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4 Tips on Deploying Customer Success Programs in the Channel

Jim Stockwell
Jim Stockwell

Customer Success as a form of customer life cycle management has been most prevalently applied in the context of direct B2B sales process, but how do you manage customer success through a one or two-tier distribution model?

There is no reason why you can’t apply the foundations of customer success management into your channel partners. Depending on the size of your partner organizations, most will usually have some resources to manage renewal programs into which a customer success program fits nicely. The implementation of these programs will rely on relevant training and real-time information.

Here’s some tips and ideas on how you can best deploy these programs into your channel:

1. Educate and inform your channel on your additional offerings:

Additional offerings such as education, advanced support or consultancy play an important role in increasing the value your customer derives from your product or service, so ensuring your channel partners have been fully trained on all your product and service offerings is essential.

2. Develop and share your customer balance scorecard to measure the health of an implementation:

Balance scorecards have been typically formulated in the context of managing an organization’s strategic plan and providing a framework for tracking business activities and performance, however it could be easily repurposed as a way to track the health of each product.

For example, create a list of metrics that indicate the state of the product’s health. In the case of a storage array, metrics you could consider are when the storage is likely to run out based on current usage trends as well as support call frequency. Based on the results of each metric, develop an overall health score that indicates the adoption or usage of your product or service. In some cases this may already exist within your organization in which case I highly encourage you to share this  with your channel partners to help them prepare and tailor their approach during a customer phone call.

3. Structure any additional offerings around the most relevant life cycle stage:

Depending on what stage of the life cycle your customer is in, it will determine the offering that best matches. For example, if the customer is still in the adoption/implementation phase, additional education programs may help them get better use out of the product or service. Alternatively, if they have been using it for 6 months and are looking for additional functionality to help drive more value, a customized development or advanced support program may be appropriate.

But customer success is not all about upselling your offerings. It’s also about making sure the existing functionality is being used to maximize the value from the product or service, provide a opportunity to highlight issues early, and also confirm that you are meeting the customers’ expectations and are helping them achieve their goals. So…

4. Where feasible, share the details of support tickets or cases with your channel partners:
Support platforms can provide a wealth of information about how the customer is engaging with the product including what issues they are facing through onboarding or every day use. If it’s feasible to share this information with your channel partners, it will help them focus in on a customer’s specific challenges or identify up-sell opportunities.  
How to deploy a customer success program?

If you already have a channel learning or partner program solution, then disseminating the information via this mechanism can easily be achieved. Alternatively running these programs as part of your traditional channel marketing strategy will also work.

It may be useful to consider tracking and certifying your channel partners on these programs to ensure everyone gets the most of value out of the investment.

If you’d like to learn more about implementing a Customer Success program through a one or two distribution model, contact us to learn how we can help you collaborate, empower and enable your channel.

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