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Customer Expansion and Upselling in the Current Market

The Toronto Customer Success Executive Breakfast is a forum whereby local industry leaders get together over breakfast to discuss the still young and rapidly evolving field of Customer Success.

Organized by DesiredPath, senior executives in the field of Customer Success are invited to share their knowledge and expertise amongst their peer group in an intimate and highly interactive setting.

The breakfast is an opportunity for these leaders in Customer Success to convene, exchange ideas and further define industry best practices.

Getting together to gather insights from what others are doing and share ideas for ways to handle the evolving situation is the main objective for the Toronto Customer Success Executive group.

This month the group discussed what their respective organizations are seeing around account expansion and upselling due to the current market conditions.

Read the insights that emerged from the conversation to learn how you can apply these within your organizations.

What are you seeing around expansion/upsell due to the current market?

“We are definitely seeing a slowdown in net-new sales. Marketers are paralyzed with uncertainty so they have decided to wait and see where the markets are headed before purchasing net-new. With existing customers however, expansion and upsell has gone up. With Covid-19, 100% of sales is being done online and digitally so our customer marketing teams need our technology more than ever and as a result, we’ve seen a lift if sales. Expansion is starting to pick up as well.”

“Pricing continues to be a huge consideration for clients. We have seen a drop in renewal rate due to Covid. Accordingly, we have changed our forecasting model and health score. Price sensitivity is at the forefront of our conversations. Regardless of how strong relationships are with our champions, we’re talking to the CFO come renewal time.”

“Depends on what you are selling. We have new VP of Products with an accelerate product mandate. This is the first time we’ve had new SKUs so we have pent up demand and are seeing a healthy pipeline. Our situation may be unique due to the pent-up demand. Our new sales is currently decent but we have a slower sales cycle.”

“We sell cash management software to schools. Ironically, Covid has had a positive effect on our forecast as schools and districts are looking at getting out of cash. Our volume of transactions are down (due to school closures) but we’ve seen more expansion and upsell as schools look to conduct cashless transactions now and in the future. It helped to emphasize our products and the value proposition it offers.”

“We sell to banks so our lead cycles are really long. We are under a lot of pressure from the board and C-Suite to drive upsell. But I don’t have product to sell with so it’s put pressure on product to accelerate development. Renewals are trending better than I thought, driven by the fact that it’s easier for customers to renew with us versus leave, but that’s a red flag. We are working on pricing model that benefits current partnerships for the time being.”

“During the first phase of Covid-19 we saw many of our customers from the industries hardest hit, e.g. hospitality, make cuts which negatively impacted our upselling. In the second phase, we’re seeing finance departments, even from companies doing well, using Covid as a reason to negotiate on price. Customers are also waiting on paying invoices until past due dates and when we remind them.”

“Last quarter was really tough on the new business side. We have started to see that pick up now which is positive. On the customer retention side, we are harder hit this quarter but it is also going up. But expansion is really slow. We are seeing some expansion with larger enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), but in the mid-range we are not seeing anything and a huge slow down. It’s not shocking that it’s down but the differences by segment is curious. We’re also having more conversations with the customer’s CFO and finance department. Our Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are receiving a training session from our VP of Finance on how to have financial discussions with customers as a result.”

Are these actions consistent with your organization’s behaviour and how they are handling the crisis? Weigh in and share your insights!

If you are an experienced leader responsible for your company’s Customer Success strategy and are interested in joining the group, please contact me at

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