The Power of Multi-Threaded Customer Relationships (And How to Build Them)

The Power of Multi-Threaded Customer Relationships (And How to Build Them)

Imagine your primary customer contact leaves abruptly, and no other connection exists with the company.

How would you ensure the continuity of the relationship?

More importantly, how would you prevent other stakeholders at the customer organization from reconsidering the partnership due to a lack of communication?

Enter multi-threadedness in Customer Success, especially 1:1 Customer Success. This practice involves establishing multiple levels of connection with your customer beyond the relationship a Customer Success Manager (CSM) has with their primary contact.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Why multi-threadedness is crucial for customer relationship continuity.
  • Practical examples of multi-threaded connections.
  • How to implement a multi-threaded approach in your organization.

Let's explore how multi-threadedness can secure and strengthen your customer relationships.

Begin with stakeholder mapping

Stakeholder mapping is an effective start to multi-threading. According to Miro, “An important part of stakeholder management, stakeholder mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of your stakeholders. In it, you lay out all the cross-functional stakeholders who have a stake in a product, project, or idea, all on one map. You can also document their roles and your relationship with them.

Start by using a basic spreadsheet to list the various accounts in your portfolio in one column and your existing relationships in another. For a manageable number of customers, this task can be done without much hassle at the CSM level.

Key components of a stakeholder map

The simplest version of stakeholder mapping has a few key components: Account name, account prioritization, and account contacts.

An example stakeholder map

Account name

This simply includes the account name, which should be your first column.

Account prioritization

This typically includes the Annual Contract Value (ACV) or Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) to help prioritize accounts. This helps determine which accounts to focus on for deepening customer relationships via multi-threading.

💡 Tip: In the simple example above, we used Annual Contract Value as the sole prioritization field. However, account prioritization isn't just about dollar value. Consider using additional prioritization fields, such as:

  • Renewal date and terms (e.g., accounts with closer renewals)
  • Sentiment or overall Health Score (e.g., accounts with poor or good sentiment)
  • Specific pricing tier (often correlated with ACV/ARR)
  • Region (e.g., regions of business focus)
  • Segment (e.g., industry, product usage, needs, goals)
    • At a previous company I worked at, we identified a handful of top use cases most prospects and customers of ours gravitated towards for their goals. So segmenting by use case, especially those our product vision was more focused on, helped us prioritize which customer relationships to deepen via multi-threading.

These additional fields can help refine your prioritization and view your accounts through different priority lenses.

Account contacts

Ensure at least two contacts per account (e.g., Day-to-Day Contact and Decision-maker) are listed in your tracker.

Why should you track at least two contacts?

  • Redundancy: Having multiple contacts ensures continuity if one contact leaves.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Different roles offer varied insights, improving your understanding of the customer’s needs.
  • Stronger Partnerships: Multiple connections help solidify the partnership, making it more resilient.

💡 Tip: Maintain and customize your basic sheet over time. Add columns for dates of the last meetings and new stakeholder relationships (e.g., your day-to-day contact’s manager, a key technical resource, or other cross-functional influencers). As your spreadsheet grows more complex, consider transitioning to a visual stakeholder map as guided by Miro.

Filtering stakeholder mapping views

Once you’ve added the critical details, set filters and sort your accounts by prioritization fields, such as Annual Contract Value (ACV), to identify where to focus your efforts. Prioritize accounts with higher ACV or other significant factors, and focus on building relationships with key stakeholders.

How to filter stakeholders in Excel or Google Docs

Here are three examples of how filtering & sorting can help you prioritize your efforts:

  • Example 1: You notice that 100 Acre Wood Inc. has a high ACV of $500,000. Despite this, you realize you don't have a strong connection with their decision-maker. Prioritize building this connection to secure the high-value account, especially compared to Cave of Wonders Corp., which has a lower ACV of $300,000.
  • Example 2: Sunnydale Enterprises has an upcoming renewal date. Although you have regular touchpoints with their day-to-day contact, you realize you lack a relationship with their executive team. Focus on bridging this gap as their renewal is imminent, unlike Springfield LLC, whose renewal is much further away.
  • Example 3: WonderTech Solutions, despite having a solid ACV, has a low customer health score. You recognize that strengthening relationships with their key stakeholders is crucial to improve their satisfaction and prevent churn. In contrast, Acme Corp. has a high health score, making WonderTech a higher priority for immediate action.

Stakeholder mapping resources

There are many free stakeholder mapping templates you can use, including the following:

💡 Tip: Check if your company's CRM, such as Salesforce or HubSpot, has built-in relationship-mapping tools. This can save you time and integrate seamlessly with your existing workflows.

Building stakeholder connections

Once you have the first iteration of your stakeholder map, you may notice several connection gaps, such as a lack of relationships with executive decision-makers or the right day-to-day contacts.

Deepen existing relationships

Leverage your current day-to-day contact to develop higher-level connections within the customer organization. Use discovery questions to identify additional stakeholders. For example, when discussing a pain point your product solves, ask, “Who else is impacted by this, and how does it prevent them from reaching their goals?”

💡 Tip: To secure an opportunity to build higher-level connections, follow up with: “I’d love to hear from them on [specific pain point] and help you showcase the great work we’re doing together to help bridge this gap.” This approach often encourages your contact to facilitate introductions to their leadership.

Determine options for outreach

If higher-level influencers are unclear, check your CRM for historical data on who was involved in the sales cycle and reach out via email or LinkedIn.

💡 Tip: If the main customer point of contact (POC) during the sales cycle is unknown or has gone quiet, ask your Sales counterpart who closed the deal to introduce you as their partner, making the case that this can help maximize ROI on their purchase.

Be customer opportunity-centric

When reaching out to important stakeholders, avoid bland messages. Research the customer’s wins with your product or identify opportunities to significantly benefit them. Use publicly available information from sources like Crunchbase or LinkedIn, or gather context using AI like ChatGPT or Google Gemini.

💡 Tip: Tailoring your outreach with specific insights about the customer's success and potential opportunities demonstrates your commitment and increases the likelihood of building meaningful connections.

Working with ChatGPT to learn more about the goals of your customers

Leveraging customer relationships to drive outcomes

Once you’ve established relationships at various key levels within your customer organizations, the next step is leveraging these connections to drive outcomes for you and your company. Remember, your customers' success directly impacts your success.

Build customer champions

Via milestone moments

Identify moments when customers are particularly happy with your product and encourage them to write testimonials on platforms like G2 or Capterra. If you’re not registered with these review portals, a testimonial for your website works too.

Additionally, provide a forum for customers to share constructive feedback or wishlist items for your product. This will not only make them feel heard but also aid in product development.

Via customer community

  • Broad Customer Community: Create a space for customers to learn from each other. Braze Bonfire is a great example of this. Tools like Higher Logic Vanilla and Zendesk can help build a strong customer community over time.
  • Exclusive Network of Customer Thought Leaders: Foster an exclusive network where industry experts using your product can share insights and succeed together. This helps customers build their brands and reinforces the value of your product as well.

Incentivizing customer advocacy

Once you’ve built customer champions, incentivize them through a customer advocacy program.

A simple iteration of this program could promise gift certificates for various things your customers can do to share their expertise or thought leadership – below are some ideas.

Customer advocacy opportunities

  • Customers writing you testimonials
  • Walking you through deep-dive product feedback
  • Providing a reference to promising prospects, both when asked/organically
  • Speaking on your behalf at panels, conferences, or events
  • Working with you to create case studies, blog posts, or other helpful resources

💡 Tip: Implement a points system for various advocacy activities. For example, 10 points for feedback that influences the product roadmap, 15 points for collaborating on a case study, and 20 points for a high-stakes sales referral. These points can accumulate and be redeemed for product, service, or event discounts. Get creative and see what works best for your customers!


Staying multi-threaded with your customers is often overlooked but is a powerful way to build lasting partnerships and drive significant company outcomes.

Latest Posts