Ziv Peled
Ziv Peled Member Posts: 9 Seeker
edited July 2020 in Strategy & Planning

I'm dealing with this strategic subject for over a year now.

CSM relationships

Executive Sponsorships

Product relationships

I've decided to start with CSM relationships, we are developing a framework that is built as an object in SalesForce which evaluates the significant relationships we manage with each customer so we know what is missing, where we need to invest more and who are our supporters and advocates.

I would love to discuss about these subjects and hear how you are investing in building relationships with your client base.



  • Jeff Breunsbach
    Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
    5 Insightfuls Photogenic First Anniversary GGR Blogger 2022
    edited May 2020

    @Alex Farmer @Ben Bunting @Kristi Faltorusso @Shari Srebnick Any thoughts you can share about how your developing relationships with your clients and trying to categorize the 'strength'?


    CC: @Jay Nathan 

  • Shari Srebnick
    Shari Srebnick Member Posts: 111 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited May 2020

    This is a very relevant topic right now since I am including in our Business Model/Account Plan documentation a place for contacts and relationships.  When a new account comes in, we need to know every contact's title, role in the buying process, level of influence.  This helps to identify if they are an Exec Sponsor, Champion, or a Power User ... or quite possibly a combo of any of them.  This also gets noted in our CS Software at the account level.  Ideally this helps to mitigate risk should someone leave, but also provides clarity for the CSM and Account Management on where to direct their efforts. 

    For our long time clients, we know who our champions are (mostly) and in the places where we lack Exec relationships, we are trying to establish them.  In fact, this is one of our OKR's for this quarter. In this case, if the CSM is not getting responses to their outreach, I've implemented a playbook for escalation that involves getting Execs on our end to do the out reach, but the CSM is responsible for the prep work (summary of account, etc).   

  • BenB
    BenB Member Posts: 76 Expert
    5 Insightfuls Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited May 2020

    Great question @Ziv Peled and I really like what you're buliding in Salesforce.  If you can keep the CSMs maintaing those details it will be so valuable. 

    Here are a couple things we're doing now to improve list of contacts, how well we know them and how much they like us: 

    1. Highlight client contact list on every interaction with CSM. I focus specifically on renewals and growth but during my ongoing calls with the CSM i pull up the contact list, and constantly drive them to learn more. "whos that, what do they do, why dont we have their role, when is the last time you spoke with them, are they on  your weekly calls" etc...  I'm tryin to drive behaviour and habits to always capture grow and improve our contact lists. 
    2. Custom Videos - we have the team use Vidyard or something similar to include custom videos for their clients.  This works well for people who are hard to get infront of.  Just an effort to keep things more personal. and we get great views on the videos. 
    3. Review Relevant Contacts on Calls:  The during EBRs or similar calls the CSM will have a slide with names/titles for everyone we have as relevant contacts.  and simply ask -are these the right names/titles for everyone invovled.  Is there anyone else we should add to this list. 

    Open to more ideas - this subject is SO important right now.  Especialy with so many employee changes out there. 

  • Kristi Faltorusso
    Kristi Faltorusso Member Posts: 45 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited May 2020

    Great topic - We have accessed and looked at things we can measure and put weighting behind them like:

    • Have we met them in person in the past 6 months
    • Have they attended out customer conference 
    • Do they have multi-faceted relationships with other internal teams (have they connected with Product, worked with Marketing, still keep in touch with sales) 
    • Provided feedback and closed loop - (Completed surveys, been part of Beta programs etc.)
    • Served as a reference for a prospect or customer
    • Contributed to Marketing Intiative - Case Study, Speaking Engagement at an Event, Co-Authored a blog post etc.
    • Attended customer training and enablement - Webinars etc.
    • Partnership Influence Level - Decision Maker, Influencer, Executive Sponsor, Budget Owner

    We have more things we look at here to quantify or qualify a contact but this is not exclusive to the CSM's relationship but rather a full weighting score for the contact. 

  • Alex Farmer
    Alex Farmer Member Posts: 62 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment GGR Blogger 2021
    edited May 2020

    Thanks @Jeff Breunsbach - frankly I don't think we've got it down to an advanced science like @Ziv Peled  does! We track "strength of exec relationship" per customer and see a direct correlation between "no contact" or "low" ratings and non-forecast churn - seems obvious but the data backs it up.  The Customer Advisory Board we started ensures we have strong exec relationship with the top ~10% of our customers as well.

    In terms of relationship development, I'm not sure we're doing anything special, but one thing I will call out is personal forwards of customer newsletters.  I've always been a fan of the advice that just "checking in" with a customer is a waste of time - it provides no value to the B2B relationship and doesn't establish the CSM as a trusted advisor.  So we use our one-to-many program as the anchor that CSMs can use to re-engage with customers.