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Customer Success: The key to succeeding with APLAER

Insights Services

Andrew Elwick

The second wave of digital transformation is underway, sparking a data-driven redesign of the customer lifecycle that optimises revenue at every stage. Parallel to subscription-based models, this new approach will help organisations stay competitive – but to deliver on it, they need a customer success mindset, enabled by a strategic framework fit for the digital age.

As a member of TSIA and the only distributor on their XaaS Advisory Council, we at Westcon-Comstor leverage their models and research to shape our strategic direction. As such, we see TSIA’s APLAER model as a good contender for customer success in the current digital era.

Understanding APLAER and customer success

First introduced as LAER (Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew), the model has had a recent update to unleash its full potential. This has led to the addition of Analyse and Place (thus, APLAER) to narrow the funnel and streamline customer conversations, while creating a foundational framework that allocates the right resources to the right transactions with the best chance of success. Paramount to this is the need to align with partner goals to drive recurring revenue and deliver value-added services.

To maximise the benefits of APLAER, partners need to adopt a customer success mindset. TSIA advises establishing a customer success team to own the adoption, expansion, and renewal phases, rather than leaving it to sales.

But customer success is a concept some businesses are still trying to navigate. Partners we polled in our Channel Research Report outlined a need to learn more about delivering customer success, especially since the customer success model has become so synonymous with subscription-based business.  

So, what is a customer success mindset?

A customer success mindset means understanding each customer’s desired outcome and being able to demonstrate how the outcome is delivered throughout the entire lifecycle.

Partners need to change the focus of their sales models and incorporate customer success methods to be successful in their own transformations. This includes building a customer success team that can focus on understanding customers’ goals and helping them achieve their desired outcomes.

To oversee the APLAER process and to share insights with customers, partners need a Customer Success Manager. This person becomes, as TSIA puts it, the customer’s trusted advisor. Having already earned the customer’s trust, they’re best-placed to expand revenue through cross-sell and upsell.

At Westcon-Comstor, we’ve developed a Business Coach model that aligns with that role, including consulting and sales training to enable partner sales teams to grow revenue on specific offerings.

APLAER in action: Managed services

The managed services market is a strong example of the APLAER model in practice. The managed services model emphasises building lasting customer relationships – which is key to recurring revenue – and guiding them along the Adopt and Expand journey.

Managed service providers (MSPs) have a head-start when it comes to APLAER due to their subscription-based contracts, highly interactive nature, and inclusion of customer success in their offers.

Combined with an outcome-based customer success mindset, renewal rates are sure to increase. In fact, according to TSIA, providers with a dedicated customer success team have the highest recurring revenue retention rate (96%) compared to those that don’t.

Proven to increase partner revenue and knowledge in key sales functions, Westcon-Comstor’s Business Coach helps MSPs:

  • Understand the market
  • Define their offering
  • Identify and land higher quality opportunities
  • Fill any gaps while developing their own teams
  • Optimise revenue

Over the last 10 years, we’ve facilitated 1,500+ successful projects through the model. By leveraging Business Coach, partners can embrace APLAER and adopt a customer-centric approach – both key to success in the digital age.


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