Getting the Most out of the CSM Bonus - Talkdesk - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
This guest post is written by Talkdesk’s Director of Customer Success Blaire Fernandez.
As your company grows and changes, so too will the needs and structure of your customer success team. At every new phase of development, you will need to set different objectives. Meeting the objectives you set for yourself is a matter of putting the appropriate practices into place to motivate customer success team members. One such practice is the bonus.
At Talkdesk, our customer success team is best-in-class, not only because of our thorough application process, but also because of our conscious effort to set up systems to help them succeed. Our team is an important driver of Talkdesk’s growth and stability.
To that end, a quarterly bonus has been put in place on the customer success team to drive the most productive, quick and efficient behaviors. As the director of this team, I am confident that this program will deliver nearly immediate results that will help position Talkdesk for future growth.
At Talkdesk, there are four contributors to this bonus, two of which I will call floating criteria and the other two I will call constant criteria. The constants are retention rate and customer success manager (CSM) performance as assessed by individual portfolio of customers.
In the first quarter that Talkdesk CSMs had a defined bonus structure, one of the floating criteria was resultant from our company’s transition from monthly contracts with customers to annual commitments. The upshot was that CSMs were bonused based on the degree of success they had in shifting their existing accounts to the new annual commitments.
The second floating criteria at this time was the percentage of Executive Business Reviews (EBR) completed. Our ERB protocols had just been established and it was imperative that we got this process up and running with a strong start. This was factored into bonuses as a way of incentivizing outstanding performance.
In the next quarter, Talkdesk’s customer success team shifted its focus to driving revenue, both directly and indirectly. Directly, CSMs facilitated upsell handoffs to the sales team, who then worked closely with the CSM to utilize the existing reference. The decision to involve sales was strategically designed to discourage customers from thinking of our CSMs as upsellers working off of a quota. The handoff was a much smoother way for the customer success team to capitalize on a growth opportunity while remaining a trusted advisor. Our customer base represents the single largest sales opportunity in our company, so it was critical to incentivize the customer success team to tap into this potential.
Indirectly, CSMs helped to build out the marketing infrastructure that would then assist the sales team. Principally, this required CSMs to actively recruit accounts to serve as references and/or participate in marketing programs and assets such as case studies, videos, quotes, logos, guest blog posts and webinars. It was crucial to incentivize CSMs to seek these permissions via the bonus system because this kind of task, although critical to future sales, can often end up on the backburner if not specifically promoted.
Looking to the immediate future, our customer success team will continue to leverage our evolving quarterly bonus structure to drive attendance at Talkdesk’s first annual conference, to ensure that customers are involved in customer advisory boards and to increase the level of customer engagement within the Talkdesk application.
In the more distant future, the bonus criteria may level off and become static, but that’s difficult to imagine at this point. Every quarter comes to us full of new goals and new chances to make an impact. So far, we’re taking every chance we get to help drive our company’s performance.
Hopefully these ideas will be useful to new customer success managers looking to implement a bonus program. Bonuses can be tremendously helpful in driving results and encouraging CSMs to spend time on the activities that are most impactful to the company.
Publish Date: February 4, 2016 5:00 AM
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