Customer Success IT Strategy IT Transformation Strategies for IT Leaders

A Blueprint for Customer Success

Customer Success is not just a discipline at VMware, it’s our philosophical way of doing business – always taking a customer-first approach.  As we innovate and move faster to the future, our Customer Success delivery and offerings must keep pace with evolving customer needs and market dynamics.  In this blog, I will share with you our approach and “blueprint” for customer success.

The VMware Customer Success Blueprint is designed for scalability, flexibility, and adaptability. Based on our EPIC2 cultural values, which are rooted in customer centricity, and an innovation DNA, the blueprint is designed to help customers maximize value continuously.  Let’s review the components in more detail.

Philosophy

The foundation of the blueprint is our Customer Success philosophy.  It is embedded within all parts of our organization:

  • Lead with a customer-first culture
  • Deliver exceptional customer experiences through aligned cross-functional teams
  • Accelerate customer outcomes and time to value 

Talent Engine

We all know that technology alone does not deliver outcomes.  So, the next layer in our blueprint is a talented team of Customer Success Practitioners.  Together with our customers, we drive success at all stages of the customer journey from onboarding, adopting, and consuming solutions through to realizing value.  Building and retaining a talented Customer Success team means that we:

  • Define clear differentiated capabilities for our high performing customer success practitioners
  • Develop a comprehensive learning path to build strong customer success skills and behaviors
  • Create a guided career path for constant advancement

Unified Go-to-Market Strategy

Success isn’t the sole responsibility of the Customer Success team.  As I mentioned in our philosophy, exceptional customer experiences are delivered through aligned cross-functional teams.  To deliver on our promise of customer success, a key tenet of our blueprint is uniting all teams across the business including Customer Success, Sales, Professional Services, Product Business Units, Solution Engineering, and Support.  We have clearly defined our approach which covers:

  • Cross-functional roles and responsibilities throughout the customer lifecycle
  • Accountability for health, retention, and consumption through the sharing of data from a single view of customer progress
  • Aligning customer success roles, responsibilities, and incentives cross-functionally

Scalable Lifecycle-focused Success Offerings

The value customers derive from their VMware investments is not static; it’s dynamic.  Over time, new opportunities arise as both the customer and VMware’s businesses evolve.  We’ve developed offerings that:

  • Range from “essentials” to premium fee-based
  • Are designed to support both perpetual and subscription customers
  • Utilize persona-based experiences, with harmonized digital and in-person engagements throughout the customer lifecycle

Advanced Analytics and Operations Excellence

A best-in-class Customer Success organization knows when a customer is having issues before they tell you.  To build this level of awareness, an investment in advanced analytics and operational playbooks is essential.  Analytics and operational excellence:

  • Predicts customer risks and opportunities
  • Drives consistency and repeatability through playbooks and runbooks proven to accelerate customer outcomes and time to value
  • Enables active collaboration and a singular 360-degree view of customer data, shared cross-functionally

In my next blog, I will discuss how we are creating a differentiated customer success portfolio that supports both perpetual and subscription-based customers.  Learn more about our offerings on our website or reach out to me about our blueprint for customer success at LinkedIn.

About the Author

Meenu Agarwal is the Senior Vice President and GM of Customer Success at VMware. She leads the worldwide customer success organization focused on delivery of exceptional value-driven experiences to VMware customers across all product and solution areas. Meenu is a seasoned executive in the software industry with extensive experience in sales, operations, customer success, and services. She has a proven track record of building high performing teams and scaling multi-billion dollar businesses. Meenu has spent her career at leading companies including IBM, HubSpot, Open Text, Vignette, and Oracle in various Executive and Strategic management roles. Prior to VMware, she served at HubSpot, a CRM software company, leading the worldwide Services business. Before HubSpot, Meenu spent 11 years with IBM in sales, success and strategic global leadership roles within Analytics, Security, and Cloud business units. Meenu attended the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), BHU in Varanasi, India, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering. Follow on https://www.linkedin.com/in/agarwalmeenu/

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