Creating better champions

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Jarren Pinchuck
Jarren Pinchuck Member Posts: 38 Expert
Hi GGR Community,

I've recently written an article on Creating Better Champions (I'll share the link below). 
I'd like to get some insights from this community on your thoughts around key account contacts and champions.
  • How important do you think they are?
  • How do you help your CSMs understand the importance?
  • How do you coach your CSMs to deal with challenging champions?
  • How much of an effect on successful adoption do you think the champion/s have?
 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Jarren

If you'd like to know mine feel free to read my article - Coaching Better Champions



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  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment
    edited September 2020
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    Hi @Jarren Pinchuck,

    Champions are key part of a successful adoption.  They have the authority needed to change business processes so can help with change management needed to implement your product. Champions typically also influence the buyer so if they are not onboard there's a chance that feedback will pass to the Buyer.

    @Chris Hicken recently touched on the importance of Champions in this article which I shared with my CS org this week. My team's feedback was that they loved the four-square image and for calls this week we practiced "labeling" customer types.

    https://blog.nuffsaid.com/relationship-coverage-strategy

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 73 Expert
    First Comment
    edited September 2020
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    Hi @Yanira and @Jarren Pinchuck,

    like the two of you I am a firm believer that Champions are essential. I use this approach for entire companies, not just the Champions within who make it happen, and segment my customers accordingly. I am adding a two-part blog series for more detail on finding/segmenting/and reacting to the segmentation:

    Leverage your Champions
    Recover-Rescue-or-Farewell
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment
    edited September 2020
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    Thanks for sharing your resources @Andreas Knoefel. I appreciate your first step to setting the baseline.

    STEP 1: SET THE BASELINE

    When I define a customer journey, I generally have a good idea what the typical customer should achieve, when, and how. It contains key milestones and dates like:

    • Day 5: First login
    • Day 10: Configuration complete
    • Day 90: Executive Business Review (EBR) 1 – 75% of target business value achieved
    • Day 270: EBR 2 – 100% of business value achieved
  • Walter Zepeda
    Walter Zepeda Member Posts: 20 Thought Leader
    edited September 2020
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    Great topic! Not to be repetitive on what everyone else posted, there's one single item that has meant a world of difference for our implementations. Before, Champions would be picked by the Sponsor or a project leader and would just be handed the responsibility for this new project. This of course on top of all the work they already had. So, we had a lot of cases where the Champions saw us as more of a burden than a project they would be able to shine with.

    To change this, I instructed our CSMs to talk to the Sponsor before the kick-off meeting and coach him/her on how to thank, congratulate and basically empower their Champions at the kick-off meeting. They're told that they've been hand-picked based on X, Y Z abilities and that this project will give them visibility and exposure to the higher levels of their company.

    We've been trying this out for a couple of months and we've seen improvements in:

    - How Champions perceive the new project
    - The accountability Champions feel after being directly referred to in the kick-off
    - BONUS: If the Sponsor wasn't fully aware of the impact of our product in the organization, they do now because they expressed it verbally and in front of other colleagues. I like to think this has a positive psychological effect.

    ------------------------------
    Walter Zepeda
    Head of Customer Success at Actimo America
    ------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 09-10-2020 23:00
    From: Jarren Pinchuck
    Subject: Creating better champions

    Hi GGR Community,

    I've recently written an article on Creating Better Champions (I'll share the link below). 
    I'd like to get some insights from this community on your thoughts around key account contacts and champions.
    • How important do you think they are?
    • How do you help your CSMs understand the importance?
    • How do you coach your CSMs to deal with challenging champions?
    • How much of an effect on successful adoption do you think the champion/s have?
     
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Jarren

    If you'd like to know mine feel free to read my article - Coaching Better Champions





    ------------------------------
    Jarren Pinchuck
    Global Head of CS and Operations
    ------------------------------
  • Markus Siebeneick
    Markus Siebeneick Member Posts: 33 Expert
    edited September 2020
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    Great to see all the insights from the GGR community.

    I recently read @Chris Hicken's article recently on the relationship coverage strategy which also presents some great insights on how to look at measuring your relationships - Face it, your champion strategy is weak. Use this scorecard to get it right

    Champions are critical as someone had to decide to buy what you sell because it would provide an ROI/Customer Outcome.
    If no one can advocate for the ROI, the customer will not review.

    To hammer that point home, it is important to see if the team knows who will advocate for your product when you are not there.  If the customer had to renew today, would your contacts sell on your behalf to renew or expand.
    Would they text you back or answer your call with we called them today? (if no, they might not be a champion)
    Do they call you to find out how to get more value or only for breakfix? (if breakfix only, they might not be a champion)

    Your champion does not have to be a power user, but they do have to be actively involved with the outcomes that your offering provides. 


    ------------------------------
    Markus S
    Manager - Customer Success
    ------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------
    Original Message:
    Sent: 09-10-2020 23:00
    From: Jarren Pinchuck
    Subject: Creating better champions

    Hi GGR Community,

    I've recently written an article on Creating Better Champions (I'll share the link below). 
    I'd like to get some insights from this community on your thoughts around key account contacts and champions.
    • How important do you think they are?
    • How do you help your CSMs understand the importance?
    • How do you coach your CSMs to deal with challenging champions?
    • How much of an effect on successful adoption do you think the champion/s have?
     
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Jarren

    If you'd like to know mine feel free to read my article - Coaching Better Champions





    ------------------------------
    Jarren Pinchuck
    Global Head of CS and Operations
    ------------------------------
  • Lilith Antunovic
    Lilith Antunovic Member Posts: 3 Seeker
    edited September 2020
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    Your post makes a lot of sense and I really like it. However, I am also a bit shocked that Sponsors need an explanation on how to acknowledge their people within the company and make them feel valued. 

    How does your CSM bring that kind of subject on the table with the Sponsor without sounding too much up in their business? I guess, wording is very delicate here.
  • Rob Capozziello
    Rob Capozziello Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited September 2020
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    Yanira,

    I like your term "Executive Business Review (EBR)" vs QBR as it implies a much more business impactful discussion. 
  • Walter Zepeda
    Walter Zepeda Member Posts: 20 Thought Leader
    edited September 2020
    Options
    Hi @Lilith Antunovic, it's a fair question. We don't really tell the Sponsor what to say but kind of guide them stressing the importance of this and the experience we've had before but we try to keep it specific to our project.

    Basically, we say that a more empowered Champion (for this specific project) will perform better than one who sees the project as just "something extra" they have to do. We kind of help the Sponsor "sell" the project internally.