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Customer success is the real driver of business growth, not sales

When young businesses are thinking of growing faster, their first thought is investing in filling up the funnel, piping more leads, and closing more sales. This is great, but not enough. “Business growth”, as we all know, is far broader and more holistic. Businesses need to win new customers while ensuring the existing ones are being set up for success. This is where the oversight tends to happen. To drive business growth you need to ask: Is your product or service having an impact on the customer (or company)?

If this is true, you will see an uptake in interactions, and clients asking for features - giving you feedback, championing your PR, and giving you references. Clients will be willing to buy more off you. If not products, they will buy services and eventually participate in product development forums and early adopter programs.

A study by McKinsey revealed that ventures that have a lower client (revenue) churn are more likely to grow faster and perform better.

Very recently, working closely with one of the group ventures, we became part of the venture success by helping them sell the solution internally to their client and involve the employees of the client company in the process. This was a major success for the platform of the venture, onboarding hundreds of users in a few weeks.

Over the last couple of years at Accelerate, what we have learned is critical for customer success. Beyond the usual elements of technical, support, and knowledge enablement you should:

Help your client market the solution internally - Your client may have heard of you, but most likely, only a small part of your client’s colleagues know who you are. Help your client market your solution internally. This may involve creating a sub-brand or completely transforming the presentation layer of your platform.

Proactively run usage analytics and contact the client with tips and ideas for improvement - Easy to say, but harder to do when you are a small startup sprinting to get to new releases and (hopefully) onboarding a number of clients. Make sure some of your staff are responsible for ongoing evangelisation in regards to the best usage of your product and platform.

Get feedback from the real users of the solution, and demonstrate business impact - Get the feedback that allows you to build a use case by getting quantifiable information on business impact, but also give users the opportunity to input and feel that they are being heard. They will be your best advocates.

In a context where funding is becoming harder, holistic business growth will be key to driving venture valuation up… But this is a topic for another post.

– Nuno Santos, Managing Director

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