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Ep15: Michelle Wickman, Principal, Portfolio Operations & Head of Customer Success and Systems COE at TCV

Data Nirvana is a 360-Degree View of a Customer

Episode Summary

In this episode of Datavana, Michelle Wickman from TCV is talking about ways to scale your business without wasting too many resources, how to turn your leads into customers, and how technology can help.

Michelle talks about a 360-degree view of a customer and why this strategy is crucial while trying to add value to your services. She points out the importance of clear data and explains that data management plays an important part in company success.

She talks about TCV's investment in Netflix and points out how exciting it is to work with a company that is already on a growth trajectory.

Ep15: Michelle Wickman, Principal, Portfolio Operations & Head of Customer Success and Systems COE at TCV
Name: Michelle Wickman
What she does: Michelle joined TCV in 2019 to create the Customer Success System Centre of Excellence within the portfolio operations. She works with both investment professionals and management teams to identify and implement value creation areas across customer support, professional services, and customer health.
Company: TCV
Noteworthy: Michelle brings more than 20 years of IT Management consulting, product development, operational optimization, and business analytics experience to TCV. She's previously led full-scale operations transformation and system implementations for Vista Equity Partners and held positions at Citibank NCR and JDA.
Where to find Michelle: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

The path from lead to revenue

"A solid sales lead is where growth really starts, and understanding where you have sold successfully in the past helps you to target your sales efforts in the future. Then you would transition into the sales process itself, where you need to really make sure you have clean and up-to-date opportunity data and efficient quote, generation process, pricing and approvals, contract negotiation, all of those details that help you to close the business. Once you define the products and services you've sold, do you need to make sure that all of that flows cleanly into the finance arena and can drive billing?

You can't show revenue until you can deliver those products and services. Tracking projects and support cases to understand profitability, having customer success teams focused on retention, those are all key elements to the lead to revenue process."

Technology helps to optimize the lead to revenue process

"What I've most commonly seen successful is Marketo for marketing automation, RingLead for data cleansing enrichment and lead routing Salesforce for CRM, Financial Force for professional services, Gainsight for customer success, and then NetSuite for financial. What's more critical than these specific packages is making sure the systems in place are enabling these functions and are really well integrated. The data that flows through needs to be clean. And we just want to make sure that all of the best practices are enabled with that system back. I would say in the last year, I've seen great success with Workato being like the core of an integration platform."

Data Nirvana is to be aware of data

"I think data Nirvana for me is a complete 360-degree view of your customer, that you really understand everything there is to know about that customer. And when you think about it, from the beginning of the process, they're a lead. And what do I need to know about that lead? How can I enrich my data to know that they match my customer profile and that they're going to be the place where I should invest my resources to go and try to acquire that customer? Once I've acquired the customer, then how do I know everything about them? What they purchased, what are their goals? Why did they purchase my software? Why are they using our tools and technology? Without that data, I feel like we're not able to be coordinated in our effort, and that creates friction for our customers."

The expectation from RevOps

"What I wish is that companies would do a little bit of slowing down to speed up. That's a bit of what we do as part of our transformation within our portfolio companies, where we really stop and say, 'How do we get it right? How do we streamline the process?' Instead of having a team of people that are cleaning up behind sales reps, making sure that they're good, I want to get them to a place where they can focus more on, 'How do I manage the expectations? How do I really give valuable advice to our sales team this day?'"

"Netflix is one of those cornerstone investments for TCV"

"I think the magic in finding companies that have a compelling product, they're growing strong CEOs, that's really where the rubber meets the road. The fact that we have a portfolio operations organization to go supplement and complement companies that are already on a great growth trajectory is super exciting."

Being a successful portfolio operations team

"The most critical piece that we do as a portfolio operations team is that we are able to meet with these companies and rapidly diagnose where the opportunities lie that are going to help us to set the foundation and ultimately enable them for greater growth and scale. [...] We're not professional services like the ability to come in and help a company see, 'Here are all the opportunities you have.' I'm responsible for one portion of that, but there's also the finance team for product and technology, 'What's your cloud strategy? Are you leveraging outside support from AWS to spend opportunities that you could mitigate and get more value from those relationships?'"

Key Insights

  • Scale without wasting resources. According to Michelle, when it comes to investing in software and technology-enabled industries, each company looks like a snowflake. But actually, they are all made out of water. ''While companies we invest in all have something special that got them to where they are, the operational rigor and what it takes to establish a foundation for growth is actually made up of a bunch of repeatable processes and playbooks that we can use again and again: having clean and deduplicated enriched data that flows through the integrated solutions on the enterprise grid. Software is really the bedrock for enabling companies to scale without having to add more resources, to support a bunch of manual processes."
  • Know your ideal customers. Someone once said, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression.' It's the reason why companies must ensure their first encounter with a target customer is polished. They also need to understand a customer's profile. "If we start with lead management, I would say your lead pipeline is only as good as their propensity to buy. You have to make sure that you do your homework and you understand who your ideal customer is. Once you can identify what that profile is, you need to enrich your data so that you can score the leads and make sure that you're focusing your marketing and sales efforts in the right way."
  • Clean data is not enough. Michelle says, 'You can't let perfection be the enemy of done.' Having clean data is of the utmost importance, but it is not enough. "While this entire conversation has been about how important it is to have good clean data, you also need to be able to know when you get to a point when the data that you have is directionally correct. You need to be able to move forward and strategize. You can't let the issues that you have in your data be the thing that stops you from moving forward. At the same time, I would say that you can't try and build this giant strategy without knowing that you have data that's accurate without knowing what products your customers own."

Top Quotes

[5:45] "You have to make sure that you do your homework and you understand who your ideal customer is."

[8:14] "Focus on what matters. Focus on what it's going to take to close upcoming deals. Focus on how you can leverage that time of your team together to sharpen your thought."

[12:11] "I think the key is making sure that you connect the value of the product to the customer and that you're working through a way where it's like, 'I'm solving your problem."

[17:43] "I think data Nirvana for me is a complete 360-degree view of your customer, that you really understand everything there is to know about that customer.'"

[24:11] "Connect the dots for the customer so that they know why your solution is the one that's going to give them the most value."