It’s not that long ago that sales operations was a hot new topic, helping companies utilise their sales data better to drive more efficiency and better results in their sales processes. This expanded to a broader commercial operations function, to include marketing and to help track, process and manage leads, conversion rates, website analytics and more. All great but all only looking at the initial part of your customers’ journey – i.e. before your customers had engaged with you, adopted your services and were getting value from you.
Fast forward to now (or more a couple of years back) and we’re into the world of customer success and the need for businesses to have, as a core part of their corporate DNA, a customer centric way of working. Often this means having a customer success team or a few CSMs (customer success managers) but this is only the start. You need customer focused leadership, the right people, the right systems and the right tools – any one on their own isn’t sufficient.
As part of the right people being in place, a new role to consider is your customer operations analyst or manager (or team – depending on size). This may initially be part of a wider commercial operations team but it brings most value and ROI, when it’s a dedicated part of your customer success team.
Your customer operations team needs a solid but fairly narrow remit and needs to cover:
- Customer data consistency
- Customer data analysis
- Customer success system
- Customer data integration
- Customer data reporting
- Customer journey mapping
The customer success system piece is one where I’ve seen great success, in helping select, implement and manage the platform or platforms and tools that you’re using as part of your customer success programme and plan. And importantly their integration with other tools you’re using in your business, including your own product – for example to bring in product usage and product adoption data, as part of your customer 360 view.
Your customer 360 view should also include:
- Customer health score information – how likely are they to renew or churn
- Commercial information – e.g. monthly revenues, renewal dates and payment status
- Customer risks – e.g. churn risk and overall business risk
- Real time support data – from your support platform
- License information – including additional services and products used
All of this comes from your customer data – a potentially untapped source of key business data. Your customer operations functions allows you to access and view all of this data in a customer focused way and shift your customer success management from being reactive to proactive to predictive (using the data to feed into trigger points that you’ve defined as part of your customer journey).
What does your customer operations function look like and do you know what insights there are in your customer data?