Tales of Customer Success.
It has been two months since I moved from Coding to Customer success management.
As expected, coming from a code-intensive environment,
I knew almost nothing to do with customer experience.
To give me a soft landing, Victor Kiplagat assigned my first task to beautify a sales pitch that was, to say the least, sore to the eye.
My first temptation was to transfer the sales pitch to a beautiful canvas template.
But my brain doesn’t work like that, does it? It has to understand what would be the best practice to write a sales pitch.
I’ve been told that I’m good with design … I still don’t see it. Sure, I can point out bad design, but creating a good one, that’s an uphill battle. What I’m good at though, is information architecture. I just love organizing information in a way that flows and is easy to understand.
To do that, I have to achieve two things.
one is to completely understand what I’m supposed to create.
You’d assume I know what a sales pitch looks like and you’d be dead wrong.
Two is to immerse me into the mindset of the person at whom the information is aimed. You might also assume that I totally understood the customer I have been building products for, shock on you.
First things first, five tabs on firefox on how to write a good sales pitch. Two hours later I’m learning about customer psychology.
By end of the day, I have done a 1 hour MIT course on introduction to psychology, watched 3 Ted X talks on the importance of storytelling for sales, and read about 10 blog posts on writing a good sales pitch. I have not yet started beautifying my sales pitch.
The next day, I come in fresh, now I know what a sales pitch is and what it should look like. Ten slides in and I realize something, this thing doesn’t seem readable. Some slides have up to 10 points. This is definitely wrong. I had read somewhere about human concentration span going to six or seven points.
Two minutes later, I’m watching How to avoid death by PowerPoint. by David JP Phillips. All I can see are mistakes I’ve made. I don’t want to die. I start afresh, now I know what to create and how to do it.
The truth is I didn’t fully comprehend everything our main product did. I was always deep into bugs or specific support issues which gave me little time to step out of the keyboard and speak to customers. No, I don’t mean picking a support call and explaining where the problem was. I mean talking to a customer one-on-one listening to their struggles and victories, those linked to our product and those that are not.
For the next two or three days, that’s all I did. Calling random customers and spending 10 or so minutes listening to them, trying to understand why they do things the way they do. How do they understand our product and where in their process they have included us?
It was eye-opening! I got to see a side of customers that I would have never seen if I was still in the tech department.
On the tech side, you are always inclined to think that customers are streamlined, that their business processes are similar, or that they do use the system as designed. In customer success, I got to understand problems we never thought customers had. How some had mastered hacks to work with our products and more so how they thought we could help improve their processes.
Spin mobile’s main product is a financial statement analysis tool that helps Banks, Microfinance Institutions, Micro Finance Banks, Buy Now pay later and pay-as-you-go institutions to understand the financial capability and spending behavior of the person they’re about to lend money to.
Being a straightforward “credit scoring” system, you would assume that all Lenders would use it similarly or that they were facing similar problems. But things on the ground are always different. Some think that our metric is too strict so they always add a margin to what we recommend, others think we are too generous and only give a percentage of what we recommend. Others don’t look at what we recommend but rather other data points we provide!
I also got to understand the fears that different customers have. The challenges they had been facing due to a major shift from one of our providers. We discussed how to overcome them and so on.
With that in mind, it was time to finalize my sales pitch. Everything was clear. I could see the customer and the information align. With feedback from the team and occasional improvements, three weeks later it was complete.
Last week, the sales pitch was put to test. It was presented for the first time to a prospective customer.
The customer signed up the same day. (To be fair the owner had already heard about our product somewhere.)
Today, she came back to the office to sign some contracts for onboarding, I asked her what she could remember from our presentation last week. She mentioned a good number of things and the fact that her colleague had never heard of us before yet he left satisfied. I count that as a win. We also went through the presentation with her and she gave feedback on what spoke to her and what did not. Welcome onboard Wild Lioness!
That was one of the stories from my two-month journey as a customer success manager! off to the next one!