Talking recently with the cofounder of an electrification startup in seed stage progressing towards their A round, I started asking about how they’re going about managing, retaining & growing customers. I got answers like ‘I don’t know’, and ‘nobody’s thinking about that yet’. Once I got over my own existential crises this triggered (does customer success matter? do I matter??), I realized this makes sense based on where they are as a startup. This early, they need hyper-focus on building a product that has a market fit and proving they can sell it. Yet, weaving a customer focus into this iterative process early lets you focus on that product building and selling, as well as set the stage for durable growth.

Why?

*Better selling: Let your sales team sell. Without a dedicated focus on your customers, your sales team (and exec team) ends up managing customers, which takes focus away from their day job- new revenue generation. These first customers are early adopters, passionate but high maintenance, oh, and ‘can’t fail’. This comes at a time when you need to show your sales team ramping and scaling! Key metrics: Sales Revenue and Revenue Growth
*Durable growth: Starting the proactive programs that ensure customers get value out of their investment quickly, combat churn and position expansion accelerates growth and raises margins. Key Metrics: NRR, Magic Number, LTV:CAC
*Climate Impact: #Customervalue realization includes climate impact goal attainment. Customer success helps customers measure, manage and attain their climate impact goals. This also helps you track overall climate impact the way CT VCs need to see progress. Metrics: CPP, ERP

All of these metrics lead to higher valuations. For these reasons and more, many climate tech startups begin customer success around the Seed to A stages, to help them drive the business performance needed.

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