Get Started on the Right Foot: Knowing What You Don't Know
You only have one chance to make a first impression and when it comes to starting your relationship with a new customer it's important to come prepared. The first and easiest way to ensure you will be prepared for your initial discussion, and for the duration of the partnership is to start with research. As a former CSM I would always make sure to know as much as I could stepping into the relationship and found a few resources best supported my efforts.
Website: The easiest place to start is your customer's website. Make sure to invest the time reading the content so you can understand how they position themselves to their prospects and customers, how they differentiate themselves from their competitors and to understand the details around the challenges their business or product solves for. It's also a great place to learn about the history of the company and who the key players are.
LinkedIn: The next place I go is LinkedIn so I can connect with the folks I'll be working with and learn a bit more about the company. I spend time reading the profiles for all of my main contacts - this will help me learn more about what's important to them based on the content they share or engage with and better understand their experience based on previous roles and companies. I read through recent posts from the company's page and look to understand engagement - I can understand what resonates with their community.
Crunchbase: This is a great place to learn more about the company - size of the organization, number of employees, funding rounds and investors, news and more. This data can signal business health and stability, growth opportunities and the landscape.
Glassdoor: While it's important to understand how the community sees the business, it's also critical to understand how the employees view the business and its leaders. I spend time reading through reviews to better understand themes about company culture, leadership and sentiment. How people feel about the company and employee tenor allows me to understand what challenges we might face indirectly in the partnership.
G2: G2 will help you understand the competitive landscape and how your customer is viewed in the market. Watching this over time will allow you to understand if their performance is growing and improving or taking steps back. It's also a great place to learn about what customers love about the company and product and what areas needed improvement. You can use this information to help advise them - if and when it's appropriate.
There are a ton of places you can go find information about your new customer - In fact a good Google search might uncover a ton of information that would be useful moving forward. Regardless of where you start, it's important to spend the time doing research on your customer - I promise this will make all the difference, on day 1 and beyond.