In this episode of Helping Sells Radio, Chris Doell, VP of Customer Success for the cloud security division of Cisco, talks about the importance of evaluating software vendors on four post-sales criteria in addition to price, features, benefits, and product fit, which most software buyers already focus on. Doell says these four criteria are hardly ever in RFPs that he receives from buyers, but you can bet they are in all of the RFPs that he sends to vendors. We dive into these four criteria with Doell to help you improve how you evaluate software companies.
Doell wrote a blog post on the Cisco blog called, OpenDNS Maintains LASER Focus on Customer Success, to list and address each of the four questions.
The overall point is his blog is to describe a means for discovering whether a software company is focused in helping a customer achieve outcomes or is just selling software.
Doell wants to know, "Is this a get the purchase order and run type of company or is this a strategic partnership that cares about my success?"
In a SaaS, subscription-based, customer success world, the only software companies that are going to earn Doell's business are those that help customers achieve desired outcomes.
This should not be a difficult thing to do.
Software companies need to lead customers down a path to success
As Doell describes it, all software companies have customers that push the envelope, push the roadmap, and push the product to and beyond the edge of its capabilities. These 10-20% of customers know what they want to accomplish and are proactive in finding and driving solutions to help them succeed. Software vendors should learn from these customers because the other 80-90% of customers "need to be led down the trail," says Doell.
What Doell looks for in a vendor is how well they lead a customers down that trail based on what they learn from the customers who push the vendor.
Doell expects vendors to describe how they do that, looking for "a systematic, efficient, and very quick means of leading that 80-90% down that path."
Vendors who can describe that well are likely to be companies that do put customer success as a top priority.
Here is a link to the Cisco Ubrella Blog that Doell talked about.
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