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Superheroes and their side kicks

November 20, 2014, Kirill Nadysev - Discover how Saba's Customer Success Managers are reaching for their capes and becoming customers' super side kicks
Superheroes and their side kicks

Even superheroes need great side-kicks. What would Batman be without Robin? Iron man without Pepper? Asterix without Obelix… Like in comics, every business needs a superhero: someone to make shining examples of overcoming challenge, driving change and achieving great results. Ask yourself – could you be that superhero in your business? Could you pull it off without a side kick?

At Saba, we strive to turn all our customers into great superheroes. We even go so far as to provide them with their own side-kicks – Customer Success Managers.

Before we get too carried away with the theme of superheroes and side-kicks, let’s take a step back. Customer Success is fast becoming a buzz-phrase in the software industry. Driven by the immense complexity of the industry and the recent mass migration to a Software as a Service model, it is the industry’s answer to the challenge of customer retention.

Traditional Customer Success focuses only on relationship management or tactical, escalation driven fire-fighting. The problem with this approach is twofold.

1) If Customer Success focuses purely on relationship management then it is merely an extension of the sales organisation and brings no real value add to the customer. They might as well be sales executives as they are effectively providing glorified commercial account management. It is also a “cynical” approach to Customer Success since alignment in the sales org means that it is designed to benefit the vendor, not the customer.

2) Managing reoccurring escalations for customers is usually an indication that there are fundamental issues elsewhere within the organisation, whether with customer support, engineering, processes or the product itself. In other words, repeated escalations are merely a symptom of something fundamentally broken. Compensating for these issues by introducing a Customer Success Manager to tactically manage every escalation may ease the immediate problem, but does nothing to resolve the more fundamental barriers.

In a nutshell, if Customer Success spend 80% of their time putting out fires, they are fighting a losing battle as they are too pre-occupied with issue trench warfare and bring little tangible value to their customers. They simply have no time to zoom out and take a more strategic outlook.

Customer Success at Saba
At Saba we want to take a different approach. If you’ve been reading the blogs on this page over the last 12 months, it should be clear that we see our future firmly in the cloud space, and we recognise that putting our customers first is key to our own success as a SaaS vendor. You’ll see this philosophy reflected in other areas, but in terms of Customer Success I want to tell you about the model that we have built to put your success at the heart of everything we do. Every one of our Customer Success Managers works according to three principles that we think are key to your success as a Saba Cloud customer

• Adoption – we believe that adoption is at the heart of Customer Success. We empower our customers to integrate Saba products into their organisations and become highly effective at achieving their goals

• Advocacy – we partner with our customers to understand their business goals allowing us to become true advocates, representing their interests and safeguarding their long term success

• Showcasing – promoting  our customers’ innovation and achievements and helping them showcase their success

Of course every customer is assigned a customer success manager who takes charge of creating an environment in which our customers achieve the full potential with Saba Software.

In addition to having a proven Customer Success model, we’ve ensured our team is empowered to be highly effective.

(1) Firstly, Customer Success is not a part of Sales or Support, as is often the case in other software companies. At Saba Customer Success is a standalone function, represented at the C-level by our Chief Customer Officer – Paige Newcombe.

(2) Secondly, our Customer Success Managers have no Sales or Retention targets. We measure their effectiveness by how happy and successful our customers become throughout the Saba software lifecycle.  So in effect, our customers’ measure of success is the same as our measure of success.

We are proud to be setting the trends in worldwide Customer Success best practices and bringing the latest thinking and methodology straight to our customers. We’re proud to be a worthy side-kick to our customers’ amazing superheroes.

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