Customer Success as a Growth Engine: Ideal Customers, Advocates, and Upsells

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This session is titled Customer Success as a Growth Engine: Ideal Customers, Advocates, and Upsells by Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Evangelist at Gainsight.

Customer success = “Helping your customers achieve their desired outcome through the use of your product.”

Customer success should not just be a method of reducing churn. We must enter the conversation already taking place in our customer’s mind. True success is based on the customer’s desired outcome and it is important that we talk to our customer about this so we have the right message ready at the right time.

The ideal customer is ready, willing, and able. They must have success potential, acquisition efficiency, expansion potential, and advocacy potential. It is important to keep in mind that this ideal profile is situational and depends on your goals and what customers will help you reach those goals.

The proper order in achieving customer success is first building your ideal customer profile, then the persona development.

Steps For Successful Customer Success

1 – Evaluating New Opportunities Tweet this!

  • Determine the situation you are solving for
  • Get access to your customer data
  • Find customers that match your situational criteria
  • Append data to those customers (demo, tech, etc.)
  • Look for common/ shared characteristics
  • Find new customers matching these characteristics
  • Profit

Find your most successful customers…and go get more just like them.

Some things you can pull together?

  • Average Net Promoter Score (NPS) over time
  • Sales cycle length
  • Time to first value
  • On-boarding/ implementation milestones and timing
  • Customer support data–people who use support and see success from it
  • Get an account manager to apply a health score based on their gut to each of the customers they manage–how do they feel about this account?

Customers to look for?

  • Short sales cycle
  • Efficient cost of acquisition for a customer
  • High Lifetime Value
  • Agreed to long term contracts
  • Frequently increase usage/ buy add-ons etc.
  • Have a low cost to support
  • All of the above?

2 – Identify customers that expand use of your product Tweet this!

  • Intra-company virality
  • List companies that have expanded their use over lifetime with your company
  • Who did you sell it to? What department/persona?
  • When it comes to expansion potential, that potential is only realized when the customers have achieved success…which is when their customer success score is high
  • No customer success…no expansion review. period

3 – Find your customers that are your biggest advocates, and go get more just like them Tweet this!

  • Inter-company virality
  • Chasing logos is fine…if they bring you more logos
  • Look for customer that have
    • Referred new customers
    • Have given testimonials
    • Have talked to prospects on your behalf
    • Have spoken at your events
    • Have participated in case studies with you
      • If not for you, have they done it for others?

Don’t think about just external advocacy, if someone has achieved a milestone with you, ask for internal advocacy as well, maybe they will share their success with another department or individual.

4 – Know your upsell opportunities Tweet this!

  • Be clear on what success means for your customers
  • Set goals with your customers
  • Benchmark where your customers start
  • Mention upsells early in their life cycle so they stay top of mind
  • Identify success milestones for upsell–what does success look like for them? can these correlate to add-ons or additional seats?
  • Improve time to first value and upsell faster–if they meet their milestones before originally planned, alter your plan to fit that scenario
  • Ask for the sale at the appropriate time

You can find out more detail about these methods by visting

Lincoln Murphy is founder of Sixteen Ventures, a consultancy helping companies accelerate growth through Customer Success. He’s a prolific writer and international speaker on Growth and Customer Success.

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