Handling a shift upmarket

Hi everyone!

I am curious if there are CS people out there that have successfully navigated a change in your Ideal Customer Profile.

How did you handle non ICP customers?

Did your leadership/finance department factor in a temporary increase in churn (bad revenue) for the longer term success of this shift? 

Any and all insights you might have will be greatly appreciated!


  • Elizabeth Italiano
    Elizabeth Italiano Member Posts: 10
    10 Comments 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper Photogenic

    I've faced this a couple of times. In one case in particular we as a leadership team decided to 'fire' a segment of our bad-fit clients. Based on our product direction we were not going to be investing in any product development that this segment required. The Cost of Service of this particular segment was too high and not sustainable. Here's what we did to gracefully 'fire' these customers:

    1. We came up with an engagement plan for this customer type. With some of these clients we were proactively reaching out to them and in other cases we were engaging with them as they reached out to support or CS. The reason for the latter was because this segment was a low value but high volume type of customer.
    2. We shared a company-wide communication on the decision and the plan to 'let this type of customer go'. We addressed questions via a town hall and an AMA on slack. Fortunately, the vast majority of the company was very supportive of this.
    3. We found another software that WAS a good fit for this type of client and we agreed on a lead pass and migration plan with this company. This way we were able to gracefully tell our clients that we were no longer going to be investing in certain product development and as such were not a good fit but that we had another vendor that we could help them migrate to. They could of course choose to go to a different vendor but most choose the path we recommended.

    The way we handled it allowed us to part from customers on good terms and keep our positive word of mouth and reputation in tact.

    For the clients that did decide to stay with us anyway (because we weren't going as far as to turn them off) we put them at a lower level response time for support and they no longer got a 1:1 CSM.

    From a churn and financial perspective we took the churn into account and adjusted our finances and forecasting to reflect the expected churn. We also segmented our churn so we could measure the churn associated with this project and churn outside of this program so we could keep track of our unwanted churn.

    The CSMs also did not take a 'hit' on this churn. We measured them only on the clients that fell outside of the 'bad fit program'.

    It was quite successful in the end and was a win-win for all parties.