This week marks the first birthday of the newsletter.

I started this newsletter to build discipline in myself as a writer and to increase the intimacy of my connection to the network I've managed to build on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a "rented" audience, meaning it's not really mine. The eyeballs and attention belong to LinkedIn. The LinkedIn feed algorithms determine who gets to see what content I publish.

But with a newsletter, I have guaranteed delivery to everyone who wants to hear from me on a regular basis. That's valuable. Even though the membership in this newsletter is a fraction of my LinkedIn connections (over 40k), I consider you all my most trusted connections. And I appreciate you.

All this said I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience with LinkedIn.

It's a place where I have made countless friends and business relationships. And other than my investment of time, it's free. LinkedIn is a vital part of our engagement strategy for Gain Grow Retain, and will continue to be.

I will continue to utilize it to drive broader awareness of this newsletter and my company, Higher Logic.

In celebration of one year, I'm publishing a revised version of my first newsletter edition... Leslie's Compass.

I hope you enjoy it, and here's to the year ahead.

Leslie's Compass is a framework developed by venture capitalist Mark Leslie.

The framework helps early-stage companies decide how to spend sales and marketing dollars.

To illustrate the framework, consider two significantly different products:

  • a tube of toothpaste
  • a jet engine

Toothpaste is easy to buy. It's low-cost and ready to use immediately after you've purchased it.

Marketers create demand for toothpaste through mass advertising and incentives such as coupons.

In contrast, a jet engine is complex and expensive. After purchase, airplane manufacturers must integrate the engines into their larger, even more complex products.

There are only a few jet engine buyers, and the manufacturers know them all. Salespeople maintain high-touch relationships with all of these buyers, and the sales process is highly technical.

Marketing drives sales of toothpaste.

Sales drives sales of jet engines.

These examples make it easy to understand, but Leslie's Compass provides seven criteria to consider when designing a go-to-market strategy: price, market size, complexity, fit & finish, customer (business or consumer), relationship, and touch.

Check out the illustration from Leslie's 2017 LinkedIn article:

credit: Mark Leslie

I found this framework to be applicable to customer success.

The post-sale customer journey should resemble the sales approach we used to acquire them.

If a product is sold using a marketing-driven approach (product-led growth included), the customer success model can and should be digitally driven and can be predominantly one-to-many.

More complex products, whose sales are facilitated by an account executive will likely need one-to-one support for onboarding, adoption, relationship management, and product support.

Companies get into trouble when the post-sale customer engagement model doesn't match the pre-sales motion.

In extreme cases, customers expect high touch, and we give them automation.

Or, we spend way too much money on high-touch customer success when a strong digital program would do the trick. This is where Gross Margin gets out of whack.

So, my question to you for this week is...

Considering the criteria in Leslie's Compass, what is the right balance for your customer base? Do you need multiple customer success programs tailored to the go-to-market for each business segment?