Dear Growth Molecules:
What Value Does a Customer Success Operations Leader Bring? Should I Hire One?

By: Robert De La O & Sabina M. Pons

In the world of B2B SaaS, customer success (CS) is one of the most critical functions that can drive business growth and customer retention. While most companies have customer success managers, it is equally important to have a customer success operations leader who can optimize the customer success team’s processes and tools. In this blog post, we will discuss the value of hiring a customer success operations leader in B2B SaaS and why it is essential for business success.

First, let’s define what a customer success operations leader does. A customer success operations leader is responsible for optimizing the processes and technology that the customer success team uses to manage customer relationships. They focus on measuring and improving customer engagement, retention, and satisfaction. This person works closely with the customer success team, sales, marketing, product, and engineering teams to ensure a smooth customer experience and drive revenue growth. Read more about CS Ops responsibilities and Maturity Model published by TheySaid.

So why is it important to hire a customer success operations leader in B2B SaaS? Here are some reasons:

Optimizing Customer Success Processes: A customer success operations leader can help optimize the customer success process, making it more efficient and effective. This person often has a view of the entire customer journey that spans across customer facing teams and can identify and eliminate bottlenecks, create and refine customer success playbooks, and develop standardized processes that the customer success team can follow. 

Robert: As the leader of CS Ops, I’m spending time weekly with each of our post-sale leaders ensuring our processes and systems are supporting their team’s work. We look for areas along the customer journey that are inefficient or perhaps not clearly defined and provide recommendations and resources. Ultimately our goal is to make sure that our teams are focused on providing a great experience to our customers and not bogged down by tooling and processes.

Improving Customer Retention: Customer retention is one of the key metrics for any SaaS business, and a customer success operations leader can play a vital role in improving it. By analyzing customer data, this person can identify trends and patterns that indicate customer churn risks, create and implement retention strategies, and measure their effectiveness. 

Robert: At Menlo Security our CS Ops team is responsible for the quarterly win/loss analysis for our renewals business and we drive a deeper discussion between sales, product, and CS around where we are well positioned and which areas of our customer experience or product need focus to ensure we prevent churn in upcoming renewals. We’ve also leveraged data and insights to instrument automations that alert our teams when something critical needs attention like a drop in traffic, a renewal survey tells us our champion is leaving, or the customer disables a key feature in the product. This ensures that our CSMs can stay on top of risk and build out a plan.

Enhancing Customer Experience: Customer experience is the key to customer satisfaction, and a customer success operations leader can help ensure that customers have a positive experience with your product or service. By implementing processes and tools that enhance the customer experience, this person can ensure that customers feel valued, heard, and supported throughout their journey with your company. 

Robert: Last year we stood up a Customer Experience (CX) Outcomes team that helps to identify areas of our customer journey where there is friction, prioritize these projects with leaders from CS and other functional teams, and then lead these projects to deliver improved processes and tooling which create a better experience for our customers and our customer facing teams. Some examples of these projects include Sales to CS Handover, Audit & Compliance Requests, and implementing new customer voice tools like TheySaid.

Enabling Business Growth: A customer success operations leader can help drive business growth by working closely with the sales team to identify opportunities for upsell and cross-sell. By understanding customer needs and preferences, this person can create targeted campaigns and personalized messaging that drives revenue growth. 

Robert: Our CS Ops team is in a unique position to view data from a variety of sources that tells us which products our customers have, how they have configured our service, and key utilization and adoption metrics. Together this can help us tell a powerful story of which customers are healthy and ripe for growth. Last year we partnered with our Business Intelligence team to create a report that pulls in intent data from 6Sense, utilization data from our own product, and customer health data from Gainsight into a single view called XRAY (Xpansion Revenue is All Yours) as a tool for our CS and Sales teams to identify and prioritize upsell targets. Your CS Ops leader can leverage their partnerships and knowledge of data across your organization to drive better business results.

Leveraging Technology: Technology plays a critical role in the success of any SaaS business, and a customer success operations leader can help ensure that the technology is being used to its fullest potential. This person can evaluate and implement customer success tools, such as customer success platforms and analytics software, to help the team be more efficient and effective. 

Robert: At Menlo, we implemented Gainsight early in our journey because we understood that having the right tools in place ensures that our CS team would easily be able to see where each of their customers are in their journey, highlight which customers need our attention, and because it supports internal and external collaboration.  In the past year, with the help of Gainsight we have been able to implement processes that track CS Qualified Leads, Verified Outcomes, and new layouts that help our CSM team prioritize their work. Integrating Gainsight with our CRM, customer support software, Advocacy platform, and other tools has ensured that our CSMs don’t have to open 5-10 tools to understand what is happening with their customers, they have it all at their fingertips with one source of truth.

So should you hire a customer success operations leader in B2B SaaS? YES!

A customer success operations leader is a crucial role in any B2B SaaS business. This person can optimize customer success processes, improve customer retention, enhance customer experience, enable business growth, and leverage technology to drive success. By hiring a customer success operations leader, you can ensure that your customer success team is functioning at its best and delivering value to your customers.

A helpful tip: Connect with other CS Ops leaders by joining the CS Ops Leadership Network on Slack.

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About The Authors:

Sabina is the Operating Partner at Growth Molecules™, a consulting firm that helps B2B SaaS companies simplify customer success with actionable processes and scalable programs. With a 20-year career in global CS and CX, Sabina is known for building teams from start-up to grow-up, for scale via client adoption, expansion, retention and loyalty programs. She has earned her MA in Communication & Leadership from Gonzaga University, and her BA in Public Relations from the University of Southern California, and is co-writing a book about working moms in technology. 

Robert is a strategic CS Operations leader with over 20 years of experience in customer service organizations. Currently, Robert is the Senior Director of Customer Success Operations at Menlo Security where he leads a strategy and operations team dedicated to identifying and executing strategic initiatives that provide Menlo’s customers with a best-in-class customer experience. He is experienced in building high-performing teams that drive customer satisfaction, retention and growth. Robert lives in the Bay Area with his partner Jiro and his dog Razzle Dazzle. In his spare time he enjoys supporting LGBTQ organizations, reading, and spending time in their garden. 

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