The Leap Tools Sales team spent the past three years bringing in new logo deals from billion-dollar businesses “really, really quickly.”
But, at a certain point, their growth-at-all-costs approach bumped up against the need to develop and nurture customer accounts over time. Josh and his CS leaders, Sara Masson, and Josh McKissock, knew that if they wanted to maintain their momentum, they’d need to renew their focus on managing the success of existing customers.
How do you fix the cart while driving it at breakneck speed? What’s the right way to build a brand-new CS function from the ground up?
In this article, we’ll explain how the Leap Tools team shifted their post-sales game from reactive to proactive — and secured 30% in additional net revenue retention (NRR) within 12 months.
From the ground up: Leap Tool’s post-sales growth tactics
Alongside sales, customer success is now a significant revenue generator for Leap Tool. But it wasn’t always this way.
Like most businesses, Leap Tools initially prioritized new logos above all else. Post-sales offered reactive Support service to handle customer questions but little else. They didn’t have a solid playbook for renewals, let alone expansions; the CS team was eager to learn but new to the job.
So, Josh made some changes—-and they paid off in a major way. Here are his top five tips for building a CS powerhouse from scratch:
1. Hire the right CS leaders
When we asked Josh how his team went from barely-there CS to a strong post-sales motion so quickly, he was blunt: “I take no credit for it.”
As the first CS leadership hire, Sara focused on building a solid foundation for CS success — playbooks, processes, and a baseline of data. Sara is a Catalyst coach*, so she’s used to thinking about ways to enable CS with the right tools, automation, and data from the get-go. Sara brought in Josh M. (also a veteran Catalyst coach) a year after joining Leap Tools to go deeper into more impactful CS for the company.
*Side note: The Catalyst Coaching Corner is an application-based coaching program that pairs folks who are looking to break into CS or elevate their CS career with experienced CS leaders for monthly coaching sessions
2. Invest in your CS team’s skills and career development
The Leap Tools CS team was pretty green, Josh admitted. But he wasn’t daunted by the need for upskilling: “I want us to invest heavily in our people; that’s my biggest theme and priority for our CS organization.”
For Josh, offering pay increases isn’t a good enough long-term strategy for retention. “I want people to stay here because they feel like we're leveling them up,” he says.
When building up their CS function, the Leap Tools team started out green, so Josh M. and Sara prioritized individual training, coaching, and enablement, especially around the more advanced stuff, like leading renewal calls and even having internal pipeline conversations. Collectively, the team prioritized giving every CSM the right technology to learn well and get their jobs done.
3. Be okay with incremental improvements
Leveling up a CS team starts with baby steps — and according to Josh, that’s absolutely A-OK.
Sara and Josh M. were instrumental in building each CSM’s confidence by leading commercially driven renewal conversations with senior executives. Then, once those discussions became familiar to the team, they enabled them on how to handle expansions, upselling, and forecasting.
By working incrementally, focusing on coaching, and enabling the team with great CS playbooks, Josh says the results have been incredible: “I see [the Leap Tools CSMs] on calls now versus where they were 12 months ago, and it's mind-blowing.”
4. Move from reactive to proactive
With the help of his Success leaders, Josh identified that the CS team needed to shift from fighting fires to proactively partnering with their customer base. But, as he points out, “Going from reactive to proactive is super challenging.”
To successfully make this transition, it came down to four key steps:
- Segment and specialize — They segmented the CS function strategically, with different team members focusing on onboarding, SMBs, mid-market companies, and enterprise clients.
- Become a strategic partner — As specialists, each team honed in on their clients’ needs, priorities, and goals. They began mapping CS tasks to customer business outcomes. Instead of irrelevant quarterly business reviews (QBRs), specialized CSMs could now lead strategic discussions with their clients about how Leap could help them reach their business goals. CSMs would even gather customer input on calls and proactively relay that information to the product team so they could act on it.
- Equip the CS team with data-driven insights — Here’s where Catalyst comes in. Josh realized that if he wanted his CS team to proactively engage customers in commercial conversations (and not just wait for renewal time), they’d need relevant, accessible customer data. Catalyst integrated seamlessly with their existing tech stack, so the team had all the insights they needed to take a more proactive stance.
For example, the Leap Tools CS team now spots expansion opportunities as soon as customers show they’re ready for more, like when they come close to exceeding their licensing capacity.
“The Catalyst team was amazing, honestly. They treat us like true partners, even to this day[…] Everything from top to bottom was just really well done.”
—Josh Ruff, VP of Revenue, Leap Tools
- Develop high-impact CS playbooks — Catalyst makes it easy for busy CS teams like Josh’s to build standardized and repeatable renewal, upsell, and cross-sell playbooks to make sure CSMs never miss a revenue opportunity. He says, “Catalyst enabled us to build a foundation we could build on top of.”
Even though the CS team didn’t have much experience, Catalyst’s playbooks, alerts, and automation showed every team member exactly what to do and when to do it. Catalyst made CS intuitive for Leap Tools, boosting the team’s confidence.
5. Unify Sales and CS
For Leap Tools, one of the biggest benefits of developing a consistent CS process was the increased trust and alignment between their CS and Sales teams. “Our Sales reps know that when they close a deal, the customer is going to be onboarded properly,” Josh says. “Building that visibility builds trust, which then creates a much better ecosystem.”
The benefits of that alignment are evident to Josh and the leadership team when they look at the total revenue package. But Josh has found that stronger CS motions also “have had a pretty big impact on the new logo side, too, because our AEs aren’t spending a ton of time overseeing their accounts — they’re out there focused on new logo acquisition.”
Meanwhile, the Leap Tools CS team owns renewals and expansions — providing a strong incentive to keep those net revenue retention (NRR) figures consistently high. In other words, Sales and CS team members can stay in their zone of genius rather than trying to be everything to everyone.
Looking ahead with Catalyst
So, what’s next for Josh, Sara, Josh M., and their CS team?
Well, some pretty major product updates are coming up at Leap Tools (which he can’t tell us about…yet!) that will “really test the team's ability to expand through existing customers.”
For Josh though, his goal through this upcoming change is to develop the “operational rigor you see in Sales on the CS side.” His team aims to accurately forecast their book of post-sales business for the next calendar year.
Catalyst will make this far easier. Our data-rich approach to customer health scores gives CSMs and leaders the ability to forecast renewals with remarkable accuracy. For instance, our client Heap used Catalyst to build a health score that predicts renewals with 95% accuracy.
Are you ready to level up your CS function like Leap Tools, and turn your customers into your #1 revenue generator? Click here to request a demo and see how the platform would transform your CS team.