Customer Success Will Succeed

The Customer Success cat is out of the bag. There can be no doubt about the direct correlation between Customer Success and the long-term success of SaaS companies. There are calculations and strategies, analyst research, reports and findings, and numerous compelling blog posts – enough supporting evidence to motivate even the most skeptical C-suite.

Mark Cameron explains that this new battleground for competitive advantage has become so focused around the entire experience of the customer because:

  1. Every category is being commoditized quickly; and,​
  2. Customers now have more power than ever.​

In this highly competitive market, fighting to acquire and retain these newly empowered customers requires innovative thinking — and SaaS companies are leading the way!

As you start to ramp up your own team, the challenges quickly become apparent. You realize that success hinges on complete insight into each individual customer. Sure, there is data stored in various systems throughout your organization. Of course, there is Salesforce data that you can reference – but it was really built for sales automation and is likely owned by Sales; Marketing uses HubSpot or Marketo because it takes care of marketing automation; Customer Service uses or Zendesk – great for trouble ticket reporting; and don’t forget Chargify or Recurly – to meet your billing needs. But none of these systems were purpose-built for Customer Success Managers, Growth Managers, or Account Managers.

So how will you succeed at Customer Success for the 700 customers that your CEO aims to have on board by year-end? How does the team achieve their overarching business goals of improving conversions, reducing churn, and growing customer lifetime value? It’s all about the right information, about the right customer, at the right time.

There is no doubt that the information in your existing systems is of value but they are only part of the picture. For a comprehensive and complete view of your customer, you will also need to know how long they have been a customer, their contract details, their value, their likelihood to renew, which features and functionality of your service they own, which they use, and if they suddenly stopped using them – yikes! And a means to track ongoing engagements with each and every individual – from emails, chats, phone conversations, and meetings – to discuss training, billing, onboarding, referrals, features and whatever else might be on their mind. A success playbook to define your Customer Success process and workflow to execute it – you’ll need that too!

And only then can your executives start to analyze portfolio churn, experiment with conversion and growth strategies, assess the impact on overall company revenue growth, measure the value of customer engagement activity and implement, monitor and improve your customer advantage strategy.

So no – you can’t just do this in Salesforce, or Excel, or Zendesk, or your own product.