Savvy companies are infusing actionable intelligence into every workflow, process, and business application, making it simpler than ever for any team to use analytics effectively and be truly data driven. Consequently, it’s useful to consider the benefits of analytics for different divisions within organizations and to look at how infused analytics helps them excel.
Here, we turn the spotlight on customer success (CS) teams to see what they gain from analytics and how analytics enables them to improve growth of their organizations. We asked two of our CS leaders about the key data challenges they face and the obstacles CS teams typically encounter that can be overcome by analytics. Read on to see how infused analytics boosts the effectiveness of CS teams and contributes to business growth.
Harvard Business Review reports that infusing analytics into workflows is the future.Discover why
CS and analytics now: Challenges
According to a new study from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR), 50% of companies aim to improve customer experience with data and analytics. Up to 40% of companies surveyed said they’ve been able to achieve this, so there’s still a gap of 10 percentage points between aspiration and reality, and half of all companies aren’t pursuing the CS benefits of analytics at all.
There’s a big missed opportunity there — companies are not using analytics to gather intelligence and insights for their CS teams. These companies are overlooking opportunities for their CS teams to discover game-changing insights and make valuable data-driven decisions that could help determine the success of their business in the future.
As the HBR research shows, companies face barriers to increasing the adoption of analytics. These include lack of necessary skills/training, lack of high-quality data, and difficulty accessing data. CS teams need to achieve these three things with analytics to benefit from their data:
- Find a BI and analytics solution that’s simple and fast to use, even for nontechnical teams
- Infuse analytics into workflows so they’re a natural part of every team’s role
- Ensure the analytics solution meets the team’s challenges and needs
We’ll address the first two considerations shortly. First, let’s examine the most important challenges that analytics can help CS teams address. Typically, they are:
- Understand customers behavior
- Optimize customers’ use of products and services
- Increase retention/reduce churn by anticipating issues and identifying opportunities
- Proactively improve customer support
- Enhance knowledge-sharing and decision-making to drive growth
Gaining a 360-degree view of customers
Data and analytics are important tools for understanding customers better, helping customers make the most of your products and services, delivering better support, identifying opportunities, and reinforcing the relationship between you and your customers.
“The most important thing for a customer success organization is to have a holistic 360-degree view on the customer.”Gail Morag, Regional VP of Customer Success, Sisense
“The most important thing for a customer success organization is to have a holistic 360-degree view on the customer,” says Gail Morag, a regional VP of customer success at Sisense, “CSMs [customer success managers] want to know if there are too many tickets open to support, too long of a response time, if we have a robust relationship, whether the customer is using our platform to the extent the contract offers, and whether they are getting value. All of that requires consolidation of data from different data sources — Salesforce, Gainsight, ticketing systems, product usage, finance, and more.”
Analytics provides CSMs with valuable insights into customers’ behavior, their patterns of product use, and what benefits they might be overlooking or unaware of, to ensure they get the most value from your offering. Analytics also enables CSMs to track the speed and efficiency of customer support, and pinpoint ways to upsell and expand your existing accounts.
“The 360-degree view of the customer is critical for identifying where the customer is within their journey, knowing where they are today, what they want to achieve for their business, and what else we can do to help them get there,” says April Barnoy, the associate VP of customer growth at Sisense. She continues: “Knowing this will not only help retention but will make growth easier as you can provide the right offering at the appropriate time to help them improve their business. One of the challenges is knowing what to offer and when to offer it.”
Armed with this intelligence, CSMs can more easily understand what their next best action should be, what risks and openings may arise in different customer accounts, and even forecast more accurately, so they can develop initiatives based on data that will reduce customer churn, increase retention, and boost growth.
Driving growth with data and analytics
Of course, growth can’t be achieved with great customer support alone; it’s a cross-functional effort. Such company-wide cooperation across all divisions must be based on sharing intelligence derived from the same data and analytics. That’s because decisions can only be made, and new strategies established, when there’s a consensus about what is the right data. April explains:
“Knowledge transfer between teams is painful, so there’s a need to have the right operational supporting systems to capture that data and present it in a way that all who review it see the same picture. As we say, a single version of the truth. The conclusions might be different, but at least the data is the same.”
Analytics provides a firm basis for data-driven decision-making that promotes growth, and to be most effective, it can’t be siloed. In many cases, CS teams receive data and share their own with other teams, which expedites beneficial new initiatives. For example, CS can share its knowledge and understanding of current customers to help sales teams address prospective customers more effectively.
“Knowledge transfer between teams is painful, it’s important to have the right systems to capture that data and present it so that everyone sees the same picture.”April Barnoy, Sisense Associate VP, Customer Growth
Similarly, marketing teams’ data from their campaigns and analytics (advertising, nurture tracks, events, community activity, and more) is important for CSMs because it contributes to a holistic overview of customers. And equally, CS teams’ intelligence can inform marketing so that they can target their campaigns more effectively. Such knowledge sharing is especially important for tapping into new business units and building up new relationships.
Infused analytics: Taking CS teams to the next level
CS teams need a BI and analytics solution that infuses analytics into their regular workflows, so that analytics takes place seamlessly and almost automatically, in real time, with minimum effort and inconvenience. Gail explains how infused analytics has enhanced the work of Sisense’s CSMs:
“Analytics can help to consolidate all data sources, extract insights, and identify next best actions. Infused means that the CSMs can get those recommendations and insights in their systems and act upon them easily without the need to consult yet another dashboard outside of their workflow. This makes analytics more accessible, increases adoption of analytics, and drives our CSMs to be data driven and make better decisions.”
By removing all the friction and complexity from these processes, infused analytics enables CS teams, indeed everyone, to embed actionable intelligence in everything they do, build custom analytics experiences that meet their specific needs, and get game-changing insights that they can implement in real time.
Most importantly, from a CS perspective, April says: “Infused analytics gives you the ability to be proactive, not reactive.
CS analytics success story: GitLab
GitLab is the open-source end-to-end DevOps software platform, with built-in version control, issue tracking, code review, CI/CD, and more, delivered as a single application. It is designed to enhance collaboration, integration, innovation, and visibility by creating a streamlined software workflow that delivers higher levels of efficiency in a single application. Over 100,000 organizations worldwide trust GitLab to deliver great software at new speeds.
Having moved to Snowflake to manage the volume and complexity of data the company was generating, GitHub turned to Sisense to enable it to integrate data from applications such as Zuora, Salesforce, and Zendesk, and merge it all with the GitLab application data. As a result, GitLab’s team is now able to answer more complex and valuable questions. For example, they can pinpoint the retention of their customers in a specific market segment or determine which features drive the most value for their top customers. The main value comes from putting together data in ways not possible in other tools.
Infusing analytics to improve customer success
Infusing analytics everywhere, embedding actionable analytics anywhere, and making it accessible to everyone, hugely benefits every function and every workflow in every organization. This includes analytics and intelligence for CS teams. Infused analytics transforms the way CS and all other teams work because it:
- Empowers CS teams to enhance their performance and customer relationships
- Increases customer retention and minimizes customer churn
- Helps CS expand existing accounts and accelerate business growth
- Strengthens CS contribution and importance to company strategy
By making complex data analytics simple, natural, and embedded within the workflow, infused analytics empowers CS professionals to play a highly significant, strategic, and operational role in adding value to their organizations’ efforts. With infused analytics, the role of CS teams in building the future success of their organizations grows and becomes increasingly significant.
Reality lags behind desired outcomes from analytics deployments at most companies.Read why
Adam Murray is a marketing content writer and manager at Sisense. He began his career in corporate communications and public relations in London and New York before moving to Tel Aviv, where he spent the last 12 years working with tech companies including Amdocs, Gilat Satellite Systems, and Allot Communications. He holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Manchester. When he’s not spending time with his wife and son, Adam is preoccupied with his beloved underperforming football team, Tottenham Hotspur.