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Reimagining Customer Success for Marketplace: The cloud growth team model for ISVs

In the world of cloud marketplaces and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), a strong Customer Success (CS) team is a cornerstone for achieving successful outcomes. However, the definition of “successful” can vary depending on a company’s unique goals.

Traditionally, customer success teams focus on ensuring customers achieve their desired results after a sale. This involves fostering long-term, mutually beneficial relationships that ensure both the customer and the ISV thrive. 

At Invisory, we believe a proactive approach is crucial. That’s why we developed the innovative Cloud Growth Team model. This team uniquely combines Account Executives (AEs) and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) into a cohesive unit, dedicated to delivering a seamless experience for the customer.

Here’s what that looks like in practice.

 

What we look for in a CSM

When we recruit CSMs, we focus on finding individuals who have a passion for helping customers meet and exceed their business goals.  With diverse backgrounds in sales, marketing, cloud marketplaces, and ISVs, our CSMs are curious, possessing a growth mindset that allows them to adapt to each customer’s unique needs. Most importantly, we look for CSMs who will become strategic thought partners for ISVs at any stage of their marketplace journey.

 

Why We Broke the Mold

Our shared experiences have revealed a common challenge: communication gaps between AEs and CSMs. Customers often felt a disconnect, having to build new relationships with CSMs after forging a strong bond with their AE.

To bridge this gap, the Cloud Growth Team includes the AE in key interactions: kick-off calls, monthly progress meetings, and renewal conversations. This fosters continuity and ensures the entire customer journey, centered on utilizing the Invisory platform for Marketplace success, is well-supported.

Whether we’re helping customers navigate the complexities of AWS Marketplace or fine-tuning their co-sell strategy, this model ensures no stone is left unturned. By maintaining consistent communication and collaboration, we can address unique challenges and opportunities that arise throughout each customer’s journey.

 

Our Vision: Beyond New Logos

While acquiring new customers is essential for any startup, a purely “new logo” focus can lead to reactive strategies. As many customer success professionals know, reactive approaches often fail to deliver significant value to customers. This prompted us to dive and discover ways to deliver high value to our customers.

We envisioned a more collaborative and unified approach. We wanted a program where customers feel they have an entire team behind them on their Marketplace journey.

Building a Winning Program

Gaining leadership buy-in for your program is crucial. Here’s how Invisory approached it:

Customer Surveys: We surveyed customers to understand their needs, including their preferences regarding communication.

Executive Champion: We identified a key leader who could advocate for the program’s potential to enhance both customer experience and customer acquisition.

Developing the Cloud Growth Team Model

Program Blueprint: We meticulously mapped the program from pre-sales to kick-off, ongoing support, and renewal – including delineating AE owning renewals and CSM owning the progress of the account. 

Essential Assets: We identified valuable resources, such as product guides and change management tools, to empower customer success.

Cross-Team Collaboration: We secured support from marketing and product teams to showcase the company roadmap and ensure alignment.

Adaptability is Key: No journey is without its challenges. There will be smooth sailing and choppy waters, but the Cloud Growth Team’s agility allows us to adapt to evolving needs from customers, the company, and the cloud marketplace. This adaptability is a core strength of the program.

Measurable Results

The Cloud Growth Team model has yielded a range of tangible benefits:

Enhanced Customer Engagement: We’ve observed a significant increase in engagement between customers and both AEs and CSMs. Customers are asking more insightful questions, demonstrating a proactive approach to problem-solving and growth within the Cloud Marketplace.

Improved Customer Visibility: Measuring customer satisfaction allows us to gain a holistic view of each customer’s journey. In collaboration with our operations team, we created a health scorecard that resides within our CRM, providing transparency across the entire company into a customer’s current state. This enhanced visibility not only helps us meet customer needs more effectively but also fosters stronger, trust-based relationships with our clients.

Empowering Customer Success: We’ve moved beyond generic assets. Now, we offer customizable materials tailored to each customer’s branding. This empowers them to showcase their cloud marketplace success to their leadership teams with confidence.

Proactive Engagement: Our model allows us to stay ahead of the curve. We proactively reach out to customers regarding upcoming cloud marketplace updates and industry trends, demonstrating our commitment to their continued success.

These positive outcomes demonstrate the effectiveness of the Cloud Growth Team model in fostering deeper customer relationships and driving value for both ISVs and their customers.

 

Final Words of Wisdom

Network and Learn: Tap into your network, listen to relevant podcasts (like Gain, Grow, Retain; Psychology of Customer Success; and Women in Customer Success), and stay up-to-date.

Embrace Change: Recognize that things will evolve, just like in any startup, and be open to adaptation.

By reimagining customer success with the Cloud Growth Team model, ISVs can foster deeper customer relationships, drive Marketplace success, and achieve sustainable growth.

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