Outsourcing Customer Success/Account Management

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BenB
BenB Member Posts: 76 Expert
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Hi Everyone - Curious if anyone has any interesting stories (1st or 2nd hand) or opinions trying to outsource Account Management/Customer Success roles.

My CEO has recently tasked me with this since she's aware our account coverage leaves much to be desired but doesn't have the budget for additional headcount. We're looking at adding 6 resources.

I adopted the Account Management team early this year and transitioned them from solely chasing overages for contract upsell to focusing on engagement that drives usage and deployment. This is having a huge impact and has proven the need/value for better account coverage - so here we are.

I plan to have the existing team focus on strategic/valuable accounts, and any outsourced help service smaller accounts. I also plan to have the additional resources focus their time and energy on more technical aspects (implementing use-cases, training, and deployment on areas they are not using etc...) and less on relationship building.

I certainly have mixed feelings on the project - but instead of just working on a project plan myself figured I'd open it to the group for any brainstorming.

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  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
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    Tech Experts does offshoring for AM/CS and has delivered some impressive results. I’m happy to connect you with my contact there, @benb.
  • Juarbem
    Juarbem Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    Hi @BenB ! I think that outsourcing smaller accounts is a good approach when you're hiring contractors. It's a great way to test new talent in a lower-stakes environment in my opinion. Given how competitive the labor market is currently, I also believe you will be able to find very talented professionals willing to work on a project like this. Personally, I'd be interested in learning more about the company and the opportunity you're working on since I'm seeking contract work to help me gain experience in Customer Success since my background is in Account Management for agencies, and I'm seeking to pivot into the field of Customer Success. I'm also happy to connect to explore this further!

  • Guy Galon
    Guy Galon Member Posts: 27 Expert
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    edited August 2023
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    I would look to outsource the technical and implementation activities if you can identify a reliable vendor that can commit to:

    1. Number of experts you need
    2. level of qualifications required for these activities
    3. Commitment to retain and/or manage replacements according to a certain SLA.
    4. With structured knowledge management methodology/tools that will allow smooth knowledge transfer between experts and later on when you can hire your own team.
    5. consider "rebadging" 1-2 key experts that you will be able to hire in the end of the contract (assuming you will eventually have your own team).

    Good luck Ben and it will be interesting to hear about your experience.

  • Laurie Barlev
    Laurie Barlev Member Posts: 15 Thought Leader
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    How complicated is your product? Does it require a lot of training to be able to work intelligently with clients? Is some of the time that your AM/CSM team is spending on with clients more support than adoption, training, discussing targeted value achievement?

    If it is more support, you will likely get a better ROI with your team by separating out the support function (and possibly outsourcing it)

    If the product is more complicated, you might also consider keeping it in house and shifting the delivery method. You can reach significantly more customers in a more efficient model by doing a 1 to many service and using things like webinars, newsletters, nurture campaigns, office hours, etc to manage the smaller accounts.

    Laurie Barlev

    Founder, Barlev Success

    www.linkedin.com/in/lauriebarlev

    laurie@stanfordalumni.org

  • DbradyScaledCS
    DbradyScaledCS Member Posts: 12 Navigator
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    Hi @Ed Powers - we are exploring a similar process at expertise.com. Would it be too much to join in the connection-making too? Would love to learn how other organizations have done this.

  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
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    Of course, David. Let's connect on LinkedIn and I'll make the introduction there.

  • tejash_24
    tejash_24 Member Posts: 23 Navigator
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    Greetings!

    Your approach reflects a strategic shift that aligns well with current customer success trends. Outsourcing Account Management/Customer Success roles, when executed thoughtfully, can indeed provide leverage for account coverage and specialized support. Your plan to differentiate the responsibilities between existing and outsourced teams showcases a clear understanding of resource optimization.

    Considering your budget constraints, focusing outsourced help on smaller accounts seems judicious. This allows your experienced team to concentrate on high-value relationships, fostering deeper strategic engagement. The decision to emphasize technical aspects for additional resources is intriguing; it can enhance product utilization and ultimately drive customer success.

    While outsourcing offers scalability, remember that maintaining a cohesive customer experience remains paramount. Establishing seamless communication channels between your internal and outsourced teams is crucial. Regular training, clear documentation, and shared best practices can bridge this gap effectively.

    When selecting an outsourcing partner, prioritize alignment with your company culture and values. A shared commitment to your customer success mission is imperative for a harmonious collaboration.

    Incorporate feedback loops and performance metrics to ensure the outsourced team is meeting your standards. Regular evaluations will guide refinements and sustain the positive impact you're aiming for.

    Embrace this opportunity to enhance your customer success strategy. By blending the strengths of your existing team with the specialized focus of outsourced resources, you're poised to drive even greater value for your clients.


    Best regards,

    Tejash Mehta

    Operations Manager - Technical & Business Services Management [Customer Success]

    Get Connected on Linkedin [tejashmehta]

  • ianwelles
    ianwelles Member Posts: 17 Navigator
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    My company is using 2 outsource teams for "CS": onboarding support and implementation consultants. The onboarding support team members interact with customers during onboarding while the implementation consultants do the "button clicking" and tasks to complete various configurations.

    My experience is that you have to have exceptionally well documented processes and Standard Operating Procedures in order for them to perform well. Even down to email templates, meeting scripts, and how to handle every situation they might be presented with.

    This is all necessary to support the "cohesive customer experience" mentioned in an earlier response. These teams are not creative and will not do problem solving or business process consulting. That said, this might also be a characteristic of my own company's partner choice. I am sure there are many different skill levels for outsource partners.

  • Chad Horenfeldt
    Chad Horenfeldt Member Posts: 57 Expert
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    Also look at ESG for outsourcing. I feel that outsourcing will increase. 
  • jr56266
    jr56266 Member Posts: 5 Navigator
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    I think there are certain things that can be outsourced but I don't think that is the position of a CSM. I would outsource the process and procedures part of the department but keep a manager and the actual CSM's.

  • Chitra Madhwacharyula
    Chitra Madhwacharyula Member Posts: 20 Contributor
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    Have you considered creating an offshore team instead, which might be most cost efficient and effective than full fledged outsourcing. I have adopted this approach in the past to great benefit.

    Chitra Madhwacharyula

    Customer and Partner Success Executive

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/chitramadhwacharyula

    Author of 'Scaling Customer Success': https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-1-4842-9192-4