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Why scaling SaaS should turn their CRM into a CS platform?

October 12, 2021

Congratulations, your company is booming! You got your first clients, you're growing quite rapidly and you've just begun considering implementing a Customer Success strategy. You're absolutely right and you need to find the right tools. But how? Don't worry, you're in the right place: we're here to tell you what will work best for you!

We've given it a lot of thought and we think there are 3 different solutions to consider.

A - Implement a CS platform

Implementing a CS platform enables CSMs to take notes, organize their customer journey, scale their team. At the end of the day, a CS platform is a CRM for Customer Success teams.

However, implementing such a tool is a major enterprise (that will take up several months) and, at some point, you might have to decentralize your data. These are facts you might want to make sure you are ready to cope with.

B - Use Business Intelligence tools

Implementing BI tools can be useful since you'll get a clearer vision of your data and their evolution, but it's very limited in terms of the actions you can take from there.

C - Optimize your existing tools (CRM, tickets support...) and adapt them to your teams

After interacting with more than 500 companies (Heads of CS, Heads of Ops, etc.), we now advocate the third option: optimizing the tools you already have at your disposal. Why? Simply because your CRM will be able to do the same things as a CS platform but it will cost you less money while saving you a lot of time.

Centralizing your data on your CRM (like Salesforce or HubSpot) means you'll gather data from all your teams (Sales, CS, Marketing, Product...) in one place. It's a major advantage since you need all the info available to best answer your clients' needs: billing information, MRR, NPS, and so on.

This way, you'll have a full overview of a given client in no time, and that's exactly how it should be: being able to determine your clients' health thanks to a panel of information.

There are other crucial, practical benefits in optimizing your existing tools that we yet tend to underestimate: namely the fact that it has already been paid for and set up and that your teams know how to use it. So you'll save yourself energy in implementation and training.

So how do you optimize your CRM into a CS tool and make the best of it?

We thought of 4 different steps.

1. Determine and implement a health score based on your customer data to track your customers' health

Once you've centralized your data, it will become easy for you to implement a data-driven health score. For that to happen, you can either determine it internally or use an external tool such as Nalia. There are actually many different ways to determine a health score so you should really think this step through: ask yourself what criteria you want to consider, if you should integrate some financial data or only satisfaction-related aspects, and so on.

2. Set up a warning system depending on that health score to prioritize your accounts

If your health score gets below a certain point, you need to be alerted and take appropriate actions. Here, it's all about sitting down with your team and determining the key moments when a client becomes at-risk. Once they get in this twilight zone, what do you do? Define clear and actionable plans to ward off all possible risks.

3. Optimize your CRM for your Customer Success team

Making the best of your CRM by optimizing it relies on three essential points:

  • Centralize all your customer data
  • Make each client's lifecycle available on your CRM (including what they become post-sales). This way, any user will be able to quickly determine where a given client is at in their adventure with your company.
  • Add comments/notes after your actions. It's absolutely necessary that all your team members get involved in properly completing the CRM: each contact with a client – be it by phone, text or email – must be indicated. Imagine recruiting a new CSM. How would you expect them to excel at their job if they can't have access to the full history of the clients they're supposed to take care of? That's why we're firmly convinced that commenting all your actions on your CRM is a top priority.

4. Create your own Playbooks (with Intercom, your CRM, etc.) and automate your campaigns thanks to your CRM

There are low-added value tasks in every job... but the perk of being a CSM is that you can automate these tasks! With the proper warning system, you'll get alerts based on your health score or on other signals. Now, what if your reaction to such warnings was automated? Amazing, right? That's why we advise to implement automated customized emails or messages based on your health score and your signals. You'll be able to trigger personalized campaigns with your CRM to strengthen the relationship with your customers and limit your churn.

After completing these 4 steps, your data will be centralized and available to your CS team. They'll be in charge of taking the appropriate actions, automated or not, based on triggered signals you'd determined as part of your global health score system. Your CRM will become a full Customer Success tool. Our last advice would be for you to include your CSMs every step of the way and embark them on this journey. Your CRM will thus become a tool created for your CSMs by your CSMs and actually useful to everyone within the company.

Nalia's team
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