Is Customer Success and Product the new “Power Couple”?
Recently Bill Cushard, Director of Marketing at ServiceRocket, led a panel discussion on how Product Management (PM) and Customer Success (CS) work together (or against each other) in a recent monthly meetup hosted by the Customer Success Leadership Network (CSLN). Nils Davis, author of “The Secret Product Manager Handbook,” and Bobby Brown, Global Head of Customer Success at Twilio, squared off in what promised to be a contentious and acrimonious battle. Well, sparks did fly but for many who attended, it was clear a new power couple was born.
Here are just a few of the topics Nils and Bobby explored while answering questions from the audience:
- How do you get Product to join customer meetings?
- Why don’t you believe what a customer tells you?
- How does CS get PM to work on customer requests?
- How should we prioritize requests?
- Do CSMs rely on Product too much?
- How can CSMs become an extension of the PM team?
- Why wouldn’t you want CSMs to act as an extension of the PM team?
That Product and Customer Success make such an amazing team is very obvious. But why doesn’t it happen more often? Why doesn’t Product join more customer meetings?
We asked Nils pointedly, “Why don’t you want to attend?”
Nils answer was simple, “You don’t ask.” While he may have been mildly joking, the underlying message was well received. PMs love being in customer meetings, but of course, they have many things to do. If a PM can’t attend a meeting, ask again, or rethink the approach. Are you relying an ad-hoc swipe right requests at the last minute?
I believe a more common experience is to introduce customer programs that Product supports in order to provide a more systematic approach to getting PMs involved in customer meetings.
We also added a quarterly webinar in which a PM leader would share the roadmap, take questions, and discuss ideas with enterprise customers. These programs became part of the service plans for which we charged.
Both programs were well received by both customers and Product. Overall, these programs didn’t add much more time to the PMs schedule. They were already spending time on developing the roadmap and were having some informal roadmap conversations. With a structured program, they could plan for and budget time in a more structured way.
What about you? Where did you and your Product team first connect?
Please enjoy a recording of the excellent hour-long event: