Listen, I’m a new logo acquisition guy. I’m always laser-focused on opening new doors, and winning new accounts. But as we scaled Sales for Life, we recognized that Customer Success was going to be the most important area to focus on to reach our goals.
Problem – As I reviewed how CS departments look at specific indicators of success, I kept coming across “Net Promoter Scores”. If you’re not familiar with Net Promoter Score (NPS), check out this definition from Medallia:
“The Net Promoter Score is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer's overall satisfaction with a company's product or service and the customer's loyalty to the brand.”
My challenge was that I found NPS scores really interesting as an indicator, but NPS wasn’t going to grow our sales bookings! NPS was only going to make us feel good about our CS successes.
Solution – Turn the definition of NPS into a reality, and make your CS team accountable for turning client referrals into a sales goal.
Before we wrote our 2017 business plan (we have a 2017 FY start on August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017), I asked my CS Team & Knowledge Transfer Team (Sales Trainers) to partner together and do the following:
“For every successful customer we’re servicing, and that engagement has a positive NPS score, you are responsible for acquiring a new logo introduction from our customer. Essentially, for every 1 customer = a possible 2 customers. The team has a minimum delivery of 30 Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) from client introductions in 2017."
1. We Bat nearly 1.000 – thus has proven the effectiveness of a strong NPS score. In our Social Selling Mastery certification, we have a customer survey conducted by all participants as part of the certification. This feedback allows us to sort by high NPS score, and approach those contacts in an account. Caveat – because we sell to the C-Suite, the higher up the food chain we approach for a referral, the richer their network. VP’s know many VP’s, C-Level’s hang with C-Level’s… it's the law of the land.
2. We scrub a customer's LinkedIn network for them in advance – we don’t ask for a blanketed, “can you please make me an intro?" This is like asking someone, “you want to go on a trip with me?” Sure they do… but where, when, how? To solve this problem, we cross-analyze their LinkedIn network for:
A) Accounts that match our ICP that we want to penetrate.
B) Connection strength (number of common connections). This strength is key, as a high number means they’re most likely hearing about socialdDigital from multiple sources. A low number means that we probably aren’t hanging in the same ecosystem, and we’d be pushing rope uphill to convince the prospective buyer of our solutions.
C) Accounts that our client has multiple contacts in. That means he/she can most likely crack that account for us because of deep connections.
3. Timing of the “ask” is essential – this should seem obvious, but we’re not asking for a referral 1 year after a project. We’re asking DURING a project, and/or as a huge event (like certification) happens. This is the moment we have the highest mindshare in the account.
4. My “C-Level Ask” has made a difference – this is the part that kind of sucks from a scale prospective. I had a gut feeling that this result would transpire. When we have our CS team as for the referral, the customer can be fickle in their delivery. But when I call and explain the importance to a referral has to MY business, and email them a list of the EXACT invites I’d like, magically the invites are brokered into my email/LinkedIn InBox within 24 hours. To help scale this process, the CS team then does the heavy lifting by scrubbing a customers LinkedIn network for ideal introductions. I then ask the buyer for EXACT introduction. The learning for you is: give these prospective introductions so your C-Levels can ask your customers for introductions. Their clout could help increase the velocity of the introductions.