Expansion Unleashed: Harvesting Low-Hanging Fruits from Existing Customers

Expansion Unleashed: Harvesting Low-Hanging Fruits from Existing CustomersExpansion Unleashed: Harvesting Low-Hanging Fruits from Existing Customers

Introduction

In 2023, either your CS department is owning revenue metrics, or you're contributing to such. We can't get away from helping the organization to grow additional revenue from our existing customer base.

As a leader responsible for driving growth and success, you understand the importance of retaining customers and maximizing their value. This blog is your comprehensive guide to unlocking the power of customer success expansion, specifically tailored for organizations with a focus on scale customers. We will explore the strategies, challenges, and opportunities associated with expanding your customer base and driving scalable growth. Let's dive in!

The Need for Expanding in a Scalable Way

In today's business landscape, customer success organizations are faced with a new set of challenges. The traditional approach of relying solely on new sales to drive revenue growth is no longer sufficient. As customer acquisition becomes more competitive and expensive, organizations are recognizing the critical importance of expansion and retention strategies. Retaining existing customers has become a key performance indicator (KPI) for companies aiming to achieve sustainable growth.

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Moreover, customer success organizations are finding themselves in a unique position where they are debating if they need to adopt sales tactics and strategies to effectively expand their customer base. While customer success traditionally focused on ensuring customer satisfaction and driving product adoption, it has now evolved to encompass revenue growth and expansion opportunities. This shift requires customer success executives to embrace a more sales-oriented mindset and leverage proven sales techniques to drive scalable growth within their existing customer accounts.

Another factor driving the need for scalable expansion is the rise of digital transformation. As organizations increasingly embrace digital solutions, customer success teams need to adapt and become more efficient in their approach. To meet the demands of digital customers and achieve sustainable growth, many organizations are investing in digital and scale customer success motions and programs. These initiatives enable customer success teams to reach a larger customer base and deliver value in a scalable way.

The challenge now lies in finding ways to generate more revenue from existing customer accounts without investing excessive manual work or relying solely on high-touch approaches. Customer success executives need to identify efficient and scalable expansion streams that can drive revenue growth while maintaining a trusted advisor relationship with their customers. In the following sections, we will explore various expansion streams and strategies that can help customer success organizations achieve their revenue goals while providing exceptional value to their customers.

Expansion Streams from Existing Customers

Expanding your revenue and driving growth doesn't always mean acquiring new customers. While the ultimate objective may be the same—to increase revenue from existing customers—it's important to recognize that there are multiple streams to achieve this outcome. In this section, we will explore and outline these various expansion streams that can serve as pathways to unlock new revenue opportunities within your customer base.

  1. Additional Licenses or Users: Upselling more licenses or user seats to accommodate growing teams or departments.
  2. New Product Offerings: Introducing new products or services, as well as suggesting complementary offerings that provide additional value.
  3. Additional Modules or Features: Offering modular expansions to enhance existing functionality with specific modules or features.
  4. Expansion to Other Departments or Business Units: Exploring opportunities to expand your reach within the customer's organization by addressing the needs of different departments or business units.
  5. Customized or Tailored Solutions: Creating bespoke offerings tailored to customers' unique requirements and challenges.
  6. Services, Consulting, and Professional Services Work: Providing additional services, consulting, or professional services to support customers in implementing, optimizing, or leveraging your product effectively.

Now that we have a clear understanding of these expansion streams, let's shift our focus to the customer journey through the marketing funnel. By understanding how customers navigate through the different stages of the funnel, we can identify key touchpoints where customer success strategies can be applied to drive expansion and revenue growth.

The Marketing Funnel for Customer Success Expansion

Awareness

This stage involves customers discovering your brand, product, or service, and becoming aware of its existence.

How to approach with new sales: Create brand awareness through targeted marketing campaigns, social media engagement, and content distribution.

How to approach with existing customers: Increase awareness of new offerings, updates, or expansion opportunities through personalized communications and regular updates.

Interest

At this stage, customers show genuine interest in your offering and actively seek more information to evaluate its suitability.

How to approach with new sales: Provide engaging content, such as interactive demos, informative videos, or downloadable resources, to capture and sustain their interest.

How to approach with existing customers: Tailor communication to address specific interests and showcase the value of expansion options based on their current usage and needs.

Consideration

Customers in this stage are evaluating your offering along with other alternatives, comparing features, benefits, and pricing.

How to approach with new sales: Offer detailed product information, customer testimonials, and competitive comparisons to facilitate informed decision-making.

How to approach with existing customers: Provide personalized recommendations and case studies that highlight the success of similar customers who have expanded their partnership.

Intent

Customers at this stage have made the decision to move forward with the purchase or expansion and are ready to take action.

How to approach with new sales: Present attractive offers, discounts, or limited-time promotions to encourage immediate conversion and reinforce their intent.

How to approach with existing customers: Offer tailored expansion packages, flexible pricing options, and dedicated account support to solidify their intent and make the expansion process seamless.

Evaluation

Customers in this stage thoroughly evaluate your offering, seeking validation, and ensuring it aligns with their needs and expectations.

How to approach with new sales: Address any concerns or objections they may have, provide detailed product information, and offer extended trials or samples.

How to approach with existing customers: Share success stories, customer testimonials, and ROI analysis to showcase the positive impact of expansion options and instill confidence in their evaluation.

Purchase

The final stage where customers make the decision to complete the transaction and become paying customers.

How to approach with new sales: Streamline the purchasing process, provide a secure and user-friendly checkout experience, and offer post-purchase support.

How to approach with existing customers: Facilitate smooth expansion processes, provide dedicated onboarding assistance, and ensure a seamless transition into the expanded offering.

By aligning customer success strategies with each stage of the funnel, businesses can effectively nurture existing customers, drive expansion opportunities, and achieve sustainable growth. However, when it comes to expanding scale accounts, there are unique challenges that organizations must navigate. In the next section, we will delve into the specific challenges associated with expanding scale accounts and discuss effective approaches to overcome them.

CSQL - a Term to Remember

While we previously explored the marketing funnel, let's now shift our attention to the sales funnel and its relevance in the context of an expansion funnel.

Typically, a sales process follows a structured path consisting of 4 high-level stages: Lead, Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), Opportunity, and Closed Won. Let's briefly explore each stage:

  • Lead: This is the initial stage where potential prospects are identified, often through marketing efforts or inbound inquiries.
  • SQL (Sales Qualified Lead): At this stage, leads have met specific criteria and demonstrated an interest to hear about the offering.
  • Opportunity: In this stage, the prospect has shown a genuine interest in the product or service and is actively considering making a purchase. The opportunity stage involves nurturing and advancing the relationship with the prospect.
  • Closed Won: This final stage indicates that the prospect has made the decision to become a customer and the sale has been successfully closed.

However, when it comes to expanding existing customer accounts in customer success (CS) efforts, the structure of the sales funnel remains similar but with some key differences. Instead of starting with external leads, your entire customer base becomes the pool of potential opportunities for expansion. This means that the "Lead" stage now encompasses your existing customers. Instead of using the stage “SQL”, we will use the term “CSQL”.

A CSQL (Customer Success Qualified Lead) represents an existing customer who has shown a genuine interest in expanding their relationship with your company. These customers have expressed intent and willingness to explore expansion opportunities and seek additional value from your products or services. CSQLs are identified through various signals, such as their engagement with your platform, inquiries about upgrades or additional features, or expressed interest in learning more about your offerings.

The Challenges Around Expanding Scale Accounts

When it comes to high-touch expansions, the main challenge lies in successfully closing the opportunity and managing the sales process. This includes addressing legal considerations, coordinating with various stakeholders, and ensuring a seamless experience throughout the expansion journey.

On the other hand, scale expansions present their own distinct challenge: identifying the low-hanging fruits within a large customer base. With Customer Success Managers (CSMs) handling numerous accounts, it's impractical to personally engage with each customer regularly. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a systematic approach that identifies potential expansion opportunities and prioritizes the accounts that are most likely to yield fruitful results.

Navigating the challenges of expanding scale accounts requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses the nuances of different customer segments. In the following sections, we will explore effective approaches, best practices, and tools to overcome these challenges and successfully expand scale accounts, while maintaining strong customer relationships and driving sustainable growth.

How to Identify Potential CSQLs

One of the key challenges in low-touch expansions is identifying the Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs) among your scale customers. Since CSMs may not have the capacity to engage with each customer on a one-on-one basis, it becomes essential to leverage automated methods for identifying potential CSQLs. Let's explore different categories of signals that can help automate the process of identifying CSQLs for scale customers:

Data-driven insights:

  • Analyzing license utilization: Utilizing data analytics tools to monitor license utilization and identify customers reaching their maximum capacity or exhibiting consistent growth.
  • Usage trends: Leveraging usage analytics to identify patterns in customer usage, such as increased frequency or expanding usage of specific features or modules.
  • Contract milestones: Setting up automated alerts to track significant contract events, such as contract expirations or renewal dates.

Sentiment indicators:

  • Positive feedback: Monitor customer feedback and identify positive sentiments indicating potential expansion interest.
  • Referrals and recommendations: Implementing automated referral tracking systems to identify customers who refer or recommend your product or service, signaling their satisfaction and potential for expansion.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) monitoring: Automating the collection and analysis of NPS scores to identify customers who are likely to promote your brand and may be open to expansion opportunities.

Customer input:

  • Goal alignment surveys: Implementing automated processes to gather customer input on their current goals and align them with potential expansion opportunities.
  • Regular check-ins and automated surveys: Setting up automated check-ins and surveys to gather feedback and identify customers' interest in exploring expansion options.

Predictive analytics:

  • Historical customer data analysis: Leveraging automated predictive analytics models to analyze historical customer data and identify patterns and characteristics associated with successful expansions.

After identifying potential CSQLs, the next crucial step is approaching these customers with the right offering and strategy to maximize success rates. This is where the distinction between inbound and outbound approaches comes into play. In the next section, we will delve deeper into the concept of inbound versus outbound strategies and explore how they can impact the effectiveness of your expansion efforts.

The Power of Inbound: Letting Customers Raise Their Hands

In both marketing and sales, there is a well-known principle that when prospects raise their hands and express interest in a product or service, the chances of converting them into customers increase significantly compared to outbound outreach.

Inbound efforts refer to strategies that focus on attracting and engaging customers to raise their hands and ask to learn more about your offerings. The power of inbound lies in its ability to align with the customer's own journey and decision-making process.

On the other hand, outbound efforts involve a proactive approach where businesses reach out to potential customers directly. While outbound tactics may be necessary to reach a broader audience, the success rates tend to be lower compared to inbound methods.

The reason for this is rooted in human psychology. When customers raise their hands and actively seek out information, they feel a sense of control and ownership over their decision-making process. This sense of autonomy increases their engagement and commitment to the product or service being offered. In contrast, outbound outreach can sometimes be perceived as intrusive or unwanted, leading to lower response rates and conversion rates.

Inbound strategies are not limited to customer acquisition in marketing and sales; they can be applied to customer success expansion efforts as well. By strategically attracting and motivating your existing customers with unique and intelligent recommendations, you can effectively encourage them to raise their hands and express interest in expansion opportunities.

How to Generate Inbound CSQLs

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As previously mentioned, a primary step is to create an environment where customers are motivated to raise their hands and express their interest in learning more about expansion opportunities. In this section, we will explore practical approaches to generate inbound CSQLs, empowering customers to actively seek out and explore expansion opportunities.

Action-Based CSQLs

One effective approach to generating inbound CSQLs is by focusing on action-based interactions with customers. Here's how:

  1. Build Success Plans: Provide customers with the opportunity to choose their goals and preferences within your product or service. Use this information to automatically generate personalized Success Plans that outline specific action items towards achieving those goals.
  2. Drive Product Adoption: Incorporate optional action items within the Success Plans that align with additional offerings, services, or products. Present these items as opportunities for customers to learn more, with clear calls-to-action and easy ways to access more information.

Education-Based CSQLs

Educating customers and providing them with valuable resources can be an effective way to generate inbound CSQLs. Consider the following tactics:

  1. Segmented Resource Sharing: Based on customer segments, personas, or goals, curate and share relevant educational resources such as case studies, academy courses, and webinars. Ensure that the resources showcase the benefits and value of additional offerings, services, or products aligned with their goals.
  2. Highlight Additional Offerings: Within the educational resources, subtly introduce additional offerings and explain how they can help customers achieve their goals. Invite customers to learn more about these offerings, emphasizing the value they can provide.

Recommendation-Based CSQLs

Leveraging data-driven insights and personalized recommendations can significantly boost inbound CSQL generation. Consider these tactics:

  1. Utilize Data Insights: Use customer data to surface insights about their usage patterns, success metrics, and areas for improvement. Present customers with a "scorecard" or "benchmark" report that highlights their achievements while also suggesting additional offerings, services, or products that can help them improve further.
  2. Personalized Recommendations: Provide customers with dedicated and personalized recommendations tied to their goals, usage patterns, or success metrics. Use automation to generate recommendations that align with their specific needs and demonstrate the potential benefits of expanding their usage.

As we've seen, the key to generating inbound Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs) lies in providing customers with tailored content, timely recommendations, and opportunities to express interest. In the next section, we will explore how a digital hub platform like EverAfter can be instrumental in achieving this goal. We will delve into the strategies and benefits of generating CSQLs through a centralized and personalized customer hub.

Generating CSQLs through a Digital Hub

In the realm of customer success, leveraging digital methods can be a powerful approach to guide customers towards additional services, products, and add-ons offered by a company. By utilizing a platform like EverAfter, businesses can create personalized hubs for each customer, fostering a dynamic and engaging environment. Let's explore how EverAfter can revolutionize the way you generate Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs).

With EverAfter, you can establish a unique hub for each customer, allowing them to set their goals and priorities within the platform. By integrating seamlessly with your CRM, this information can be synced to provide a comprehensive understanding of each customer's needs and aspirations.

One of the key features of EverAfter is the ability to share Success Plans tailored to individual customers. These plans outline actionable steps and recommendations that align with their specific goals. By presenting customers with a clear roadmap to success, they are more likely to express interest in expansion opportunities.

Generating CSQLs through a Digital Hub

In addition to Success Plans, EverAfter empowers you to share personalized recommendations based on customer data and behavior. By analyzing usage patterns and customer insights, you can surface relevant offerings and showcase their potential value. Through the hub, customers can explore these recommendations at their convenience, driving their engagement and raising their hands for further discussions.

Generating CSQLs through a Digital Hub

Case studies are a powerful tool for demonstrating the real-world impact of your offerings. EverAfter enables you to incorporate compelling case studies within the customer hub, showcasing successful use cases and inspiring customers to explore similar opportunities for their own businesses.

real-world impact of your offerings.

A crucial aspect of generating CSQLs through a digital hub is the ability to connect your data and create customer-facing recommendations and usage information. EverAfter automates this process, ensuring that customers receive personalized insights and recommendations that are dynamically updated as their needs evolve. By leveraging data-driven insights, you can effectively nurture and guide customers towards expansion opportunities.

generating CSQL

To enhance the overall experience, EverAfter enables the embedding of relevant videos, case studies, and product updates directly within the customer hub. This interactive and informative content keeps customers engaged, helping them stay informed about the latest developments and possibilities.

Product roadmap

With EverAfter's white-label capabilities, the customer hub feels incredibly personalized despite being created at scale. It creates a unique and immersive environment where customers feel valued and supported throughout their journey.

To ensure you never miss a critical moment of customer engagement, EverAfter offers an "engagement alert" feature. This functionality notifies you when customers interact with important content, providing timely insights into their level of interest and readiness for expansion discussions.

 EverAfter's white-label capabilities

By harnessing the power of a digital hub like EverAfter, you can transform your approach to generating CSQLs. The platform's personalized experience, seamless integration with Salesforce, data-driven recommendations, and engaging content empower you to nurture and guide customers towards expansion opportunities in a scalable and efficient manner.

Summary

In conclusion, expanding and retaining customers is a critical focus for Customer Success (CS) organizations. Throughout this blog, we explored the challenges of expanding existing accounts and the importance of scalable approaches. Key strategies discussed include generating inbound Customer Success Qualified Leads (CSQLs) and leveraging a digital hub like EverAfter.

By adopting a data-driven approach, CS organizations can identify potential expansion opportunities based on signals such as customer utilization, feedback, and goals. Leveraging a digital hub, such as EverAfter, enables the creation of personalized customer experiences where goals, success plans, recommendations, and relevant content can be shared.

The integration of EverAfter with your CRM ensures seamless information flow and automated updates based on customer data. This empowers CS organizations to deliver tailored content, engage customers, and drive expansion efforts more efficiently.

In summary, by focusing on customer goals, utilizing data insights, and leveraging tools like EverAfter, CS organizations can achieve scalable expansion and drive long-term customer success.

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