Segmentation & Scale: Is the "Triangle" Approach BS? Toronto CS Executive Breakfast Review

Updated: Apr 24



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.


Conducted 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.


This month’s Customer Success Executive breakfast group, hosted at the offices of Shutterstock, was treated to a lively presentation from visiting, out-of-towner, Customer Success Executive veteran Bridget Winston.


Vice President of Sales at Shutterstock, Bridget is no stranger to leading Sales and Customer Success organizations to drive customer loyalty and expansion.


Bridget first started her foray into Customer Success at Shortel having led and managed the Sales & Customer Success teams and Ooma before moving onto Shutterstock.


Continually looking for better ways to segment customers to optimize revenue, Bridget asked the group to consider how to define “high potential” customers for the basis of segmentation and scale.


Is the “triangle” approach* we see so often BS?


*The triangle approach (see diagram above) refers to the segmentation of customers to determine what engagement model they will receive – tech touch, mid-touch, high-touch or white glove service.


Bridget pointed out that “Customer Success is the function at a company responsible for managing the relationship between a vendor and its customers”, the goal being to “make the customer as successful as possible” in order to “improve customer lifetime value for the vendor”.


But as companies, we collectively go and segment and focus on our “high-potential” customers potentially neglecting the rest of the customer base.


Is that counter to the philosophy of Customer Success?


How do companies determine who gets the “best” experience and why?


How does a vendor balance support for its high paying customers if they aren’t the highest potentials for growth?


What outside information does a company use to inform who are its high potential customers?


Are differentiated customer experiences bad?


And how does an organization recognize whether its segmentation is working or not?


Too often companies blindly believe they should copy the triangle approach within their organization without truly understanding how that segmentation model will impact the customer’s success or how it can be operationalized in practice within their own organization.


The group of seasoned leaders had a very passionate discussion about the topic outlining various ways they had all been (or still are) grappling with the challenge.


In the end, the group identified many ways to approach the challenge, but all came to the same conclusion that using adoption drivers to segment groups was a more effective way to, first segment customers, and then accordingly, to organize internally.


If you are responsible for the Customer Success strategy at your company and are interested in joining the group, please contact me at kia@thedesiredpath.com.

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