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Stop Letting Your Sales Team Define Your ICP: CS Leaders It's Time to Lean In


I love chatting with CS teams about Customer Fit, especially when this comes up as a churn theme. My first question is always, does your company have a defined ICP? My second question is ALWAYS, who defined your ICP?

More often than I care to admit, the folks I chat with will tell me that their sales team defined it. Now listen, maybe in early stage companies where you are learning your customers and defining your buyers, this makes sense, but if you have had enough customers complete their subscription term (renew/churn) you should have some data and learnings collected.

CS teams often know what makes a successful customer and what makes an unsuccessful customer, so why aren't we involved in the ICP defining process?

I spent the past 1.5 years at ClientSuccess watching, listening and learning all about our customers and finally came up with a validated hypothesis defining the criteria of what a strong customer looks like. So what's next? I'm going right to my Sales leader to discuss and collaborate on the findings as well as determine how we modify and evolve so we know earlier what each customer's success probability is. That's right, I created a Success Probability Score. Now we have a better understanding of our new customers, how we can make them successful and how long that will take.

We can modify our customer onboarding, engagement models, segments and truly understand resource allocation and its correlation to time - Ex) Customer A in Group 1 will take 30 hours of dedicated work over 20 weeks vs. Customer B in Group 3 will take 10 hours of dedicated work over 8 weeks. That is the level of insight we are building.

This will not only enhance our ability to create successful customers but will create a better experience for our customers cause we are meeting them where they are. We can give them what they need.

So if you are working in an organization where your sales team has dictated your ICP and/or you are seeing customers who are just not a fit, it's time to collect some data and lean in.

Your customers, your team and your company are depending on you.

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