or account management perspective and things like that, but customer success is very special. We get to touch the technology, we get to touch the customer. You know, we get to build those long lasting relationships, while I'll still, you know, sitting in the middle, not only in your own organization but also with with how we navigate those custom organizations. That's awesome and you, strike me, is the tight who's just a lifelong learner, is always just trying to learn more and more, and we're getting a plus there a time here. But I'd love to share some of your thoughts about best places to learn about Customer Success Best Practices for our listeners there. Yeah, it's a great it's a great topic for us to have because I you know, people often ask as well. I mean there's lots of there are some books on the customer success space that have been really interesting. Farm don't hunt things like that. That obviously can kind of help define the space, but I think where I've seen the most valuable...

...content of late is in kind of the growing community of blog and forum and podcast content, because I think what you're seeing there is is almost a shift to really understanding the business of customer success specifically, and what that means is you know processes, best practices. You Know How do you build playbooks? What does the Framework Look like? Everybody has these questions and until you've been down that path it's kind of hard to wrap your head around all of that. You know there's there's some great content. It's available there. I would also say there's even a growing there's a growing customer success kind of coaching mentoring environment. There's some great places on Linkedin like gangro retain and some other places that are really helping, not only from a content perspective but from a connecting people perspective, because I think that's the bigger piece and I really I don't know want you. I truly enjoy kind of connecting with other leaders and customer success and really kind of getting ideas and sharing ideas and sharing successes and failures, because you know, we've all had the failures and that's that's that's the way we really grow. I love it. I love the the offer to pay it forward is so hey, if you're listening here, feel free to reach out to like to chat with him about everything customer success. I'm suying to be happy anytime happy to have those conversations. Great. Well, thank you so much for joining me this week again. I'm are crane, the C and cofounder flat file, joined this week by Mike Egan, is the VP of customer success at Bensigh. Thank you for listening to this week of customer success leader. Thanks, sir. You depend on the fastest time to value for your customers, so why let data on board and sell you down? Stop emailing spreadsheets, creating CSB templates or setting up FTP transfers. Create collaborative, secure workspaces 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 file DOT 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 us 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.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (28)