Nearbound Daily #455: Why

Nearbound Daily #455: Why "Happy" Customers Aren't Enough 👀

Micaela Richmond 3 min

The partnership paradigm shift


In the past, most companies saw the value of partnerships as nice to have. They weren’t critical to the core business and were treated accordingly.


But what the best companies realized, and acted on, was that partnerships are an integral part of value creation and realization.


The best companies treat partnerships as an essential path to deliver value to customers and avenue toward efficient growth.


This differentiation has been critical to partnership success over the years.


One great example of a company doing it right is Klaviyo.


As Rich Gardner, SVP of Global Strategic Partnerships at Klaviyo, explained last week at the Nearbound Summit,

“Businesses have to decide — do we think we can build everything a customer might want, or do we want to work with partners to deliver for customers?”

Don’t partner because it’s nice. Partner because your customer is your north star, and they need something a partner can provide.


As Jen Spencer, CEO at SmartBug Media, put it,

“If it doesn’t mean anything for customers, it doesn’t mean anything for revenue.”

Listen to the full session to hear the metrics Rich and the Klaviyo customer success team use to determine the health of their partners.


Seven reasons customer success is broken


Happy customers aren’t renewing.

“The only people renewing are the ones getting outcomes.” — Rachel Provan

Last week, Mark Kosoglow, CRO, and Kevin Chiu, Co-Founder and COO at Catalyst, shared The 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Success in the Nearbound Era.


Airmeet Nearbound Summit 2023 2023-11-16 at 10.06.48 AM

If you have time to listen to the whole session, I’d highly recommend it.


One “deadly sin” that caught my attention was risk versus outcomes. CSMs are so busy mitigating risk, they’re not helping customers reach their promised land.


Instead of value creation, they’re just project managing to “keep customers happy.”


Mark’s advice to CSMs was to do things in parallel.


You’ve got to keep your customers happy but,

“you can’t stop creating value for your customers. The minute you do, they become at-risk…even if you’re still project managing that account well.”

Mark gave two tips to help CSMs do this better:

  1. Define roles and responsibilities

    CSMs feel like everything falls onto their shoulders. Leadership should clearly define what falls to a CMS, and what falls to another function like support. 


  2. Give every account attention, every week
    Every week a key leader should go one-by-one through every account and ask its CSM, “What are you doing this week to create additional value for your customer?"

    When Catalyst implemented this, they noticed answers were all initially project management items. As the exercise continued, the CSMs started to realize areas where they could add more value — ideas, conversations, projects, and briefly mentioned customer problems.

So, the takeaway is a customer success leader’s job is not to “make a customer happy.” It’s to drive outcomes.

“Renewals are not automatic, people just think they are.”

And one great way to do this is using nearbound. Find ways to create value for your customers using partners. You’ll both drive better outcomes and make your product stickier. It’s a win-win-win!


Listen to the rest of the session with Mark and Kevin here.


Be referrable


If someone refers you, will they be building social capital or spending it?


Shoutout to Jacob Vandenbark for the meme!


Stuff you don’t want to miss!

  • TODAY—Enroll by November 17th —Firneo’s Mastering Partnerships Strategy (4-week course)— Registration is now open! Learn how to diagnose and solve your partner program’s biggest challenges from the world’s top partnership leaders. Use the code "NEARBOUND" for a 1:1 Strategy Coaching package (worth $1,000) for FREE. Enroll (or check out a free preview) here 

Help expand the nearbound CS family!


Customer success is often overlooked, even though it’s so important. Share this with a customer success leader and welcome them into the nearbound family!

Micaela Richmond 3 min

Nearbound Daily #455: Why "Happy" Customers Aren't Enough 👀

The partnership paradigm shift

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